Thank You, Music, I'm Forever Grateful For You

Thank You, Music, I'm Forever Grateful For You

Without the presence of music, it's difficult to imagine what our world would look like.

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It's 5:30 pm on a clear summer day. I've just arrived in the parking lot of the BB&T; Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey. Disturbed, my favorite band, is set to go on at 7 pm. Hot dog and t-shirt vendors are posted up along the streets. Anxious crowds of teenagers to adults covered in tattoos and piercings are fast-walking, almost sprinting, to the entrance gates of the venue. The faint smell of marijuana lingers from a few blocks away. Loud chatter, cheers, and speaker systems from nearby vehicles deafen the air. My palms are sweating, blood is rushing to my head--I have to take a second to get myself in order. I check my pockets just to make sure I didn't forget my ticket at home. It's there ... thank god. I walk into the venue, eagerly show my ticket to general admission, collect my wristband, and enter the pit. Instantly, I'm embraced with people. People with interests, t-shirts, and overall excitement that mirror mine. I hear a few sound checks on the microphone, witness the gargantuan backdrop to the stage fall from the rafters, and hear the roaring noise originating from the amps. This is going to be a great night. I'm finally home again.

Music has gotten me through some of the hardest moments of my life, and there have been many. I consistently think about how to describe the effect that music has on my soul, and it's this: music is there for you in a distinct manner in which friends and family cannot be. Music fills a void that seems impossible to fill. Music has the ability to motivate, destroy, ignite nostalgia, force self-reflection--it serves any purpose out there. Lock yourself in a room full of music, and it will evoke just as many, if not more, emotions than having a conversation with your closest companions.

It's hard for me to admit that the popularity of my genre is long gone. The heyday for rock and roll was about thirty to forty years in the past. That's fine. In today's world, rap is undoubtedly the most influential style of music pertaining to the younger generations. That's fine. Older generations still gravitate towards classic rock, jazz, and blues. Whether you absolutely cannot stand certain genres or not, like I can't with country, modern rap, modern pop, EDM, etc., we're past the point of arguing which is "better". There is no "better" form of music than another. Why? Because music speaks to and relates to us in a multitude of ways. Much like colors, it's nearly impossible to describe.

That being said, let's never forget to acknowledge the impact that music has on our lives. Through my 21 years of living, I'm not sure if I could have survived without shutting my door, throwing in earbuds, and escaping from the world sometimes. I'm not sure if I would have been able to leave the comfort of my bed. I'm not sure if I would have been able to pass that test. I'm not sure if I would have been able to amass the motivation to get into the gym and grind. Let's also appreciate the fact that others enjoy music that you may not prefer, simply because they have the same feelings you do about it. Let's, for once and for all, extinguish tedious arguments about genres of music--and just enjoy it.

Take a lesson from Ferris Bueller--"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." So, stop, look around, and appreciate music while you still can.

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An Open Letter To My Forever Best Friend

Although we are currently thousands of miles apart, our friendship is one that will last forever and I cannot wait until we are reunited!

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We all have those people in our lives who just get us, who love us despite how weird or utterly crazy we may be sometimes. These are the people that we call for an instant laugh when we are feeling down and want to share all of our wild stories with. For some of us, it is our parents, our husbands, or our boyfriends. For me, though, this person is my lifelong best friend, Caroline Seseri or as I like to call her, "Caro." I would not have wanted to grow up with anyone else in the famous outside of Philly town of Hatfield, PA, and studying abroad this semester in Italy really has me missing my other half a little extra.

Caro,

I still remember the day we met like it was yesterday. It was way back in 8th grade when I was one of the most shy and socially awkward people ever. I was walking down the hallway to my class when I heard this girl say hello to me. Confused as to how I knew her or if I even knew her at all, I said hi back, and I am forever grateful that I did. Little did I know that this simple exchange would lead to me finding my ride or die, my partner in crime, and overall perfect bff all in one.

