To My Mother As I Graduate

To My Mother As I Graduate High School

Thank you for loving me enough to make me do hard things.

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Maybe homeschooling wasn't your first choice— having four little kids stuck in a small apartment all day with you. Taking on that added responsibility of not only a parent but a teacher. But even at eight years old, I remember that you made us your first priority, and that was what mattered.

I remember the early mornings you spent reading to my brother and I. We would both be falling asleep, but you read anyway. Those were just the kinds of sacrifices you made for us, and I want you to know that they mattered.

I remember fighting with you about math, and how I would do anything to get out of it. I didn't win those fights. You made me do the work I was supposed to do, and for that I am grateful. I was learning to work hard.

Over the next few years, you taught me how to love learning. I didn't realize that until this year when I was thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Now, as I watch my peers drop out of school and make bad choices and settle for less than what they want, I feel like I can fully appreciate all that you've done for me. I love learning because of you. I want to be a better person for you and because of you.

You taught us how to think and act for ourselves. You always made sure we had good friends and good role models. You made sure that I knew who I was and whose I was — yours and God's. You taught me to make decisions based on what I thought was right, and not just what was popular. You taught me how to stand up for what I believed in.

You've always supported me when I make my own decisions, even when you think those decisions will take me farther from you. When I decided to go to high school my junior and senior years, you were there, and you helped me get there. You've given me all the tools I've needed to succeed.

I guess I just wanted to say, thanks, mom. Thank you for taking me on field trips, arguing with me over schoolwork, and for giving me every opportunity I ever could have wanted. Thank you for pushing me to do great things. You did it, mom. I got to where I needed to be because of you. You're my hero.

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Summer In College Is For More Than Just Working

No, you're never to hold to have fun in the summer.

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There should never be an age where you stop having fun in the summer. The weather is nice, there are always things to do, and everyone is just naturally happier. So, regardless of whether you're 7 or 21, I'm talking to you.

During the year it can be hard to find a routine unless you are a very put together person. Sadly, I am not. Even when I tell myself I'm going to eat healthily, work out, and stop procrastinating, I usually don't follow through with that. At school, I find myself in somewhat of a constant catch-up mode. When I feel like I'm ahead on my homework or studying, that usually means I'm behind on being healthy in other aspects of my life. That is why I love summer. It's a chance to reset the clock for a second and catch your breath.

I get that having an internship or working is important for your post-graduation life, but having fun is important for your college years too. When you get a job in the real world, summer is going to look a lot different for you. That is why it's best to take advantage of the time now. This doesn't mean turning down that work experience, it means doing things other than just working.

First things first is finding a hobby you enjoy that you don't do at school. Pick it up for a little over the summer. Why not? For me, this is yoga. For whatever reason, I find myself too nervous to attend yoga classes at school. I have absolutely no reason to be anxious about doing something I like, but I am so I take the time to attend a few classes a week in the summer.

Secondly, try reading. Before you make that look of disgust on your face, think about the last time you read a book of your choosing. If it was recently, then kudos to you for managing your time well enough to do that. If you are not that person, then hello! I am talking to you. I am not a fan of reading because I usually associate it with homework. However, I find that when I have the time to browse the book section of a store for a few seconds, I find multiple books that jump out at me. During the summer I take the opportunity to read a little here and there. The nice part of leisure reading over school reading is that there's no deadline. You can read what you want when you want to.

Finally, learn something new. Again I usually associate learning with things that I am required to learn for my major. Learning something new that interests you is a different kind of rush. When I'm bored in class, I make bucket lists of little things I want to learn about. They can be big or small. One time I wanted to learn how to knit. Don't ask me why my 19-year-old self thought it would be sweet to sit on my porch in the summer knitting, but I did, and I'm kind of sad I didn't pursue that interest. When might I ever have time to learn how to knit again?

These might sound like quirky things to do, but you're young. Make a bucket list and try to cross one thing off each weekend. If you're like me, then you're a little scared of growing up. Scared you won't be able to accomplish all the things you want to. But, the fact of the matter is no one is going to make you accomplish them but you. So, take some initiative and do them. Summer is for more than just working; it's time to live a little and reset the clock.

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College Made Me Feel Like I Can't Have Free Time

Every second that I do have free, I feel like I need to be working on some type of homework.

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There's no doubt that college is taxing on most student's mental health. You get to the point where you feel stressed about even breathing. I have hit the point where I feel like I'm permanently affected by the stress that I've dealt with this semester.

I used to have so much free time. Even in my other semesters, I had time to hang out with my friends, work, and even be lazy when I wanted to be.

I was still a good student, I got all my assignments done on time and I worked hard on them, but I never really had an overwhelming workload.

That is, until this semester. I got to a point where work was overwhelming, I was working longer hours than I was used to, and having to spend every second that I wasn't in class or at work doing homework, whether it was just lengthy math problems or writing multiple essays or scripts.

After months of being in this habit, when my workload from both work and school died down and I actually had free time, I didn't know what to do with myself.

When my friends were busy and I just wanted a relaxing day at home, since I felt like I deserved it, I would try to just lay down and rest, either reading a good book or catching up on all the shows that my stress had caused me to miss.

But there was always a voice in the back of my head reminding me of every upcoming assignment. I would start thinking about the essay due the next week, or a test that I could be studying for ahead of time.

That voice kept telling me I was being unproductive and wasting my time if I wasn't getting ahead on school work when I finally had the time.

And so I'm still in a position, at the end of the semester, where I feel like I'm wasting my time every time I lay down and just want to take a nap because I'm exhausted from running between work and school. I'm trying to fight myself and tell myself that I am allowed to be lazy for at least a little bit, and I don't need to be constantly working.

Hopefully, that voice wins over, especially with summer coming up. With all of the free time, I'll have since I won't have to stress about school, hopefully, I'll be able to better balance my busy days with my lazy days.

I know this is probably an issue for many college students who are overwhelmed with everything that they have to do. Hopefully, summer break is a nice break for all of us and it gives us the chance to get the free time that we all deserve for surviving this semester, and the school year overall.

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