The Importance Of High School Friendships

The Importance Of High School Friendships

You can't stay in touch with everyone, but your friendships that remain after high school are still important.
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It was my senior year of high school, late February. I was high jumping at the indoor state championship. One of my good friends, who was also a teammate, was jumping also; we would be competing against each other. This didn’t faze us, we had done it a million other times. We warmed, then sat down and talked to kill the time after warm up, like we always did. We both had a shot at winning, but we decided just to jump like we knew how to do. We had set a goal to take first and second together.

I don’t remember the early jumps other than we cleared them. The bar moved to five feet and not too many girls cleared that height. Then after 5’2” we were the only two left… we were going to take first and second. Once the last girl missed at 5’2” and we realized what had happened, my friend walked over to me and we high-fived and smiled. Then my friend said “So it’s every man for themselves now right?” I laughed, shook my head and said “yeah, right.” We knew we were going to both be cheering for each other.

Of course we both wanted to win. We are highly competitive individuals, but we were also friends and teammates. I was jumping second in the order just due to luck of the draw. Both of our first two jumps at 5’4” were misses. My friend’s last jump was a miss. It was my turn. If I cleared the bar, I would win the state championship — what I had been working toward for all of high school. If I missed, she would win.

There is a video my dad took of that jump from the stands, in the background you can hear my family cheering for me. The thing that stands out the most to me when I watch that video is my friend. She is standing there watching me jump. She knows the situation: I miss she wins, I make she loses. As soon as I start running she starts bouncing up and down like she is jumping for me and as soon as I get over the bar she leaps into this cheerleading style jump. Then she runs over to me and gives me a hug. That is friendship. I just beat her on one of the bigger stages of high school athletics, a title that most high school athletes strive for.

We went to colleges almost 400 miles apart and couldn’t be more different, but the relationship is still there. We text each other, call each other, Snapchat each other and see each other every time we are home. She is one of two friends from high school I am still close with. I love them both dearly.

I would encourage all of the incoming college freshman to remember your friends from high school. Most people have a story, like the one I told above, where one or more of their friends have shown true friendship. Don’t forget those stories; they are part of what made you. They left an impression. It is a given that you will grow apart from high school friends, but you have to make the effort to stay in touch with the ones that you want to stay in touch with. There will be excuses like being too busy, or that you will do it tomorrow. But how long does it take to shoot someone a quick text and see how they are doing? Less than 30 seconds.

I don’t stay in touch with a lot of people from high school, but the ones I do, I have quality relationships with. We are just as close if not closer than we were back then. Cherish your friends, life is finite and you never know when it might be gone.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Fulton

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Wouldn't Trade My DII Experience To Play DI Athletics Any Day

I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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As a high school athlete, the only goal is to play your varsity sport at the Division 1 level in college.

No one in high school talks about going to a Division 2 or 3 school, it's as if the only chance you have at playing college athletics is at the DI level. However, there are so many amazing opportunities to play a varsity sport at the DII and DIII level that are equally fun and competitive as playing for a division 1 team.

As a college athlete at the DII level, I hear so many DI athletes wishing they had played at the DII or DIII level. Because the fact of the matter is this: the division you play in really doesn't matter.

The problem is that DII and DIII sports aren't as celebrated as Division 1 athletics. You don't see the National Championships of Division 2 and 3 teams being broadcasted or followed by the entire country. It's sad because the highest levels of competition at the DII and DIII level are competing against some of the Division 1 teams widely celebrated across the country. Yet DII and DIII teams don't receive the recognition that DI athletics do.

Not everyone can be a DI athlete but that doesn't mean it's easy to be a DII or DIII athlete. The competition is just as tough as it is at the top for DII and DIII athletes. Maybe the stakes are higher for these athletes because they have to prove they are just as good as DI athletes. Division 2 and 3 athletes have just as much grit and determination as Division 1 athletes, without the glorified title of being "a division 1 athlete."

Also, playing at the DII or DIII level grants more opportunities to make your college experience your own, not your coach's.

I have heard countless horror stories in athletics over the course of my four-year journey however, the most heartbreaking come from athletes who lose their drive to compete because of the increased pressure from coaches or program. Division 1 athletics are historically tougher programs than Division 2 or 3 programs, making an athlete's college experience from one division to another significantly different.

The best part of not going to a division 1 school is knowing that even though my team doesn't have "DI" attached to it, we still have the opportunity to do something unique every time we arrive at an event. Just because we aren't "DI" athletes, we still have the drive and competitive spirit to go to an event and win. We are great players, and we have broken countless records as a team.

That's something we all have done together, and it's something we can take with us for the rest of our lives.

We each have our own mission when it comes to our college athletic careers, however together we prove to be resilient in the fight for the title. Giving it all when we practice and play is important, but the memories we have made behind the scenes as a team makes it all worth it, too.

The best part of being apart of college athletics is being able to be passionate about your sport with teammates that embody that same mindset. It's an added benefit to having teammates who become your best friends because it makes your victories even more victorious, and your defeats easier to bare.

No matter what level an athlete is playing at in college, it's important that all the hours spent at practice and on the road should be enjoyed with teammates that make the ride worthwhile. The experiences athletes have at any level are going to vary, but the teammates I have and the success we've had together is something I cherish and will take with me forever. I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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