I Don't Want To Be Stuck In Delco Forever

I Don't Want To Spend The Rest Of My Life In My Hometown

I don't think I'm destined to live my life on the East Coast.

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I've visited the Western half of the country a handful of times in the last few years, and every time I come out here I love it just a little bit more. There's something about the greenery that stretches for miles, cool weather year round, clear air, and bright blue skies that I simply don't get living in Philly.

Don't get me wrong, I will always have a special place in my heart for Delco and Philly, having lived in both, but there is nothing that rivals seeing the peak of Mt. Hood from wherever I am. Having family out here certainly helps too, but I've just come to the realization that when I'm home I feel restless.

I've always loved to travel, and seeing new places is an indescribable experience. Everyone thinks, "Wow I wish I could live here" in sunny Florida or tropical Hawaii or the eastern Caribbean, but I've never felt so at home in a place so far away from home as I do out west.

Fantasizing about moving across the country is a dream I've had for a while, but I never thought I'd actually be this serious about it. I don't have that much stuff to my name, so I'd just pack my car with as much as I could fit and just go. Of course, it isn't that easy, but it sure feels like it could be.

Unfortunately, I have a lot going for me at home. Most of both families live within half an hour drive (aside from the aunts, uncles, and cousins in Oregon and Florida), its familiar, and its where all the people I love are, including some of my closest friends. I've always wanted to be a teacher, and Pennsylvania has relatively good public schools, but I don't want to teach in the city, and suburban teaching jobs are usually few and far between.

Leaving my home, most of my family and my friends would be one of the most difficult things to do, but I wouldn't be going into it entirely alone. I have some wonderful family on the West Coast that would help me get settled and start to figure my life out, considering they've already been huge helps with helping me navigate adulthood so far.

Living on campus at Temple for a year made me realize how much I love the city, but it also reminded me how much I would hate to live there. I don't want to have to deal with cramped row homes and never having parking. I want to raise a family, have a driveway, space between myself and the neighbors, and the ability to have a fenced in backyard, and I see that as a very real possibility for the trajectory of my life out west.

In all seriousness though, who really knows where my life will take me? I just know I don't want it to be in Delco, and if my plans are way off, then so be it. I know that I will learn how to make myself happy and contribute to the world no matter where I end up.

Shit happens, life changes, and I've finally started to embrace that unpredictability.

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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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6 Ways To Save Money As A Broke College Student

Money saving tips so you can afford adult life while also paying for an expensive tuition.

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It is difficult to work, attend college, and make all your payments on rent, tuition, and bills, (not to mention finding a little money to spare on yourself). These are six ways to save that have helped me in this money stressful time and that you should use too in order to reduce the expenses of adulting.

1. Saving money on rent.

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Apartments are cheaper than houses because most include some of the bills in the rent cost. Make sure to check what amenities apartments offer such as free wi-fi, trash removal, or water included. When choosing roommates the more the better for cost. You should get at least one roommate because it is difficult to afford even a studio apartment living on your own. If you want pets you should choose a place that doesn't have pet rent because even if you have a large non-refundable pet fee it is cheaper in the long run then paying twenty a month per animal.

2. Saving money on bills.

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If you choose to live in an apartment complex, having an apartment on a higher floor will make your electric bill cheaper in the winter because heat rises. Even though your electric bill will be higher in the summer you can afford to work more because classes won't be in session. When purchasing light bulbs get ones that are energy efficient and use lights with batteries to help save on the electric bill. Also make sure to turn off all lights when you aren't in the room. You can save water by not running the faucet when you brush your teeth. Anyway you can think to conserve water and energy use that to your advantage.

3. Saving money on food.

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Your best friend is buying in bulk when you go to get groceries. I personally buy ten pound ground beef logs, cut them up, and place them in the freezer to use later. Everything is cheaper when you buy in bulk and you save time grocery shopping. If you don't know how to cook now is the time to learn because frozen and fast food eats up your money. You should also go to your local food bank if you are really struggling because everyone has to eat. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it! Going without food to pay your rent is not something anyone should have to do.

4. Saving money on furniture.

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You should buy used if at all possible when finding furniture for your apartment or house. Living in a college town has its perks because people are constantly moving you can find great deals at garage sales or on craigslist. For instance I got my couch for free, I just had to move it out of a graduating students apartment. You can also check out thrift stores and consignment shops in your town.

5. Saving money on entertainment.

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There are a lot of deals and discounts for college students so take advantage of that for entertainment.. For example movie theaters usually offer a student discount and if you go to a matinee showing, tickets are even cheaper. Find out when your local bar's happy hour is and use it. Also see what meal deals are offered by restaurants around you, such as 3 items for 10 or specials on Thursday nights. You can also use apps to find coupons, my personal favorite being pocket points because it rewards you for studying.

6. Saving money and side hustles.

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Put back money during the summer in order to have a backup fund for when things get crazy busy during the school year. Scope out banks and find out what interests they offer on savings accounts in order to increase the amount of money you have saved over the years. If you need extra money you can get paid for donating plasma and you can sometimes find research studies that will offer participants cash for things as simple as just an opinion. There are also baby sitting and pet sitting apps you can download to get one time gigs if you are low on funds for the month.

These are all great tips that I have been taught or have learned living as a broke college student. It isn't easy living life in the adult world and pursuing a degree at the same time. I hope these tips will help you save money and keep you out of hard times.

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