Weight, Struggle, Overcome, Learning, Self Love, Perception

I Grew Up As The Fat Girl, But I Refuse to Let That Define Who I Am

Kids can be cruel, but that doesn't mean I should listen.


I know it seems irrational: to become hypnotized to the scale and hellbent to achieve a certain number; to become so overwhelmed you starve your body and consciously suck in your stomach in public until it becomes second thought, a habit, than a reminder. It's the world so many of us live in today with America's rising child obesity rates; growing up, I only added to that growing percentage. In fact, I'm still apart of it.

In third grade, I touched 120 pounds but I thought it was still okay; I was "only a little chubby," according to my mother but I didn't feel that I stuck out. It wasn't until fourth and fifth grade where my weight rose exponentially, touching the 140s and 150s, that I chose to hide under my big clothing and long hair because I was so embarrassed of myself. I vividly remember my sister trying to help me: she'd make "diet plans" but I'd always deviate, becoming angry at myself later. It was then where I crossed the line from being "big" to "obese" and the terms used to describe me were no longer sprinkled in sugar but doused in the hard truth. I was picked on a lot and everyday I'd try to repress their words coming off the bus.

Most of all, I remember it simply being so rough, especially in the finding-friends department.

Personally, I do believe that first impressions matter, and growing up, I was witness to this as I was surrounded by "like" finding "like" friends. If you're attractive, you'll naturally fall into that one popular group of kids as equally attractive. If you're athletic, you'll navigate to find friends who enjoy playing sports just as much as you. If you're creative, you'll be in the sandpit or on the bench drawing with the rest of the open- minded kids. A reader would skip recess and be under a tree with their nose in a book. Everyone seemingly fit somewhere; amiss the chaos and roar of the playground lied a strategic division.

I could never shake that my first impression, my categorization, was my weight. When someone saw me, they would first think I'm fat and I'd be automatically rejected. When I did finally find my group of friends, I couldn't believe they loved me even though I was fat, which sounds so wrong thinking back now. It was their support that really helped me through hard days.

By middle school, though I grew a few inches, my weight only grew with it. I was now touching the 160s and 170s, my clothes became bigger and I began experimenting with makeup. I thought for a really long time that if I wore mascara to highlight my eyes, people would see them first over my body. I made new friends and kept in contact with my old ones. Seventh grade, I met a girl in my language arts class who would later become my best friend; it was seventh grade where I stopped thinking about how I looked/ how others perceived me and began thinking about who I wanted to be. In that moment, I wanted to be a best friend, a kind person to rely on and my best self. In that moment, I remember just being so happy.

I realized that in order to love my life, I had to learn to love myself too. I did research on body types and the effect of exercise on the body and how it could affect me, realizing that my obsession to how small my thighs are is nothing but unhealthy. I found that I fit into the endomorph/mesomorph category, meaning my body both tends to store fat and easily build muscle (which weighs more than fat! ) against an ectomorph, whose high metabolism causes their body to be on the skinner side. Ectomorph body shapes are most common in Caucasian and Asian descent, the ethnic majorities of where I grew up.

With the support of my friends and getting to realize that it's not all me, but partially my genetics, that causes my weight gain, I no longer choose to describe myself or care about others describing me as being "overweight", "obese", "fat" or "chubby". I choose to steer my life in the direction I choose to sail: I want to be athletic so I choose play basketball and soccer; I want to be creative so I choose to draw and write poetry and I choose to be just as knowledgable as all those kids who read their hearts out on the playground.

Most of all, I choose to be happy with my life, where I'm leading it, and who I see reflected back on that mirror.

No matter how big the number is on the scale.

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So You Didn’t Get That Summer Internship: In Defense Of 'The Summer Of You'

A productive summer isn't always one that translates to clear bullet points on a résumé. Here's how I'm capitalizing on my (unintentional) free time and gearing up for senior year at Fordham.


I know the struggle all too well: grueling over summer internship applications throughout the entire spring semester, but to no avail. Without so much as a half-hearted apologetic rejection email, you spend the first few weeks of summer in a state of blissful denial: maybe they'll still reach out…maybe it's not too late.

