5 Things I Missed From My Hometown

5 Things I Missed From My Hometown

Let me tell you about a place not far at all.

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Every hometown has something that makes a person feel at home, or else it wouldn't be considered a "hometown." Once you've left for any certain amount of time, you find that there are places, people, and events that you begin to miss. I happen to be from Martinsburg, West Virginia, a town located in the eastern panhandle of the state. It may not seem like much, especially when you're there all the time, but let me tell you about some of the sights to see if you're ever in the area. Here are five things I look forward to when I come home for my Christmas break.

1. Shepherdstown

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One great thing about Martinsburg is the many historic places that surround it, Shepherdstown being one of my personal favorites. Established in 1762, this town saw the Civil war and now has many memorials. Among things to do here, there are artisan shops and great places to eat, from the Sweet Shop Bakery that used to be a hospital, to The Green Pineapple where you can get your fill of boba tea and other foods. If you're looking for a view however, head up to the Rumsey Monument and Rumsey rock to watch the sunset over the Potomac river.

2. Harpers Ferry 

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Yet another historic place in the vicinity, this one, I'm sure others have heard more of from their history classes. Harpers Ferry is located where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet and was a key site in the 1859 abolitionist raid. You can make a day trip out of walking the town, reading about it, having a picnic, and for those who like an adventure, taking a hike. Just across the river is Maryland Heights, and from the cliff face you can look out over all of Harpers Ferry.

3. Spring Mills 

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Spring Mills and the Falling Waters area is where I've spent most of my time for the last four years. I graduated from Spring Mills High School and was a member of the marching band for the entire time. Between school and band, I spent a fair number of weeks and weekends there. I often look forward to seeing my friends that have not yet graduated when I come home.

4. Dungeons and Dragons 

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Say what you will about us "nerds" but when we come back from our respective colleges, we will sit down at a table for five hours with papers, dice, and snacks shooting fire bolts at hobgoblins. We started playing our first campaign almost two years ago and we always have a blast enjoying each other's company no matter the adventure at hand.

5. Clearbrook's Winter Wonderland 

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When winter time comes around, the lights go up in Clearbrook Park. Here you can take your family, friends, and significant others to spend a couple hours walking through the twelve days of Christmas, meeting Santa, and listening to your favorite holiday hits. Bring some hot chocolate though, it can get a little chilly.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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6 Ways To Save Money As A Broke College Student

Money saving tips so you can afford adult life while also paying for an expensive tuition.

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It is difficult to work, attend college, and make all your payments on rent, tuition, and bills, (not to mention finding a little money to spare on yourself). These are six ways to save that have helped me in this money stressful time and that you should use too in order to reduce the expenses of adulting.

1. Saving money on rent.

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Apartments are cheaper than houses because most include some of the bills in the rent cost. Make sure to check what amenities apartments offer such as free wi-fi, trash removal, or water included. When choosing roommates the more the better for cost. You should get at least one roommate because it is difficult to afford even a studio apartment living on your own. If you want pets you should choose a place that doesn't have pet rent because even if you have a large non-refundable pet fee it is cheaper in the long run then paying twenty a month per animal.

2. Saving money on bills.

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If you choose to live in an apartment complex, having an apartment on a higher floor will make your electric bill cheaper in the winter because heat rises. Even though your electric bill will be higher in the summer you can afford to work more because classes won't be in session. When purchasing light bulbs get ones that are energy efficient and use lights with batteries to help save on the electric bill. Also make sure to turn off all lights when you aren't in the room. You can save water by not running the faucet when you brush your teeth. Anyway you can think to conserve water and energy use that to your advantage.

3. Saving money on food.

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Your best friend is buying in bulk when you go to get groceries. I personally buy ten pound ground beef logs, cut them up, and place them in the freezer to use later. Everything is cheaper when you buy in bulk and you save time grocery shopping. If you don't know how to cook now is the time to learn because frozen and fast food eats up your money. You should also go to your local food bank if you are really struggling because everyone has to eat. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it! Going without food to pay your rent is not something anyone should have to do.

4. Saving money on furniture.

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You should buy used if at all possible when finding furniture for your apartment or house. Living in a college town has its perks because people are constantly moving you can find great deals at garage sales or on craigslist. For instance I got my couch for free, I just had to move it out of a graduating students apartment. You can also check out thrift stores and consignment shops in your town.

5. Saving money on entertainment.

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There are a lot of deals and discounts for college students so take advantage of that for entertainment.. For example movie theaters usually offer a student discount and if you go to a matinee showing, tickets are even cheaper. Find out when your local bar's happy hour is and use it. Also see what meal deals are offered by restaurants around you, such as 3 items for 10 or specials on Thursday nights. You can also use apps to find coupons, my personal favorite being pocket points because it rewards you for studying.

6. Saving money and side hustles.

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Put back money during the summer in order to have a backup fund for when things get crazy busy during the school year. Scope out banks and find out what interests they offer on savings accounts in order to increase the amount of money you have saved over the years. If you need extra money you can get paid for donating plasma and you can sometimes find research studies that will offer participants cash for things as simple as just an opinion. There are also baby sitting and pet sitting apps you can download to get one time gigs if you are low on funds for the month.

These are all great tips that I have been taught or have learned living as a broke college student. It isn't easy living life in the adult world and pursuing a degree at the same time. I hope these tips will help you save money and keep you out of hard times.

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