Looking Towards the New Year and back at 2017

Written by Dylan Ramsey

Another year is coming to an end and I thought I take this opportunity to do another write up on here reflecting on the previous year and take a look at the year to come. I say this every year but wow, this year felt like it went by fast. Although a lot of people think it’s cliché to do New Year resolutions, I myself am a big fan of them. It’s important to set goals in life, without goals you wouldn’t have anything to aim for. Setting and reaching goals shows a sign of accomplishment and personal growth, even if you don’t accomplish all those goals within a year span; what matters is that you have the goals and that you’re working towards them. At the end of last year I created a Youtube video where I talked about what my goals were for 2017. I re-watched that video before writing this; first I’m going to take a look at all those goals I set in that video and see what I accomplished, then go through the new goals I have for 2018.

The first goal I had was super ambitious and I actually stole it from Mark Zuckerberg; it was to run 365 miles throughout the year. I’ve been into running my entire life but it’s something I get in and out of. I’ll have these spurts throughout the year when I have this thought “Why don’t I run more?” and I go out and run a few 5k’s but after about a month I have a really hard time getting myself out there. It’s not so much a motivation thing, rather then I just don’t have a whole lot of fun with it. I actually forgot during the year that this was a goal of mine, so between those two factors I clearly did not reach the goal of running 365 miles. If I had to guess I’d say I probably only ran about 40 miles total, which still sounds like a ton when I write it down and think about it, that feels like an accomplishment all its own.

Now even though I didn’t run as much as I planned I did get very much back into longboarding. A longboard is what the name implies; it’s like a stretched out skateboard that’s designed for distance rather than doing tricks. I was very much into longboarding from about 2012-2014; going out just about every day, it was great exercise. Unfortunately the group I was a part of disbanded around 2014 for one reason or another and I rarely touched my longboard for the next three years after that. It wasn’t until summer of this year I decided to give it another go. I taught myself how to enjoying longboarding by myself, there’s a great park around where I live which contains a large lake and a 5k track around it. Since the summer I’ve been going there at least once a week; I put in some headphones and just enjoy the ride. Although I didn’t run 365 miles; that wasn’t the real goal, the real goal was to get outside more and exercise. That’s exactly what I’ve done so I consider that goal accomplished; I feel a lot healthier and I’ve lost around 15 pounds while doing it.

My next goal I had set for 2017 was to learn more about computer programming. This one I find pretty crazy because it’s feels like I’ve been programming for so much longer than just a year and it’s amazing how far I’ve come in just a year. Before 2017 I started to become interested in computer programming, but I had no real idea what it was about. During the spring I took a programming concepts class that used Python, this was my first real jump into programming. I did well in the class but it was pretty simple; the class did was it was supposed and give me a general idea what programming was all about. During the summer I taught myself HTML and CSS and created this website you’re on now, HTML and CSS aren’t programming languages but are still important skills to learn. The fall semester is when I really dived into programming. I took a C++ programming class and it kicked my ass! C++ is a high-powered programming language used as a standard by many companies and businesses. It was without a doubt the most challenging college class I have ever taken. I had to spend hours and hours every week trying to learn the material and do the homework. It was stressful and I doubted my abilities at times, but in the end I prevailed and passed the class with a “B”. It was a lot of work but I’m grateful for it, I’m much more confident with my programming abilities now and I feel like I can hold my own.

Another goal I for 2017 was to earn my AA degree, that didn’t happen but I still earned a decent amount of credits and I’m getting closer. What’s left for my AA degree is basically just math credits, which I mistakenly didn’t take enough of when I first started. Now I have all these math classes I have to take and the most I can take is two a semester. Even though it’s been taking a little longer to get through college then I wanted to I’m still taking classes consistently and getting through it.

The last goal I had set for 2017 was to make a short film. This is another one I sort of forgot about honestly, I’ve always been interested in filmmaking and there was a time when I had planned on being a film major. Making a short film is still something I want to do but I wouldn’t want to half ass it. I would want it to be well made and professional. If I made it; it would mostly likely have to be made in the summer. Between work and school it can be hard to find a whole lot of extra time. Creating a short film would be a job all in its own. About a month ago I had an idea for something I would want to film, I wrote down the main idea of the story but haven’t done much more with it. In 2018 I would at least like to finish writing the script for it.

Even though I may have not accomplished all the goals I had set for 2017, I had put in a lot of work into most of those goals in one way or another. So it feels like an accomplishment to me; the one goal I feel like I really hit on the head was the programming goal, I feel like I’ve gotten really far with programming in just this one year. So those were my goals for 2016, my goals for 2017 are similar; and perhaps a little bit simpler.

