I'm 20 Years Old and Homesick

I'm 20 Years Old and Homesick

I don't know if I miss my mama or my mama's food (probably both).
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Freshman Year:

Coming into college at 18 years of age, I was ready to get away. I was tired of feeling grown up without actually being grown up. I was ready to meet new people, go on new adventures, and really find myself in the un-comfortability of college.

Nobody ever tells you that you're going to be homesick, though. I was lucky enough to live a couple hours from my college town, so I knew that the option of going home for a weekend was always available. But I didn't know that my first semester of college was going to be miserable.

I grew up with spectacular parents who loved me well and took incredible care of me, but I grew up in a town where everybody knew everybody, and at the end of the day, I knew I wasn't supposed to stay there. I knew I needed to go somewhere else, and so I did. I remember my parents leaving me at college after moving me into my dorm in August. I remember being scared. I remember being sad. As the first month of school went by, I was miserable. I hated it. I hated being away from home. I didn't understand what I was really doing. I felt uncomfortable. I felt homesick. I let all of those feelings and emotions envelop me.

So I went home as often as I could, and it helped. It helped me gain back my joy. But most importantly, it helped me realize that I was called to more at my school. I was so overwhelmed by this feeling of un-comfortability that I ran back to the comfort of my family and home when I hadn't even given college a chance.

The past two years:

Well, I decided to give it a chance. I decided to get out of my shell and get involved. I decided to be invested in people and give them a chance to change my perspective. And sometimes, I still decide to be homesick. I decide to miss my family.

Fall break is this week, and for the first time in two months, I get to go home. I'll decide to eat an overwhelming amount of home cooked food. I'll decide to watch cheesy Hallmark movies with my Mom and college football with my Dad. And I'll probably decide to cry when my mama says goodbye and watches me pull out of the driveway. But that's okay.

College has taught me a lot about myself. It has taught me what I need and what I can live without. It has taught me to miss people and to give those people a call. It's taught me that I can be whoever I want to be. It taught me that it's okay to be homesick as long as you know where your home is. And it taught me that it's okay to have a home away from home.



**Happy Fall Break! Thank you, Lee University, for being my home away from home.



Cover Image Credit: my photo

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...

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There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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