5 Things I Wish I Knew During My Childhood

5 Things I Wish I Knew During My Childhood

People can come and go but my sister is always there for me.
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As I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Atlanta, I began to think about my childhood and all the laughs, good times, and memories I had. I had a wonderful childhood filled with supportive family and friends. However, there are some things I wish I had known that would make it even better.

1. Change does not always have to be bad

During my childhood, there were plenty of ups and downs. Going on annual family vacations and celebrating milestones with my closest friends are some of the best times I've had. Moving across the country and changing schools three times are just some obstacles I overcame.

I never liked change. I always wished that things would stay the same. As I grew older, I realized that change means new people and new experiences. Change is what makes life interesting. I began to open up and started to embrace change. Instead of letting fear take over, I can finally face changes with confidence. Without switching schools, I would have never met my closest friends or became the person that I am today.

2. Your siblings are your best friends

People can come and go but my sister is always there for me. Even though we argue and fight all the time, in the end, we are each other's best friends. Whenever I need advice, she is a good listener and always provides insight. I can rely on her for anything. I wish we spent less time fighting and more time getting along.

3. Your parents are always right

This is definitely my biggest regret. It always takes me so long to realize that they are right about everything. I always try to disagree with them, but overtime, I've finally discovered that they know me better than I know myself, and know what is best for me. If I had listened to them the first time, I would not have wasted so much time and energy.

4. School is not the most important thing

Growing up, my parents always emphasized academics. They wanted me to take full advantage of every educational opportunity. During high school, I realized that being a well-rounded person is equally as important as school. It is valuable to learn skills such as being a good public speaker, how to play sports, and how to give back to the community.

5. Try not to get caught up in the stress

It is so hard to avoid and manage stress. Many times in my childhood, I felt overwhelmed by the stress and let it take over. Releasing stress by hitting the gym or writing is so critical. In hindsight, I realized that learning how to deal with stress is the key to success.

These five skills are so easy to forget. It is super important to keep these mind. If I had known these, I would be much more relaxed and learn how to make the most of my childhood. Lastly, I want to say that your childhood does not last forever. Cherish every last moment! Here's to growing up.

Cover Image Credit: Brandon Couch

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I'll Gladly Spread Myself Thin In The Name Of Community Service

The real reason it's important to do community service in college.
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I sigh as I go through the mental checklist of planning four events in three weeks—organizing multiple vouchers to purchase supplies, signing up collaborating organizations and various performance groups, confirming room bookings and equipment setup, ordering food to be catered, and arranging keynote speeches. The strain of multiple deadlines for the March 2 College Event for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), the Spring Carnival event for Stony Brook DCI, and the UNICEF Unity Talent Show is starting to wear me thin, and I catch myself losing sleep as I try desperately to meet everyone’s expectations.

I sigh again as I realize that maybe, this time I have bitten off more than I can chew. Is all this stress even worth it?

Anyone who has been an e-board member for an undergraduate student organization here at Stony Brook knows the struggle of trying to expand the influence of their organization on a campus widely accredited to academic excellence year-round. A common theme of “I have midterms tonight, sorry, I can’t make it to the event” pervades throughout the spring semester from midway through February, and group collaborations constantly being rescheduled due to the rigor of our academic curriculum is just one of the many challenges that e-board members have to face, alongside balancing our GPAs and maintaining some semblance of a social life.

In my case, being on e-board for three organizations (Treasurer of SB UNICEF Campus Initiative, VP of Community Service for NSCS, and Fundraising Chair for the newly-founded National Society of Leadership and Success-NSLS) comes with a lot of meetings and tasks to complete simultaneously. Countless hours are devoted towards furthering the goals of these various organizations, alongside attempting to balance my upper division biology classes.

In many cases, the burden of these various endeavors is the source of constant tension between myself and my family, as I explain to mom yet again that I have another e-board meeting or event tonight and I’ll be home late.

I worry sometimes that in my efforts to make my mark as an e-board member of the Stony Brook community, I’m drifting away from the only constant I’ve ever known. I worry that every opportunity I lose to interact with my younger siblings is one that I will never get back and that they will grow up without me there to guide them despite living under the same roof as them.

But back to the matter at hand—what’s it all for?

It’s for the people who are afflicted with a disease that UNICEF helps to provide relief for across the globe. It’s for the families that are besieged by poverty and famine that relief organizations such as DCI and Public Health Brigades help to supply with vital funds and materials to help. It’s for the children whose parents are suffering from cancer that Camp Kesem puts its efforts towards during their summer programs.

It’s for the homeless who need them the most that the Muslim Student Organization (MSA) organizes care packages of food, water, and hygienic supplies on their Midnight Run each semester. The value of community service is not the pursuit of self-gratification—rather, it is the understanding that we have the power to make a positive impact in the lives of those who need it.

As I busy myself with the work, I smile. Despite all the stress, it’s absolutely worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Adeel Azim

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Having A Job During College Is A Good Thing, Even If You Don't Need it

Mostly, do it because it's fun.
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Even if you don't need to because you can afford college, it is fun to have a campus job. Not only do you gain valuable work experience but you also understand how it feels to be independent while having a job. I do not need to take a job because my parents pay my whole tuition but that doesn't mean I can't help them and myself out.

It is hard for students who can't afford college and the facilities I do not need to think twice about because I am privileged and every day, I'm thankful for that. I recently applied for a campus job in the restaurants UCLA provides to the students and I got it. I haven't started yet but I am really excited to.

A friend of mine asked why I am taking a job if I don't necessarily need the money. Even if I don't need the money, every penny counts to help my parents. Also, equally importantly, I will be able to spend the money I earned without having the guilt of spending my parents' that constantly following me around. I will buy the things that make me happy with the money I earned from my hard work and that will make all the difference.

Having a job in college also makes you understand the expectations of the workplace that you are going to join fulltime after you graduate. Getting a job before that allows you to understand how to understand and navigate workplace culture. Graduating and plunging into the workplace without having an idea of it is going to be overwhelming.

Having a job as a college student allows you to make mistakes and mend them, something you will not be able to do when you get out of college. Right now, as a college student, you have a leeway you will never have in another time period of your life. You are able to make mistakes and learn from them, and there won't be drastic consequences to your mistakes.

Also, getting a job in your college is not hard because you don't necessarily need to have prior work experience, just a friendly demeanor and a willingness to work hard.

Getting a job also looks really good on your resume as employers understand that you are able to handle the college course load and a job simultaneously. It shows how responsible you can be and how well you can manage your time.

Basically, as Sylvia Mathews Burwell says "Job training empowers people to realize their dreams and improve their lives."

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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