Finding My Family At JSU Was Way Easier Than I Imagined

Finding My Family At JSU Was Way Easier Than I Imagined

Sometimes the people we need most are the ones we least expect.

jre
jre
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In the summer of 2018, I became a freshman at Jacksonville State University. Since I grew up in Jacksonville, AL I had been planning my college career to take place right in my hometown. Therefore I truly believed that finding a close net 'family' or just a support system, in general, could only be provided by joining a sorority, the student government association, or being a southerner. Which I, personally, did not have the appeal for any one of these.

As the semester grew closer my father, who was an advisor for the Student Alumni Association, asked if I could work their booth for them at summer orientation. I knew from the beginning of my freshman year that I would be a member of SAA, it was just a question on if I would fit in. I volunteered for 9/10 of these orientations and, although I had only met one member during them I already got closer and closer to the group.

Our first meeting was called "Taco Tuesday", where we cooked tacos and got to sit around and talk to each other. This is where I became very close to my current best friend Victoria Clements. We had met several times on different occasions, however, the Student Alumni Association brought us closer together and I will always be grateful for that.

The further on we had different meetings, new icebreakers, and new conversations with people I never knew I would be so connected with. Soon the semester continued to our "ambassador interviews", a 3-day process to select an elite group to represent Jacksonville State University's Alumni Association.

During this process, we had a night dedicated to 'group interviews'. This was where all pre-selected ambassadors and auditioning ambassadors meet to play different strategy games and bond together. After this event, the whole ambassador group, old and new, became much closer and more dedicated to each other.

My point in saying all this is that no one knows where and who the future might take us. Some of the best people I know I met due to SAA, there are more options for people that want a close net family that doesn't want to be in greek life.

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32 Reasons Why I Love My Best Friend

The list stops at 32, but I could go on forever.
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My best friend is my soul mate, and I am so lucky that this crazy world brought us together.

1. She has and always will put up with my ridiculousness.

2. She has seen me cry, and I have seen her cry, and we are both ugly criers.

3. We can sit in silence for 20 minutes, and it’s not weird.

4. But most of the time we cannot shut up.

5. This includes three-hour phone and Skype calls about anything and everything.

6. I know what she’s going to say before she says it.

7. Eye contact is all that is needed to communicate sometimes. This definitely comes in handy when we have an opinion that shouldn’t be verbalized.

8. Even when she laughs at me, I still feel loved.

9. We find the dumbest things funny.

10. We have reoccurring jokes that normal people just find odd.

11. She accepts every part of me including my flaws.

12. She talks me through hard situations without fail.

13. She tells me when I’m being unreasonable, and I don’t get mad.

14. She listens to me whine about the same guy and still hasn’t given up on me.

15. But gets more excited than anyone when a guy treats me right.

16. But you have both agreed that life would be easier if we could just marry each other.

17. What’s mine is hers, and what’s hers is mine.

18. This includes, but is not limited to clothes AND food (and that is a big deal for me).

19. She knows exactly how to cheer me up. Most of the time cupcakes do the trick but if they don't, somehow she make me feel better with insides jokes or just plain silence.

20. She has seen me at my worst and still loves me.

21. She will see movies meant for 8-year-olds with me and we will, no doubt, laugh the loudest.

22. She will watch"The Bachelor" with me and will secretly love it. Don’t worry ... No judgment from this side.

23. She will teach me the art of taking a good picture.

24. She gets me out of my comfort zone and makes me do things that I am iffy about at first.

25. But hanging out in our pajamas and talking all-night isn’t abnormal either.

26. Being apart for a long time is no biggie because when we are reunited it’s like nothing had separated us!

27. We plan on traveling the world together.

28. We plan on being roommates in the future.

29. I love her family and she loves mine.

30. We fight like sisters and then we apologize and get over it.

31. We talk about the craziness we will participate in together when we are 80.

32. I can’t imagine my life without her.

Cover Image Credit: brokenbutfree.org

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Everything A Future Sun Devil Needs To Know About Arizona BEFORE Coming To ASU

Tempe, Arizona is its own monster, so come prepared.

