This is always my favorite post to write each year. A lot happens in a year, and I am always amazed at what all took place when I write this post. 2011 was a good year. My life faced new changes and challenges, and I walked away a stronger, and more experienced person than before.
January: The new year kicked off with my Peace Corps loves in Chicago. I then headed back to the LSE to complete the year. It was a constant adjustment trying to wrap my head around the British system. This was one of the major challenges of 2011.
February: My friend Laura from Peace Corps visited me. I submitted the dual degree application for Columbia after many drafts of the essays. I was anxiously waiting to hear a response. I wanted to be in the US and at Columbia. Meanwhile, I continued to find balance with readjustment into the “real world”. Even after all those months, there were moments that were extremely difficult. Reverse culture shock continued to affect me in the early part of 2011. In an attempt to find balance, I took mini city breaks to Cambridge and the like.
March: March was a good month. I received my acceptance to Columbia in the beginning of the month. That relieved a lot of stress for me. Peace Corps celebrated its 50th anniversary and I attended a celebration party in London. In search of inspiration, I attended a China in Africa conference at Oxford and met many fascinating individuals, including a guy from Burundi who became a good friend and mentor. Despite not being satisfied in my academic life, I enjoyed my life in London.
April: A rough month due to personal matters. But luckily this was the month where LSE had a month-long break/revision period. I took two trips: one to Bologna and another to Ibiza. Both trips were absolutely necessary for me to get away from London, to gain a little perspective, and to re-energize myself for the exam period. The end of the month was the Royal Wedding. It was pretty neat to be in London for this historical event. My friends and I participated by going to Trafalgar Square and watched it on the big screen! pretty cool.
May: The intense exam period began. Summer term full of review sessions took place. Life became pretty dull for the next two months. I also went on a Facebook Hiatus/Detox.
June: Exams were in full swing. Since the LSE library was so oversubscribed, Jenn and I found a perfect two-story Starbucks on Bond Street and went there from open to close every day during the month. It was the worst academic purgatory that I’ve ever experienced. The British System is simply not for me.
July: Things began to look up after exams in July. Immediately after exams, my sister visited me in London. Then, we took a trip to frolic along the French Riviera. It was much, much needed. During the vacation, I read Jacqueline Novogratz’ Blue Sweater, and Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Both of which made a big impression on me. The Tiger Mom book especially inspired me to tell my own story. I began working at Big Issue Invest, a social investment firm in London after my vacation. Very interesting work; right up my alley. Oh, I finally tried out the Cameroonian restaurant in London. It brought back all sorts of fantastic memories.
August: I thoroughly enjoyed the last few weeks of my summer in London. My internship was fulfilling and interesting. It was a nice end to a rather frustrating academic year. I reflected on the year of reverse culture shock. Jerome visited me from Paris and we reminisced life in Cameroon. Nearly all of my visitors in London relate back to Cameroon in one way or another.
September: I began the long-awaited journey at Columbia SIPA. I finally felt like I was at the right place. It was really exciting to meet new people and get into the groove of things. SIPA threw a really fun Welcome-Back party, that kicked off my birthday celebration. I began to attend many networking events for jobs, and attempted to determine what path I want to take with my career. A major Peace Corps reunion in DC wrapped up the month. It was fantastic to see my loves again. It was bittersweet to know that people have all moved up with then next phase of life, and it will never quite be the same again.
October: SIPA continues to treat me well. There are always a million events happening. The Boat Party kicked off the month. Between job search, classes and a busy social life, I was always running around, but felt very happy and fulfilled. Columbia is a big bubble. Every now and again, it’s nice to break away to visit the Met, to stroll around Central Park, etc.
November: The month began with a trip to DC to attend Africa Gathering. An inspiring event with amazing African diaspora who have great ideas to contribute to the continent. School and job search remain incredibly busy. But holiday season kicked off with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, massive feast, friends, and fun.
December: Early in the month was incredibly busy with finals. Job interviews began to take place and juggling the two kept me at the libraries all day long. In between all the frenzy, I tried to slip in some time to walk around the city and to take in the holiday spirit. New York is amazing during this season. It was nice to be home for Christmas. It has been nice to be closer to family and friends in the later part of this year.
And that, was 2011. Since I will graduate in May, 2012 holds much unknown. Anything is possible. That is at the same time exciting, and somewhat scary! I hope you have also had a fulfilled 2011, and I wish you all the best in this new year!