My Year in Review

Long time, no see! Or something like that…

At any rate, the start of a new year is upon us, and while I’m not huge on resolutions, I totally support looking back at the previous year and remembering everything that went on, whether through pictures, memories, or a combination of everything. I devoted one of my blogs to this last year, and I really want to do it again. When I wrote my 2013 review, I realized I didn’t have the greatest year — by any means. Let’s see how 2014 unfolded…..

dog blogMy year started out with a return to school from winter break. Everything was quiet — until it wasn’t. I had come home for a doctor’s appointment, and my family had been talking about how quiet my house had been since our dog passed away. I asked my parents if they were ready for a puppy. While hesitant, my mom charged me with the task of finding an affordable puppy (shetland sheepdog, of course — her favorite breed). She told me if I was able to find something, which she was positive I wouldn’t be able to, that she would go look at it and think about starting to find a puppy, Well, let me tell you, she never should have doubted my Internet abilities, because I found a litter of puppies that were just born and only 10 minutes away from my doctor’s office. My mom and I drove out, and they had one puppy left-the cutest puppy I had ever laid my eyes on, and only 7 weeks old. It was love at first sight, and, as you can guess, we left that house with new puppy in tow. In a little more time than it should have taken, our newest addition to the family became known as Bear, and has brought so much life to this house ever since. He is the best thing in the entire world, and I am grateful for him every day.

I also began my internship with Rush University and Hospital’s Public Relations department. I spend the semester learning from the professionals and learned a lot. One of my first days on the job included attending a large media conference! I helped with multiple media in the coming months, and my back even had a cameo on Channel 7! In less exciting news, the beginning months of the year brought a new experience for me. I tried sushi for the first time, thanks to one of my friends taking me out, and realized it is the most delicious thing ever! I have since become a sushi addict and can never get enough. I even mastered the art of making California rolls in December, but that doesn’t fit into the story right now…

In February, I joined a few close friends and headed to a conference for RAs at Illinois State University. We had so much fun, from the drive down, to the conference, to the hotel. It was an experience of a lifetime, and I learned a lot that I was able to apply to my job back on campus.

The first few months of 2014 brought about birthday celebrations for friends (ones in which I was finally able to join in on, what with being 21 and all!). It also brought the crazy, hectic RA/PM interviews and returner interviews. I prepped my residents for their first-time RA interviews and prepared for the long day ahead — the day on which current staff members interview and assess over 150 candidates over an 8-hour period. I worked both shifts but really enjoyed seeing the new candidates. This is actually one of my favorite days out of both years I’ve gotten to do it — looking forward to 2015 interviews! I also had my interview for my promotion from RA to Senior RA. After a lot of prep work and the creation of a 10-minute long video, I was ready to head in for my panel interview. It must’ve went well because I got the job!

brenza blogI finished up the last couple of months of school strong and enjoyed some White Sox games, a newfound dog park, and some final city adventures before summer back at home. At the very end of the semester, Campus Housing has an awards banquet where we celebrate the end of the year and recognize various people for achievements throughout the year. This year, I am so proud to say I was awarded with the ‘Resident Assistant of the Year’ award! I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard the blurb that was being read about me. I worked so hard in my final year as a resident assistant, and I was rewarded for it — such a great feeling. This was definitely one of my proudest moments.

Immediately after the end of the school year, I returned to my internship at the hospital by home and put all of my focus on it. I worked with the public affairs and marketing department, which is the exact type of job I am aspiring to have. I thought I had a fantastic summer there my first time around, but boy was I in for it. This summer was one of the best of my life.brenza st louis blog I was at my internship at least three days a week and even spent multiple nights in the emergency room to assist film crews and newspaper reporters (here is the MSNBC series that included scenes from the night in the ER).

At the end of May, Kevin and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary by taking our very first vacation together to St. Louis. We had such a great time, and it was awesome taking a vacation on our own and doing it all our own way.

Shortly after vacation, we all suffered a great loss as the Blackhawks were driven out of the quest for brenza friend blogthe Stanley Cup. It was painful, but I’m hopeful for 2015…

Summer was a rush of working hard at my internship, reading as many books as possible, and swimming in the pool. When it was time to head back to UIC, it was also time to celebrate Kevin’s 21st birthday (about time!) We had such a great time. The day after his birthday, we all learned of the passing of a close friend from high school, Marcus. He was the nicest, craziest, adventure-seeking person I have and will have ever met, and he brought such joy to everyone’s lives. My group of friends continued to keep in touch after high school, and learning of his passing was like hitting a brick wall. I think about him all the time and still can’t imagine how we can live life without the person who made life such a great adventure.brenza disney blog

Trying to keep busy despite such a loss, I pushed on and began another year of school — my final one. I started a new internship with the Alumni Association here at UIC and love every minute of it. I work with the sweetest, most helpful people and look forward to coming in every day that I do. In the last quarter of 2014, I truly felt like I was doing it all while keeping afloat.

In November, my family took one last vacation to Disney World, our go-to vacation. The weather was beautiful and it was so fantastic to forget about reality for 10 whole days. We had a great time and plenty of pictures and souvenirs to look back on!

6Around the end of the semester, I found out that a great friend and fellow National Residence Hall Honorary executive board member, Macy, submitted a bid for me at one of UIC residence hall’s conferences. I am so proud to say that her bid won, and I was awarded as the NRHH Chapter Member of the Year. I was so excited and thankful that Macy put in so much effort and time to nominate me for this award.

All of the excitement of the year wrapped up with a low-key end of 2014. My family celebrated Bear’s first birthday and even gave him doggy ice cream — how funny. This was followed by a beautiful holiday season and a ridiculous amount of baked goods and treats. I rang in the new year — literally — with Kevin and his family as we stood on his front porch and banged pots and pans together.

2014 has been another roller coaster filled with many different experiences and emotions. It’s safe to say that I wasn’t too sad to see the year come as we are now in the year that I have waited for forever — the year I graduate college and begin my adult life. I look forward to what is to come and can’t wait to enjoy my last four months of blogging. Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride.


Holly Brenza (F)


Holly Brenza is a senior majoring in English and minoring in communications and management. In her spare time, Holly enjoys playing with her puppy, Bear, and watching the Blackhawks and White Sox, reading and trying out new recipes. After graduation, she hopes to work in public relations.


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