Slowly, but surely, we grew closer being bonded by our theatre arts and chorus classes. Because of you, I began to break out of my comfort zone. I began to become more confident in the person I was. I had found someone who shared the same sense of humor as me, someone who loved spontaneous weekend trips just to take quality pictures for Instagram, and someone who believed in me when I did not.

Our friendship continued into high school with us becoming even better versions of ourselves. We began to hang out all the time, constantly spending our weekends together exploring Philadelphia and hitting up the local fairs. Gone were the days where I cared about what other people thought of me. I finally felt free to be my full myself because, at the end of the day, I knew that you, my Caro, would always be there for me no matter what. Our Instagram adventures continued, and before long we were the dynamic duo @caroline_seseri and @ej.will. I had found the female version of me, my hype man...the person who would support me, no matter what crazy decisions I made.

At first, it was hard when we decided to attend different colleges. I was worried that I would revert back to my shy self. I was afraid that no one would accept me in the same way that you did. This could not be farther from the truth. You opened me up, and I was ready to share my bubbly side with the world. I began to make a bunch of new friends, and for the first time in my life, I truly felt like I belonged somewhere, all thanks to Penn State. I was so excited when you came up for State Patty's Day. It was the energy that I was missing.


No matter how many people I met at Penn State, no one ever came close to the relationship we have. It's a special type of bond we have—to find someone that genuinely loves photo shoots and Instagram as much as I do (and stays up late to edit them together #royaltyonly), put up with my crazy side, and hate all the same people as I do!!



You're the only person who makes me laugh out loud when I say "lol" or "haha" in a text message! You're the only person that knows everything about me and that I know will never judge me no matter what insane story I tell. You're the only person that will drive all the way to Penn State just to visit me as much as you do. And finally, you're the only person who can instantly put a smile on my face when I'm feeling down.



Distance has nothing on our friendship, and neither does boyfriends or fights or anything really because, in the end, I know that we will always be each other's number ones. You just get me, and as simple as that sounds, it is really hard to find with someone (as I am realizing with abroad haha) and I'm so glad we met when we did. I am counting down the days until we are reunited and we can celebrate your 21st together back in the states. I cannot wait to experience the rest of my life with you, knowing that no matter how far away we are from each other, we always come back to each other in the end.

Your Best Friend,

Ethan (EJ) Williamson

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#Trashtag Is The One Challenge We Should All Participate In

No matter where you live in the world, litter is most likely a problem around you.

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Being around in this day and age, we have all seen a fair amount of social media-inspired internet challenges, many which go viral. Many of these challenges range from stupid (cinnamon challenge) to really really stupid (the tide pod challenge). These, in turn, caused a lot of health problems (looking at you tide pod) and caused many to find an excuse to look down at the generations below them. Thankfully, it seems that many have started following this new(ish) challenge that is really beneficial to everyone and everything involved.

No matter where you live in the world, litter is most likely a problem around you. Even if not huge in your particular area, most do not go a day without seeing some amount of litter ruining the earth. In fact, about 9 billion tons of garbage ends up in our oceans every year. Thankfully, the newest and one of the most positive challenges of the bunch is called the "Trash Tag" challenge and it's hoping to make our planet a bit cleaner.

It apparently started in 2015, but it just recently picks up headway with many people, mainly teens, participating and showing it to the world. Since last week there have been thousands of posts dedicated to this trash tag challenge all over the world. How it works is someone takes a picture of them in an area filled with trash. Some popular and common locations on social media are trash-filled beaches, roads, and patches of forests. Then when the clean up is complete, take a second picture of the litter lacking landscape you made beautiful and clean again.


https://www.greenmatters.com/p/trashtag-litter-cleanup

This challenge has had an outpouring of positive responses and has inspired others to clean up our earth. Even if many do it just to do the challenge, or do get the likes, each little bit of cleaning greatly impacts our earth and our garbage problem. The more the challenge takes off and spreads, the better the earth will be. This may be one challenge I participate in.

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