When I was 15 I left home for the first time. I got two suitcases. Two suitcases to shove summer sun dresses, windbreakers, sandals and sneakers and even my ski gear into. I had pictures and cards and boxes upon boxes of contacts wrapped carefully in paper and cloth to keep it from getting crushed. Looking around my room, drawers empty, closet seeming now just a little less full, all I could see was the stuff I was leaving behind. The teddy bear my grandmother had given me when I was a baby, the books that I was always seeming to be continuously leafing through, my dog, napping as he always did in front of the window. When I was packing those suitcases, I was packing a new life. A life whose future was blurry, vague, almost completely unknown to me. I had to make guesses on what to bring based on weather reports and maps. I spent countless hours shoving piles of cloth in and out of those suitcases, each pile getting a little bit smaller each time. I have packed these suitcases every year since then, and with each passing year, I find that I bring less and less stuff. There are less pictures in my bag now, less contacts. At first it scared me a little, not having the subtle reminders of home, that being away meant that I was going to change. Maybe I did change, and every year I can see that change in with what stays and what doesn't. Maybe I do so knowing that my roots will never change and home will always be there waiting for me. Every year I find myself coming back to the same scrap book, the same teddy bear and the same books. They remind me of the life I had in a place I lived for a certain time. But with every year home just feels farther and farther away.
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They may be the worst sometimes, but this baseball team has given me more than I could ask for.
On September 3rd, 2001, a sea of children littered my home's navy-carpeted den to watch baseball during my dad's 40th birthday extravaganza. A baseball game flickered on the TV, and a red and blue bubble of a scoreboard sat in the bottom right corner of the screen. The New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies were in a wild game at Veterans' Stadium. As I, a five-year-old boy with a jumble of curly blonde hair, sat in the back of the kid clump, I wondered which team I should root for. After a long debate with myself, I decided that I should root for the team that's winning (duh). But, as the ninth inning rolled around with the Phils maintaining a 7-5 lead, some magic occurred. The Mets put up five runs in one frame, stunning the Phillie fans in the room and winning the game 10-7.
That was my first experience with the Mets. To my five-year-old self, it was as thrilling as a roller coaster. That day I was introduced to my favorite baseball team. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of the wild ride that is Mets fandom. From 2001 to 2006, the daily routine at home in Blue Bell, PA always included checking the Sports section of The New York Times, searching baseball scores for a Mets victory. It was just a regular part of my day and didn't seem like anything big, but right after my 10th birthday, things started to change.
In May of 2006, I was diagnosed with Chron's Disease. I spent seven miserable days in the hospital, with only PlayStation games and Sportscenter to keep me sane. On the 5th or 6th day, I was watching baseball highlights when it came up: a snippet of Carlos Beltran whacking a 16th inning walk-off home run into the New York night against the Phillies. All the stomachaches and blood draws of the past week faded, if only for a moment, as I watched Beltran belt that ball into the sky. In that instant, the Metsies made me happy, and their dominance and division championship in 2006 got me more excited than I'd been for anything in my life.
Sports tend to do that with me. They drive my brain like a truck into splashes of excitement and mountains of agony. The first mountain of agony popped out of my sports world about 5 months after my first stay at the hospital. The Mets had reached the National League Championship Series, and in Game 7, Carlos Beltran stepped back into the same batters' box where he smacked that May home run with a chance to send the Metsies to the World Series.
But the magic didn't happen that time. And history refused to repeat itself, as Beltran watched Strike 3 swoop by him, ending the Mets championship chances.
It was a ball. It had to be a ball. Even if it was a strike, how did Carlos not swing at that? There's no way that just happened.
Tears trickled down my face, and angry curses flew out of my mouth. I couldn't believe it. I was devastated, and I didn't even know it was about to get way worse.
In 2007, the Mets blew a seven-game division lead on the Phillies in the last two weeks of the season. Living in suburban Philadelphia, school the next day was hell. Every two years my Jewish middle school would celebrate Sukkot by going to Hershey Park. This year, every student had to wear red, and every kid wearing a Phillies shirt came up to me and just kinda laughed. After that, not even roller coasters and chocolate could cheer me up and knock down that mountain of agony.
