10 Things My Grandfather Taught Me

A Thank You To My Grandfather For Teaching Me These 10 Things

My grandfather has been gone for a few months, but his impact on me will last a lifetime.

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I'm going against my philosophy of keeping my deep personal life off of social media for this piece. My words can hardly do him any justice, but I'll try. My grandfather passed away in the early hours of November 1, 2018. He was 85. I miss him every day. Here's to his lessons that I'll never forget.

1. He taught me how to be funny.

I've never encountered an individual so cunning, quick-witted, and readily available to make a joke in any situation. If you looked up the term "ball buster" in the dictionary, I'm confident his picture would be next to it. This trait is at the top of my list because I value it the strongest. He taught me that humor made everybody's lives a little less sad, and that putting a smile on someone's face could make all of the difference. For this, I take pride in being known as a comedian.

2. He taught me how to love, respect, and cherish a woman.

In their 41 years together, I don't think that he stopped looking at my grandmother for a single moment. They were inseparable. There was nothing that he wouldn't do for her, and went to the lengths of the world to make her happy. By no means were they perfect, like any relationship or marriage is. But I'll be damned if they weren't the closest thing to it.

3. He taught me how to be a man.

Through his actions, he showed me that a real man finishes his business without complaints. He acted as a father figure to me, regardless of his extended family and a billion grandchildren to pay attention to. Somehow, he always kept up with his multiple responsibilities and thrived when he was depended on.

4. He taught me how to be financially responsible.

Through our conversations, he always told me to keep my head down and work hard to pay bills and expenses. On the other hand, he reminded me to go out, have a life, and make memories with my money. I'm prideful about my advanced awareness of money and the value of a dollar, and that's largely due to him.

5. He taught me that you choose your family.

This doesn't only refer to nuclear family, but anyone that crosses your path that plays a much larger role in your life. I wasn't related to my grandfather by blood. He married my grandmother when my mother was young. That didn't mean a thing to me, because he was always there to support me and kick me in the ass when I needed either or. Because of him, I have a very different perspective on what constitutes family.

6. He taught me optimism.

Coming from a man who sustained multiple heart attacks and was plagued by health for decades prior to his death, I've never witnessed an individual who was so satisfied just to be alive. After 85 years of living, 30+ of them in and out of hospitals, ambulances, and emergency rooms, I would be the poster child for all things miserable and pessimistic. His signature catchphrase was "I've had some bad days, but never a bad life." I strive to wake up and dominate the day, every day, just like he would.

7. He taught me how to love food.

My grandfather boasted a powerful reputation for hiding snacks around the house, in vehicles, in public places, etc. Like me, he was stubborn and loved salts, sweets, and essentially anything that the human body can consume. He wasn't afraid to push buttons and treat himself to ice cream before dinner or late-night Wawa soft pretzels. Even though I'm a picky eater (and vastly improving, thank you), he was, undoubtedly, my snack-time companion.

8. He taught me how to be patriotic.

He served in the American Navy from 1951 to 1955. He might have told me the same exact stories about life on the waters to everyone he knew countless times, but it was obvious that he adored his country and didn't regret serving. His role in the Navy and interesting recollections partially contributed to my interest and eventual love of history and the military. Fast forward to now, I'll be graduating with a Bachelor's degree in History in May.

9. He taught me drive and determination.

Careers, girlfriends, apartments, luxuries. My grandfather told me that if I wanted something bad enough, it was practically mine as long as I aggressively pursued it. Thanks to him, I'm never satisfied with "average" and consistently push myself to be that much better the next day.

10. He taught me faith.

He was a devout Catholic and never missed time in church. I stay as far away from religion as humanly possible. Our difference here doesn't matter. Because he taught me to believe in something, whether it be God, yourself, goals and aspirations, whatever the case may be. He showed me that if you believe in something avidly enough, you create something to work towards.

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Hailey Miller's Debut Single Is 'The One'

"The One" is available now across all streaming platforms.

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Being able to blend genres well is a true testament to a great artist, and Hailey Miller has done just that. Breaking onto the pop-country scene with her debut single "The One", the song speaks to the lessons that come out of unfortunate heartbreak, and definitely resonates with people going through one. I got the chance to talk with Hailey about her music, Nashville, and plans for the future:

1. What inspiration did you pull from to write "The One"?

"The One" was inspired by a relationship I was in. It was young love, not the healthiest relationship, and was dragged on for way longer than it should've been. I'd pretty much worked through all the heartbreak by the time it was fully over, and this song felt like the final piece to the puzzle. To acknowledge that some good came from the whole experience, and that lessons were learned. It just kind of poured out of me. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I wrote it and instantly felt peace. Like I could finally let it all go. It's a different kind of breakup anthem, and I hope that people can connect to it in the same way I did.

2. Do you tend to pull from personal experience to write or do you write using a third person perspective?

I definitely prefer to write from personal experience. I've written from a third person perspective, but it always feels more genuine for me to write about things I've been through first hand. It's just easier! It flows better, and feels more honest. Especially if I'm planning on using the song for myself. As an artist, I always want the truths I'm speaking to be genuine. I feel like people connect better that way. If I can't fully connect to the stuff I'm singing, how can I expect the listeners to? Personally, as an artist, the stories behind my songs are just as important to me as the song itself. That being said, if I can connect to someone else's experience deeply, writing third person can be just as fun!

