#FridayFive: Five Achievements of 2019

Friday Five

As if another year is already over. We’re now into a new year and a new decade. You probably already know that the first week of January is one of my favourite times of the year as I set out new goals that I want to achieve by December 31st.

I’ll be posting my new goals for 2020 next week and if you want a catch up on my goals of 2019, you can find those here. Looking back at the goals that I made at the beginning of 2019, I think I’ve done pretty well. I’ve also ticked off a lot of personal goals in 2019, ones that I didn’t publish on here. 

I had no idea this time last year that I would be sat in New York City writing this post. That’s probably the one thing that excites me most every time I write my goals and end of year posts around December/January—I have no idea where I’m going to be the next time it comes to writing it. 

A lot of people start off the new year by saying good riddance to the year previous or counting down the seconds until 12am on January 1st. But I want to look back at the last year and all the good things that happened, and I want to make sure I document them.

I often forget the big things that happened in the year gone by, but I’ve graduated, moved to a new city, visited somewhere new in Europe, got myself a grad job, accomplished some big things in my career while at university and had the best final months living in Liverpool. I have amazing memories with friends, of concerts and of good times spent at home.

Here are my five favourite achievements of 2019:

1. Moving to New York

Well it’s obvious that this had to be my first. I am in love with this city and everything that it’s given me so far. I’ve made so many friends, memories and moments that will stay with me forever and I’ve only been here four months. It was the best decision I’ve ever made and has truly lived up to the hype.

I feel like I haven’t had a moment to myself since I got off the plane on August 31st but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is still so much I want to see and do in New York and already I feel like time is running away from me, but I just need to remind myself to slow down and take every day as it comes and to make the most of every situation and experience. 

One thing I can confirm is, New York is definitely always a good idea.

2. Graduating with a first class degree

I always wanted to graduate with first class honours, even before I started my first day of university back in 2015. When I start things, I want to come out with the best mark that I can get. I knew I had let myself down when it came to my A Levels so I wanted to prove to myself that I was better than that and come out with the most important grade that I will ever have.

I also went that little bit further and finished top of my year and was awarded the Kenyon’s prize for Outstanding PR student which was definitely a great way to see out my four years at Liverpool John Moores.

Will I ever use my degree? Who knows? I’m working in the field that I studied in which has to count for something and I know that those four years were definitely not wasted as I truly found my passion in life when I enrolled in the Public Relations course four years ago.

3. Being named the UK’s Best PR Student Blogger for the second year in a row

This blog has opened so many doors for me and introduced me to a lot of great and important people. I am so bloody thankful that I decided to start writing back at the end of my first year of university. I could have put it off until ‘tomorrow’ but I’m so glad I started and kept at it.

I’m also very thankful that people actually take the time and read my blog, otherwise – what would be the point? Receiving the title for the second year in a row was another highlight of my final year in education and I’m glad I kept writing even during the toughest year of university.

Being the UK’s Best PR Student Blogger also enabled me to visit Greenwich University in London to give a talk to their PR students, something that I will always remember and still baffles me to this day that I was actually asked to visit. I also held a Twitter chat #AskOrlagh where students from all over the UK asked questions to me – just another student like them.

I was also cited in a PR and Influencer Marketing textbook which was the most ‘am I dreaming?’ moment that I’ve ever had as I hadn’t even graduated at this point and there was my name in black and white, in a book about PR that other people would be learning from.

4. Reading more

I set myself a goal to read 12 books in 12 months as reading had very much taken a back seat in my life when I started university. I used to go through books like they were going out of fashion when I was younger and it was one of my favourite things to do.

I switched up my love for fiction and started reading motivating, self-help books and haven’t looked back since. I ended up reading 15 in total, exceeding my small target and have set myself the same target for 2020, to read another 12 before the year is out but hopefully also surpassing 2019’s total of 15.

If you want to check out all the books that I read last year and my thoughts on them, I’ve reviewed them all here. I’ll of course be updating and reviewing all of the books that I get through this year too.

5. Travelling to new places and spending Christmas somewhere new

I always love to visit new places but don’t often get the opportunity to do so. I finally got to visit Amsterdam for the first time back in February and I was only there a few hours before I was working out how I was going to move there permanently.

It definitely won’t be the last time that I’m back in Amsterdam and I would love to spend a short stint working and living in the city as it just has a very relaxed and calm environment.

And of course, I also moved to New York, which also happened to be my very first time in the city too. I’ve visited Connecticut, Massachussetts, Pennsylvania, the Hamptons and New Jersey (as that’s where I live) in the last four months and can’t wait to explore more of the US in 2020.

I weirdly had on my goals for 2019 to spend Christmas somewhere other than at home this year, just for a change. I prefer the build-up to Christmas rather than Christmas day, plus it’s always a stress to come up with plans for Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve and I just didn’t want to spend another night ringing in the New Year in The Burn in Lurgan.

So where better to spend Christmas and New Year’s than New York and Boston? I haven’t added it to my 2020 New Year’s resolutions as for all I know I could be back home by September.

Looking back, 2019 was a pretty stellar year and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the year either – with new friends, a new job, a new home and some incredible memories. I’m hoping 2020 is just as good as 2019 has been and takes me to another new city, with a new job and more new friends and memories.

Happy New Year!



  1. January 3, 2020 / 1:30 pm

    Millions live in (and visit) New York. 30% or so gain a first class degree. But only one person has ever won #bestPRblogs two years in a row! It’s a special achievement. Best wishes for 2020 – I’ll be following you closely (YNWA).

    • Orlagh Shanks
      January 9, 2020 / 4:46 pm

      Thank you Richard! Hope you have a wonderful and successful 2020!

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