I couldn’t believe it when I realized it’s been over a year and a half since I last posted on the blog. What?! Where have I been? Did I drop off the face of the earth? I think it’s only fair to give you a very, very condensed / simplified recap of my life since last Aug, and attempt to explain why I neglected the blog during that time period. Also, discuss the direction of the blog moving forward and all my fabulous new plans. (I hope it’s fabulous…? It is only Jan 4 – the New Year high of optimism and motivation is through the roof.)
First things first… when I left you in August of 2015, I was beginning my sophomore year of college. And, more importantly, I was preparing for a trip across the pond. Because in spring of 2016 (exactly one year ago! ah! craziness!), I studied abroad in London, England for the semester.
At that time, I thought I’d be starting a new blog to chronicle my study abroad adventures and to write how-to posts about travel and all-things college related. I’ll give you a hint – the new site didn’t get off the ground. I registered a domain name and picked a WordPress theme and designed a logo, and then I ran out of steam, probably because I realized it’s pretty difficult starting from scratch and I had a whole lot of other things on my mind.
Anyway, I journaled in London every single day and took lots and lots of pictures and put together a scrapbook. So I kept a really thorough record of memories for myself, but unfortunately not for the blogosphere. And when I came home in May 2016, I struggled to decide whether or not to jump back into Brooke Reviews or attempt to work on the new blog, and I did neither. BUT I’ve done loads of other stuff, so I’ll share some of that with you now…
STUDY ABROAD LONDON SPRING 2016
Most. Incredible. Experience. Of. My. Life.
Seriously, studying abroad for four months was a dream come true and I loved every single second of it. I lived in the heart of the Bloomsbury district in central London, so I was within walking distance of almost every single tourist attraction. For all my fellow lit-lovers out there, I think you’ll probably have some idea of why I’ve been obsessed with London since I was a child… Shakespeare, Jane Austen, HARRY POTTER. Such rich history in England. I plan to share all the highlights of my trip in more detail in a new post (sometime in the near future). But here’s a very, very brief taste… Warner Brothers studios, scones, Harrods, West End plays, Royal Opera House, The Winter’s Tale, Borough Market, Portobello Road Market, Abbey Road, Andrew Garfield, British Museum, Speaker’s Corner. And so. much. more. <— And if you want to know why Andrew Garfield is on the list, you should stay tuned for my study abroad highlights post. 😉
I traveled to Bath, Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton, Copenhagen (Denmark), Brugge (Belgium), Annecy (France), Verona (Italy), Venice (Italy), and Edinburgh (Scotland).
Last summer, I interned with Tallahassee Woman Magazine, and this was another great learning experience. I really enjoyed working there and I was given an opportunity to utilize all the skills I’ve been taught by my major. It was also reminiscent of high school newspaper, which was cool. I wrote three articles for the Aug/Sep issue that we put out at the end of the summer.
This was my first internship, which was pretty exciting. This is another topic I’d love to cover in a future blog post, as internships are really valuable and becoming increasingly required in schools.
Junior year of college! My younger sister Syd started her freshman year and we’re at the same school. Kind of weird for me to go back to class after having such a different academic experience in London. I took 12 hours while I was abroad, and believe me when I say the course load wasn’t any less, it was just…different. (And I’ll explain that in my future post about my study abroad experience!)
My fall semester was a little stressful (I took 5 classes, 2 of which were advanced requirements for my major), but I liked the material. Still, I was pretty psyched to have made it to Christmas break in one piece.
In other news, I’m really into photography, and I’ve been practicing quite a bit of portrait photography. I bought a new lens for my Canon Rebel over the summer and I’ve put it to good use. I created a new Instagram account (@photosbybrookealexandra) and I’d love for you all to check it out if you’re interested! Photography has always been a hobby of mine, but I’m taking it more seriously now. I’m learning more about my camera and experimenting in new ways, and I hope to feature some of my work on the blog.
…So here we are in SPRING 2017! Part of me is really nostalgic for my London adventure (because this time last year, I was preparing to board a plane for the most exciting adventure of my life), and the other part of me is really excited about the year to come. What’s next? What new adventures are in store (as cheesy as that sounds)?
PLANS FOR THE BLOG
Til now, I’ve been a YA book blog – posting book reviews, bookish discussions, author interviews, and the occasional post about creative writing. And while my love of books and especially YA will always be there, I’m just not sure I want to continue blogging about it (in the same way).
I want to blog about travel (because I love to travel), and about college life, and anything/everything related to this current stage of life I’m in (early 20s.) I’m still a voracious reader, and I’m still a writer, so I’m not forsaking posts related to these topics. But know that they’ll be a little less frequent.
I’m being completely honest with you when I write that I want to take these next few months, this next year, to explore new topics and ideas so I might find my sweet spot. I’m not sure yet where the blog will take me, but for the first time I’m letting this uncertainty excite me rather than frustrate me. I’ve been absent from the blog for a year and a half, and I don’t want to let that happen again. Consistency is everything when it comes to blogging! Therefore, consistency is a 2017 New Years resolution for me. I’m inviting you to hold me accountable!
I hope you’re excited to come along on this blogging journey with me. I think it could be really fun. If you’re following because you’re expecting YA-related content, I’m sorry if this is a disappointment, but I hope you’ll stick around anyway. And please know that I’m open to suggestions – if there’s something you’d like me to write about, please please please feel free to reach out via social media or shoot me an email to make a request.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, give yourself a pat on the back. I’ve just recapped an entire year and a half in 1223 words. Thanks for reading! Happy New Year! A new post will go up next Thursday.