3. What has your experience been like being a woman in the music industry?

You know, I don't have anything negative to say about my experience so far. I've felt respected as an artist from almost everyone I've personally come across in the industry. This being said, I'm very aware of the challenges females tend to face on a larger scale, especially in country. But I try to not let it phase me. In my mind, I'm just an artist…not a "female artist".

4. Growing up in Oregon, what/who inspired you to move to Nashville and write country music?

My earliest inspiration was definitely my aunt. She was singing country music professionally when I was super young, so I grew up seeing that and my family was super good about surrounding me with all sorts of music. My dad had this thing where he would always tell me to "listen to the words" and then at the end of the song I'd have to tell him what I thought it was about. It made me realize at a young age that music isn't just sound, it's stories. I fell in love with country music and its stories. Then came along these powerhouse female singer/songwriters…like Taylor Swift, and that was it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and I knew Nashville was the place to do it. So, I learned the guitar, taught myself how to write, and made the move as soon as I possibly could! It's pretty much a 19 year old dream in the making at this point.

5. How has Nashville shaped your artistry and/or songwriting since moving there?

Nashville has already shaped my artistry and songwriting immensely. I think the biggest thing is being around so many talented artists and writers. It's super inspiring! Every time I go to a show or writer's round in town, I go home wanting to work even harder. That's the magic about Nashville. In a place where the industry could feel very competitive, the community is so amazing that instead of feeling intimidated, I feel inspired. I think that's so cool. Being able to learn your craft in an environment like that, where everybody is willing to collaborate and learn from each other. There's no room to sit still and not work hard. I think that alone has made me a better artist and writer. I've discovered my own unique writing style and sound, and can't wait to develop it even more.

6. What has your experience been like releasing your first single independently?

It's been amazing! I've had the best time with it. The process was so fun, and such a learning experience. Since it was my first release, I tried to go into it with little to no expectations and I've been blown away! The support I've received is beyond what I ever expected, and people are listening!! That's all I could've ever asked for. I think putting out music for any artist, independent or not, is always a little scary because there's this fear that people won't connect to such a personal part of you. There's so much work behind the scenes that goes into it. But it is so rewarding to read people's messages about how they connect or relate to the song. It's the best feeling in the world!

7. What are your future goals and aspirations within the music industry?

I ultimately just want to keep writing and putting out music that I love, and that other people love. Whether that's on a small scale level, or a larger scale. As long as I'm continuing to make music, I'm happy! That being said, I'd love to do some touring soon, and work towards my first EP/full length album.

8. Do you have plans to release new music soon?

Plans are in the works. I don't have a definitive date for you guys quite yet, but new music is on its way! I've been writing tons and I have some stuff that I'm dying to get out. I'd keep an eye out in the upcoming months for sure.

Listen to "The One" across all streaming platforms now and keep an eye out for future music from Hailey!


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7 Ways To Get It Together Before Finals

You can do it!

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As a college student who's own self has been battling 6 classes, a part-time job, a sorority, and the gym all semester, I personally have mastered the art of multitasking work. I finally feel beyond prepared for this semester's terrifying "throw all the work I should have assigned three weeks ago," professors and the always promising, final exams that could possibly save or kill your GPA. So, here are 8 tips I've personally memorized, to help handle your upcoming workload and collect yourself before finals week hits you like a brick (again).

1. ORGANIZATION

Organize, organize, organize. Regardless if it's your day planner, assignment rubrics, dorm room or your thoughts. It's always best to go into a busy week with a clear mind and allow yourself to focus only on the work ahead. Clean out your folders and notebooks to organize your notes for cumulative exams, which will help for future studying. Additionally, cleaning your bedroom and work desk can help to make you feel better when you're just returning home from an 8 hour trip to the library.

2. KNOW THE DUE DATES.

Making a list of your finals with their due dates and scheduled meeting times, will help to take some stress off when the week starts and as someone who accidentally went to an exam after the scheduled time, it's best to make sure you know when and where every test starts.

3. DON'T PROCRASTINATE.

Procrastination might have worked through the past semester and semesters prior, but I can promise when it comes to finals week it is almost always best to do what you can in advance. If your privileged enough to do an essay or project as a final for a class, do it before the week comes so you can instead, fill your time with caffeine-driven 12-hour study sessions for your final exams.

4. MAKE THOSE STUDY GUIDES.

Try to make study guides for your exams, before finals week even begins. This will help to allow pure focusing on only your week's work, rather than cramming small busy-work which takes away from study time. If your teacher already gave you an outline, (lucky) start studying it!

5. ASK QUESTIONS.

If you're confused on a certain topic or instruction in regards to a final exam/project, ask your professor! They are there to give instruction and giving clarification, so don't be afraid to ask questions in advance.

6. STAY POSITIVE.

Usually, when a student starts drowning in due dates, the thought of dropping out sounds even better, but you're almost there! Take a breath, you're going to pass that exam, class and make it to warmer weather where you're not stuck in a 50-minute class. Just imagine the sweet image of yourself on a beach, without the slightest thought of an approaching 10-page paper or cumulative exam.

7. GET SOME SLEEP.

While this might have been a priority all semester, it tends to skip the minds of college students once finals erupt. Sleep before a final is just as important as your week-long studying, so by following the previous tips make sure you're giving yourself enough time in between finals and cramming for at least 8 hours of sleep.

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