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2017 Wrap Up

As I look back on my 2017 wrap up post, I can’t help but feel disbelief at everything that has happened this year.  In some ways it’s gone so fast and in others, it feels so slow.  This year might have been my most challenging from a professional stand point.  It was marked by personal, professional accomplishments as well though.  The word of 2017 was deliberate, and while that sounded good… I’m not sure how well it worked out.  Let’s see, shall we?

2017 Wrap Up

(Thank goodness it’s over!)


This was the first year where we didn’t have the Gates Millennium Scholarship staring us down mid-month.  Given the political climate and what it felt like in our schools post-election, I don’t know that I could have stomached the essays from our kids this year.  It was a hard month as we navigated hard conversations with DACA students, the Travel Ban (and how it affected students vying for scholarships), and remembered the stories from years past.  January also brought around my lofty, deliberate intention for my organization.  Despite the Italy postcard photos, January was HARD.

journey of doing - living with deliberate intention for 2017P I N I T


February was the first moment when I realized that 2017 was going to be a big year professionally.  Advisory boards, campus visit programs, conference proposals accepted, and traveling with students – if it was related to work, it happened in February.  I spent most of February on the road (meeting Katie!) in Michigan and Indiana.  In the first month post-inaugration, I desperately tried to just. be. happy.  (I also booked a two week trip to Italy and bought new dresses, lol.)

Albion College in winterP I N I T


After being on the road so much in February, I tried to focus on being healthy.  My moods continued to oscillate as quickly as the President because of the lack of urgency from adults and the overwhelming urgency from our students.  We married off one of our staff members, celebrated my brother-in-law’s change of command, and I tried to place as many kiddos as possible.



I spent 25 days on the road, swapping out suitcases at the airport three times… the first weekend being in Cinque Terre, which gave me the first opportunity to decompress from the first quarter… and eat a lot of gelato.  We ended our two week vacation in Florence where I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the incredible things that have been worth the wait in my life.

journey of doing - Worth the WaitP I N I T


I found out I that I lost all the photos from our December trip with my mom.  Sorry Mom, no Mother’s Day surprises there!  My first high school class started graduating from college!  We lost a student to senseless violence on his graduation day.  I finished decorating our guest bathroom and spent an extraordinary amount of time wishing I was planning a trip to Cinque Terre.



I don’t even know what I would have written about June (leadership, apparently – lol), but it’s not a month that I want to talk about.  Apparently, I shared a lot of about planning a trip to Venice.  Oh.  We also got featured in the Chronicle.  For the first time.



The subsequent month of wallowing.  By the end of the month, after a long weekend in London and a wake up call from one of my friends at the AP National Conference, it was time to snap out of it and be a glow worm.

winston churchill - on glow wormsP I N I T


My husband played West Wing on repeat trying to get me to rally for the new school year.


We spent our 4th anniversary in Venice and Prague after finding a cheap ticket.  The morning after arriving home, I left for NACAC where I co-presented with two amazing women and heard the best mic drop moment with “Wealth doesn’t equal knowledge.”  (THE mantra for 2017-2018!)  I also was quoted in The Atlantic on a piece that would later result in the testing agencies doing the right thing (next year).

Journey of Doing - Just be meP I N I T


I discovered an energizing facial routine that could give me my second wind when I needed it.  I briefly experienced fall in Williamstown, MA and drove across the entire state to do law school apps with my kid.  Eric Hoover wrote another story about our kids in the Chronicle, and I dropped the mic at College Board Forum and made people cry.

Sponsored by Smile Brilliant, I decided to give at home teeth whitening a try ! This was so easy and fit into my busy lifestyle perfectly!P I N I T


After a glorious day of self care, a work trip that included plenty of friend time, and spending the second anniversary of my dad’s passing surrounded my students, I came home to Dallas to take over a high school when someone walked off the job.  (Newsflash: I’ve been there ever since.)  I spent my free time on instagram wishing I was at the best European Christmas markets.



There was a lot to celebrate at the beginning of the month.  Questbridge matches.  Two by two acceptances.  Two to Harvard, two to UChicago, two to Yale, two by two by two.  There were a lot of recipes shared.  I was asked to join another advisory board.  We went to Austin for a wedding before finishing the semester three days before Christmas Eve.  An Alabama special election (and black women, specifically) surprised me in the best possible way and brought hope for 2018.  We will likely end the year in Dallas as I finish applications with our students.

Oh, and I ended the semester in Chronicle, for the third time.

2017 Wrap Up

Usually when I look back at these posts, I feel so much good (like I did with the 2016 wrap up).  This year, however, it is exactly what this year felt like – tumultuous, anxiety-ridden (apparently I’m not the only one), and stressful.  I’m not sorry to see 2017 come to a close.

I will say that I could not have made it through 2017 without reading Steph’s consistent posts about the state of the world.  She helped me feel that I was not alone in my rage, in my frustration, or in my feelings.  She found ways to mobilize humans, encourage the goodness of humanity, and give words to issues that I could not.  She’s one of my very favorite bloggers – and that has been the only constant for 2017.

2018, we’re coming for you.  #Resist.  


  • Bri @ My Life As... - 2017 certainly has been a weird year. It felt both long & like it flew by. Not to mention the roller coaster I feel most people have been on politically & personally. Here’s to hoping 2018 is nothing like the past couple of years have been!ReplyCancel

  • SMD - Aw, thank you for the kind words. We’re all in this together.

    This has been a tough tough year. You are on the front lines for a lot of it given the nature of your work. It is so fucking hard to see it up close.

    I still can’t get over your loss of photos from your December trip.ReplyCancel

  • cara - I always love these types of posts! I must admit 2017 was definitely a crazy year, and i’m looking forward to 2018!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa @ Loving Life Moore - I think 2017 has been a crazy year for everyone, but I think it’s the gateway to massive change in 2018. Wishing you all the best!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Absolutely amazing year for travel, but hoping the stress will subside more in the coming year. Get it girl <3
    Green FashionistaReplyCancel

  • Lauren - This is a great little year in review! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls ReplyCancel

  • Biana - What an amazing year professionally for you and so much wonderful travel – especially to Italy 🙂 Hoping you have a lot more travel planned for 2018 xo, Biana –BlovedBostonReplyCancel

  • Christine Keane - It looks like you had some up and downs in 2017 but you got to travel to some amazing places! I love love all your pictures from Italy! Absolutely gorgeous! Happy New Year!!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Found your blog through Helene’s link up!

    I think 2017 was hard for a lot of people. There’s so much going on I
    in the world… I get overwhelmed when I think about it, but we #resist and you still seem so positive in spite of it all all!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - It sounds like you’ve had a really full year, and by that I mean full of pretty tough stuff! I imagine you’re still trying to catch up to yourself. I’m glad Steph’s posts have helped you, they’ve definitely educated me. Here’s to a better 2018 all around.ReplyCancel

  • Mandy - I’m sorry 2017 was so stressful for you, Sara. Hopefully, the tide will be turning in 2018. :-/ On the upside, it was fun getting to look back on your adventures from 2017 in pictorial form. I’m especially envious of all the time you spent in Italy this year. Is there a “secret” you use to find good flight deals?

    Also wanted to give you some encouragement for the work you do helping kids get into college. Granted I don’t know all the ins and outs of it, but it sounds like you put your whole heart into it, and I know the kids you are able to help will be better off because of what you do. 🙂ReplyCancel

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