10 Things You'll Understand If You Grew Up In NOVA

10 Things You're Aware Of If You Grew Up In Northern Virginia

Virginia is for lovers, or so we thought.

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If you have grown up in the Northern Virginia area, you are probably very aware of these ten stereotypes:

1. A field trip to D.C. is just an average class experience.

If you have grown up in the Northern Virginia area, then you are probably aware of the fact that going on trips to the various national museums are just your average second grade excuse to visit the nation's capitol. What many Northern Virginia residents often forget is how going to D.C. is a once in a lifetime opportunity for some students.

2. There are schools everywhere you go.

Going from one place to the next, you're likely to pass at least three elementary schools, if not a couple of middle and high schools, due to the population density. No matter where you go, Northern Virginia is just filled with people. As a student, it is not uncommon to end up going to a school further than the one that's closest to you due to zoning.

3. Playing a sport isn't a hobby, but a religion.

Growing up in NOVA, you are aware of how much pride children and teens take in their sports. More often than not, trying out for high school sports was similar to the Hunger Games where there are so many talented students at one high school and only a roster of 20 for most teams. With the competitive students, growing up in an area where being a well-rounded student is so important, it leads to a high emphasis on being a student-athlete.

4. The high school football rivalry is no joke.

With there being such a high emphasis on high school sports, the rivalry from team to team for Friday night lights for major sports such as football and basketball lead to school pride and extreme competition. Certain nights, such as "Battle of the Burn" or "Crush County" lead to extreme competition and excitement when it comes to game day.

5. When in doubt, turn on Hot 99.5.

If you don't know what you want to listen to, then you have probably turned on "Hot 99.5, D.C.'s top radio station." HOT 99.5 is the station always playing the top music with the local favorite, the Kane Show. Unless you happen to turn on the station for the first or last 15 minutes of the hour, you're doomed to hearing endless advertisements.

6. The food options are endless.

Whether you're In the mood for Subway, Sushi, Korean, or the latest health trend, Northern Virginia has it all. From eco-friendly, vegan, trendy options, to major chains, or just your average local diners, the food options are endless and you know that is something to forever be grateful for. The same goes for grocery shopping, There could never be enough, with options ranging from Wegmans, Costco, Target, Trader Joes and even Whole Foods.

7. We all know those Jiffy Lube Live goers who spontaneously turn  country for the night.

You are probably aware of when a Jiffy Lube Live country concert took place after seeing the endless Instagram posts about going to the concerts, and how much we all love Luke Bryan. Don't get me wrong, country concerts are a fun time, but we all know that NOVA is not actually apart of the south.

8. The public schools are more competitive than the elite private schools.

Growing up in one of the top school systems in the nation was no piece of cake. You have students with Ivy league dreams who put intensive pressure on excelling in order to get into their dream school, and by no means do the parents help on this one. We know you love your children, but I promise if they don't end up at UVA or Ivy League, they are not a failure.

9. The North and South divide.

Sometimes I feel that the Civil War never fully went away, at least for Virginians. When you explain to others that you are from Northern Virginia, you'll probably get told, "You are not from your own state, you know" or you'll simply get that dirty look. Point being, we are all from Virginia and it doesn't matter if you're from the north, south, east, or west. It's one state, so let it be.

10. Having to explain to people where you're from to those outside of Virginia.

No matter who you are or what part of Northern Virginia you're from, it can be extremely frustrating when you travel or meet new people because you have to say you are from outside of D.C so people can understand what the area is like.

At the end of the day, Virginia is Virginia and it shouldn't matter what part you are from.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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6 Ways To Save Money As A Broke College Student

Money saving tips so you can afford adult life while also paying for an expensive tuition.

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It is difficult to work, attend college, and make all your payments on rent, tuition, and bills, (not to mention finding a little money to spare on yourself). These are six ways to save that have helped me in this money stressful time and that you should use too in order to reduce the expenses of adulting.

1. Saving money on rent.

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Apartments are cheaper than houses because most include some of the bills in the rent cost. Make sure to check what amenities apartments offer such as free wi-fi, trash removal, or water included. When choosing roommates the more the better for cost. You should get at least one roommate because it is difficult to afford even a studio apartment living on your own. If you want pets you should choose a place that doesn't have pet rent because even if you have a large non-refundable pet fee it is cheaper in the long run then paying twenty a month per animal.

2. Saving money on bills.

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If you choose to live in an apartment complex, having an apartment on a higher floor will make your electric bill cheaper in the winter because heat rises. Even though your electric bill will be higher in the summer you can afford to work more because classes won't be in session. When purchasing light bulbs get ones that are energy efficient and use lights with batteries to help save on the electric bill. Also make sure to turn off all lights when you aren't in the room. You can save water by not running the faucet when you brush your teeth. Anyway you can think to conserve water and energy use that to your advantage.

3. Saving money on food.

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Your best friend is buying in bulk when you go to get groceries. I personally buy ten pound ground beef logs, cut them up, and place them in the freezer to use later. Everything is cheaper when you buy in bulk and you save time grocery shopping. If you don't know how to cook now is the time to learn because frozen and fast food eats up your money. You should also go to your local food bank if you are really struggling because everyone has to eat. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it! Going without food to pay your rent is not something anyone should have to do.

4. Saving money on furniture.

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You should buy used if at all possible when finding furniture for your apartment or house. Living in a college town has its perks because people are constantly moving you can find great deals at garage sales or on craigslist. For instance I got my couch for free, I just had to move it out of a graduating students apartment. You can also check out thrift stores and consignment shops in your town.

5. Saving money on entertainment.

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There are a lot of deals and discounts for college students so take advantage of that for entertainment.. For example movie theaters usually offer a student discount and if you go to a matinee showing, tickets are even cheaper. Find out when your local bar's happy hour is and use it. Also see what meal deals are offered by restaurants around you, such as 3 items for 10 or specials on Thursday nights. You can also use apps to find coupons, my personal favorite being pocket points because it rewards you for studying.

6. Saving money and side hustles.

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Put back money during the summer in order to have a backup fund for when things get crazy busy during the school year. Scope out banks and find out what interests they offer on savings accounts in order to increase the amount of money you have saved over the years. If you need extra money you can get paid for donating plasma and you can sometimes find research studies that will offer participants cash for things as simple as just an opinion. There are also baby sitting and pet sitting apps you can download to get one time gigs if you are low on funds for the month.

These are all great tips that I have been taught or have learned living as a broke college student. It isn't easy living life in the adult world and pursuing a degree at the same time. I hope these tips will help you save money and keep you out of hard times.

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