Dear High School Seniors, Before Your Last Semester Starts

Dear High School Seniors, Before Your Last Semester Starts

Applying to college is hard. You'll get through it.
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Dear Seniors,

I know how you feel because one year ago, I was in the same spot as you.

If you were anything like me, you did not want to talk about your application process, the schools you were applying to, your scores, and wanted to avoid acceptance and rejection letters as much as possible.

While everyone is probably checking their emails or mailboxes to check for their acceptance letters, you’re probably avoiding opening your email or mailbox as much as possible.

I know that the majority of your first semester was spent staring at your common application and supplements- attempting to revise every sentence, proofreading for errors, and making sure your essay fits the word count. After all, every word in this essay determines your future.

Every other student and adult is probably asking you the same questions: where you’re applying, how far you are on apps, what major you’re applying to — and then you’ll hear everything about their application process or their kid’s. And nothing kills your more than that. I personally was not proud of my grades and felt so insecure talking about what my plans were, and equally hated hearing about it.

Applying to a select amount of colleges is definitely stressful, but the worst part is the actual wait. After hitting the submit button, your future is left in the hands of picky and selective people who comprise the decisions committee. After all, they want the best for their school and you don’t know if that is you or not. As you wait, you think about your life at college — wearing college gear, going to the library, the dorms. You even think about how you’re going to announce your college on social media. The wait feels like forever until you receive a letter from a college.

This can go one of two ways:

The more desirable is reading “Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you of your admission at....” The first acceptance letter puts you at ease, knowing that there is a spot for you somewhere.

The other is reading “I regret to inform you...”

I get it. Rejection hurts. Whether it was from your dream school or not, you will still wonder why you were not good enough. Why would you apply to this school if you didn’t think you were good enough? You may feel as if you are less competent compare to those around you who did get into the university you most desired. You may get waitlisted and wonder if it is even worth your time to consider this school.

The environment I grew up in, especially my high school, made me believe that if I did not go to a college that was ranked in the top ten percent of the nation, I was going to be set behind those who did and not be successful. However, in my past few months at university, I have truly learned that your institution will never define you or your capabilities. Regardless of where you go to college, you are the one in control of using your education and applying it in order to build a successful future for yourself. It is all up to you to use your resources and take advantage of opportunities presented to you.

I never in a million years would have thought I would be at Baylor University as a business major. And I will tell you one thing, I do not regret my decision one bit. Of course, there were other schools in my mind and at the time I wish I applied to other schools. Now that I am here, I am happy with my decision because of all the people I have met and the experiences I have been able to be a part of. So many people asked me where Baylor was and so many adults asked me why I didn’t choose to stay at a UC or somewhere local. I never really had an answer but I am glad I was given the opportunity to venture out of my hometown and grow as a person in such little time.

Do not get beat yourself up over one college because going to college is an accomplishment in itself. Enjoy the last moments of high school because I assure you that you will miss it. Wherever you end up, I promise you will be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Shachi Deshmukh

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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The Most Important Things I've Learned From Taking Philosophy

The biggest takeaways that I have collected from my time in my Philosophy class.

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When registering for classes for Fall 2018, I found myself drawn to Philosophy 126: Mind, Brain, Self & Evolution. I figured the class would give me the opportunity to perform a lot of introspection during my first semester at college while also helping me fulfill some General Education requirements, and I couldn't have been more right. I've never had the pleasure of taking a class with such a loose agenda and the freedom to discuss every aspect of the information we are learning. That said, there have been a few major takeaways from this class.

First is the idea that you are not the sum of your parts, but the sum of your parts and the parts of everyone around you. Most people have heard the overused quote "It takes a village to raise a child," but this idea couldn't be more than true. We subconsciously pull so many of our habits, preferences, etc. from the people around us that we ultimately grow to become a community within ourselves, and there is something truly beautiful about that. It takes a village to raise a child to become a village.

Second, I've learned how important it is to understand that if some big philosophical or psychological or physical problem has not been solved yet, there is rarely going to be one solution to it. Millions of years of group thought have placed us in the intellectual shoes we are in, and yet we still question every day what our "purpose" is. There are thousands of theories and possible answers to this question, but who's to say that they aren't all correct? Some aspects of life are just too subjective to be answered objectively.

Lastly is the separation between gaining knowledge and experiential learning. Both are arguably equal in their significance, but we don't truly think about how immensely different the two concepts are until we are forced to. In philosophy, there is a theory centered around this experimental design called "Mary's Room." The story is that a woman named Mary has lived in a black and white room her whole life but has grown up learning everything about color and the human reaction to it (biologically, psychologically, etc.).

Once the door to her room is opened and she sees the color red for the first time, she has just learned something new despite already knowing everything there is to know about the concept of color. Experience is the most important part of the human condition and should not be disregarded when it comes to learning.

There are so many aspects of our existence that we never consider on a daily basis simply because we don't have to. There is something unique about people who are in touch with themselves spiritually: they have a greater understanding not just of who they are, but of who they are in relation to the rest of the world. In a fast-paced, Type A world it is especially easy to lose sight of the importance of experiencing humanity, and we often take this beautiful gift for granted.

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