To The Overachievers Who Feel Like They're Underachieving

To The Overachievers Who Feel Like They're Underachieving

They weren't kidding when they said college is tough.

Dear Overachiever,

It is no secret that college is hard; you’ve probably heard that exact statement since the first information session you sat in on your junior year of high school (oh, I’m sorry; it was probably more like first semester sophomore year. You like to get ahead on things). The subjects get harder, the activities take up more of your time, the classes get bigger, finals week exists, yada yada yada.

Academics have rarely been a challenge for you, especially in high school –– you’re the type that writing or math comes easily to. You were probably in charge of a club or two. You might’ve studied a bit then, but you didn’t really need to. You were an involved, straight-A, award-winning high school student. You’ve always considered yourself one of the "smart kids." You probably expected college to be a pretty smooth transition.

Sometimes, things don’t go exactly as planned.

Maybe your major isn’t what you expected it to be. Or you’ve overextended yourself trying to get involved in all of the things you’re interested in. Balancing a healthy social life with academics proves to be really challenging. You get an unexpected bad grade. You didn’t get the internship or the leadership position you really wanted. All of the above.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed; it might seem like everyone around you is getting on swimmingly and you’re struggling to stay afloat. It is even more difficult to remain calm when academia has always been the place you excelled: when you’ve built most of your identity around your academic achievements, a bad semester can feel like the end of the world.

You are more than your GPA.

Take a deep breath. Relax. Bad weeks, bad months, bad semesters happen. It’s normal. Just because you get a bad grade or two or three doesn’t make you a bad student. Don’t get me wrong, grades are still important –– make sure to keep your priorities in order –– but one bad semester isn’t going to dictate the rest of your life. You are still going to succeed. You are allowed to make mistakes; that’s half the college experience. There’s a reason for all of the information sessions, kid.

And those people you think are succeeding effortlessly? They’re not. There’s a good chance they are just as stressed as you are; some people are just a little bit better at disguising it.

College is hard, it’s true. But it also provides the perfect opportunity to get to know yourself, for real. Find out who you are outside of school. Make time for yourself. Take a study break everyone once in a while to hang out with your friends. Fail a few times. And if you need help? Ask for it--no one expects you to succeed all on your own. Do things because you want to, not because you think it’ll look good on an application.

Time to overachieve in the other parts of your life, kid.


A Fellow Overachiever

Cover Image Credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery

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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.


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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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.


The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!


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