Keystone College: Believe, Belong, Become

Keystone College: Believe, Belong, Become

A little bit about the place that changed me forever.
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It's been about a year since I graduated from Keystone College. A small Liberal Arts institution, located in a little area known as La Plume, PA. Everyday, I think about my experiences there and how they shaped me as a man. You see, Keystone College is different, it's an extremely special place. It's almost like there's something in the air. You step foot on campus, surrounded by the beautiful nature and as you look around you can almost feel it instantly, like you're part of a family. That's exactly what the Keystone College community is, a family.

I got there in 2011, nervous and maybe a little scared, but I had a thirst to prove myself. A thirst to prove that someone disabled like me, could not only survive in a college environment, but thrive in one. However, the process wasn't as scary or as difficult as I thought it would be.Trust me, I had to prove myself for sure, but not like I thought. I didn't have to prove that I was like everyone else, everyone already thought I was. The staff and students, looked me in the eyes and didn't bother to glance at my walker and when it did come up, they weren't afraid to laugh, joke and even bust my chops a bit.

However, as we all know, there's a certain maturation process that takes place during college. We all grow and change hopefully, for the better. Keystone College is full of great faculty and staff. A faculty and staff that aren't just concerned about teaching you from a book, but also teaching you about life and real experiences. I grew up in an extremely rural area, full of about 98% straight, white people. Keystone College's diversity for the area is tremendous. As someone who grew up just 45 minutes away, it was a bit of a culture shock. The campus prides itself on being accepting of everyone and everything, including the LGBT community. It helped me step out of the bubble I saw society through and learn about and grow with all different types of people.

I guess the point I'm trying to get at is, Keystone College was the perfect place for me. I can go on and on about my experiences there and how truly different the place is from other institutions, but I don't think 500 words or even 1000 would come close to doing it justice. But what I can say, is that if your looking for a small school, a small school where you can make an impact and feel accepted as a part of something, then it's the place for you. There's an atmosphere that can't fully be explained, one that makes you want to bleed the Orange and Blue. There are people and personalities there that will stick with you for a lifetime. I've learned so much about myself and life from Keystone College. I've said it many times, It might not be a big university, right in the middle of a big city, but if you put the effort in, it can change your life forever. Keystone College made me feel like I belonged, it taught me to believe in myself and it's helping me become the man I want to be.

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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