Finding Your Future Home Isn't Easy, But It's Worth It

Finding Your Future Home Isn't Easy, But It's Worth It

I found my home away from home at Ohio University.
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The college search process is always the most stressful part of high school. It’s time to decide where you want to go, what you want to study, who you want to be and where you want to live for the next four years.

I was confined to a single school my whole life based off of my location. I lived in small town PA for 12 years, grew up with the same people, lived in the same area and never knew anything different. Then all of a sudden, endless opportunities presented themselves.

There are thousands of colleges to explore and no boundaries on where I could go. It’s an exciting but nervewracking period in our lives. We’ve all been there, trying to write the most convincing essays of why we deserve to be accepted, sending out exam scores and hitting the submit button for every potential school. From that point on, it was out of my hands as I waited agonizingly for an answer in several months.

The answer might be a nice shiny envelope with the words “Congratulations and welcome to the family!” on the front or a short, crushing rejection letter. I went in a little too confident, underestimating the rigor that certain colleges wanted. I had my heart set on two big city schools, thinking that those were the places I wanted to be for the next four years.

So when I opened the long-awaited emails from my top two choices, it was an unpleasant surprise. “We regret to inform you that we could not grant you admission to our school…” The smile I had on my face slowly sank as I read further. It didn’t seem possible.

I kept asking myself, did they make a mistake? Did I forget to send something important? But nothing changed the next day. It wasn’t a dream, it was a heartbreaking reality. I was not going to my top choice schools and it was time to rethink my options. Our family had to sit down and discuss what to do next, what schools to apply to and what would be more realistic. Those rejections were a rude awakening to the reality of my previous mistakes, but it was needed.

One day, my dad brought up Ohio and I shot it down. “That’s great but we’re six hours from the Ohio border itself. I can’t go that far, what are you thinking?”

“Just give it a try, you might like it.”

The following day, I took a leap of faith and applied to a school called Ohio University in this little town of Athens. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. Something caught my eye from the minute I saw it and I just knew. As soon as I got my acceptance letter, I had decided this was my home. However, my parents not impressed at all.

“I’m going to Ohio!!”

“That’s a nice joke, Anna. You’re not going there.”

Little did they know, I was dead serious. They realized there was no turning back once I committed and decided I was crazy.

I still can’t believe this insane decision to move eight hours away from home, but I’m glad I did. I took a leap of faith, I trusted my gut, and said, “Heck why not? You can’t keep me in PA.” It’s been one rollercoaster of a semester, to say the least. Moving far away to pursue my dreams taught me to be independent, take care of myself and be responsible. I learned to be brave and do the things that terrify me and overcome those fears. I’m here for the long haul so I’m going to make the most out of it.

This was incredibly difficult, but what matters is that Ohio tries twice as hard to help us succeed. I hate when people constantly remind me that I go to “one of the biggest party schools out there.” Have we forgotten why we came here? The incredible staff we have? The countless opportunities given to us daily? There are professors who singlehandedly take over an entire department without question for their colleagues and others who take time out of their busy days to stay after class with students to give them advice and extra help.

OU doesn’t make it easy, they push us to our limits to make us better, to show us we can do it, no matter how hard it may be. My school believes in me and shows me the path to success. It’s up to me to follow it.

To any current senior struggling to find the right school, don’t worry so much. Failures and rejections are a part of life; they teach you to be better than you were yesterday. If I wasn’t rejected from those schools, I would have never found Ohio, which is the perfect place for me.

Those disappointments only made me work ten times harder to achieve my goals, and to make myself happy. Thanks to them, I fell in love with the bricks. Things happen in strange ways, but God knows what’s best, even if you can’t see that right now. After all, “Nobody said it would be easy, they said it would be worth it.”

Cover Image Credit: My own photo

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5 Ways To Deal With Stress In College, It's Hard But Not Impossible

Don't get weary when you have a setback, use it to grow.
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We’re juggling jobs, and classes, and social lives, and bills, and many more responsibilities. We are college students. And to be a college student automatically guarantees a certain level of stress that we can either try to avoid and push to the desolate place that is our subconscious, or we can tackle it head on.

Here’s a few tips to help decrease your nail-biting and head-scratching episodes.

