To My Struggling Self

To My Struggling Self

Because we all need a pick-me-up.


Dear My Struggling Self,

So, you've found yourself at the college of your dreams, studying the major you always wanted to have, and you have a community that loves you for who you are.

You have the best life you could ever have, there's no reason you should feel scared and confused.

You try your best in school, at work, or just doing whatever you're doing. The habit of putting one hundred and ten percent is something you don't easily give up. Striving to perfection, though it can get you frustrated when not everything is exactly how you want it, will get you far in life.

There's no need to worry too much about your future. As someone important always tells you, "you just need to take it day by day." Yes, I know you worry about everything that's going on, whether it's something that took place years ago or something that might take place ten years from now; all you need to do is take a step back and relax. Worrying about the little things too much will definitely drive you crazy if you haven't already figured that out.

It's okay to feel like you don't have control of things sometimes because there are things that you possibly cannot control. Always being in control can drive someone mad, I'm sure of it. Letting life take its course for some stuff is what you should do before you start overthinking everything, which unfortunately is a talent of yours.

Stop overthinking about how you look. Yes, you might be struggling with your body image and self-confidence, but you need to understand that looks are not everything. Besides, you truly are beautiful both inside and out, anyone that you know will tell you that honestly. No, you won't look like the Victoria Secret models or the Instagram models, but that's because they're photoshopped in the end anyway. Why would you want to look like someone who doesn't even exist?

You shouldn't be having doubts about yourself either. You are going to make it through school on time, you are going to get the job of your dreams and live somewhere that you will love for the rest of your life. You are going to be so happy, but that's only if you learn that you are the best you can be and be thankful for what you have and what you've been able to do so far.

Whatever kind of struggles you're going through right now, you are able to overcome them. You are a strong young woman who can conquer anything that comes her way. Yes, there will be things that come along that are harder than others, some of which may leave you feeling broken or crying, but nothing makes you better than standing up after you've been knocked down, no matter how many times it happens.

You need to love yourself for all of the amazing things you can do, physical or mental. You've been able to achieve things you never thought you could do, and there will be so many more things to achieve as you grow more and more. Honey, be proud of yourself. You are caring and looking out for others, always wanting to do the right thing. It's okay to struggle, you have a whole life waiting ahead of you.

Love, Me

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Why Getting Away From Where You Grew Up Is Important

College is the perfect time to get away from home and go out into the real world.

As you get older, life sometimes makes it hard for you to take control and go to the places you've only dreamed of. There's always a work meeting, ballet recital, or something to hold you back from taking that trip planned four summers ago. College is the perfect time to get away from home and go out into the real world.

It's important to get away from everything you know at one point in your life. There is a whole world full of risk, chance, and experience. The security you have in your hometown can be traded in for adventure and change. There's a time to try something new, learn something that blows your mind, or go somewhere that takes your breath away. That time is now, to feel like you are actually doing something worthwhile with your life.

It is important to get away from where you have grown up for some of your life. You need to grow on your own, without anyone there to tell you you're wrong or out of line being a certain way. The transition from high school to college is the gift of independence. You choose who you get to be without anyone holding your past against you. It's a do-over, a second chance after the mistakes and regrets you lived through in high school. Yet, being away from home has its drawbacks as you lose familiar faces, a steady schedule, and many creature comforts. But, all of these can be found in a new place with time. Leaving the place you grew up gives you another chance to grow again, without boundaries. Travel whenever you get an opportunity because it may not come again. Test your limits while living your actual dreams. Go out and explore the world—you're only here once and don't have time to take it for granted. Leaving everything you know sounds scary, but there are great memories to be made out there.

Whether this new place for you is two hours from home, or 20, it's different, it's exciting and it's change. It is important to get away from where you grew up and learn from the adventures you embark on. It is the best way to find yourself and who you want to be. It's what you'll remember when you look back on everything you've done.

Cover Image Credit: Madison Burns

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support


First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,


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