Erika Romero

a student and teacher of children's and young adult literature

A Year in the Life: Looking Back on Top Moments during 2017

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As my last post of 2017, I’m officially one post away (two weeks) from my blog’s six-month anniversary. Though varying greatly in length, I’ve managed to keep to my original posting schedule of every other Friday, with the exception of Back-to-School August in which I blogged every week. I plan on keeping to this schedule in the new year, and I’m excited about all the post ideas I’ve added to my brain dump list in the past few days. While I’ll wait until my first post in January to write about my resolutions and goals for 2018, I thought I’d use this post to look back on my top moments in 2017.

 

A Few Recap Lists

 

Top 5 Books from My Reading Challenge:*

 

1. The Sun is Also A Star
2. The Hate U Give
3. The Power of Habit
4. Beartown
5. Silver Silence

*I’ve picked only from the books that I read for the first time this year.

While I tried my best to read as many children’s and YA books as possible when completing this challenge, I didn’t leave out the other books that I read throughout this year, as many of them were such great reads. As the above list shows, my top two books of the year are both YA picks, and I’ll be teaching the first one in my class next semester. Of the five listed, Beartown was the biggest surprise for me. I’ve started reading quite a few productivity books this year and I’ve long been a fan of Singh’s Psy/Changeling series, so these two books appearing on the list was almost expected even before I read them. Beartown, though, was a recommendation from my brother’s girlfriend, and I only decided to read it a few days ago because I needed a book from a genre I don’t usually read (a challenge prompt).

Going forward into 2018, I’m looking forward to seeing onto which unfamiliar paths my new reading challenge prompts will take me.

 

Top 5 Fanfic/Fanfic Series (Published in 2017):

 

1. The Sum of its parts by kouriarashi (Series; Teen Wolf)
2. Winter Wolves by Nyxelestia (Series; Teen Wolf/MCU Crossover)
3. The Searching ceremonies by Kouriarashi (series; Teen Wolf)
4. Adult Wolf by kouriarashi (Fic; Teen WolF)
5. All My Friends are heathens by DracoTerrae (Fic; The 100)

I decided I needed to add this list because in comparison to my reading challenge, I read so much more fanfic this year and a lot of it was amazing. I had a Teen Wolf watching phase this year, though I prefer the fanfic to the show and therefore didn’t watch all the episodes. Really, the same thing could be said about my feelings for The 100 and the MCU (Marvel Comics Universe). I enjoyed season 2A of Shadowhunters much more than season 1, though fanfiction still allows for much deeper development of characters and relationships, which is the major reason why I read so much of it (a Teen Wolf/Shadowhunters crossover fic would have made this list, but it wasn’t published in 2017).

Other than the fifth fic on this list, all these stories/series feature slash couples. I’d actually have multiple Shadowhunters fics on this list (TV Malec is great; fandom Malec is even better), if KouriArashi wasn’t such an amazing Teen Wolf writer (I’m pretty obsessed with any fic in which my favorite characters demonstrate maturity and logical reasoning lost in ratings-driven TV dramas). For example, my number one pick is a series with over 1 million words, making it basically impossible for the others to achieve that level of world-building and character development. To give even more context, the shortest pick on this list is over 82,000 words (around the length of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). I’ve read many fantastic fics published this year as part of the Shadowhunters fandom in particular, but few are long enough to compete with the ones listed above.

Basically, there’s way too much fanfic just on Archive of Our Own for me to give a truly representative list of the fics I absolutely loved this year. Just another reason to write more fandom-related posts in 2018.

 

Top 5 Academic Tasks:

 

1. Specialization exam
2. English Studies exam
3. Writing Program Assessment
4. ChLA presentation
5. Revised ENG 170 & 125 designs

I definitely completed a number of PhD requirements this year, with my dissertation proposal now my focus as I enter 2018. The exams will likely become the starting points for two of my dissertation chapters. My assessment work continues in spring 2018 as our team starts looking for patterns and other information in the 6,000+ pieces of data we gathered this past semester. I’ll start teaching my new version of ENG 125  in just a few weeks, and I have plans to update my ENG 170 page in the upcoming weeks.

Overall, plenty of #PhDprogress was made this year, with plenty more to come.

