To My Brother As He Graduates High School

To My Brother As He Graduates High School

Good luck in your future, I know you will do great things!
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You just graduated and I am more than proud. I know that high school hasn't been the best four years of your life, they weren't for me either. But these next years, as you are going through college, will be. I didn't think I'd meet many people, and I was right about that. I've only met two people in college that I consider being my friends. That's okay though because life is not about how many friends you have. The first two years of college were so much fun because I actually did things and didn't really worry about money that much. I just did what I wanted to do and knew that eventually, I'd make the money up

Don't worry if you decide to change your major. I did many times before I found the one that I really liked. I don't think you will though because criminal justice has been something that you've wanted to do for a really long time. And I have no doubt that you will be the best police officer ever. You are my little brother and I don't want anything bad to happen to you and with the career choice that you have made, it makes me scared. The police force is a very scary profession to go into but I'm sure you will be fine and I shouldn't be worried.

As you enter college, just know that I will always be there for you, even if we will be four hours apart and on opposite ends of the state. I wish you would have picked a closer to school to me so that I could visit you more often but you choose the school that you always wanted to go to and that's more important than seeing me I guess. I shouldn't have to worry about us talking because we already text every day and we already have skype set up. I also have some plans to come down and visit you when I'm not busy.

With you now a High School graduate, it makes me feel old. I feel like just the other day I graduated but that was two years ago. And now to think that you are graduated, it's unbelievable. You have done so much throughout high school, more than I ever did and I give you credit for that. With being in Academic Decathlon for three out of the four years, participating in golf all four years, and taking part in the pit band for plays. You have done so much. You make me proud to be your sister and I think you showed me up. It's always said that the younger sibling will have a harder time in school because they have to live up to the standards that the older one set. Well, I didn't set the standards very high and you sure did pass me up with your success.

Keep on drumming and live out your dreams. Don't worry about the money at this point in your life, because you have your whole life ahead of you to make it all up. Oh, and please don't just eat ramen and pop tarts while in college, eat some decent food even if it costs more than you want to spend.

I love you!

Cover Image Credit: Me

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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A Reminder To My Little Brother, You Are One Of My Largest Blessings

My baby brother deserves the world and more.

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My not so little brother Nicholas, is one of my life's greatest blessings. He is childish, yet mature for his age, the one I protect but also the one who protects me. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would feel this way, I am not so sure I would have believed you.

Siblings whether you like it or not, are tied to you for life. They are the people who understand you best, know you forwards and backwards, and simply know what you go through on a daily basis.

Nicholas and I, while younger had the classic older sister younger brother relationship. Kicking and screaming at one another over the silliest of things, and very rarely giving the other as little as a hug. Fighting like cats and dogs. But regardless of all this we were always protective of each other.

I would say our relationship shifted for the better, when times got the hardest in our house. We relied on one another. Comforted and supported one another. It was different and in the best way possible. Thankful for these hard times. Simply because without it, I wouldn't be as close to Nicky.

I believe in my brother. I see the best in him always, even when others at times doubt him. I know that right now as a teenage boy, these times are confusing. You're confused about where you fit in this life. And I want you to know that wherever you end up, I am by your side.

High school is complicated and so is navigating who you are. But do not ever worry Nicky, because I am here to remind you when you forget just how special you are. Here are some reasons why!

Reason one; because whenever you see someone hurting you immediately warm them with one of the tightest yet softest hugs. Overwhelming people with this sense of comfort and support. You may not offer motivational words, but you are there with quiet strength for those you love.

Reason two; that goofy smile paired with the deepest of dimples can light up just about any room and heart. You have a charisma about you bud, one that many people are drawn to. This is something that will carry you through life.

Reason three; even though you like to pretend you do not care about most things, all you want is to be accepted and seen. Just like the rest of the world. You are relatable, you work hard, you fiercely protect and care for your friends and family. You do not even realize it but you have the tools to influence so many other people. Do not be scared to unlock the potential of your greatness.

Reason four; you are so bright. Some people truthfully just do not fit the mold of educational systems. That is okay that you are one of them, and just because you cannot conform to this doesn't diminish the fact that your brain is larger than life. No other 15 year old I know, becomes interested in conversation of bitcoin let alone has productive thoughts on the matter. You're going to be successful in your own ways, despite what your report card says.

These reasons barely scratch the surface as to why I believe in you. Sometimes, as humans we need to be reminded that we are doing great. That regardless of how messy our worlds seem not, one day they will make sense. And we will discover our greater purpose.

Like I said, Nicholas' potential is endless. I truthfully believe that. Because that is what a sibling does. They believe in one another, when it seems like the rest of the world doesn't. Nicky may be younger than me, but I learn so much from him. And as I play the role of the older sister, I also discover things about myself too.

I do not think Nicholas understands truthfully how special he is. How much he warms our hearts and home. He was the best addition to our family and he is one of the largest blessings in my life personally as well. I am so thankful.

This is a corny tribute, however one that is so necessary. Simply because I cannot help but gush about my baby brother. I love you to the moon and back Nicky, keep the goofy smile on your face, continue to love hard, and continue to expand that brilliant mind of yours.

I'll continue to protect and love you for as long as I live. Show the world just how special you are. Again, I believe in you!

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