Here's To My Last Semester

Poetry On Odyssey: Here's To You, My Last Semester

This one is for you.

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Here's to you, my last semester.

Here's to the countless tears, sleepless nights and all-nighters.

Here's to the friends come and gone; to love lost and gained.


To the times I thought I was a failure but trudged through anyway.

To the times I won and thanked God for the failures that got me there.

To the times I lost faith and thought I'd never find it again.


Here's to you.


Here's to the new experiences and adventures—I'll never forget.

Here's to the confidence gained and the insecurities lost.

Here's to finding myself, losing myself, and finding myself again.


For the anxiety, depression and hair pulled.

For the friends and family who helped me through it all.

For the grades I learned not to let define me.


Here's to you.


To the lessons learned and trials overcome.

To the chins held high and the "fake it till you make it" smiles.

To the genuine smiles.


Here's to you.


Here's to the multiple jobs and the ocean of debt I'm learning to swim in.

Here's to the work ethic built over the last five years.

Here's to the opportunities of a lifetime.


For the 200 plus articles written in the last three years.

For the growth in dreams and the steps toward reality.

For the challenges that have made me sweat and cry.


Here's to you.


To the family I found—blood and not blood.

To the past, present and future.

To the failures, accomplishments and present endeavors.


Here's to independence, but learning how to ask for help.

Here's to the professors and peers who taught me something new.

Here's to the courage to dream big.


For the last five years.

For strength and perseverance.

For the last semester.


This one is for you.


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Blocking Toxic Family Members Can Be Just What You Needed

It isn't an easy choice but it can be the most rewarding.

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I haven't written for the Odyssey in quite some time due to this large issue in my life that I feel some people may also need to hear. Watching your parents go through a divorce can be difficult in itself, but what about having to remove one of your parents from your life at the same time? It's something I don't think many people could imagine doing. However, sometimes you are forced into the position between choosing what is best for your mental health or what is expected of you. For me, I realized that I needed to put myself first.

I realized that I am my own person. How I present myself and how I act and what I choose to believe in is how the world perceives me. I was faced with a parent who did not let me be who I am. The way I thought had to be in line with theirs. What I openly spoke about had to be in line with that parent's thoughts. This also, in turn, meant I had to revolve how I was perceived to the world around that parent's family. I had to abide by these societal norms and do what someone else expected of me. I realized that was ludicrous.

This parent was also abusive. They were toxic and manipulative and I could not stand idly by and just take that from them while also trying to become an independent young adult. I was forced to sit and watch one of my parents transform into someone I didn't recognize anymore. I had to watch them ignore any kind of reality checks and continue to feign innocence. I watched one of my parents mentally manipulate people I once called family into believing lies. I kept my head down and shut my mouth and kept taking the abuse. Now I'm at a point where I can confidently say that I am no longer afraid.

I was forced to cut ties with a parent that raised me, cared for me, attended school functions, fixed toys, bought me my first phone. I was forced to chuck out priceless memories for my own sanity. I could not sit idly by and allow myself to endure one more second of lies or abuse. I had to stand up for myself for once in my life and I blocked most of my family. I blocked cousins, aunts, uncles, and godparents. I changed my phone number that I had since 6th grade. I gave no warning and disappeared from my family's lives. Do I have regrets? No. I would do it again if I had to because I am so much stronger than sitting there and taking it.

I will have one less parent at my college graduation, which I am fighting so hard to achieve. I will have one less parent at my wedding. My future children will have one less grandparent. I mope in these thoughts but then I have to remember the other side of things. I will not have an unsupportive parent at my graduation and instead will have those that were there every step of the way. I will lack someone who was toxic at my wedding. My future children will never have to face the same abusive, toxic situations that my parent put me through. It was a difficult decision to make but one that I know in my heart is worthwhile.

Cutting a family member out of your life is difficult enough but cutting a parent is unimaginable. However, no one deserves to go through abusive situations. It shouldn't matter who the person is; if someone is treating you less than you deserve to be treated, they have no use being in your life. You should always be your first priority. You should never have to endure something for the sake of others. I am here to tell you that you are more than that and that cutting out a family member could actually be the best thing for you, even if it's incredibly difficult. I did it and I'm still here. It made me realize who my real family was, and there will never be enough thank you's in the world to show my mother just how much I appreciate her.

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