But as June starts to dwindle away, so does your optimism. I'm here to remind you that this summer isn't—and shouldn't be—a waste! Here we are, living in New York City, older than we've ever been, younger than we'll ever be, and there are limitless experiences just waiting to be explored…by you!

In all honesty, I found myself struggling the past few weeks, feeling like I wasn't making the most of the summer before senior year. It's so easy to get bogged down by the negative thoughts: worrying about your (not-so-distant-) future career, feeling underwhelmed by the looks of your own résumé, comparing your LinkedIn profile to those of your peers. Admittedly, I fell victim to all of these things earlier this month, and it was scary!

That's when I knew it was time for a change in perspective.

We hear it all the time—from our professors, our parents, our friends, our RAs—college is all about balance. During the school year, you can't focus too much on one exam, just like you can't focus too much on weekend brunch plans. Social life, work life, and academic life must exist in unison, but sometimes different opportunities present themselves at different times.

So the summer of 2019 wouldn't yield clarity and assurance in terms of my career path, but it certainly has the unique ability to teach me about myself—but that can't happen if I'm hung up on the job I didn't get or the position I didn't get a chance to apply to.

Somewhere between (finally) reading Michelle Obama's "Becoming" and spending one of many warm June afternoons journaling in the sunshine at Bryant Park, I realized that I could use these months to reflect on the time I'd spent in New York thus far: the mentors I've learned from, the incredible friends I've made, the classes that changed my viewpoints. Summer nights on Eddie's remind me of how lucky I am to call Fordham my home…and how much I'm going to miss it after graduation.

I can't help but think that a 9-to-5 (or 6, or 7, or 8) internship would have restricted me from the kind of personal growth I needed (and continue to need) this summer. My unconventional path to my senior year is meaningful to me, and I love that I get to be in control of that meaning. I can decide what to focus on, where to spend my time, and with whom.

This was a freeing realization: one that lifted the weight of early June's worries and doubt. It has allowed me to measure (or at least begin to measure) success not in terms of hours clocked and checks cashed, but in relationships fostered and experiences lived. This is The Summer of Me, and I can't wait to see what it has to offer.

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The Top 3 Things I Learned This Summer About Clean Eating

Clean eating is one of the most essential parts of self-care for transforming your life because it completely acknowledges your biological human nature.


This summer was a journey and a learning experience for me regarding clean eating. Throughout the school year, I had always planned to change my eating habits and form a new, cleaner diet. I never got around to it with exams and stress, so I put this self-improving task in the back of my mind to follow through with on the first day of summer.

When the first day of summer came, I did not procrastinate and began my journey. After taking multiple trips to my local supermarket, seeing countless recipes, and demolishing cravings, I had learned valuable lessons that will encompass my life, and I will be mindful of them whenever I eat. To understand the differences and shift in my thinking from before making a conscious effort to eat well, I should state the primary goals I had before starting. My previous goal was simply to look leaner and were physical in nature.

1. Eating dictates energy.

It only makes sense that our biological human bodies thrive off of the energy our minds give it. This energy comes from food, obviously. We have more energy when we give our digestive system a "break" or when we are "gentle" on it. What I mean by this is that adding leafy greens to your diet can aid the digestion process and can make it run more smoothly. When eating clean and whole foods, I had more energy.

2. Marketing and the food industry are sometimes very misleading.

Many things that claim to be healthy are actually not. The ingredients list and the nutrition facts are the most essential parts when a consumer determines if a food is clean or not. Throughout this process, I had to be very articulate and detailed in finding the exact truth of what it was that I was putting into my body. It is very easy, I had learned, to pick something up with healthy-looking packaging simply out of convenience.

3. Cooking is always better than buying.

Cooking your own food at home may be tough and a hassle, but it is completely worth it. When you cook your own food, you know exactly what is in your food, while buying food doesn't inspire this sense of trust. Store-bought food can and usually is processed to ensure a long shelf-life.

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