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Coming to Arizona State was a crazy decision on my part. I'm from Delaware, and besides visiting campus for one day in April of 2018, this was technically my first time living on the West Coast over 2,000 miles away. I don't regret it at all, but what I do regret is not properly informing myself about the area. There are things that happen in Arizona that do not occur back home, and if I had braced myself for monsoon season or the abominable heat at night, maybe August would have gone a bit smoother.

This is what I knew about Tempe: It's hot for most of the year and it's in the valley. Wow. There are so many elements that are missed if you are from out of state and have only seen Tempe on a tour day, like me. This may seem like common sense, but there is so much to learn about each place around the world, and you can get blindsided if you don't do your research.

Did you know that it rains in the hot, dry, desert valley that is Phoenix? I sure did not. It didn't make sense or occur to me than anything, but hot, sunny weather would ever happen, but to be fair, most of the year is hot and sunny. The official dates of monsoon season are June 15 to September 20, but the peak time for this disastrous weather is mid-July to mid-August. Monsoons aren't all just rain and high winds. A few times last semester in August when I walked outside, the sky was dark, the air was visibly dusty and humid, and there was a huge wall of dust in the distance. Rain will pour down from the sky out of nowhere and bring a dust storm, thunder, and more along with it. So be safe, always check the weather, and buy a raincoat and umbrella.

Along with the crazy weather last year, I began to get very sick. In college, everyone is sick all the time, so I figured it was just something I caught from sharing a drink or being in close quarters with thousands of other people each day. I went to the ASU Health Services many times in those first couple months and no doctor could figure out the deep-rooted cause of my continuous enlarged tonsils. Finally, I was prescribed an inhaler, steroids to calm the inflammation, and a recommendation to buy myself some Claritin and a nose spray. I was a new person after a couple of days. I also noticed the importance of changing my air filter every couple of months. It turns out what I thought was mono was allergies. I had never had allergies back home and didn't give it a second thought. I took the medicine each day and felt amazing. One time I skipped the Claritin for two weeks, and like clockwork, my tonsils swelled up again, so now I take it each day to stay alive. Tempe does not have terrific air quality, so be cautious even if you don't typically have allergies, or you'll end up like me — sick, missing out on living life, and not having fun on the weekends.

Since I'm from the beach when it is hot outside people wear bikinis, shorts, and typical summer gear. When I got here, I noticed there was a different summer dress code. Besides college kids wearing shorts and minimal clothing, the adults I observed walking down the road were all wearing pants and long-sleeve shirts. I was baffled. However, I now understand it protects their skin from the harsh UV rays, even if it is 110 degrees outside. The UV rays emitted in Arizona from the sun are very intense. I didn't get rid of my chest sunburn until October when it got slightly cooler outside. I will never wear pants and long-sleeves in such intense heat, but, applying sunscreen every couple of hours isn't a bad idea.

This may make your skin crawl, but if you take any of this information to heart, remember this: The cockroach population is out of control here. Since they can survive in basically any temperature and will outlive humanity, their presence is horrifying. One night I woke up to find a huge roach on my windowsill (which spans my entire bed, mind you). Then, I lost it. To this day, I have never found it and it's probably alive with a whole new clan out there just waiting to get back into my bedroom and attack. I remember those first couple nights at ASU walking around campus for all the free events and seeing them everywhere. That's not an exaggeration. In Delaware, I hadn't seen one for years. Now it's like they were making up for all that lost time.

Basically, during my first month here, I was adapting to the new city, climate, huge lectures, and pure independence. Even though I wasn't aware of monsoon season, my newfound allergies, the intense UV rays, weird ways in which people protect their skin, and the frightening cockroach clans, I finished nine months here mostly unscathed. If I could have read some candid, first-hand information, I would have. Would I have bought an umbrella? No. But if you're reading this, you are getting the information you need to justify that pre-college purchase. Good luck, future Sun Devil, and don't forget the bug spray!

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