No hurricanes here

Blessed In The Midwest

"Ope, here comes a hurricane." Said no Midwesterner ever.

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Social media is always ragging on the Midwest states and the people that live there for their unique characteristics such as loving Busch Light and not heeding tornado warnings. There are countless "ope" and ranch dressing jokes. Now don't get me wrong, they are funny and accurate.


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Nonetheless, there are a lot of qualities about living in the Midwest that is wildly underestimated. As hurricanes Florence and Olivia prepare to blast parts of the U.S., I find myself feeling extremely lucky with the weather I have experienced in the only two states I have ever lived in; Missouri and Iowa.

Hate all you want, but in regards to natural disasters, the Midwest is truly blessed (at least where I've lived). Hurricane? Never. Tropical storm? Nope. Wildfire? No. Earthquake? Once in 2008, and it was small. Tornado? Not one. Tsunami? The Mighty Mississippi isn't that mighty. Mudslide? Only in the form of a chocolate-y drink.

We get strong winds every now and then. We get some flooding for sure. Heavy rain and thunderstorm damage are about as extreme as it gets. To be honest, the worst weather experiences I have had would be blizzards and freezing temperatures while living in Iowa. Yet, these experiences are nothing compared to the mountains of snow states further North have gotten.


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Never have I have I ever had to evacuate where I live to escape the damages of an incoming storm or a fire spreading to my area. Never have I ever had to stock up on supplies at the store because it might be a few days before we will be able to leave the house. Never have I ever even been without power for more than a day.

Hate on the Midwest all you want, but at least when we have a blizzard we just wait a few days for it to be 60 degrees again. We don't have the stress of major disasters like other parts of the United States, and I am thankful for that. As the Carolina's evacuate to escape the wrath of Florence, the Midwest will be waiting safely and patiently with our open and loving arms.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

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It Was A Culture Shock To Come Back Home To Pick-Up Trucks And Sweet Tea After Being In A City

It seriously makes you wonder, 'Like how did I ever live here?'

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Going to college in the north is very different from the south for obvious reasons, but going to college in the north AND in a big city is even more interesting and culturally different from the south.

Not a day went by during my first two years at Temple University where I wasn't completely entertained by the wonders and crazy moments the city had to offer to me. I love living a fast-paced life, and living in the city definitely gave me that opportunity, but what I was never prepared for was well...the trash.

Like, Philadelphia is dirty. Dir-ty dirty.

I've grown accustomed to seeing trash in the streets, on the sidewalks, and in the few patches of grass between buildings, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing when I come face to face with it.

Despite the trash, however, I love how open-minded and accepting everyone is in the city. It was nice coming face to face with strangers and being able to sense that they had the same progressive viewpoints as I did.

Now let's flip the switch and talk about coming home...

For those who don't know me, I'm from a city called Macon in the good ole peach state of Georgia. Now, Macon is country. I feel like when people think of the south they think of all the cute little things about the south like country accents and sweet tea, but there's a lot of unpleasant things about my city that makes me reluctant to come home.

For one, it's slow as hell, but I guess leaving the city makes anything else seem slow right? I mean, talk about a culture shock. One second you're almost getting run over by city-goers rushing from point A to point B, and the next, well you're surrounded by pick-up trucks and MAGA hats. A culture shock.

I guess I'm one of those people that isn't proud to say I'm from the city of Macon, but I have to pay homage to it because if it weren't for growing up in this conservative, significantly slower-paced city, I wouldn't be the outspoken, bold woman I am today. My hometown made me want to get out, explore the world, and be my own person, and now Philadelphia has become my second home--a place where I finally feel free.

So yeah, you could say it's definitely a huge culture shock coming back home to my hometown of Macon, Georgia, but in a way, I'm thankful for that culture shock, because it is a testament to my growth and shows how far I've come since the last time I was home.

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