Proud to be American, Even in Spain

Proud to be American, Even in Spain

Independence is our proudest asset
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For Americans, the 4th of July is a big holiday to celebrate the pride and accomplishments of our great nation. There's often many barbecues, parties, and firework shows to go to, and even more family to see. (This could be because Americans look for any opportunity to celebrate, but that's besides the point). However, spending the 4th out of the country is a weird experience. I'm spending the holiday in Spain with a group of other American students, but it still feels weird to not be sharing it with my family and friends. While it is weird and I'm missing the opportunity to see friends and family, I don't feel like I'm being un-American by not having plans for the 4th. I don't feel like I'm losing my sense of patriotism just because I'm not celebrating. I actually feel like it expands my love for the country, and my appreciation for all I'm given in the life I live in the United States.

Spain is absolutely beautiful, and this is not about comparing Spain to America, but there are things I didn't even know I've taken for granted that I have in the US. Our country may not be perfect, and things may not always go the way we want them to, but that doesn’t make America bad. It makes me proud to know that we have the right to fight and speak out for what we need, want, and believe in so that we can improve the status and goals of our country as a whole. I feel proud to know that we can explore in areas near us, and go places far away to bring a mix of different influences, cultures, and experiences to combine into one great combination. I’m thankful for the people who fight, or have fought for our country to keep us safe, and find ways to keep us as safe as possible. Of course the world is scary, and we never know what can happen, but our America is a world that I try to look at with the mindset of progression and positivity. It can get pretty tough to live in an oppressive or derogatory country, but we are lucky to have the rights to make the changes we need in our country.

America has so many opportunities to offer, and so much to see. It’s a place where more people have the chance to make a life for themselves, and do what they want to do with their vision of the world. Being American is something that people joke about, but at the end of the day it really is something to be proud of. Our country has come a long way, and still has a long way to go, but we are making changes everyday to provide safety, opportunity, and pride to all of the people in the United States. Independence is our proudest asset, because we as individuals take pride in our individuality and ability to be different and still exist together. This is the thing I’m proudest of too, because we find pieces of ourselves in all the people we surround ourselves with, and allow them to influence us with their individuality too. Freedom isn’t always free, and for us it came at the cost of a lot of lives lost over the last 200+ years, but this is even more of a reason to understand that we are given something precious in this country, and we shouldn’t waste our opportunity for greatness. I’m proud to be an American, and I’m even more proud to represent the country as a student studying in Spain.

Cover Image Credit: Dave Navarro Jr

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An Open Letter To Every Athlete On Their Senior Night

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
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Dear Seniors,

For many of you, today was a day that you had always wished would come sooner, only to find that when the day arrived wishing for it to come was the last thing you truly ever wanted.

When stepping out onto the court or field or rink for the very last time today, take a moment to stand quietly and look out into the crowd, look to your teammates, to your coaches, and to your fellow seniors, and remember the way this made you feel, as this is a feeling you will remember for the rest of your life.

Today and every day moving forward will be filled with memories that will last you a lifetime.

Today is a day bound to be filled with endless amounts of tears, both happy and sad, so let it be. Let these feelings consume you, and serve as a reminder that no matter where you may go in life from this very moment, that you have made a family of your own. That you have changed the lives of others by just simply being in theirs.

That all the little things were really the big things, like the nicknames you had for your teammates, or your favorite song to sing in the locker room before a game. These things that never seemed to mean anything at the time are all the things that you will carry with you when you leave this place you call your home away from home.

On this day, years from now you will not remember the wins and losses of each season, but the people that took this journey with you and never let you look back.

The teammates that picked you up and carried you through the good and the bad of each day. The ones that taught you to see the good in all things. The ones who never let you live down the stupid things you did, mainly because they did them with you. And even the ones that you couldn't stand 99.9% percent of the time.

You will remember the coaches that pushed you and never let you give up.

You will remember all the times they yelled and made you run until you couldn't walk. The times that they depended on you to be the leaders we all knew you could be. But more than any of that, you will remember the opportunity they gave you to play the game you learned to love, the game that changed your life, the game that taught you more lessons about life, love and dedication than anything ever could.

On this day I ask you to remember a few things. I ask that you remember that the impact you have had on your teammates' lives is unmeasurable, never doubt that. The time you have spent dedicated to this sport that you love was never, EVER a waste of your time, because you are a better person because of it.

I ask you to remember that although the sadness you may hold in your heart overwhelms you, that you have found a part of you along this journey that will help you follow your dreams, whatever they may be.

Play your heart out today, and leave knowing you've given it all you've got just one last time. Leave knowing that you are one of the lucky ones. Remember the love, remember the defeat, remember the laughs and the tears, remember the battle wounds. Remember this feeling, always and forever.

Best of Luck,

Your Biggest Fan

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Being In A Toxic Relationship Has Impacted Any Type Of Relationship I Now Have

Trust me, I'm working hard on it.

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Let me just start this off by saying that, I'm keeping this short and to the point. Also that, it's not that I'm not over it but it's something that will haunt me. With that being said, I was in the worst relationship for like a year and half and while we broke up almost three years ago, the negative thoughts still haunt me every now again.

So three years later seems like a long time to forget everything and move on, but the truth is while you do move on, you don't forget. You don't forget how they made you feel and how they made you look at the world. So naturally once the smallest, silliest thing happens with anybody I have any type of relationship with platonic or romantic, BOOM, you start to assume the worst and eventually ruin connections to people.

Like for instance, my ex used to just ignore me because he knew that it bothered me and got to me. Now, after that relationship, whether it's a friend or classmate or whomever, I automatically assume that because it's been a little while since I've heard from them, that means that they're ignoring me. Even though, I know that they're probably just busy with work or school or whatever it may be. I mean, we're all adults, we have responsibilities. My mind shouldn't go to, they're ignoring me.

I was blamed for every single "bad" thing that happened, there were no if, and or buts about it. Now, whenever something happens even if I know there's to way that it could be my fault, my mind automatically goes to what did I do? Like if my ex was having a bad day, it was my fault, even if I hadn't seen him all day... It actually takes me a minute to calm down and tell myself that I didn't do anything before I'm back to myself.

I don't open up to my friends and family like I used to, because the second I opened up to my ex, he used every thing I said to throw in my face.

So now whenever I''m talking to somebody I'm super quiet all the time and no one really knows anything about me and it keeps me pretty distant from every one in my life.

Staying quiet also means no communication, and that's a major part of any type of relationship. I stay quiet because I'm not really sure if I can fully trust the other person, even if they have given me absolutely no reason for me not to trust them.

I don't trust people for multiple reasons but a major one is because I'm afraid of being used again. I was used for way more things than I would like to admit and I ended up looking dumber than Karen Smith from Mean Girls.

On top of all of that, I feel like I'm always apologizing for things that don't need an apology. I guess I'm so used to automatically saying it that I don't even realize the word slips out of my mouth until after I say it or until I get asked why I'm sorry.

The word sorry shouldn't be a reflex.

But trust me, I'm working on it. I'm working on not assuming the worst when the smallest thing happens. I working on trusting the other person in any type of situation. I working on my communication. It's not all day, everyday that I think or act like that but it happens more often than I would like, which is crazy.

And I know I'm not the only one who acts like this and trust me, we're all trying our hardest.

Just a small piece of advice, you never know what people have been through, even if they talk a little about it, you'll never know completely what they've heard or seen. So please just be patient and understanding and give them some time. It doesn't hurt to ask how they're feeling, what's on their mind or what you can do for them, when you know that they aren't acting like themselves.

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