The Back-To-College Starter Pack

The Back-To-College Starter Pack

Because it's never too early to shop online.
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Summer always seems to fly by after the fourth of July, which means back-to-school shopping! Ready or not, it's time for us college students to at least start thinking about what to add to our Amazon (and clothing site) shopping carts. Here is a list of what I plan on purchasing for the upcoming semester:

1. Portable speaker

In search of a fresh new sound system for all your music-playing needs? Be the star of any study session, pregame, or tailgate with the Bose SoundLink -- it comes in FOUR vibrant colors and it's Bluetooth-compatible (among other awesome features)!

https://www.amazon.com/Bose-SoundLink-Color-Blueto...

2. Laptop case

Protect your Macbook from scratches and dents by snapping on one of these sweet cases! Take a look at that extensive color selection -- if that isn't enough to convince you to "add to cart", then I don't know what will.

https://www.amazon.com/Mosiso-Plastic-Keyboard-Pro...

3. Backpack

Every college kid needs a reliable bag to get from place-to-place on campus, especially one that'll keep their pricey textbooks and laptops safe & dry. This classic, dependable North Face backpack is sure to do the trick.

https://www.thenorthface.com/shop/equipment-backpa...

4. Sunglasses

There are few things worse than being blinded by the sun while trekking across campus on a sunny day. Get yourself a pair of these reliable Ray Ban wayfarers - they are well worth the price tag. I've bought two pairs over the past four years and they are both still in great shape!

https://www.ray-ban.com/usa/sunglasses/RB2132 UN...

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I Was Bullied In Middle School And It Still Affects Me Today

It might seem dark right now, but it does get better.
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"You're not alone."

Growing up, I’ve never been considered “popular”. I would hang out with the “popular kids”, but I was never looked at as one of them.

From the first time that I can remember, which was when I first came to a new Catholic school in kindergarten, I was an outcast. I never knew why. I just was.

I distinctly remember one recess in kindergarten when the majority of the girls in my class all formed together against me and my best friend, Camelia, and they were just mean to us. There’s really no way I can describe it other than “mean”.

It wasn’t just that one day in recess that they did this...it was every day.

Camelia was my companion through it all. I don’t really remember meeting her, but I do remember how close we were from the start.

From kindergarten to second grade, Camelia was the one who would endure the mean girls with me every day. Everything seemed fine as long as we had each other, even if it wasn’t.

Even though I did get picked on pretty bad during those three years, Camelia did get it worse most of the time. By the end of second grade, she and her family had enough of the harassment.

During recess one day, she told me she wouldn’t be coming back next year for third grade. She would be going to a different school. I remember being so heartbroken and thinking, “Who will I have now?”.

That was selfish of me, I know, but I just really didn’t want to have to deal with this alone. I was so upset, but I understood. If I had the choice, I would leave, too.

Third and fourth grades weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be. I still had Camelia as a best friend, just not at school. She and her mom even brought us mac & cheese when my grandmother passed away in third grade.

Her family stayed close with my family and both of our families knew how crazy we could be together. Our moms definitely tried to make sure we stayed close and we did. Staying so close to Camelia throughout all those years is probably what helped me get through it.

She was the only one who actually knew how I felt.

During those two years, I only had one problem. A girl threatened to shoot me with her father’s gun, and my mom only found out when another girl told her mom.

We went to the principal and talked to her. She held a meeting with me, my mom, the other girl, and her mom. The principal, of course, seemed not to care because she let the other girl off the hook with no punishment.

Other than that one incident, I had hopes high that maybe I’d be able to make it through the next four years. That hope quickly vanished fall of fifth grade year when I broke into hives from an allergic reaction while doing homework.

I was rushed to the hospital and my mom made me see a “nutrition and wellness” specialist within the next week. The specialist gave me a special diet that would “clear me of any toxins” I had in my body.

Halloween was in a few weeks and I wouldn’t be able to even eat any of the candy. I was out of school for a couple weeks, but when I got back, Heather Donahue made sure that no one would talk to me by telling all our classmates that my allergic reaction was chicken pox and that they’d get it if they came near me.

I have no idea why she felt the need to do that, but it happened and that was just the beginning of what the next few years would hold.

By fifth grade, the number of girls in my class dropped drastically from the amount there were in kindergarten. In kindergarten, there were about 16 girls; now there were four: Heather, Violet, Acacia, and me.

One lunch, the other three were talking about what they wanted to be for Halloween. They wanted to be baseball players. I said I wanted to be one, too. When I said that, they told me I couldn’t because it’s their group thing and not mine.

