Life, And How Religion Got Me Through It All

Life, And How Religion Got Me Through It All

How God touched every single year of my life
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Prior to my birth, while my mom was pregnant with me, my dad was driving around and happened to see a girl on a run. The weather consisted of cold winds, so this particular girl was wearing a sweatshirt. In big bold letters, her sweatshirt read, “COLBY,” in reference to Colby College in Maine. As my dad continued to drive, he thought about how nice of a ring the name Colby had to it. Therefore, my name is Colby. I was my mom and dad's first born and the first grandchild for both sets of my grandparents. Therefore, my birth was quite exciting. I was born into the world weighing seven pounds, three ounces with brown eyes and a lock or two of light brown hair.

When I was released from the hospital, my parents brought me to my new home in New Jersey. Two years of crying, playing with toys, and changing diapers pass, and my sister, Peyton, is born. Looking back through photos and from what my parents tell us, my sister and I were the best of friends in our younger years, just like we are today. Fortunately, my mom has always had her camera attached at the hip, so finding childhood photos is never an issue. In every picture I come across of my sister and I when we were young, we are always hugging and smiling.

Another two years pass since my sister’s birth, and my brother, Campbell, is born. At around this time, we moved into another house in New Jersey and I was attending preschool. My mom tells me that every day that I would come home from preschool, I would be extremely excited to share all of the amazing crafts I created and the games I played that day. Then, I began kindergarten. This is the year that my true faith journey started. I was fully introduced to the Catholic faith by attending a Catholic school. The student body and faculty of my school would attend mass together once a week during the school day. In my earlier years, I never really quite understood what the priest’s position was or why we said the “Our Father” or what anything at mass really meant.

When I was nine years old and in the third grade, my parents took Peyton, Campbell, and I to the mall. Before we were allowed out of the car, my dad said that he had an announcement. I clearly remember him turning around to face us from the driver’s seat, and telling us that we would be moving to North Carolina. Peyton and Campbell burst into tears, wailing and crying. Surprisingly, I did not cry. I looked out the window. I immediately thought of the family I would be leaving behind. My mother’s parents lived in New Jersey, not too far from us. My cousins, aunts, and uncles on both sides of the family also lived in New Jersey. All in all, the majority of my family would no longer be an hour and a half drive away. My family is my absolute everything. My actions and thoughts revolve around each and every one of them. My life was about to change drastically, and all I thought about was, “Will they come to visit?”

I began my North Carolina school years as a fourth grader at a Catholic elementary school. I’m not going to sugar coat it, the beginning of fourth grade was a bit rough. I was the new girl that dreaded recess because that meant sitting on the swings by myself. Everyone already had their friends and wasn’t interested in me. I lived in an apartment with noisy neighbors. I missed New Jersey. My mom could tell that I was feeling the way I was. One day, she handed me a notebook. She told me that we could write notes to each other because sometimes it feels better to let your emotions out on paper. My relationship with my mom became incomparable. We would write jokes back and forth, as well as how our day was. Her notes reminded me that living in North Carolina would get better, and it quickly did. We later moved into my beautiful white home, or, how others prefer to identify it, “the house with the green roof.” We adopted three adorable kittens from the Humane Society named Soufflé, Bliss, and Mousse. I finally began making friends.

I began middle school at a Catholic middle school. I was introduced to a great group of friends in sixth grade, some of whom are my best friends today. I loved my teachers and my classmates, and I didn’t really struggle academically. I was completely over missing New Jersey until I suddenly received news that someone in my family had become very sick. I immediately turned to God. I prayed every chance I had. As I prayed, I reflected on every moment that I could remember spending with my grandfather. I asked God if there was anything I could personally do in return for my grandfather’s health. During these tough times, my good friends reminded me to always stay positive and to keep praying. Thankfully, my prayers were answered. Doctors had informed my relative that they were going to be okay.

Just as things were starting to go my way, Hurricane Sandy took place. It began on October 29, 2012. After hearing that my friends that lived in New Jersey were being forcefully evacuated from their homes, I knew my old home was in danger. I was so scared of the hurricane’s outcome. I constantly checked weather.com and the news for updates and was never thrilled with what I discovered. The winds and rain were progressively getting stronger and more aggressive, and my own friends’ homes were being destroyed. My grandparents' house had five feet of water flood his first floor. My friend’s front door had been blown off. Another friend of mine’s boat had been ripped from the docks by the storm and is most likely still sitting at the bottom of the bay somewhere. When teachers asked if anyone had any intentions at school, I would always pray for my favorite little town in New Jersey. I would constantly pray that the aftermath would not be as grave as the news was telling me it would be. I would reflect on the amazing memories I had made in New Jersey and the life I lived there. I believe that God knew and still knows how important of a place it is to me, because when I nervously returned to New Jersey to visit that December, the only damage done to my town was some trash blown into the streets. I was blessed, and immediately prayed to God in thanksgiving and appreciation. Although the rest of the state didn’t survive the storm as well, the number of amount of volunteers and workers that devoted their time in order to restore New Jersey proves how much the state means to people.

I thank God each and every day for a successful high school career that led me to be a proud student at the University of Richmond. I pray in thanksgiving that I have made such strong friendships and have such a loving family. I also thank Him for having had such a great plan for me and I am ready for whatever else He has in store.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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