When You Leave Your Heart In Another State

When You Leave Your Heart In Another State

Remember where your roots grow deep.

A lot of students have one of two dreams once they graduate high school; stay as close to home as they can or move as far away as possible. Personally, I chose to move from Wisconsin to Florida to attend Florida Gulf Coast University. I chose this because I thought Florida would be amazing, plus, I received an extremely generous scholarship to help me pay for school. Once I moved, even before I moved, I realized how deep my roots actually were in Wisconsin and how moving may not be such a great idea.

Vacationing as a family was always a blast, especially when we'd visit Florida. When I moved to Florida to begin my college journey, I realized how much I would miss Wisconsin. Three years later, and I still miss my home state just as much as I did the day I boarded that plane and took off south.

Moving away to go to school is never easy, but it truly is an amazing experience. When you take yourself out of your comfort zone at home, you realize who you really are. You grow and find things out about yourself that you never knew. You find out what type of whether you actually like. You realize how different people are in the south than in the north, both good and bad.

There's also that feeling of missing out. That life is still moving forward without you, and that whenever you visit your home you feel like so much has changed but yet nothing has changed at all. Friends grow up, some fade, some become closer. You start to miss those restaurants that only your hometown has. You also realize that every time you come back home, part of you misses your college town, but you know that part of your heart and soul will always be in the city you grew up in.

Sometimes, it's the exact opposite. You may realize how you've outgrown your hometown and you're destined to travel and go to towns you know nothing about. You may never want to step foot in your home state ever again, but you cannot deny the fact that the state has shaped you and molded you into the person you are. But, you are continuously growing and learning and maturing, no matter what city your feet may be planted in at the moment.

I'm writing this because I'm here to tell you that it's OK to feel lost and confused in college, especially when you relocate.

It's OK to feel upset and sad and like nobody understands. I realized soon on that Wisconsin is the place I need to be, and once I graduate I plan on doing everything in my power to move home, and that's OK.

It's OK that where I am attending college is not the place I want to live after.

It's OK to admit that you aren't yourself when you're at college because it is not where you grew up and it is not where you can be yourself. Find a person that reminds you of home, and do not let them go. That person can make all of the difference, whether it be a friend, relative, significant other, finding that person makes a world of a difference.

Leaving your heart in another state is a sign of strength, you moved to fulfill your educational dreams and to get a step forward on your career. You have goals. It may take time, it will take a lot of time, but everything will work out in the end.

It will be OK.

You got this.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Joining My Sorority Changed My Life

There is more to Greek life than meets the eye.

When I started my first semester of college, I was shy, nervous and a little lost. I made some mistakes, lost my footing and attempted to get my act together. Moving eight hours away to a place where I knew absolutely nobody was the scariest thing I've ever done, but the one thing that made it ten times more bearable was the decision to rush.

Since move-in weekend, the "The Possibilities Are Endless" recruitment fall 2017 flyers were hung up in every hallway from my dorm to my classrooms. Coming into Ohio, I said I would never rush. Greek life has had a bad reputation among many and it didn't seem like the right thing for me. But I kept stopping by to read those flyers, paying attention to the block letter sweaters that sorority girls wore to class, and couldn't help but stare as I walked past the sorority houses on campus.

Ultimately, I decided to rush. What should hold me back? Nothing.

So I stepped out of my safe little bubble and walked into 10 houses of girls screaming the "Go Greek" song at the top of their lungs for two weekends in a row, and man it was the best decision I've ever made. Walking out of Alpha Omicron Pi for the last time before bid day, I never would've imagined what an impact this chapter would have on my life in such a short period of time.

After one semester, I had met my closest friends, not only in college but life in general.

Since day one, these girls have treated me better than the shallow friends I had known for years back home in high school. Throughout the entire first semester, if I ever needed anything, ran into trouble, needed advice or a shoulder to cry on after a bad week, all I had to was say the word and my sisters would be waiting for me in their rooms. They are the reason I made it through those first difficult months away from home, that bad exam or that one aching heartbreak.

What so many people don't realize is that the awful stigmas, stereotypes and bad reputations that Greek life has are not true at all. From the outside, it's easy to brand us as shallow girls who all wear the same clothes and act the same way. But we all know that you can't judge a book by its cover, and the same thing applies for judging sororities.

You can't know what it's like unless you've gone through recruitment or have joined yourself,

Recruitment teaches us valuable conversational skills, how to look nice, and present ourselves in the best image possible. All these qualities are important life skills when it comes to future job interviews. We host charity events for our philanthropy, helping those in need, and have mandatory service/volunteer hours we must complete each semester. Every chapter has a minimum GPA that their members must meet in order to remain in the organization.

The general idea that those who are in Greek life are not serious about their studies, slack off and don't get good grades is one of the biggest lies I've ever heard. Here at Ohio University, the average GPA of members in Greek life is actually higher than the overall GPA of the rest of the student body.

If that doesn't speak for itself, then I don't know what will.

Being in a sorority teaches us how to balance sisterhood and studies. Older sisters are always willing to lend help to the new freshmen if they're struggling with a difficult class the others have taken before. We always put our academics first, and social life second.

My sorority taught me how to lift each other up, to tell your sisters you're proud of them, to tell them you love and appreciate everything they do.

With these amazing women, I've had the time of my life in college. From date parties, to bid day, family dinners and socials, these are the memories I will cherish forever. It's made me a better, more dedicated and happier person. Thanks to my chapter, many opportunities have opened up to me.

I know I'll always have a home there and friends who run to me with open arms after being away for an entire month over break. And it means the world to have such loving people who worry about you and miss you every day when you're away.

There truly is no way to express my gratitude for Alpha Omicron Pi, and I hope that others will see this and realize there is so much more to sororities than meets the eye.

Cover Image Credit: Anna Kropov

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Thoughts About A 21st Birthday

Turning twenty-one has its pros and cons.

In life, we all have the "useless" birthdays. These birthdays are nothing but a celebration of turning another year older. This is kind of how I felt last year when, in February, I became twenty. But twenty-one is considered a milestone, especially for American youth. In the long run, how unique is gaining another responsibility?

I only question this, and slightly dread it, because there is more that comes with being twenty-one. For myself, a female, being this old means I am required to receive Pap smears in South Carolina, a procedure I do not like in the least. If you don't know what this is, well, they put a plastic thing inside you to open the region up and check the cervix for cancer. It isn't pleasant for me for multiple reasons.

But, back to what everyone knows about this age: drinking and the ability to purchase whatever kind you like.

I will probably enjoy being able to drink here. Thing is: I've had alcohol before. In Europe and Mexico, everything is a bit more relaxed, and it is indeed an excellent experience to learn what wine tastes like, or alcohol in general, and how to be a responsible drinker. Have I snuck some vodka in a tea before while on a trip? Yeah, and it was good. So, in hindsight, I've already had a taste of that part. But I'm celebrating regardless of experience.

Also, I'm going to be happy to be twenty for the next little bit. Do I know what I'm doing with my life? Not necessarily. And it will be a while until I do. But that is the point of being at this stage. And another year won't change that.

Yeah, I'm happy it is coming up, and that I get to see my friends and family, but I have only lived a short part of my life. More milestones will top this one, and they might not even be birthdays. But I'm still glad to be able to celebrate with those I love.


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