Since I didn’t want to be the only girl in the class left out, I dressed up as one anyway. When I did, they ignored me and made sure I wasn’t in any of their pictures.

By the middle of the year, I made new friends with the sixth graders. I got to eat lunch with them and they accepted me.

Being friends with kids in a different grade was what got me through that year. If I didn’t hang out with them, I don’t know how much worse that year would’ve been.

I don’t want to know.

Fifth grade flew by and soon came sixth grade. Sixth grade was probably the worst year.

It started the day of the Halloween dance when Will Campbell asked me to the dance. I said yes... because why not? I had known him since kindergarten and he seemed like a nice kid.

We had fun at the dance. In sixth grade, if you went to a dance with someone, you were considered to be dating. So, we did “date”.

We were on and off for three months. While together, it felt like I had no issues with anyone. But when we broke up, it felt like everyone in my class ganged up to make me miserable.

When we broke up the last time, I found out from Will’s twin brother that the whole thing was just a bet they made with each other.

From then on, the year just seemed to get worse. I was picked on for anything I would do. I was even picked on for anything I would wear on dress down days.

“Why are you wearing that shirt?”

Heather would say that almost daily, and she’d tell me to kill myself. Pointing to a sewage hole, she would tell me, “Hey, see that hole? Why don’t you just die in it?”.

I would always come home crying or not even go to school at all. My mom and I went to both the principal and my sixth-grade teacher many times. Both said they would try to help and talk to the class. Neither ever did.

They said they would try to help, but then no one would put in the effort. I begged my parents daily just to let me move to a different school, but they would always just say, “No, we don’t want to risk the good education you get at the Catholic school”.

I felt so alone, no one could help me. Even friends I did make were taken away from me by both Heather and Violet.

I never understood, but Heather always had a way of manipulating people against me. I always thought that it was because she was prettier and skinnier than me, but maybe it was because she actually was able to do so.

I mean, she was Heather and I was just me.

Every day that passed, my self-confidence was broken even more. Either by telling me I’m ugly and fat or by telling me to go kill myself, Heather always succeeded in making my life miserable.

In seventh grade, I made a new friend, Oliver. I told him everything. He was the only person who knew what was going on.

He made me feel less alone.

He didn’t really do anything to help me but, sometimes to feel a little less alone is all someone needs.

When Heather and Violet got into a big fight later in the year, Violet and I became best friends. Even though we were “best friends” now, I didn’t tell her how bad they had hurt me.

Violet and I continued to be close until the beginning of eighth grade when Heather and Violet became best friends again.

Eighth-grade year sucked but flew by quickly. Before I knew it, I graduated. At graduation, I received a $50 Visa gift card for winning an essay contest the whole class participated in.

Most of my friendships haven’t lasted this long but one friend has. Camelia has been my best friend since the beginning of kindergarten and she still is as we’re about to graduate high school together.

I am truly proud of myself for making it through those nine years at that small Catholic school and not giving up.

If I gave up, I would not be where I am today: a senior in high school, about to graduate and go on to become a journalist.

I don’t think I would have made it through all these years without Oliver, Camelia, and a few others.

The journey was long and tough, but I am so glad that I kept going.

Everything truly does get better, you just have to wait.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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What It Was Like To Be Single On V-day

Self-reflection
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Well, today is Valentine’s day. When I was younger, when I was in middle school or high school, I looked forward to every Valentine’s Day. I did not have a boyfriend then, but there was something magical about this love holiday. This magic is called romance. I dreamed of having the perfect romantic encounter on Valentine’s day. I thought the world would be perfect, but as I matured and grew up, Valentine’s day became less and less exciting. Now, it is just another day. Life keeps going and I don’t have time to stand there for hours to wait for the romantic encounters in my dream. I ended up giving my best friend a white rose that a school organization gave out. Valentine’s day no longer means that much to me. I am not sure if this is good or bad. The romantic side of me kind of just decided to just chill this Valentine’s day. I’ve had four classes today and I was mainly focused on myself instead of what is around me. But, nonetheless, seeing all the love did make me happy.

In the afternoon, after my best friend and I had treated ourselves to a nice dinner, the news of a school shooting in Florida caught our attention. On this day of love, there are people suffering and that completely took my joy away. My friends and I have looked up the numbers of school shootings that happened this year and the number was 17 school shootings. 17 already and it is only February. I was shocked. I didn't know what to make of this information. What is happening to us? Are any of us safe? Why does this keep happening? What can we do about it? I have thought about this long and hard and I don’t know the answer of any of them. One thing I do know is that school is supposed to be a safe place. We need to do something to keep this from happening.

Cover Image Credit: pixino

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