Stay Back or Spread Your Wings, It’s Your Choice

Lately, it feels like I’ve been having a similar conversation with a lot of my friends. As my sophomore year of college draws to a close, I can’t help but look back on all the memories I’ve made, challenges I’ve overcome, and progress that I have made over the last two years. But to be completely frank, I am confident that the progress I have made would not have happened had I not moved away from home.

It’s that time of year where high school seniors are making the decision to stay back home or spread their wings and fly off to a new place. While I made the decision to fly away from the nest, I had many friends that decided to stay closer to theirs. I also had friends that decided to fly thousands of miles away. It seemed like at the time– and even today– everyone talked about everyone else’s decisions. “Oh of course ________ chose to go to school close to home, they’ll be stuck in high school forever.” However, in reality, everyone made the decision that was best for them and we aren’t ones to judge what’s best for someone else.

I’m personally glad I chose to move away from home. Although I have always been pretty independent, not having my immediate family within 200 miles forced me to create a newfound sense of independence. I could do basically everything I did when I was at home without my mom and dad looking over my shoulder to make sure I did it [the way that they consider] right. I could call them for wisdom and support whenever I needed it, but ultimately I had to deal with most things myself. Throughout my college experience I’ve screwed up, failed, and embarrassed myself. But I’ve picked myself up and figured things out on my own.

Because I’ve moved away from everything I’ve ever known, I’ve also been able to reinvent myself in a sense. I’ll obviously always be myself, but there were behaviors from high school that I decided to kick. Gone was the girl that cared about being cool, having a million friends, or impressing everyone (news flash: it’s impossible). No longer was the attitude that you have to be great at everything or that your self-worth is directly correlated with the amount of “likes” you get on social media. I’ve grown tremendously by being forced to figure things out on my own. I’ve grown into myself.

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However, there are people I know that have grown tremendously by staying close to home. They use the support of their family members as motivation to develop as an individual. Just because their personal growth happened differently than mine doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

Some of my friends have been talking about how they feel guilty for changing and growing apart from their high school friends. But truthfully, that’s just part of life. Some friends come and go; some friends stay forever. You should never feel guilty for taking care of yourself and making sure that you are in the absolute best position for personal growth and development.

I think it’s so easy for us to sit back and judge others for not doing the same thing that we’re doing, but difference makes the world go round. We can’t expect everyone to make similar decisions to ours, because otherwise there would be no diversity. Without diversity, sh*t wouldn’t get done. (I’m looking at you, engineers + doctors that are doing the work I NEVER could.)

Staying close to home or flying far from the nest is a personal decision. Everyone has to determine where and how they will best develop as an individual and that decision is nobody’s to make but theirs. So instead of criticizing others for the manner, place, and time they choose to grow, let’s celebrate those differences and recognize that it’s okay that everyone isn’t exactly like us. We’re all just trying to do what’s best for ourselves.

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How I Gained The Freshman 20 And Lost It Within a Year

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April 2016 to April 2017

This post is going to be super personal, but I feel like I’m at a place where I can (and should) talk freely about my health journey over the past year and a half. My life has been full of changes, from going to college to completely dumping toxic friends to starting three (!!!) new jobs. My body has changed with these things, bringing me to this point, where I am completely comfortable and confident in how I look and feel. The photo on the left above is from April 2016, where I weighed about 125 lbs. The right is from this week (almost April 2017) at 107 lbs.

All my life, I have been a very small person. In elementary school, I was always the shortest in the class and it took me until junior year of high school (and starting birth control) to break 100 pounds. It never bothered me; I liked being small. My volleyball career didn’t exactly work out the way I wanted it to, since, you know, all the good volleyball players are giants, but that was okay. I was a champ at hide-and-go-seek and never thought twice about what I ate. (Which is why I ate french fries every single day at lunch in high school– my stomach turns now just thinking about it.) Continue reading

Ladies, Stop Apologizing For Things You’re Not Sorry About

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The other day, I was going to get in line for breakfast when some guy completely cut me off and hopped in line before me. “Oh, sorry!” I exclaimed, as I found my place behind him in line. But I instantly realized two things. One, I was actually not sorry, because I didn’t even do anything wrong since he was the one that cut me off in the first place. And two, he didn’t apologize, and had he been a girl, he probably would have.

