31 Signs You Are From Northern Virginia

31 Signs You Are From Northern Virginia

If you answer no, you haven't been here long enough.
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Being from a military family, I have seen many part of this great nation and I have lived in several of them. Every two or three years, my family would pack up and move to a new state. Well, not always new. I have lived in Northern Virginia three times. I have literally (and I do mean it) lived half of my twenty years on Earth right outside of Washington D.C.. I managed to stay in the Fairfax County school system through each move and somehow survived the changing curricula. The culture of Northern Virginia is extremely complicated, so if you understand any of the following items, then you are from Northern Virginia.

1. You Say You Live In D.C. For Simplicity.

Unless someone has a family member or friend living in Springfield, Burke, Alexandria, etc. then they definitely won't know where it is.

2. You Know School Boundary Redistricting Does Nothing.

"Oh this high school is overpopulated? Lets move this border in and push the other side further away."

3. Traffic Is The Norm.


Leaving at least thirty to forty-five minutes early is the only way to get somewhere on time.

4. You Know More About Politics Than You Care To.

We live right outside our nation's capitol. You can't keep all of the politicians in D.C., so they come here to live among us.

5. Field Trips Meant Going To Jamestown, Yorktown, Or A Museum In D.C.

Chances are you know the place better than the tour guides by the 7th grade.

6. You Know What The Virginia Ivies Are.


University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and William and Mary are our Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

7. NOVA Is A College, Not The Name Of The Area.

Northern Virginia Community College is referred to as NOVA. The northern Virginia area is referred by county.

8. DMV Means More Than The Department Of Motor Vehicles.

Most often abbreviated on the radio, DMV stands for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Not to be confused with the Delmarva peninsula.

9. We Don't Know What Happens Past Stafford County.


D.C. is a black hole that sucks our attention from anywhere south of Stafford.

10. The Best Ice Cream Is At The Clifton Train Station.

I have never seen lines that long for ice cream, but it is totally worth it. Peterson's Ice Cream Depot is the best!

11. Weather Is Very Unpredictable.

It can be slightly cloudy, hot and humid, then midday, hail for 20 minutes, before clearing back to humidity.

12. Colleges Go To School While It Snows.

Six inches or more of snow? No problem. Just drive in the tracks of the cars in front of you or walk the mile to class in the snow.

13. High Schools Have Snow Days Because A Few Flakes Fell In Another County.

Just to be safe. The skies are clear now, but an apocalyptic blizzard could be headed our way any minute.

14. High School Teams Are Displayed On The Backs Of Cars.

I have lived and visited in many states. I have not seen this outside of northern Virginia.

15. A Good Chunk Of Your Friends Are From Military Families.

Northern Virginia is home to many commuters to D.C., which is home to the Pentagon and Crystal City, where many of our brave men and women work. Chances are you have picked up some military lingo too.

16. You Had A Graduating Class Of Over 500 Students.

Then you go to college and get to know people who graduated with a class half that size.

17. Maryland Drivers Give You PTSD.

Ok, northern Virginia is home to some "crazy" drivers, but I think Maryland drivers actually traveled through DC to get to Virginia to escape from their mental asylums.

18. You Know The Metro Is The Best Way To Travel Around The D.C. Area.

It is a bit sketchier than driving, but at least you won't have to deal with the Maryland drivers.

19. We Sometimes Forget Richmond Is Our State Capitol.

Hey, we live next to D.C.. It's kind of easy to forget your state capitol when you live next to the national one.

20. We Are In A Constant State Of Construction.

When one project is finished, another is started right down the road. Now if it accomplishes anything is another story.

21. Yellow Stoplights Mean At Least Four More Cars Can Go Through.

And if it is a two lane turn, more than double that. I think it is an exponential progression.

22. A Stoplight That Just Turned Red Means You Can Make The Left Hand Turn Traffic Prevented Earlier.

It's only fair.

23. You Know Virginia Is Not Part Of The South.

Besides fighting for the Confederates in the Civil War, it has no Southern cred.

24. Your Unit Of Distance Is Time, Not Miles.

"I live 20 minutes from D.C.," is the usual estimate.

25. You Don't Actually Keep Cars In Your Garage.

It's just another room to put stuff in.

26. Major Locations Come In Threes.

Three airports to travel from, three malls that have everything, three high schools within 20 minutes of your house.

27. If You Don't Telepathically Know When The Light Will Turn Green, You Will Get Honked At.

And you have probably done it to someone too.

28. You Drive Through A Mixing Bowl.

No, it is not some strange metaphor or small, old, or damaged cars. It refers to the raised streets we drive on and somehow end up in the right direction.

29. Running At 4:00 A.M. Is Acceptable.

It gives you time to shower and make your 6:00 a.m. commute.

30. At Least One Of Your Friends' Parents Cannot Talk About What They Do.

It's classified.

31. Through All Of It, You Find Your Niche.

Everyone has got to fit in somewhere.

Cover Image Credit: http://joshbassettdesign.com/

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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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15 Amazing Junior Year Memories That I Don't Think A Busy Senior Year Will Make Me Forget

It's the last week of school, but I think of it more as the last week of my favorite year of high school.

