8 Things You'll Only Understand If You Went To High School in South Jersey

8 Things You'll Only Understand If You Went To High School in South Jersey

South Jersey > Everywhere else
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  1. Wawa was the go-to spot after high school dances and parties

Going to Wawa after every party and dance was a tradition. You and your friends would walk in and see everyone who was just at the dance or the party. Sometimes you looked forward to going to Wawa after more than going to the actual party or dance.

2. You went to Disney World on senior trip

Going to Disney World on senior trip was easily the highlight of your senior year. Getting to spend 5 days with your best friends in the happiest place on earth was a dream come true. It isn’t until you started college that you realized that people not from Jersey didn’t even have a senior trip.

3. You definitely wanted to punch someone while driving on 295

295 may be the worst highway in the state of New Jersey. There is and always has been construction and you weren’t really sure why. If you had to drive to the Cherry Hill Mall to find your homecoming dress, you avoided 295 like the plague and found some other way to get there.

4. You went to BB&T Pavilion to see a concert

Formally known as Susquehanna Bank Center, you definitely went to BB&T to see a country concert. You most likely pre-gamed in the parking lot before and ended up running into so many different people you know.

5. Going to Philly was the norm for class trips

Whether it was going to one of the historical sights for your AP History class or going to Magic Gardens for Spanish class, you definitely went to Philly on a class trip. You always ended up being late for something because of the awful traffic on 76.

6. Prom was at a banquet hall or golf club, not your high school

A lot of high schools around the country have Prom at school but that is not the case in South Jersey. You definitely had prom at a off school location and loved being able to take pictures on the steps of some nice banquet hall.

7. You know what the term, “it’s bricks outside,” means

Instead of making it easier for ourselves and saying, “it’s cold outside,” we in South Jersey have adopted bricks as our word of choice. This saying is all well in good in South Jersey but saying it to someone from another state is a social experiment.

8. You observed many Twitter fights over school rivalries

Twitter. The platform to voice our opinions. You definitely saw Twitter fights between rivals before big football or basketball games.

Cover Image Credit: marykate Mclaughlin

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject. It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease. The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own. We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time. Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death. However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me. In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident. A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life. I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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4 Things I Wish High School Me Knew

Every day has a purpose.

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People don't give high school enough credit for having the ability to shape your life. It can build you or it can break you and often times there is no in between. As I enter into my senior year of college I have reflected a lot on my college career and how it really has been the best years of my life up to this point, but I know that without a doubt my life would have been so different in I would have known these things as a high schooler.

1. Your life is valuable

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. - Ephesians 2:4-7

2. You aren't defined by your singleness. 

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. - Song of Solomon 2:7

4. You aren't going to fit in

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

4. Your clothes aren't going to fit forever, don't spend all of your money on them 

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." - Luke 12:15

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