Keep On Running

Keep On Running

Something always comes up, one after the other, and I have only found one way to deal with it.
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Recently, I have found a new way to fulfill what little time I have. Well, it is not a new thing to most of you, but to me it is a visitation to my old days. I have taken up exercising for anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours a day.

It all started when the service VP from my sorority required us to do twenty miles for Alex’s Lemonade Stand- Childhood Cancer Research. She told us we could get up to five service hours for this project, and with a requirement of twenty-five hours a semester I needed all the hours I could get. Every ten miles equaled one service hour. On Labor Day weekend, I decided to stay at school for the weekend and spend time with friends versus going home. Two of my sorority sisters invited me to go hiking in the Smokies with them. Without hesitation, I agreed. As time went on, I was incredibly nervous for the experience. I gained beyond the freshmen weight that college students are stereotyped for. I had not worked on months. They told me it was an eight-mile hike round trip, and that it was easily doable. They convinced me that the view would be well worth it.

I woke up the next morning, and we drove to our destination. We hiked and saw one of the most incredible scenes of creation. I was amazed with not only the view, but also with myself and the journey I embarked. By the end of that day, after hiking and walking around campus, I finished with twelve miles in for the day. I liked the reward of how I felt after I did so many miles. The next day, I took a trip to the journey. I start off doing cycling. I on average would get eight to nine miles in. I also would walk three to four miles on campus. On top of that, every day, I tried to run at least one mile. By the end of the month I started adding in various ellipticals and further running distances. I complete September with over 300 miles of exercise. The start of October was a more motivating month. I desire to see a physical difference, so I pushed myself more and more. No matter how much I would like you and myself to believe that my intentions for running and exercising are due to a desire in physical change. However, it goes deeper than that.

Tying my shoes, putting on headphone in each ear, I am preparing to escape my overwhelming, unnecessary stress. This is what happens when I go exercise. I walk into the gym, and I go directly to whichever machine I choose. I throw myself into what I am doing simply to avoid thinking. Drowning myself in the music, eliminating all distractions. Sometimes I read a book when I am cycling. I go through notecards as I am running. I repeat acronyms to prepare for a test as I am on the CrossBuilder. I have chosen to bottle up all of my stress and use that energy to be productive and go further than I ever imagined. I have learned to keep running. When I realize the realities of things I put on the back burner, check my bank account and notice I have less money than I thought, see the fullness of my calendar, or unwillingly face the uncertainty of what will happen in the future I grab my running shoes, fill up my water bottle, and push through the pain.

For some people, running is to keep them in shape. For others, it is to prepare them for a sport. For myself, running is the best way for me to cope with my stress. I can push through the mental and physical pain while seeing an end result. After a good exercise, I feel as if I can conquer the day. I forget why I was so worried about financial means or what I have to complete. It is almost as if I cannot be content. Something always comes up, one after the other, and I have only found one way to deal with it. Running. I keep on running. I run until I cannot anymore. Then as those thoughts slip back into my mind, I run again. Some of you will tell me to grow up, and deal with my stress but when I cannot put into words what I am so worried about there is no way I can fix the problem. I have to run and run until I feel safe with my thoughts or until I have eliminated them. I keep on running.

Cover Image Credit: Adrianna Roberts

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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