1. Stop, breathe, and grab the planner

Personally I feel like the biggest issue with college students and stress comes from the root of all evil –time management. Yes something as simple as grabbing the free planner your school gave you at orientation and jotting down due dates, upcoming tests you need to study for, shift schedules, and Ashley’s birthday dinner on Saturday is RELIEVING. Having a battle plan for anything will set you up for success so start every week by sketching out your roadmap to success.

2. Get out!

No I don’t mean abandon all your life goals and runaway to join the circus – most of them are gone now (Sad but true). What I mean is sometimes when find yourself worked up and panicking with stress, one of the best options is to just get out. Take a step outside of the library or your bedroom and just take a walk. Breathe the open air, smile at the birds sitting on that bench, and genuinely give yourself time to decompress.

3. Do you hear the people sing?

I love music. Plain and Simple. Music is one of the best facets for dealing with stress because it has the power to quite honestly take us to another world. Whenever I feel myself overthinking some issue, my initial instinct is to put headphones in and play some calming ballad by Barbra Streisand or a mellow verse from Chance’s "Coloring Book" (variety, I know). As simple as it sounds, music can alleviate your current state and take you to a place where worries seem a little less severe.

4. Can we chat?

I feel like one of the worst offenders with stress-related problems is that we don’t talk about it. We like to bottle things up because hey, if we don’t talk about it then it doesn’t exist, right? Wrong. We need opportunities to talk openly about our issues otherwise they consume us and make us feel trapped within ourselves.

Even if you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable enough to share things with, write yourself a letter. Get your words flowing freely and openly so that you can feel a sense of ease and begin working towards a solution.

5. Put it in perspective

How bad is your current situation, honestly? Is that bad grade on your midterm the end of the world? Is having five assignments due on the same Tuesday going to kill you? Do you truly believe that your job firing you will mean you never work again? Don’t get me wrong, these situations are unfortunate but they’re not the end-all of what’s to come. We are college students. We get to learn, lose, succeed, and fail all in the span of a few years to help shape us for the future to come. So don’t get weary when you have a setback, rather use it as a way to grow and develop into the person you know you can be.
Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Self Love Is What 2018 Is All About

This is what Valentine's Day is about for me.
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Okay let's be real here, Valentine's Day is a crappy hallmark holiday that no human could possibly enjoy unless in a relationship.

However, this bothered me. This preconception that the only way you could celebrate is if you had a partner to celebrate with. As the day before approached, I had mixed emotions. Part of me sad. I have no romantic partner at the time being and thought my day would consist of tears and chocolate. It was later in the day that I decided my plan for Valentine's Day not only sucked but was going to make me feel like crap and I was not up for that.

Recently, my confidence has been at an all-time low. I am not sure the cause of this but ultimately know it's not permanent. I have been striving for positivity and happy thoughts regarding myself no matter the circumstances. So, of course, the days leading up to this relationship heavy day I was getting very upset. However, after I decided my day was not going to consist of chocolate and tears, I found that glimmer of hope I have been looking for, for the past few weeks.

I decided I was going to make the day about self-love versus relational love. I took a moment and thought you know what Isabelle, you do not need a relationship to be happy and you're awesome so #loveyoself because it's a day about love.

So on the eve of Valentine's Day, I prepped for my self love day along with eating chocolate chip cookies and feeling no shame.

When I woke up on valentines day, I immediately felt good. Maybe it was because my parents got me a Victoria Secret gift card or just because I knew it was going to be a good day. The gift card was given with the intent of buying myself something I wanted because I deserved it. That just made me smile and I was very thankful for that.

So, I got dressed for my day and proceeded with it. Throughout the day, I kept reminding myself that I loved me and that my happiness was self created and I needed to start creating it more often for myself.

Once my classes ended for the day, my self love day really kicked into full gear. My friends and I went to the grocery store to pick up pizza ingredients for homemade pizza. We also picked up a few bottles of wine. Obviously.

On the night of Valentine's Day, I had a homemade pizza and wine night with my best friends and I have never been happier. We laughed and had fun and did not care that we were all single. We were thrilled to be spending the day of love together because we all love each other. And on top of that, we were preaching self love.

This day is about love right? No one said what kind? So I said self.

I spent my whole valentines day reminding myself that I am indeed enough and that my self love is more important than anyone else's.

I cannot wait for next year.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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