Post-Semester Hopes and Reflection

Post-Semester Hopes and Reflection

Almost there, ladies and gents.

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So, here we are: almost at the end of my first semester junior year here at West Virginia University.

If there's anything new that I've learned since entering college, it's to never give up. Because once you fall, it will be hard to get back up again. We all struggle at one point or another, and I feel that college has allowed some of us to be brought down a peg or two.

With this in mind, college has become a conduit to instill humility to those of us who may need it the most. For example, if you ever see someone setting themselves up for failure, then you should reach out and help them. We may not know at the time what may have happened, but it would be futile to look at all the "what if"s. Every now and then, we may see ourselves having our own ups and downs, but, I guess, life is full of challenges that we must be able to overcome to see what tomorrow may have in store for us.

And now we're here. I have one final exam left to go until I am officially finished with this semester. I have come to notice that despite the challenges I faced in both my personal life and academic life, my anxiety has spiked only a few times over the course of these past few months. I've been surprisingly stress-free when dealing with hardships, which is rare and rather unsettling.

Despite my anxiety, I've found a sense of calm in moments where I usually would let my emotions get the better of me. Perhaps it's a newfound lack of care towards things that used to affect me so much more. This is arguably both a good and bad change. We need a healthy balance of eustress and distress, but for most college students that is an unattainable ideal because distress highly outweighs any sort of 'good' stress. It's been quite a while since I've experienced 'good' stress and for that, I truly cannot wait for the impending break to start, no matter how short.

I'm already halfway done with my junior year. Like most, I can hardly believe I've already been in college for almost 3 years. I am looking forward to getting closer to graduation, but I also am not ready to be done with college. My best friend and I have been making a Christmas list, full of adventures and finally getting to see what our home has to offer. I am looking forward to finally taking advantage of being 21, and creating new memories I will think of fondly. I want this Christmas season to be filled with less stay-at-home days, and more afternoons and nights spent enjoying company. I want to take full advantage of this break, by working on myself, and spending as much time as I can with both friends and family. I know the rest of junior year will hit me full stride once January comes around, but until then I look forward to a Christmas filled with more laughs, more joy, more love, more bonding experiences and of course, more hot chocolate.

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Intimidation Isn't Always What It Seems

Always ask yourself this question when feeling intimidated...

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A few months ago, I read something online that really stuck with me. I don't remember who said it, or where it came from, so my apologies for not accurately crediting the genius who spoke these words, but it said this:

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Growing up, you constantly find yourself in situations where you feel scared or uncomfortable. I don't think there's one person on the planet that can say that they didn't feel intimidated at one point or another growing up. Maybe it was by the "popular kids" or by a teacher or a supervisor. So many people can make you feel a certain way and it can be scary when you're a child growing up. Maybe you felt intimidated because they were bullies or they were a strong personality.

But after reading this quote, I started to think about every time in my life that I felt intimidated. Walking into a new job, taking a chance on writing, seeing a group of girls in the cafeteria - whatever it was, I thought of it. And my perspective completely changed.

It wasn't necessarily that the people who I was encountering or the situation I was entering was scary. In fact, most times, those people turned out to be incredibly welcoming and nice, or that situation was nothing but spectacular, but at that moment, I was completely intimidated. It was something new and the unknown can always be scary. But looking back, it wasn't that those situations and people were intimidating - it was that I was intimidated.

Being intimidated is completely natural. It'd be crazy to say 'hey, don't be intimidated' and expect people to actually feel comfortable. But it's something to think about moving forward when you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even scared. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and let that timidness get the best of you but think of that question and realize that it's not necessarily the situation - sometimes it's you letting the situation get the best of you.

At the end of the day, people are just people. Everyone has boogers and everyone had good and bad days and to be honest, the people who others find intimidating are usually the ones who are just better at putting up a front. They're the ones who find having a hard exterior is easier than being vulnerable and letting others in. Don't let those people scare you. They're usually fighting a battle that they're taking out on the people around them - and that shouldn't scare you.

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Think about it, feel it, let it wash over you, and don't let those feelings get the best of you. Most of the best things in life are just past that line outside of your comfort zone.

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