An Open Letter to UMW

An Open Letter to UMW

To the school I thought wasn't going to be for me.
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Dear UMW,

Let me start off by saying one thing. I love you. Let me be totally honest, I didn't think you were the one for me at first, but this has changed dramatically over the past year and a half.

I got accepted in the fall of my senior year and my family was more excited than I was. My dad and I took a tour, and I began to fall in love. The first building we were in was Lee Hall. At first, I felt overwhelmed with the feelings of being at a college and knowing this could be where I would spend the next four years. I saw the old buildings and Ball Circle, a place I could see myself doing homework and hanging out on on the warm days with my friends. I saw the UC, which wasn't quite finished yet, and was so excited to see what the finished product would look like.

I had gotten accepted to Longwood and Randolph-Macon. I thought almost for sure that I would be going to Longwood. You had kind of gone through my mind as something like "UMW? Yeah right!" I talked to my parents and I learned what a great fit you were going to be for me. You are close enough to home, but not too far away. If we're going to be honest, I had something in mind to keep my nerves at bay. That thing was the fact that I would go to UMW for a year, and if I decided after that that you were not for me, I would reapply to different schools.

Once freshman year had started, that thought had completely diminished. I had met so many new people. I loved my dorm in Room 341 of Virginia Hall. I had struck out with my roommate and two suite mates. We were one of the few rooms in the building with suite-style bathrooms. How lucky were we!

Choosing you as my school has blessed and continues to bless my life with many things. I reconnected with my best friend that I hadn't seen in about two years. That probably wouldn't have happened if I wasn't at UMW.

I love the school spirit at the basketball games and everyone yelling "GET DIRTY, GO WASH!" I love bench sitting. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go on urbandictionary.com and type in bench sitting. You'll see what I mean. I love seeing what campus looks like in the snow. So quiet and so peaceful. I think I can speak for many people when I say that T-Pain is our best President yet. I love going to Lip Sync in the Fall to watch the Disney Channel medleys and people making a fool of themselves. I fell in love with you the most at Eagle Gathering when we walked down Campus Walk as the full Class of 2019 to Ball Circle while people played the bagpipes and we each lit candles; what a special feeling.

I have never felt less than any of my peers. Everyone is so supportive of each other. Not everything is always perfect, but it comes pretty close.

Here's to the next two-and-a-half years!

GET DIRTY, GO WASH!

Cover Image Credit: SYA Sports

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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

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Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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The Art Of Loving What We Can’t Have

We really do love to break our own hearts, don't we?

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I'll never forget the first time I looked in the mirror with fire in my lungs begging myself to stop the insanity that is loving things that don't love me. When I choose to love, I do so selflessly. I have never loved to be loved in return. I'm sure you can see where this becomes problematic…

Most of us are selfish. We don't just love selfishly, but our entire beings are riddled with selfishness. It's like a plague. Humanity by nature is so self-minded that they can't even begin to imagine the pain they are capable of causing. If we can't have something, we chose not to love it. We choose to turn our backs and be cold. We do so for selfish reasons. The fear of unrequited love, the fear of pain, the fear of transparency; they are crippling.

Did you ever think that maybe simply not being able to have something, doesn't mean it didn't love you back? Did your mother ever tell you that you can't always have everything you want? Did she lead you to believe this meant she loved you less?

I broke my own heart in two the night I had to let the caterpillar-turned-butterfly leave and be free. I watched it grow, I provided it with what it needed, but yet it still left. Five years old and I could not breathe because the pain from loving this small creature had closed off my throat in flames of knowledge I would come to discover in the future. I didn't stop loving it so I would hurt less, I loved it through the pain because everything on this earth deserves to be loved. Can you imagine what a human could do to me?

I broke my heart again when the man I loved couldn't stay. Not because he didn't want to, but because he had to, as life goes. There was no malice, there was no falling out, there was only grief. Grief for what I loved, and would still love, even when it was gone.

Loving is meant to be selfless, but loving one who does not love you back may be the most selfless thing on this earth. I went back to the mirror, fire in my lungs—this time I let the tears roll, quietly and softly down my face, onto my neck, feeling the fire just beneath the skin. I let myself feel my heartbreak. I did not scream, I did not sob, I simply felt what I felt.

I broke my own heart, but I took the pain because I would rather love what does not love me than never know love at all. What if they do love you back? My answer is simple; if you have loved, who loves you back matters little. You will always be loved in return—everyone is loved by someone. Everyone deserves this.

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