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Ups and downs, highs and lows. Whatever I call the many bumps on the journey I had in the past nine months, that won't change the fact that the fun parts of the year were truly fun. I met so many new people and made so many new friends that I can't keep track of how quickly time is passing when I spend time with any of them. I learned so much new content in my classes that my brain hurts just trying to remember everything. I feel so happy when I imagine various moments in the past year that it just wouldn't be fitting to let them all fly away.

1. When Homecoming Dinner Couldn't Get Any Weirder

Let's just say that the restaurant wasn't as family-friendly as it had originally advertised. And, not to sound like a restaurant critic, but the food certainly didn't make up for the strange environment. In fact, I had to go home from feeling sick. But even with the mess that dinner was, the night was a crazy adventure that I doubt I'll forget anytime soon.

2. When We Went To Barnes & Noble To Study For Finals

One of my best friends and I have a tradition of going to either a local Starbucks or our Barnes & Noble just to study, and if we're not able to get our table (the one with a leg rest and outlets), then we can't focus. In fact, we'll stare at the people at our table until they leave on their own. Plus, once we get started on studying, the next two to three hours are nonstop working.

3. When We Celebrated Halloween By Hiking Through A Forest Five Times

Am I exaggerating? Absolutely not. For Halloween, a few of us volunteered at our local nature center to lead tours around the surrounding forest for the children who came to the event. From six in the evening to 11 in the night, we walked step after step through winding hills and large fields, and when the leg pain came afterward, we couldn't stop complaining.

4. When We Found A Planetarium So Close To Home

My dad and I found a small planetarium at a nearby college that was open every Friday night for anyone to visit, and we'd spend every Friday for two months going there to see how the star patterns had changed in the past week. Sometimes, I'd accidentally fall asleep during the presentations because I was exhausted from school that day, but being able to learn surface-level knowledge about astronomy was priceless.

5. When We Went To A Concert Twenty Minutes After Hearing About It

There was one time my best friend and I were studying for finals at Barnes & Noble back in December, and she brought up a concert happening at our school that was going on that night.

"Do you want to go?" I remember her asking.

So we drove quickly to school with half an hour left before it started by the time we reached. We sat there and stared at the school building, and this one song that neither of us will ever forget began playing on Spotify. That was probably the most nostalgic, heartbreaking moment I'd ever experienced. The school stared back at us, empty hallways lit up and visible through the windows, and I remember just thinking about how there would be a day that we'd see some of our friends for the last time before college.

The concert was amazing, though.

6. When We Drew Flowers On A Balloon In Physics

I had gotten a balloon in the previous class, which I brought with me to Physics. I should've known how bad of a decision it was on my part to mention the balloon because all of us took turns drawing flowers on it using a Sharpie. We were so tired that the only thing we could focus on was drawing plants.

7. When The Class Grew Glowing Bacteria Cultures

Unfortunately, our group couldn't grow our bacteria because of a small procedural error, but I still love this picture of another group's. It was magical to see how simple scientific concepts could come together to make microscopic bacteria glow just as brightly as huge stars in the sky do at night.

8. When We Watched An Episode Of "Friends" In Biology

I sometimes stumble upon this picture and laugh because we were all incomprehensibly tired in class that day. To make a point about the mystery of the debate between evolution and religion, our teacher showed us the episode of "Friends" where Phoebe and Ross debate the two concepts.

9. When Starbucks Could Never Spell My Name Correctly

As if this is the only instance of my name being spelled incorrectly. I've also received "Shraya" and "Shrenya" if we're wondering.

10. When A Club Induction Ceremony Felt A Bit Sinister

When they began to light the candles and made us stand up to take an oath (which, by the way, sounded oddly cult-like), a couple of us were wondering if we were supposed to feel a darker vibe. In any case, though, the cake they gave out afterward was the best I'd had in a while.

11. When We Built A Theme Park In Honor Of "The Great Gatsby"

Our AP Lang class channeled "The Great Gatsby" vibes when we were challenged to create a theme park that delved into the details of the book. Being tasked with creating a park for West Egg, this was the first time I got to meet three of the most amazing people.

12. When We Binge-Watched Two And A Half Seasons Of "Lucifer"

Another one of my best friends asked me one day if I'd ever seen the show "Lucifer," and I went on an entire spiel about how I watched every episode of the first season when it was on cable a few years ago.

"Okay, but do you remember any of it?" she asked.

"No, why?"

"Do you want to watch the show from the beginning?"

13. When We Went To Our Friends' Art Showcase

This showcase took place earlier in May, and it was amazing to see the talent right in our school. Three of my closest friends had their works on display, and I almost made a bet with myself to see if I'd fill up my phone storage with the countless pictures I was taking of their pieces.

14. When We Went To The Dam For An Entire Afternoon

It was unforgettable mainly because my family and I used to go to the dam all the time, but because this was probably the first time we'd gone in a year or so, I felt at home for the first time in a while. The dam is always serene, save for the sounds of children screaming and playing in the distance.

15. When We All Danced To "High School Musical" In The School Hallways

I even told the people I was with during this memory that I would never forget that night. Science Night had just ended, and with all the children gone home, we were left to clean up the experiment stations. Of course, before we could clean up, we all needed a bit of time for ourselves, and in the completely empty main hallway, five of us danced to "High School Musical" songs.

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