As is becoming a tradition on my blog, I’m taking some time before ringing in the New Year to look back at my favourite blog posts from this year. In my post this time last year, I wrote that I was amazed to have written 60 blog posts in 12 months. In 2018, I wrote just over half that amount—I’m ending the year with 32 posts, not counting this one. I’m still proud of that number, especially because I worked not only during the summer but during my fall semester as well, in addition to being a full-time student.

This year I also crossed a big item off my to-do list: redesigning my blog. At the end of June, I launched a new theme and Facebook page. I also celebrated with a week of new blog posts. Some of these posts were ideas that I’ve been thinking about for a while, so it was exciting to finally write them into full blog posts.

You might be wondering: why am I listing my top nine blog posts? Why not an even number like 10? Well, I first wrote a roundup like this in 2015. I picked nine posts based on the “top nine photos” that I had seen people posting on Instagram. So, without further ado, here are my top nine posts of the year.

When I noticed that Snapchat was implementing an update to —in their words—“[separate] social from media” I thought it was a noteworthy change to the platform. There were similar changes afoot on Facebook, with algorithm updates that prioritized content from family and friends instead of content from media companies.

In this post, I wrote that although social media may have started as a place for social communication, many websites have evolved into platforms to engage with the world through keeping up- to-date with the news. This post was my last blog post published on HuffPost before they changed their contributor platform, so it’s a special end to my HuffPost journey as well as one of my favourite SherinaSpeaks posts from this year.

Looking back, this was one of my favourite posts from 2018 because it’s still a topic I think of often. It seems like every week there’s a new story about Internet privacy (or rather, a lack of it), especially involving Facebook. Amidst all of this news, I still wonder if young people who have grown up with technology realize the extent of their data that is shared online—and if they care enough to stop using certain platforms.

OK, I promise I didn’t spend all year writing about social media and this oh, so digital world of ours. This post was a personal reflection on finding an old to-do list, visiting my high school and that undeniable “spring smell” in the air when May rolls around. In the post, I wrote that the saying “April showers bring May flowers” is not only a justification of grey weather—it’s also a reminder that what happens in the past shapes us in the present.

This was another fun reflective post from the year (and one which is still relevant now, as I painted Christmas cards for my family this week). I wrote about how I love to watercolour paint, even though I’m not great at it. It’s “strangely liberating” to have a hobby where you’re not aiming to be the best, or to have a finished product that’s shown to an audience, I write in the post. When I take creative risks in painting, I’m reminded to take risks in other parts of my life, too.

After noticing a debate among journalists about using the word “lie” to describe U.S. President Donald Trump’s false statements, I decided to weigh in. This post features one of my favourite opening lines from my blog: “If a tree falls in the forest and it makes a sound but Donald Trump says it is silent, will journalists call his statement a falsehood or a lie?”

In the post, I conclude that contextualizing the language used by journalists to describe Trump’s statements would be helpful for readers. This was one of my favourite posts from my week of new content after I redesigned my blog.

In another post from my week of new content, I wrote about my experience working at a local nonprofit for the past two summers. Negative statistics about any given issue can be incredibly daunting—but it is inspiring to see firsthand the “helpers” and the process of people trying to make a difference.

In this post I also wrote about the concept of solutions journalism, and included an amazing example from the Toronto Star of a series of articles that I’ve thought about often throughout the year.

Throughout the year, I found that I often returned to the post I wrote for my 19th birthday (aptly named 19 things I learned by 19). Because I liked that post so much, I decided to write another post for my 20th birthday in July.

I wasn’t sure I could write an entire list of 20 things I’ve learned, so I took a different approach by writing about getting older and what it means to no longer be considered a teenager. I conclude that growing older, really, isn’t as scary as it seems—and almost six months after I wrote this post, I can conclude that 20 has been a great adventure so far.

When my family embarked on a camping trip this summer, I knew I would write a blog post about it. I didn’t know exactly what I would write about, though, until I was standing on the shore of a lake grey with the reflection of thundering storm clouds as rain poured down on the trees above my head. I’ve always loved thunderstorms, but experiencing one in the middle of Algonquin Park was an entirely new experience—and one that I’m glad I memorialized in writing.

If you’ve read a few of my blog posts, then you’ll know that I love quotes. This was one of many posts inspired by a quote. The quote was from E.L. Doctorow, and I had come across it in my creative writing textbook: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

I loved the image that this quote prompted me to think of, and, as I write in the post, I think the idea of taking small steps with as much light as you can see applies just as much to writing as it does to being a student.

That’s all she wrote, at least in 2018! I hope you enjoyed reminiscing with me, and I hope you’re equally excited to see what 2019 holds. If you’re also a blogger, feel free to leave me a comment with a link to your favourite post from this year—I’d love to check it out!

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