From the next year on, the Mets drove me insane. After collapsing again in '08, the Mets consistently put up losing seasons into the next decade. It makes sense actually. Going through middle school and parts of high school were tough, and swirling that with my bumpy Chron's Disease didn't help.
But somehow, 2015 is looked a heck of a lot different.
The Mets are in first place in the N.L. East and they're finally fun again! While I was away at camp this summer, the Mets finally decided to make some big boy baseball moves, just like in 2015 they called up touted prospects and trading for Yoenis Cespedes, a monster hitter.
I think it actually makes sense that this is the year. After a challenging freshman year academically and socially, Year Two has rolled around beautifully, and I'm loving being a sophomore at Muhlenberg College. After a lonely single last year, I now have an awesome roommate. I'm taking classes that I really like and I think I might have discovered what my major is. My Chron's disease has been under control, I have a great group of friends. and for once, I have a great sense of where I'm going.
It's been fun, and once baseball season ends, I might be a little less happy with just basketball to watch.
But hopefully, I'll still be winning, just like the Mets.
If you love BTS, I'm sure you relate to one or many of them in several ways. This star test will help you learn more about which member you are most connected to.
Astrological signs tell a lot about a person. Do you ever wonder what your BTS bias star sign is? Is it the same as yours, or or are you more like one of the other amazing members? Take a look and find out what yours (and the members of Bangtan) says about you.
Aquarius: Jung Hoseok (20 January-18 February)
The aquarius sign relates to those that love to help others and fight for important causes. Hoseok is someone that is always there for the members and for ARMY. He is a warm and compassionate person by nature. Aquarius signs are able to be nonjudgemental, which Hobi has in stride. He sees the best in people, and is very forgiving. This sign also means people that are free spirits, who are very animated and easily happy. Jhope is one of the most charismatic members of BTS, he is always dancing and running around joyfully. If you share these characteristics, you are sure to be a wonderful friend that lives life positively!
Virgo: Kim Namjoon (23 August-22 September)
Virgo's are both very mature and a kid at heart at the same time. Joon is known to be a gentle guy who loves crabs, wearing PJ's, and dancing like no one is watching. He is also very thoughtful and intellectual. When you want to find encouragement and listen to someone that is understanding, Namjoon is the person to go to. If you are a Virgo, you are certainly smart, sweet, and kind.
Libra: Park Jimin (23 September-22 October)
Libra's are one of the kindest star signs. Like our Jiminie, they always try to bring peace and harmony to any situation. They want to make people smile and laugh. When someone they care about is struggling, they will be the first to comfort them. They are very warm and will brighten your day! If you are a Libra, you definitely have the most infectious smile and the best hugs.
Capricorn: Kim Taehyung (22 December-19 January)
Capricorns are some of the best people. They tend to be silly and have a great sense of humor, just like Tae does. He is always one that wants to goof around and make every situation fun! This sign is also mysterious, and can be hard to read. While Tae is often the life of the party, he can also be serious and hides a lot of himself. Capricorns have very unique minds, and are intelligent in different ways. Taehyung is always the most unique member in BTS. Finally, this sign can be quite emotional. Our TaeTae is not afraid to show his emotions and that is a very heartwarming quality. If you are a Capricorn, you are an amazing person with a lot of layers.
Sagittarius: Kim Seokjin (22 November-21 December)
Sagittarius are extroverts who are very optimistic and enthusiastic at almost all times. ARMY knows our Jin is one of the funniest, most cheerful members of BTS. He is always telling his dad jokes and being Extra™. Jin finds his joy by making others laugh which is one of his most amazing qualities. If you are a Sagittarius, you are likely to be as hilarious and incredible as Kim Seokjin. You definitely make the world a better place!