Immediately after my breakfast, I went to class. In my class, my professor asked a question to the class. A girl sitting in the third row had her hand up and so did the boy in front of her in the second row. The professor called on the girl, and her response was to the boy. She said, “no, sorry, you go!”. While it was nice of her to offer to let him go first, I realized that this whole girls-apologizing-for-things-they’re-not-sorry-about thing happens every single day. Even though it’s only been a few days since I became aware of this, I’ve seen it everywhere. When I opened the door to get into my dorm, a girl was also opening it from the other side and muttered a quick “sorry” before she rushed out the door. When I was on the bus and a girl needed to push through the crowd to get off, she kept saying “excuse me, sorry” to anyone that was in her way. Continue reading

Humility Will Get You Further

So this funny thing happened the other day. It was my second day of classes this semester and the first time I was attending my Tuesday classes. I woke up a couple hours before my first class, showered, ate breakfast. You know, normal morning things. I left my room around 10 am, hoping the 20-minute walk to my first class would bring me there just in time for it to start at 10:30. Or so I thought.

I ended up getting to the classroom at about 10:28. I was not surprised by how many students were already in the classroom, however I was a little surprised that the professor had already started lecturing. It also seemed a little strange that everyone stopped and stared when I entered the classroom. I found a seat in the 60-person class in the very back row. I asked the guy next to me, “this is Entrepreneurial Marketing, right?” and he said yes. Okay, so I was in the right class. Perfect.

Then, the professor stopped lecturing and asked if I want to present my personal brand. I had done the assignment and was feeling confident in my presentation, so I said yes. Naturally, I was nervous about presenting in front of 60 people. I HATE public speaking, and I hate it even more when I have to do it to my peers. I don’t know exactly why, but I suppose part of that is due to the fact that I consistently think they’re nit picking or think I’m dumb. (Thanks, anxiety.)

So I gave my presentation– about 5 minutes or so– and when I finished the professor asked, “are you in my 9:30 class?” “No,” I responded, “I’m in your 11:00 one.” “Do you know what time it is? This is still my 9:30 class,” he said. The rest of the class proceeded to burst out laughing, and rightfully so. That was funny. I just gave an entire speech and then realized I was in the wrong class. I laughed with them. Continue reading

It’s a New Year, But Don’t Change Everything Quite Yet

I’m not a big fan of New Years resolutions. Ironic that I’m writing a blog post on them, right? I guess I’m all for making changes in our lives (they’re necessary!), but I hate the way people go about them around January 1st. It seems like a shift in the calendar year is the perfect time to change everything in your life that you’re unhappy with, but it doesn’t exactly work that way.

Changing everything at once is a recipe for disaster. Effective change is gradual, so expecting to make a major change without that transition is going to be terrible. Are you trying to eat healthier? This doesn’t mean that you need to cut every sugar- and fat-laden junk food out of your diet. Try adding in more veggies and cutting down your portion sizes. Taking the things you are already doing and adding healthy habits that steer you in the direction you want to go is going to be much more effective. Continue reading

Is Envy Getting In The Way of Your Success?

I know, I know. I said I was going to focus on the food thing. But I couldn’t help but write about something that has been bothering me lately. First, to clarify for my grammar geek of a father: the word envy is defined as a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. (Thanks, Merriam-Webster) This word can be synonymous with jealousy, contingent upon the context. However, for the sake of simplicity, I feel as though envy is more of an all-encompassing word for what I want to talk about. Experiencing envy is human and extremely hard to avoid, but how do you know when you’ve reached too much? Continue reading

The Problem With Being the Generation of Entitlement & Participation Trophies

When I was five, I got my first participation medal. I can remember it perfectly– the red, white, and blue ribbon with a silver baseball pendant hanging from it, signifying the end of the baseball season and surely the end of my baseball career. I was no star on the dirt diamond, but for some reason was still awarded a medal for my efforts. In fact, during that season I had managed to hit the batter in the head with a throw while playing catcher AND was the only one on my team for whom they had to bring out the tee to ensure that I had the chance to actually hit a ball.

While my baseball career surely was equally as humiliating as it was hopeless, I was still given an award and told that I did great. I kept that medal until I was about halfway through high school, when I realized it was actually worthless. But why was I awarded that medal in the first place, and what did that say about the way society taught me to believe that everything in the future was going to be handed to me with minimal effort? Continue reading