Real quick I also want to go over the highlights of my 2017. The first half of the year was a little quiet, I mostly just went to school and work I didn’t do anything too interesting. In the summer is when things started to pick up for me in 2017. My girlfriend Julie and I flew out to Los Angeles to spend some time with my sister and my brother-in-law Max for Comic-Con week. This year going to California was especially special because I got to meet my niece Harper for the first time! After a great time in California Julie and I went looking for apartments and got our own first place together. Shortly after we signed our apartment lease the entire state of Florida was threatened by the super storm hurricane Irma. We set up camp and sat through the Hurricane and survived! Thankfully there was minimal impact in our area, just some power outage around the city (thankfully not our apartment). Just a week after the hurricane we headed north to the state of Tennessee for Julie’s mother’s wedding. This was my first time going to Tennessee and it was a fun experience! After that the rest of the year was pretty quiet again, back to the regular school and work routine. The last couple of hours of 2017 we spent at Julie’s mother’s house sitting around a fire listening to the sounds of fireworks going off in the distance.

So that was my 2017, now it’s time to look ahead at 2018. I don’t really have any huge feats I want to accomplish, I mostly just want to continue working on the course I’ve been going and maybe try to work on some personal projects. It’s very likely I will get my AA this year; although my whole college path is pretty screwed up so who knows, but it would be hard for me not to finish the year under 60 credits. It would be more beneficial to me if I could transfer to a university this year because I would be able to take more classes I need for my major each semester that my community college don’t offer. It’s all a little bit hard to explain and I could probably write an article of my college troubles all on its own, so long story short; I need to get my college shit straighten out.

Another goal for 2018 is to continue learning about computer science. Next week I star my second C++ so that’ll be pretty cool. I expect it to completely kick my ass like the first class did while I’m in it but after I finish it I’ll be thankful of it and leave the class a stronger programmer. I probably won’t have much time in the spring to learn anything else to do with programming while I’m taking the class but if for some reason I do; I want to continue working on my web design skills with HTML and CSS and learn Javascript. My website doesn’t look “bad” in my opinion, but there’s a lot I can make look better. I at least want to get my main articles page finished; which shouldn’t be too hard, and I need to fix this border problem I have with the articles. On certain web browsers the bottom of the border surrounding the article either cuts through the last paragraph of text or it leaves a large amount of space.

I’m also interested in learning to program in C#. I’m getting interested in indie game development and a good place I hear to start is with “Unity”, a game development environment that uses C#. From what I understand since I already know how to program with C++, C# should be really easy for me to learn. If I don’t have the extra time during the spring semester to learn these languages I’ll have plenty of time during the summer and fall.

In 2018 I want to continue to become healthier. Mostly by improving my diet and continue to exercise. The exercise part I have down pretty well, as I mentioned I longboard weekly. The diet part needs some work, even though I cook tons at home it’s not necessarily healthy food. I love fruit and can eat tons of that, but I’ve never been very good about eating a whole lot vegetables. In 2018 I want to explore different kinds of vegetables and ways of cooking them until I find which ones I like and can eat regularly to help improve my diet. To go along with eating healthier I also want to continue cooking! In 2017 I’ve cooked more than I ever have in my life. I cook dinner almost every night now and I have a lot of fun with it. In 2018 I want to continue learning to making new yummy recipes and foods!

In this New Year another thing I want to start doing more is reading, like actual books. I’m always hearing how healthy for your mind reading books is. I’ve always liked the idea of getting into reading and through the years I’ve gotten into my reading spurs, but nothing consistent. I use to claim I never had time for it but that’s the worst kind of excuse, anyone can find at least 30 minutes out of a day to do something. When both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were asked if they had one super power what would it be; the both said to have the ability to read faster, I think that says a lot. To go along with this resolution I also want to work on a book of my own! I’ve had this idea for a fantasy story for a little bit over a year now, I have a few pages written out but haven’t worked on it in some time. I would at least like to gain some progress on writing it this year.

I also want to work on some of my hobbies this New Year, Including playing guitar and photography. I can play the guitar moderately well but never really got really skilled at playing. For my birthday in 2017 my dad surprised with a crazy nice Gibson acoustic guitar, I knew I had to put this great gift to use so I’ve already been playing a lot more and hope to continue this next year. For photography I’ve always liked the idea on going on little adventures through the city taking pictures but I’ve still haven’t done that, I have a nice Canon DSLR I originally got for filmmaking but it also takes a beautiful picture.

I think that about does it! Nothing too extreme, most of my goals are just to continue with what I’m already doing and to improve on that what I do, and that’s not a bad thing! 2017 was a pretty big year for me and I didn’t quite realize it until I wrote it all out, I can only hope this New Year will be as good to me as 2017 was. I have a lot of learning and work to do but I know there’s also going to be some great fun! Happy New Year everyone, I hope it’s prosperous for us all!

Article published 1/7/18 written by Dylan Ramsey. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are owned by their respective owners. All rights reserved.