 

Top 5 Personal Tasks:

 

1. Blog
2. Website
3. New creative hobby
4. Planner/bullet journal habit
5. Self-care routine

As I expected, this website and blog was definitely the biggest personal project I took on this year. While I haven’t managed to start building up a backlog of posts yet, I am enjoying sharing my thoughts on books, pedagogy, life, and fandom on a public, written platform. I’ve also enjoyed getting more creative this year, as I’ve started papercrafting with the help of Michaels many coupons and sales. Using a paper planner (or three) this year has definitely boosted my productivity and helped with stress reduction. I’m looking forward to getting more serious about my planning and self-care routine as 2018 begins.

I’ll write more about these plans/goals in my January posts, so if you don’t want to miss that, follow me on Twitter (@ChYALitPhantom) or subscribe to my blog’s email list.

 

Top Five Events:

 

1. Charlotte trip
2. New York trip
3. Two weddings
4. Wisconsin trip
5. Starved Rock Park visit

I did more traveling this year than ever before, and I absolutely loved each trip. I visited old friends and mentors in Charlotte, spent time with my family in New York, cheered on my brother and some friends in a Wisconsin-based triathlon, and took my parents up to a beautiful state park as part of our annual Illinois exploration trips. A woman who is basically my sister married the man of her dreams last month, and a longtime friend did the same just two weeks ago. I’m looking forward to seeing the Grand Canyon in person next year, as we’ve decided to make that bullet list item our family trip of the year.

With my brother in a new NY apartment and already one friend newly-engaged as of Christmas Eve, it looks like 2018 will be another great year for travel and celebratory social events.

 

 

A Recap of My Blog Post Categories

 

ChLit – 5 posts
Just Life – 5 posts
YALit – 4 posts
Professional Development – 3 posts
Pedagogy – 2 posts
Fandom – 1 post

I wrote 17 blog posts this year, posting on a bi-weekly schedule with the exception of the weekly posts in August. I really like the review structure I’ve designed for the book and movie reviews, and I’m hoping to review many more of my new reading challenge books in the coming year. I’m considering making January another exception to the bi-weekly update schedule, but it’s more likely that I’ll just write two longer posts with multiple beginning-of-the-year-inspired topics, rather than splitting them up into shorter posts. I guess you’ll find out by next Friday. I’m also really hoping to add much more to my fandom category, as I’ve only introduced my plans for that element of my blog. I have plenty of ideas for what fics and fan authors I’d love to talk about and interview, but I’m still figuring out the dynamics of those posts.

Once next summer arrives, I’ll definitely get to work on creating a backlog of posts (mostly, but not solely, reviews) that I can rely on during incredibly hectic parts of the academic year.

 

 

A Few Posts That Have Been Updated

 

Ultimate PopSugar Reading Challenge 2017: reading prompts and books Read

Ultimate PopSugar Reading Challenge 2017 Update: The books, my ratings, and a one-sentence review

My booklist and major assignment descriptions for my new, YA lit version of ENG 125: Literary Narratives

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

It’s been an absolutely terrible year, politically. As such, I thought it important to focus on the positive moments I experienced during a year that was difficult in so many other ways. I hope each of you have also experienced bright moments amidst the darkness. 2018 will likely be a stressful year for me, as I’ll officially begin dissertating in the spring semester. That being said, I’m glad that I have created this blog, as it motivates me to spend time thinking about the many topics that I love and that bring me such joy. I hope I can impart those positive feelings onto you via my future posts.

If there is any particular content you’d like to see on this blog, please leave Your suggestions in the comments section below! I’d love to know what you enjoyed reading the most and what you’d like to see me add in 2018.

 

Talk Soon!

 

 

-Erika Romero

 

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4 Comments

  1. loved it!!! can’t wait to have you here in New York next year 🙂

    and for me to beat you again in the reading challenge

  2. Love your consistency of “5” in your post. Definitely some new titles for my list. Love your personal connections as well! And my new word . . . dissertating! Love it! Thanks for being at the #teachwrite chat tonight!

    • Thanks for taking the time to check out my newest post! I’m so glad I stumbled across the #teachwrite hashtag. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the books you end up reading from my list. While I can’t claim the creation of the term “dissertating,” I’m thankful to whomever did come up with it. So much easier than writing “working on my dissertation” every time.

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