An open letter to Ivy Hall and my Ivy League

An open letter to Ivy Hall and my Ivy League

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Typically, the college experience is a time of first occurrences. For many, it is the first time they are off on their own, away from their parents. It is a time of maturing, and a time of finding oneself. Most incoming college students don't realize how much their surrounding environments, whether it be a roommate, living arrangement, or friend group; may influence their college experience. Unfortunately, when you think of college, you don't exactly think of luxurious living quarters and extravagant amenities. You do, however, think of cramped dorm rooms, community bathrooms, and poor food options. Though these undesirable aspects are almost inevitable, it does not mean that your entire college experience will be completely unpleasant.



Four semesters, seven roommates and a pseudo roommate into my college career, I was fortunate enough to find the surrounding environment that would get me through one of the most trying years of my education. I was fortunate enough to find my Ivy League. My junior year of college, I moved into a new apartment - Ivy Hall, apartment 5103. It was a relatively nice apartment for a college campus; four individual bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen with a dishwasher, and a living room equipped with a couch, a coffee table and two armchairs. Sure, it wasn't the five star living I was hoping for, but it was much nicer than the dorms I had lived in previously. This apartment, however, was more than just a place to sleep at night. This apartment quickly became my home, and its residents my family.



My first roommate, Carson, really was something special. You would never guess that he and I had only known each other for a few months when we moved in together; our friendship seemed centuries old. Just months into our friendship, we were going on vacations together and attending each other's family parties. We had that sort of "I'm poor right now, so you buy lunch today" relationship, which was also very "I bought this because it reminded me of you." From the very first day we met, he went above and beyond, doing things for me that my long-time friends didn't even do. Whether it was a quick pick-me-up during a late night study session, or a little drive to get my mind off of things, he was always there to catch me when I was falling. As far as friends go, Carson was my soulmate. He is the definition of a true friend. The list that I could thank him for is endless and I am forever grateful that he walked into my life.



My second roommate, Jess, was the "college mom" that our apartment so desperately needed. She was always there with a helping hand and some motherly advice to get us through whatever was troubling us that day. Throughout our time together, Jess helped me with everything from resumes, to boy problems, to making sure I was eating a healthy meal when my schedule made me forget to do it on my own. In our apartment, the phrase "I'm sorry I'm trash, I'll do it later" was beyond overused, but Jess always made sure it got done. I know I speak for the entire Ivy League when I say that, all of those times that she replaced the paper towels, loaded the dishwasher, or took out the trash did not go unnoticed. Jess truly was the backbone that kept our little family together, and we couldn't have done any of it without her.



My third roommate, Rocio, was the sister that I never wanted, but was so lucky to have found. When we first moved in together, we did not know each other very well, but I was optimistic about the future of our friendship. It wasn't long before we had formed a bond like no other. Rocio had become the person that I knew I could be myself around, and the part of my day that I looked forward to. When I had my life together, she was always ready for a study session. When I was trying to get my life together, she was always ready with a motivational speech (or Netflix, Chipotle and a nap). I could always count on her to walk me to class (usually because we were both running late), grab coffee with me between classes, or stay up with me all night listening to me complain about how I've ruined my own life by partying instead of doing my homework. I'm so thankful to have had her as a roommate, a friend, and a role model.



Now, the semester has come to an end and so has our time living together. They say that, for some, college is a home away from home; I never expected mine to come with a soulmate, a second mother and the sister that I never knew I needed. I can never thank you all enough for being my family and keeping me sane these past few months. Just know that, without you guys, my life is in shambles and I miss the Ivy League more than you could know. Each one of you has impacted my life in a way that I couldn't even begin to explain, so here is my long overdue thank you for literally everything. I love you all and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us.



Sometimes, life sends you blessings in disguise. I've learned that, when this happens, you don't question it- you simply accept that you were lucky enough to have them and do your very best to share the wealth. The Ivy League was my blessing. There's no one else I'd rather have shared cramped dorm rooms, poorly flushing toilets and chip crumb covered carpets with. If you don't have one yet, go out and find yourself your very own Ivy League- you don't know what you're missing.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Michigan's Proposal Three

Why expanding voting access can only improve Michigan's democratic system

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Last month, the Michigan Board of Canvassers gave the green light to a ballot proposal aimed at overhauling Michigan's electoral laws to add reforms like automatic and election day voter registration and straight ticket voting. A Detroit News Poll completed earlier this October showed "majority support" for the proposal and for good reason. From increasing voter enfranchisement to allowing for voters to vote more efficiently, this proposal can only help Michigan's population be more civically engaged by allowing more voters to get involved in the election process.

Although Michigan's voter turnout of 63% during the 2016 presidential election is higher than the national average of 58%, it is still lower than it was in previous years, such as when it was over 66% during the 2008 presidential election. Also, according to data from the Secretary of State, there are 200,000 Michiganders of voting age that are not registered voters. While this deficit seems small in comparison to Michigan's overall population of nearly 10 million, it is important that any number of potential voters can make all the difference in an important election. Recall that Trump only won Michigan by a little over 11,000 votes in the 2016 election. Maybe 200,000 additional votes could have made a difference. By allowing citizens of voting age to easily register to vote the day of an election through an automatic process that should reduce the level of work on the voter's part. While the specific details of this automated process are still being decided, there should be no reason to dispute Proposal Three in terms of voter enfranchisement, since involving more citizens in our electoral process is nothing if not meritorious.

Another important provision of Proposal Three is re-implementing the practice of straight ticket voting. This means that there will be an option on your ballot that automatically allows you to vote for all the the candidates in a political party in a single action. To explain, you would not have to bubble in each candidate individually if you intend to vote for only candidates of a single party. While opponents of this practice have argued that it decreases voter volition since it may encourage voters to not actually look at who is running for office and vote along overly partisan lines, approximately 30% of voters nationwide did not complete their ballots in recent elections nationwide. This may be because of the sheer number of candidates that larger voting districts may have. Chicago, while not in Michigan, has over 101 candidates on the average ballot. Larger regions in Michigan such as the metro-Detroit area likely have ballots that are similar in length and complexity to Chicago. By allowing people to vote for the political party they subscribe to in a quick and efficient manner through straight ticket voting, more voters may be incentivized to actually come out and vote in elections, which once again leads to Proposal Three increasing the democratic representativeness of Michigan elections.

As previously mentioned, Michigan voters will be deciding the fate of Proposal Three in the upcoming November 6th midterm elections. I strongly urge all Michigan voters to support this measure because, again, there simply is so much civic benefit to be gained at so little cost.



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