"Hey, its life."

"Hey, its life."

When your life turns upside down and you're left alone to deal with it
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Change in life is inevitable. Change hits us when we least expect it. Sometimes we are knowingly responsible for what will happen in our lives. For example, knowing that you are going to attend college after high school is a change that you know is going to happen. However, not all change is expected, and this sometimes can flip your whole world upside down.

My freshman year of college at Hofstra University was everything I had imagined and more. My roommate was one of my best friends, my residence hall floor mates all became my family, and I met some of the most amazing people in my classes. I was constantly surrounded by people. Every night all of us floor mates would gather in my room and we would talk, eat meals together, make jokes, listen to music, and just truly enjoy each other's company. There is nothing more beautiful than getting to know other people and realizing the depth and value they possess. We became the "6th floor family."

In class, I met people who shared similar career interests as me, and it was truly inspiring to be in a room of people who shared my goals. Study groups began to form, and soon we all became best friends. We had deep emotional conversations when we were frustrated by an upcoming test or when we were just simply doubting our choices to pursue the career path we had chosen. My 6th floor family and my classmates became a large part of my life. They saw me smile, laugh, cry, yell, succeed, fail, and for the first time in my life, I wasn't lonely. And for someone who has battled loneliness, this was like hitting the jack pot. However, not all good things last for as long as you hope.

By the end of my freshman year, my roommate transferred to another school, half of my 6th floor family were moving into new residence halls for the next year, and the other half had been here on a one year program and were going back to their home countries. Everything was changing, and I was not ready. Suddenly, it felt as though nothing could ever be the same for me and my whole world was falling apart. There were hugs, tears, and exchanged words of keeping in touch forever, but I knew it just wouldn't be that way. The friends I made in classes were now all going in different directions, and of course I would still hold on to my closest friends, but, like I said before, it just wasn't going to be the same.

I started my sophomore year of college with low expectations and a heavy heart. I moved into a new residence hall with a new roommate whom I didn't even know. She is one of the amazing people I have ever met, so that was one thing I had going for me. My new floor was quiet, filled with people I didn't know and the silence was almost unbearable. I was used to open doors and voices filling the hallways, and now all I heard was the sound of closing doors by people who did not even know my name. My classes were filled with people I didn't know, and the comfort of knowing people that I had from the year before was fading away before my eyes. I started having a lot more alone time and interacted less with other people. I felt lonely, and soon I began developing social anxiety. It felt as though I was living in an alternate universe and I did not have anyone to pull me out of the funk that I was trapped in. I used to think to myself, "How could my life change so much from one year to the next?"

The point is -- I was and still am struggling a great deal with this drastic change in my life. However, I have learned to cherish the people who have stayed in my life, and I have gained a more positive outlook on meeting new people. Maybe this painful change was needed to make way for another phase of my life where I meet new people and rebuild my life again. I have also come to terms with the fact that life is changing constantly and that it is vital to have the strength to accept the change in a positive way. Everything in life happens for a reason and sometimes the best things happen in the hardest ways. It is important to evaluate your own ability to combat hardships and grow in the face of those hardships. I think I am slowly entering a point in my life where I am beginning to let new people in, and I am excited for what the future holds, still keeping those people and memories close to my heart.

Life is a struggle, but one that is worth the fight.

Cover Image Credit: Wall Papers Charlie

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Death

A thought on what happens after life.

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It's an infinite loop intertwined with life that all humans have to deal with.

It's a looming shadow that leads to a hole in the ground.

It's a terrifying presence in everyday life, and you never really know when the scaly, slithering snake will strike.

It doesn't discriminate; It loves to take the youngest, it loves to take the oldest, and loves to take everything in between.

It's the silence before the storm and the storm itself.

It prowls, it preys, on the weakest.

It is both the biggest, strongest bear and the deadliest bug bite.

Death, it is the blackened stumps of the wildlife caught in the worst of fires.

Yet, it can be beautiful.

Most wouldn't think so, probably have never put "death" and "beautiful" together in the same sentence, let alone even in the same paragraph.

But death is beautiful.

It can be like the last whisper of a fall breeze before winter sets in.

Or is like the sunset, right when the last of the red from the sinking sun fades from the darkened night sky.

It can be the peace on a late Sunday afternoon, sitting in the shade of a giant tree in the summer.

It's like taking the hand of the partner you've decided to live with, even after fighting with them.

It's the hand you use to stroke the head of kittens, and the hand you use to scratch puppies tummies.

It's the hand that gives, but it is also the hand that takes away.

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