Pisces: Min Yoongi (19 February-20 March)
Pisces are some of the most caring people you will ever meet. Like our Yoongi, they may have a sarcastic outer shell, but deep down they are very faithful and selfless. Pisces also love to sleep and don't always have much energy. Suga definitely fits this, as he loves to relax but finds his energy when he is with his members. Lastly, Pisces are very musical people. Min Yoongi is an amazing musician and that is one of his favorite things in the world. If you are a Pisces, you are a deeply generous and introspective person. Keep being you!
Virgo (the other side of Virgo haha): Jeon Jungkook (23 August-22 September)
Virgo's are types that are good at almost everything they do! That is a clear sign of our Jungkook. He is someone that excels at dancing, sports, and music. Virgo's are so supportive and kind, they are some of the best friends you will ever have. JK is always there for his big brothers, and gives so much love to ARMY. This sign is also a sign of faithfulness, and Jungkook is very loyal. His biggest worries are for when the other members are struggling. Virgo's are very selfless, just like Kookie. If you are a Virgo, you are surely a wonderful and hardworking person.
With the end of August approaching more quickly than many of us would like, the preparation for school is happening in more ways than just one.
The car is all packed. The money you saved (and didn't spend online) from your summer internship is secured quietly in your bank account. The immediate reunion with your long-distance college friends is set. The real question on everyone's minds is: do you have the perfect melody to jam to as you journey back to school?
This is the type of playlist that will make you want to slow down, take the backroad, roll down the windows and belt out lyrics like never before. The sun is setting behind you and you can conquer anything. If your life were a movie, this would be the soundtrack that played right after you accomplished all of your hopes and dreams.
*Disclaimer: if you hate good music and smiling, this may not be for you.*
Everyone could use more self-care and without the judgement...
Welcome to a new day and a new opportunity to be our best selves. Here's a list of 20 quotes about self-care, self-love, positivity, and finding inspiration. Carry these quotes with you throughout your day for positive upliftment!
1. "When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn't healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs, and habits - anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving."
― Kim McMillen
2. "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."– Albert Schweitzer
3. "You can't make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable."
4. Deepak Chopra"Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact." – William James
5. "Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results…We understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world – although its operation there is just as simple and undeviating – and they, therefore, do not cooperation with it."- James Allen
6. "Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better."– Harvey Mackay
7. A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. James E. Faust
8. "If someone bases his/her happiness on major events like a great job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn't going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness." —Andy Rooney
9. "If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you." —Lao Tzu
10. "I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is not determined by our circumstance, but by our disposition."—Martha Washington
11. "Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear or feel it when it comes to us. Let's not be afraid to receive each day's surprise, whether it come to us as sorrow or as joy, it will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity."—Henri Nouwen
12. "My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations." -Michael J. Fox
13. "When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." -John Lennon
14. "Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different." - Stacy Charter
15. "When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."—Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
16. Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness. -Robertson Davies
17. If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. He will not be striving for it as a goal in itself. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of the day. -W. Beran Wolfe
18. "Worrying about your job, the price of gas, the economy and other cares of the world will not increase your happiness factor." Patricia A Gilpin-Hudson; Carol R Muschette, Find Joy in Daily Living
19. "Each person must be committed to take charge of his or her own destiny for without this ownership, you will never find happiness, nor will you find your real purpose in life."- Byron Pulsifer, Words of Life
20. "I have also found that love, passion and happiness grow more from within than out. That is to say each one of us is responsible for our own happiness - you cannot give your responsibility for love or happiness to some one else expecting that it is there duty or place in life to make one happy." - Byron Pulsifer, Positive Mental Attitude
There's always a reason to be happy.
It doesn't cost a thing - so smile.
Your friends and Family
Always a reason to laugh with my friends and family.
A new notebook
Writing in a new notebook is top ten best feelings.
Living on the same planet with dogs
We, humans get the privilege of living on the same planet as dogs and animals.
Who doesn't love climbing into bed after a long day and being in clean sheets?
Drive thru Starbucks
You still get your coffee while in the comfort of still being in your car.
Waking up to an email that class is cancelled will instantly make your day.
A good movie
Watching a good movie makes any night better.
When you are wearing new shoes, you feel like you can conquer the world.
The trees changing colors
The trees changing colors doesn't make driving so bad.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign