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Shifting Perspectives: Reflecting Positively on 2016

Shifting Perspectives: Reflecting Positively on 2016

While the rest of the world seems to be glad to be well rid of 2016, I personally think that it was a great year. Yes, there may have been bad things going on all around the world, but there were also just as many wonderful things happening too. I read a huge thread on twitter that listed these and while it took me a long time to read, it was well worth it because it helped me to shift into a more positive mindset about the year that was.

I think it can be quite easy, especially with all of the things we’re thrown at by the media, to adopt a very negative outlook on the world. While, in many circumstances, a realistic and pragmatic stance can be appropriate, it doesn’t do well to dwell on negativity. Reading about all the positive things that happened around the globe in 2016 reminded me of this, and it made me think about my own year this way. Like with the world, it would have been oh so easy for me to look back on last year and think about how stressful it was, how many deadlines I missed, how much better I should have done, the grades I wasn’t so happy with and all of the other negative aspects of it, but I decided not to focus on that. While yes, I am thinking about how I can improve on all of these things this year, I’m not looking at it all in a negative light. I’m thinking about positive steps for 2017, as well as all the actually amazing things that happened! Here’s some that I’ve picked out as the best things that happened to my creative life in 2016:

I finished my degree! (And well I might add!)

The biggest and best thing to happen to me in 2016 was finishing my degree. I’m such a nerd so  I loved studying so much. The fact that I got to dedicate 4 years of my life to learning about the thing I love to do the most was the best thing in the world for me. I’m so grateful that I was given that opportunity so I gave it all that I had and I’m so glad that I did. I could have sailed through getting lower marks, doing less work and being less stressed and that would’ve been fine, but looking back I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I did the best that I could, came out at the end with a Bachelor of Design with First Class Honours and I think it’s okay to say that I’m proud of myself for that! I’m the first person in my whole family to ever go to university and I think subconsciously that made me want to do even better. I am so thankful that my parents and the rest of my family did the best that they could and supported me the whole way, so that I could follow my dreams and be who I want to be. I wanted to make them proud as the first Arnett to get a degree, and I guess also make my future children and grandchildren proud that the first person on my side of the family to complete university was hard-working, dedicated, passionate and successful! I know this all sounds super cheesy, but it’s true! Finishing this chapter in my life was a huge achievement in 2016 and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the future!

I started this blog!

At the start of 2016, I pressed the (metaphorical) big red button on this blog and sent my words out into the world. I was so nervous and excited all at the same time and I honestly sometimes still feel like that every time I write a post and send it out. I never knew where this was going to go, how it might change over time, or what people might think, I just knew that I both wanted and needed to write. I needed to channel all of my thoughts and the knowledge that I had into written words to share with the world (or just the few people in the world who wanted to read it!) I am so glad that I started this because not only has it helped me to formulate my thoughts, process my experiences and share what I know, but it’s started so many conversations, created several new friendships, improved my confidence and taught me so much about so many different things! I’ve learnt more about writing, planning, social media and more, just by writing a few hundred words every week and it’s great! I try not to look at the analytics much, because I’m honestly not too worried about how many people read this. I write because I enjoy it and it’s beneficial for me, and if it helps just one person, starts one interesting conversation or causes somebody to think differently for one second, then that’s an incredible bonus. Of course, it is nice when people read and enjoy what you’re writing, so thank you to all of you who have been a part of this journey, even if you’ve just read part of one of my posts! I appreciate you all and you make it all the more enjoyable!

I started my Youtube channel!

Another new creative venture I started this year was my Youtube channel! Much like the blog, it was a way for me to express my thoughts, experiences and knowledge in a new format. I had been writing for a while and loving it, but there are some things that just can’t be conveyed fully through written words. I also wanted a space where I could try more fun things, experience new ways of interacting, and experiment with different creative practices. I had watched a lot of YouTube before and I loved it, and I’d also done a bit of video editing and animation throughout university so video seemed like the way to go! Again, I uploaded the first videos and pressed the magic button, sending them out into the universe. It’s been such a fun experience and I’ve learnt so much along the way about the type of videos I want to produce, how I want to produce them and the best ways to do that. I’m still figuring new things out each and every time which I love because I never want to become complacent or stop learning! I’ve made so many new friends, had loads of interesting conversations and explored lots of different topics, videos, editing styles and much more! At the time that I’m writing this, I have uploaded 46 videos and have 95 subscribers - I’m looking forward to increasing the number of videos week by week, and seeing how the subscriber count rises!

I landed my dream job!

Last but definitely not least, this year I got the perfect job for me! I have known for a while now that working for somebody else as a designer is just not my style. I work better when I can manage things myself and have control over how things happen, in what way and when, so I’ve wanted to take the step into freelancing or running my own business for a while now. As you may also know if you have been following this blog for a while, I care a great deal about helping young creatives get a start in their career and doing all that I can to give advice, opinions or opportunities. In June 2016 the call was put out for two co-directors of DesignGel, who would run the design agency and manage student contractors and it was the perfect fit! Now, running your own business is stressful stuff and gives you no financial security because it’s all up to you, so I was a bit hesitant at first, but I eventually decided that there was no better time to take a risk, grab a hold of an opportunity and go for what I wanted, so I applied! Thankfully, I was offered the job alongside another director, and we got straight to work. The business has been handed on to us and we run it all! I now spend my days doing a mixture of designing, having meetings with clients, running social media, writing blog posts, accounting, answering emails, solving coding problems, business planning and more and I love it! It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s the most fun, inspiring, varied and educational thing I’ve ever done in my career so far! Just like with the blog and the videos, I have absolutely no idea where this is going to go, how it’s going to work or what might happen, but I’m fully in for the ride!


So, after looking positively at 2016, there were four major amazing things that happened to me last year, among loads of other smaller things! It definitely pays to take an optimistic look back at how the year played out and take note of all the things you achieved. I’m not blind to the negative things that may have gone on, but I am definitely feeling positive, lucky, grateful, thankful and hopeful as I step into the new challenges that 2017 will bring.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to take a similar look at your own journey through 2016. The year may end up seeming a lot better than you might have initially thought and will hopefully give you some reasons to smile as you look back, and some hope as you look forwards.

Happy New Year - here’s to an amazing 2017!

Much love, Hollie :D x

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