At the beginning of this year, I was booking tickets to Groovin the Moo with my best friend. I was busy texting away when I had this overwhelming feeling of excitement. My fingers swiftly tapped across the keyboard and I said to my friend, 'I have this amazing feeling, I think 2015 is going to be my year'.  

In many ways, 2015 has been my year, but it has also been my hardest year to date. How you view it depends entirely on your perspective, and if it's one thing I've learned this year, how you look at and approach a situation is everything. 

When reflecting on a massive year, it's easy to start at the beginning, and thus, I think it's apt that I post this quote from my 2014 reflections here:

All I keep thinking about is, am I doing something wrong? Why am I not feeling this content with the past year? It’s not the fact that I don’t allow myself to be content or happy, it’s just that this past year has been so...mediocre for me. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of milestones this year, like moving out of home and starting university (again), but those milestones are clouded by the negative experiences that lead to their happening. I kind of feel like I’ve been living under a grey cloud for the past three years despite the supposedly gleeful moments of graduating high school, starting university etc.

As difficult as 2014 was, it was nothing compared to this year. I was tested and tried time after time after time. I can remember having a panic attack in bed one morning at 3 am and sobbing, 'I feel as though life is dealing me one crappy hand after the next and I keep waiting for a good hand, but it feels like it's never going to come'.

That was in June and (excuse my French) shit was about to get real! Within the space of three weeks, I had gone from mildly feeling like a successful young adult to being literally dragged along the ground like Hector from Troy after Achilles kills him in combat. Yeah... 

I can't go into details. It's not that I don't want to, it's more that it wouldn't be fair on those who were involved in the situation that lead to me feeling like this. But what I will detail, is that I went from being a full time working gal to literally the most self-conscious person on planet earth, followed by a complete and utter nervous wreck, before somehow finding my courage and becoming and incredibly assertive, independent and a strong female that don't let no man (or person in general) push her around. 

Mmmmhmmm *snaps fingers*

I could have easily let this experience drag me down. Another dot point on my very long list of negative experiences, another example of my failures, another bad hand, if you will. Instead, I chose to change my perspective, I chose to be strong and confront the situation instead of run away. Although I probably dwelled on the situation and bitched about it a little too long, I moved on and used it as a massive learning curve. I think this change in attitude is exactly what I was searching for last year when I penned my thoughts about 2014. I was just looking at everything through the wrong lens (sorry, not sorry for the photography pun).

Although I’ve only experienced a short 21 years of life, if there’s one thing I’ve found to be true, it is that everything happens for a reason. Yes, it’s cheesy and such a cliche, but there’s a universal truth in it. This ‘reason’ may not be clear at the beginning, but eventually it will come to light. For me, the events that happened half way through this year definitely lead me to one of the most rewarding and challenging periods of my life. 

It was partly due to good timing and luck, but I fell into an internship where I worked on a project called Pivot Summit as the social media manager. As a second year public relations student, this internship was literally a dream. I essentially got to craft and implement a whole social media campaign, network with some of the world’s biggest names in business and technology and I got paid to do it. I don’t really know what my boss, Leighton, and the Pivot team were thinking, handing this role over to little old me, but I’m so grateful they saw something in me, because I don’t think I have ever felt more content or proud with myself. 

Working on such a large project taught me a few things:

  1. CEOs are just people and calling/emailing them isn’t really a big deal. Just don’t make a fool of yourself, and if you do, just get over it. In the long run, it doesn’t matter… unless you loose a potential sponsor.
  2. No idea is ever a bad idea, even when you look back and something seems so incredibly corny. Bad ideas can be turned into good ideas, they just need a little more attention and workshopping.
  3. Always remember to give back, pay it forward and share the load.
  4. Self belief and gumption will get you to places you never thought you could go.

I cannot really articulate how amazing this three month period of my life was. I felt a great sense of pride being able to work in the field I’m studying. I was constantly exhilarated, inspired, and to my uni friends, I definitely sounded batshit crazy 99% of the time.

My passion was fuelled by my amazing team of minions, as I affectionately called them. AKA a collection of random strangers who were unfortunately assigned into a group with me for one of those dreaded group assignments. Little did they know, I’d be constantly spamming them with memes and cat gifs, getting them to help me plaster Deakin University in Pivot posters and making them come up with ideas for social media content on the spot (gotta keep these uni delinquents on their toes). Thank you to Josh, Megan, Danka and Elly for putting up with me during the second half of this year.

Also, this blog post wouldn’t be complete with out a shoutout to, quite honestly, the best teacher I’ve ever had, Ross. The second half of this year was filled with social media banter, a lot of good advice and a Rick Roll war on Twitter. If you don’t think it’s cool that I successfully brought back a meme from 2008 in a non-ironic way, then you need to rethink your priorities. 

Pivot Minions hanging out with tech legend, Robert Scoble.

I feel like this was truly a pivotal (I'm punny, soz) point in my year and probably my life. I have no idea where I found the strength to deal with everything that I had to endure, but the main thing is that I came out of it for the better. I've learned how to stand up for myself, my rights and what I believe in. Not only that, but I've also learned to be fearless in life, to take risks, to live the life that I know I want to live. For so long, I was bound by what other people thought, their judgements, their projections on how I should live my life, and I think I've finally found my feet, and I've hit the ground running so damn hard, I haven't stopped.

Whilst I haven’t achieved as much this year in the photography realm, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve achieved so much more in other areas. As much as I have missed photographing on the regular, I’m also pretty damn happy with how I spent my time this year. 2016 is already looking mighty exciting on the photography front, and I still have a bunch of work I need to share from the past few months. It’s healthy to take breaks from creating art or taking on paid jobs, and I’m finally feeling ready to dive back into making photographs for myself, not just for dollar bills!

Thanks 2015 for the rollercoaster ride. Here’s to 2016, new perspectives, and a whole lot of adventures. 

Carolyn.