College Is Not An Excuse To Lose Your Self-Respect

College Is Not An Excuse To Lose Your Self-Respect

Trashy is not trendy.

It's Thursday night. You're waiting to get into the bar and you take in the scenery around you. There's a girl bent forward into a trash can emptying the contents of her stomach, while her friend is across the street squatting next to a bush with her skirt around her ankles. There's a boy flailing his body around yelling at the bouncer through slurred words, while his other friend shoves his tongue down some equally trashed girl's throat. And let me tell you something, we've all been there, I've been there. But there are people that are there every. single. weekend. And I'm not trying to belittle you or judge you if you are "that girl" or "that guy", but instead maybe open a few eyes on the importance of keeping a sound self-respect, especially in college.

Everyone wants respect but not everyone respects themselves. And it is so evident in the actions of so many college kids around me honestly it's overwhelming. We are so close to adulthood, barely toes deep in it, but we are, for all intensive purposes, adults. We enter college at the legal age of 18 years old. And we quickly realize as that girl from our English class is getting handcuffed to the side of a cop car, that we aren't minors anymore and our actions have repercussions. And we see her the next week showing her mugshot to all her friends and laughing it off, but that is embarrassing. You lost control. You showed everyone that you find it funny to vomit all over the dance floor and argue with a cop. But do you ever stop to think that one day you're probably going to have a daughter that might act the exact same way if you don't start respecting yourself? Because you can't teach true self-respect if you don't have any. And don't think for a second that this is only a problem based around girls. Boys need it almost more. Because they're taught their whole life that boys will be boys. And that they can just ride the wave of a double-standard for the majority of college, while calling girls derogatory names when they've probably slept with more people than she has.

But here is where the issue lies. What is a boy with a mind shaped from social media and society, supposed to call a girl who throws herself at every guy every weekend, throws up all over at every party, and her clothes are half off her body by the end of the night, every time. Certainly not a grown woman. Because grown woman do not act like that. Does your grandmother? Does your mother? They are grown. And this is not me slut-shaming. This is me raising awareness to the girls that wonder why they don't attract the decent boys. Respect yourself. You are a woman. And you're working towards being grown. And it is hard sometimes in a place like college to not over do it every once in a while. But respect yourself enough to know that you don't want people to have to walk over you when you're passed out on the floor. Because let me tell you something, boys notice when you have self-respect. They love a girl with confidence and a girl that knows she's worth it. But here is where boys need to understand something. Just because a girl is wearing a low cut shirt or a tight dress does not mean you have the right to her body just because she is showing it off. Would you want some 20-year-old scrub pawing at your little sister just because you could see her cleavage? Guess what, cleavage is often inevitable and its not a turn on for you to ask to do a "boob luge" off of me because I "wouldn't wear that shirt if I didn't want you to." Understand that we're all somebody's daughter and sister just the same as you are somebody's son and brother. If you wouldn't want someone treating your loved one that way, don't treat someone else's like that.

And this all comes full circle when you respect yourself. Because when you respect yourself you are more open to the respect of others. She's face down on the couch and your friend tells you to go hit that? You're better than that, go find the girl that managed to stay upright throughout the night. Your friend tells you to write "Rush __ Fraternity" on your bare chest with your smiling face in it? If you're not prepared for your grandfather or boss to see that, take a hard pass on that one. It's not trendy to be trashy, no matter what anyone tells you, you will always be able to have fun while remaining true to your standards and respecting yourself.

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An Open Letter To My Youngest Self

From, the young adult finding comfort in the past while lost in the present.


Dear future big person,

Speaking from experience, the world is a crazy place. It's sad, yet exciting to know what the future holds for you. The world has been taken over by devices and electronics most never thought were possible.

If you're wondering why I'm writing to you, it's because I care a lot more now than I did back when I was you. I'm your Marty McFly, here to tell you how to prepare for the future. (Don't ask me what that reference is –you figure it out!).

For starters, let's talk about this technology thing. Gameboys, Nintendo DS', Wiis, Xboxes –don't mess with them. Television is fine –if the people from the Cold War survived it, we can, too. I want you to spend time enjoying the real world, not the electronic, fake one.

I want you to go outside and sit in the grass, pick those dandelions and mash them up into "paint." Paint mom something nice and maybe go for a bike ride with dad. Catch lightning bugs at dusk and bottle them all up in a mason jar. Eventually, let them free, all together.

Your brother is gross and weird, but he actually turns out to be a pretty cool kid. You don't have to be all mushy with him, but be sure he knows you love him. After all, he is family.

Make friends in the neighborhood, even if they are boys. So what? Challenge them. Race them on your bike with awesome purple and white streamers drifting from the handlebars. Push hard, through the soles of your Sketchers covered feet.

Pick up a piece of chalk and create a world of your own world with 3,000 Toys R Us stores, one police station, and only a few stop signs. Create and color your own flowers, whether they actually exist or not. Let your imagination run wild!

Turn on the radio and dance like crazy! Scream the lyrics to Smashmouth's "All Star" and Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape." Change the station every now and then to hear something new; it's always interesting to see your reactions to these interesting creations.

I want you to wear what you feel like and don't care what the others say about you. If you want to wear your purple dress-up shoes with your matching purse and hat, then do it. If you want to wear a Hula skirt in the dead of winter, do it (but please bring some leggings so mom doesn't flip out). If you want to wear those bedazzled jeans, then rock 'em.

If you're wondering why I'm telling you to do these silly things, it's only because we lost these traits along the way. I don't want you to miss the experiences that only come from the natural world because you had your head stuck in a tablet; it will all pass you in the blink of an eye.

I don't want you to ever feel trapped inside your house, no matter the weather. There is always a way out.

Don't let other people stop you from getting something you want. Don't let them intimidate you or talk you out of something you are passionate about.

Your friends will be the people you escape to when the house seems inescapable. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.

Your imagination is one of the greatest gifts you'll ever have. It drives you –your hopes and dreams, your wishes in the fountain and your kisses to the dandelions. Don't ever stop chasing them.

Always, always do what you want to do. You sing karaoke to that super catchy song because you know you'll kill it. Wear what you want however you want because you know that you look good in some strange way. (As long as you're not naked, that is). Stubbornness is good.

Your family will always be your family. What they do affects you, and vice versa. Bring them good, positive news. They don't need any more trouble.

Stand up for yourself, for your friends and family, for your beliefs and wishes. Be proud of the work you do and the life you live. Many people around you wish they could have lived like you did.

Most importantly, do not let your past define your future. A lot of things will happen, some of which may or may not go horribly wrong. There is nothing you can do to stop these things, except hope. You can always change for the better as long as you don't look back. Be proud of your past, but be known for your future –whatever you want that to be.

Please, promise me these things. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to never lose these traits –hold them tightly and never release them. I can't tell you how this life is going to go, because that simply isn't the way this world works. Just breathe through it and listen to your gut –that's the future guiding you.

I, and many others, love you –your character, your curls, your studded jeans,your pink Power Ranger costume, your Hello Kitty backpack, and your goofy smile.

Don't ever forget that.

With love,

The Girl Who Is Lost And Trying To Turn Back Time.

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