2016 Highlights and Reflections

Hello again! It’s time for my third post in this 2016 Top 5 Series. Today, I’ll be talking about highlights and reflections.


Qualifying Exam

Part of the process of getting a PhD requires me to pass a qualifying exam during my second or third year of the program. This is a big deal – it encompasses material from most of our classes – and has written and oral portions. I’m super excited that I finally passed all of it in September! It was an almost year-long process, but it’s finally over. Now for writing. And science!

basic stitch | 2016 highlights


In April, I was elected President of our Graduate & Professional Student Government. It’s been a big job, and takes a lot of my time, but I’ve loved it. It has given me the chance to meet with a lot of university administrators and has been a great learning experience!


During undergrad, I was a teaching assistant for a microbiology lab course for three years. This year, I had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for a computer programming class. I’m really enjoying this, as I hope to teach programming one day. It’s been quite the learning experience – even if it does take up a lot of my time!


I got the chance to go on three adventures this year. For school/work, I went to San Diego (I’m getting ready to go back in a couple of weeks) and Baltimore. I also went to Arizona in February to see both of my grandmothers!

Cross-back dress | basic stitch


I presented some of my research in San Diego in January. It was the first time I presented any of my grad school research, so that was exciting!


These are some things that I’ve learned or realized this year during my sewing adventures.

Body image

I don’t know if I ever hated my body, but for many years, it wasn’t my favorite. I think every girl goes through this. It was especially hard for me because I had such a hard time finding clothes that fit me properly (mostly due to my wide hips). Sewing has made me love my body because I see how things can fit, and make things that do fit! I’m sexy and I know it… (lol)

Pattern Alterations

It’s okay to make changes to patterns to fit your body. It’s okay to need to make those changes. It doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful or that your body is flawed. It only means that the pattern wasn’t drafted for you. Most clothes/patterns weren’t. That’s okay great.


Sewing is a form of self-care for me. I’ve learned that this year during some stressful times. There are days when I have 14 other things to do, but I know that I have to sit down and sew for a bit in order to be productive for anything else.

Where has sewing been all my life?

I say that like it hasn’t been within arm’s reach. My mom sewed, so there were resources and sewing machines all around for the taking. I just didn’t do anything about it until I moved 300 miles away. It’s such a stress reliever (even when it stresses me out) and just makes me so happy!

Can I do anything?

As I type this, I’m wearing my latest Ginger Jeans. I’m spending some time this break teaching my mom to make bras. Maybe it’s cocky or ridiculous, but I wonder if there’s anything I couldn’t sew if I put my mind to it.

ginger jeans | basic stitch

What are your reflections and highlights of the year? Stay tuned for my next post! It will be on my goals going into 2017!

If you missed my other posts, catch up: my Top 5 Hits and Top 5 Misses of 2016!

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