Advice for Moving Cross Country for College

What Traveling Cross-Country for College Taught Me

I traveled 2,500 miles to go to college. Here's what my first month taught me about school, life, and myself.

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When I visited the University of Virginia during the fall of my junior year of high school, I knew I wanted to make it my new home. Raised in Southern California, the only weather I've known has been the occasional rains during the winter time. Not only did the changing leaves inspire my love of the variance the seasons bring, I felt like the university was my next big adventure that I could take.

1. You don't have to be homesick.

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Although I've always been an independent person, I was ready to feel the pangs of homesickness for my family, friends back home, and going to the beach every day. Although I do miss the ocean (there's nothing better than the coolness and the saltiness of the air!), my willingness to be open to a new place replaced those longings. It's regular to miss the people you love and your hometown, but college has so many amazing things to offer! The new connections you forge in college can keep you happy! I think that dwelling on the past distracts from the grand adventure that is in front of you.

2. Don't be afraid to branch out.

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The great thing about traveling across the country is having a clean slate. While college represents a new beginning for most people, I had the added advantage of being able to start over completely. The best thing about being at a larger school (my high school had 520 students TOTAL) is that I can meet someone new everyday. Some of my friendships have started just by simply introducing myself to the people in my classes or in my dorm.

3. Be prepared for cultural differences.

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While culture is becoming increasingly global in the digital age (especially with social media), I've noticed some stark contrasts in my time while living on the opposite coast. Different slang (what is a brick?) is all around me and I've even noticed that the music that is played at parties or social gatherings is quite different. Maybe it was just my high school or even my area, but I've noticed that significantly more people listen to EDM rather than rap. It's just interesting to see the different peoples' dress, actions, and even the things they like.

4. It's easy to get distracted by everything that's going on.

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College is a whirlwind, and getting caught up in the social aspect of it can be time consuming. Moving in and orientation and all of the football games can take up a lot of time! My advice would be to make sure that you're staying true to yourself and the reason you traveled all of this way to come to school. Uprooting yourself and moving cross country takes a lot of guts, so make sure it's worth it for you.

5. Living in a new place is an extraordinary opportunity.

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Above all, I thank my parents for providing me with this opportunity. It's such a blessing to be able to even go to college when most of the world doesn't even have this ability. It's even more of a blessing to be at the school that I fell in love with.

If I could sum up my first month of experiences in a sentence, I would say that this has been the most eye-opening experience. There will never be another time in your life when you're around so many people your same age. We all have commonalities that bind us together but we also have such amazing things to learn from one another. Here's to our next great adventure!

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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To The Dog That Changed My Life

What I once thought was going to be "just a dog" has turned into my favorite shotgun rider, my hiking buddy, and the cutest little ice cream date in the world.

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"And I found that life sometimes has a funny way of giving you exactly what you need, but not in the form you expect."

I never expected that form to be in a 60-pound ball of fur who has filled my life with love, laughter, and so many muddy paw prints that I lost count.

I never expected a dog to change my life that much. In reality, I wasn't even ready for the responsibility. But, her puppy eyes melted my heart, and I knew that I just had to adopt her.

I got her when I was nineteen and just starting school with zero extra time for a puppy. But, somehow, we made it through. We grew up together. She taught me responsibility and gave me something to work for. Having a puppy makes you get out of bed on your bad days. Having a puppy makes you want to go to work to be able to afford dog food. Having a puppy makes you want to stay home because she can't be left alone for too long. With every passing month, she got bigger and I got more responsible.

She has changed my life in ways I never could imagine. She gives me the motivation to work hard in school. She gives me something to look forward to coming home to. She gives me happiness when I feel like I lost everything, and she gives me so many smiles because I get to wake up to her every morning.

What I once thought was going to be "just a dog" has turned into my favorite shotgun rider, my hiking buddy, and the cutest little ice cream date in the world.

I am so thankful that she changed my life the way she did and filled the hole in my heart that I didn't even know was missing.

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