To My Hometown

Dear Hometown, I'm Sorry I Dread Coming Back To You

It's not you.

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Dear Hometown,

When breaks come in college I feel relieved to be back in my home, but then I think of you. I think of everything that happened here and I cringe. I feel almost uncomfortable in my own skin. It's nice to be back, trust me, to see my ride-or-die friends, my amazing family. However, I don't like seeing everything reminding me of my past. I want to move on but it seems as if every time I come back here its two steps back from my one step forward towards a new life. You have a hold on me that makes me feel like I am suffocating. You aren't good for me.

I know that you were everything I didn't want to leave after graduation, but now you are why I want — why I need — to leave.

I will miss the familiarity of everything, being able to come back home from school and get in the car and know exactly how to get everywhere.

I'll come back and visit, tell my kids about you and all the crazy stories, cherish my friends I have made here that I couldn't bear to live without. But I will be moving away as soon as possible, trust me.

I always wonder what it is like to stay in the town you grew up in, to know every part and every road so when you have kids and need to drive them to their friends you know exactly where to go. But that won't be me.

It does hurt, don't get me wrong. When I was little I would always think about what if my kid went to the school I did. But that was younger me. Older me can't wait to take trips back here and show my kids where all my stories happened.

The world is so big and endless, I don't know where I'm going just yet but I have plans.

So, I'm sorry hometown, but you will merely be my past, nothing else.

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Everyone Should Experience Working In Fast Food Or Retail

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it.

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I know these jobs aren't glamorous. In fact, most days I looked forward to clocking out before I had even clocked in. I always secretly rolled my eyes when an angry customer droned on and on about how entitled he or she was. Though I can name a lot of bad things that happened on the job, it wasn't all horrible. As I reflect on my time working in fast food, I realize how much having that job really taught me and how grateful I am to have had that experience. I really think everyone should work in fast food or retail at some point, and here's why:

You make some great friends from work. I get it, sometimes your co-workers are royal jerks or flat out creeps. You see your name on the schedule next to theirs and immediately try switching with someone else. I've been there. However, I have worked with some amazing people as well.

Every time I worked with one girl in particular, we laughed for entire shifts. One night, we were singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs without realizing a customer had come in (to our surprise, she applauded our terrible screaming). Another coworker and I turned up the radio on full blast when business was slow and had dance battles. We made the most of our shifts, and I still talk to some of these people today.

You learn how to deal with difficult people. It's the age-old story: the uppity customer thinks twelve dollars for a meal combo is outrageous and Where is your manager?!

My friend and I were once called stupid and a customer said he would never come back to our restaurant to eat ever again. At the moment, we were scared out of our minds because we were both pretty new to the job. As time passed, we became more patient and tolerant and knew what triggered these particular customers. Dealing with these adversities definitely helps in the long run, particularly when it comes to doing group work with people who seem unbearable.

Your people skills increase by a landslide. I had always thought that I was great with people before I had a job. However, when I found myself in situations where I had to talk to strangers, I would grow nervous and stumble across my words from time to time. Working in an environment where communicating with others is a driving force helped me not only with improving my public speaking, but also made me more outgoing. In situations where I once backed into the corner to avoid having to talk to someone, I now take charge and initiate a conversation.

You establish a connection with regular customers. My favorite customer was named Jack. He was the sweetest old man who came in every Wednesday and Friday and bought food for himself and his wife. I quickly memorized his order, which impressed him. We shared pleasantries every time he came in, and my coworkers and I looked forward to seeing him.

Establishing a relationship with people who come in a lot helps immensely when it comes to working. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you memorize an order. Not to mention, the customers start to like you and typically leave a generous tip!

You have stories to tell for a lifetime! Sometimes bad things happen at work. Once I was holding a hot pan and burned my arm— I still have the burn mark on my arm to prove it. My point is, it sucked at the moment, but now I look back and laugh.

One time I asked my coworker how to make soup and she replied, "Slowly, but beautifully." It was so nonchalant that I cracked up for hours. There was also a time when a customer asked me for outlandish toppings and condiments that we didn't offer. The craziest story, though, was the drug deal that went down in our public restrooms. My coworker and I obviously could not leave our station and follow these people into the bathroom, so we were pretty much defenseless. Nobody got hurt or anything, so it made for a great story.

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it. It made me more independent and outgoing and gave me memories I'll never forget.

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