What It's Like Growing Up In Pennsylvania

What It's Like Growing Up In Pennsylvania

You’re either in the middle of no where or you’re in the middle of suburban world.
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From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and Honeybrook to Lancaster, there’s never a dull spot in the state of Pennsylvania. As someone who has grown up in Exton, Pennsylvania, I can happily say that I live close to Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and West Chester.

West Chester, home to the University and a cute town, is one of the closest popular places to Exton. With Main Street and an old school town vibe, it’s sure to never disappoint. Going into West Chester can mean trips to nice restaurants, ice cream shops, or to West Chester University. Camps were always popular there and a good amount of kids from my hometown go to college there now.

King of Prussia, or the reference point for my area for people who don’t live in Pennsylvania, is home to my favorite mall of all time. Sure, we have a mall in my town, but that doesn’t even come close to comparing to the KOP mall. With high end stores, niche restaurants, and more than you could ever imagine, King of Prussia is easily one of my favorite Pennsylvania places.

Philadelphia is of course the most known area close to me. Home of the Eagles, or Super Bowl Champions as we now prefer, we’re pretty great. Philly never disappoints with sites on South Street, Center City, and of course the Sports Complexes. Museums and Old City are known for their historic vibe and they’re both great places to go for a sense of the city.

Now for Exton, nested between Chester Springs and Downingtown, my home. Anyone who grew up in Exton or the neighboring towns can tell you that we’re a pretty classic suburban town. Diners, a mall, lots of shopping, and even a Whole Foods. Classic places to go growing up included Marsh Creek State Park, PowerPlay Ice Rink, the Exton Mall, Regal Movie Theater, and Stadium Grille. Looking back, some of my all time favorite memories are at these places. Driving around Exton is an adventure within itself. One minute you’re in an extremely populated area and the next you’re only seeing farms and fields for miles. With our own little Main Street at Exton, we have our attempt at an old town vibe. We have ice cream, a movie theater, and our newest addition, a craft beer tavern.

Places like PJ’s and Applebee’s are home to high school memories. After football games basically the entire school would be at Applebee’s. Our high school environment was a classic large school. You would know everyone’s name, you’d go to every football game, and you couldn’t wait to graduate all at the same time. Some of the best people I’ve ever known are from East and I’m beyond thankful for that. As much as I’ve never met a more similar group of people, we’re also all so different.

As for Pennsylvania as a whole, we’re home to never-ending construction, potholes galore, and cities that eventually turn into farms if you drive long enough. Pennsylvania is beautiful and driving around it is one of my favorite things to do. I could never be bored of such a great sight to see. Pennsylvania is my forever home and I am so grateful to say that. Oh, and go birds!

Cover Image Credit: Mekenna Passner

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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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10 Special Places In Your Hometown You Can't Wait To Revisit When The Semester Is Over

I can't wait to go home!

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Everyone has their favorite local spots that they love in their hometown. These could be famous staples that everyone knows about, or your little getaway when life was hitting you hard growing up. Since being away from home I never understood how important they were to me until I wasn't there. It doesn't matter if you live in Maine or California, everyone has their spot or multiple spots.

Here is a list of 10 places that you will stop at once you get home.

1. Your Favorite Local Restaurant(s)

This restaurant or restaurants always come through whenever you want to eat your favorite food(s). It always made everything to perfection, and nearly every person knows your name in there.

2. Coffee Shop

The place that you always can meet your friends, or a quite place to get work done.

3. High School 

Going back to your local high school is always a positive walk down memory lane to see all your old teachers, and people that affected your life for the better.

4. Friends' Houses 

So many memories are there, and it's always so refreshing to see their faces and talk to people that you have grown up with.

5. Nature Spots 

You know those places that whenever you get to them can make you so much happier and more relaxed? That's what I'm talking about.

6. Walking Around Your Neighborhood 

Walking around your neighborhood is always fun, and you get to see a bunch of familiar faces.

7. Your Bed 

Because what's better than that...

8. Your Local Church 

It is always nice to see your youth group and elders whenever you come back.

9. Grandparents' House

You know when you are going over something good is always waiting behind the door.

10. Top Of A Parking Garage 

The ultimate best view to watch fireworks, sunsets, and sun rises.

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