Remembering 9/11: 15 Years Later

Remembering 9/11: 15 Years Later

Some things you just never forget.
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I was five when the Twin Towers were blown to bits out of the New York City skyline.

I was in my favorite teacher's classroom, surrounded by the only other children I really knew, and my best friend.

We were watching Between the Lions, which may mean nothing to you if you grew up watching Disney or Nickelodeon children's programming. My elementary school watched PBS almost religiously, right after naptime. Between the Lions was a fan favorite of my particular kindergarten class. Fluffy lions came to life right before our very eyes via masterful puppeteers and read books to us; only fitting considering the Sesame Street wanna-be was set at a public library. It was peaceful and yet captivating to watch puppets – though we assumed them to be real-life lions - tell classic tales like that of Icarus and Cliff Hanger, an adventurer who was dangling off the side of a cliff every time we tuned in. Cliff Hanger was the most tension – the most fear – we every really felt at the ripe old age of five.

We'd been left with the other kindergarten teacher from across the hall. We hadn't thought much of it. We were still too busy watching elderly lions give spelling and language lessons to think anything had gone wrong.

I remember I had looked away from the television show for only a second – even though I don't quite remember why – and it was in that fraction of a second that the mood in the room drastically shifted.

My kindergarten teacher had come running in, panic and confusion written all over her face, and darted over to the TV. She made a concerted effort, it seemed, not to scream.

"Something's happened," she said. "It's all over the news."

Without thinking, she changed the channel. With that one press of a button, our childhood ignorance and innocence was about to fade.

To be fair, that thought had never occurred to us either.

I remember the little boys in my class had thought it was an action movie. They'd already been desensitized to violence at an early age, most likely from their older siblings or worry-free parents who let them watch violent movies, thinking: 'It's no big deal. Nothing like this will ever happen in real life. Not to them. Not to us.'

One little boy whose name I've forgotten with the passing of the years had shouted out: "That's so cool!"

It wasn't his fault, really. He didn't know what he was looking at. He hadn't been alive long enough to take a lesson in sensitivity, let alone a lesson in terrorism.

My best friend, who stayed clinging by my side, could not take her eyes off our teachers. She didn't know what was happening on the TV, but she knew for certain she didn't like it. As she watched our teachers' fear consume them and tears trickle down their cheeks, she hollered at our classmate to shut up. I'm not ashamed to say I joined her.

We knew - even at that young age – we knew something was wrong. That whatever was happening before our eyes was real, and for some reason, it was upsetting the teachers we admired so much.

None of us knew what Al-Qaeda was, or even that there was a world outside of the small Virginian town where we lived. We did not know that there were people out there who wished us dead or that they had targeted one of the biggest cities in the country with the most significant population.

One of the teachers let out a small wail as the second plane hit the building, fire and smoke gushing out the sides of the skyscraper. After that, I remember the television set going black. We were told to try to get back to work – probably coloring or addition and subtraction – and I thought it was over.

I remember coming home from school that September day only to find out it wasn't over. It wasn't even close to being over. But how was I to know? How were any of us supposed to know? That living, breathing human beings had not only died, but other living, breathing human beings had been the cause of it?

Every September 11th afterwards, I can remember people asking one another where they were when they got the news of what had happened. I remember responding that I had been about five years old when it happened, and being told I was "too young" to remember it, at least not in full, clear detail.

But I remember where I was. I remember who I was with, how I eventually learned what had taken place and why; I remember how I felt, how everyone around me reacted and felt. I remember realizing, for the first time, that the world was not as happy and loving as it seemed on my PBS programs.

While I may not have understood it then, it does not mean it was not imprinted on my brain and my peers' brains as well.

I remember 9/11, and I always will.

Cover Image Credit: https://seeker401.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/9-11-2011a.jpg

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8 Things Your RA Wants You to Know

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Moving into a dorm your first year of college can be very intimidating. You've seen the movies, you've talked to your older friends, but you're still a little nervous. We all were a little nervous moving in our first year, anyone who says otherwise is lying. The movies aren't entirely accurate, especially when it comes to the RAs. Here's a list to help guide you a little when moving into a residence hall your freshman year, and here's exactly what to expect from your RA.

These are seriously helpful hints from a previous RA, if you know these things going in your freshman year in the dorms will be a breeze when it comes to RAs. Read the list and dominate your freshman year, because these are the things your RA wish you knew.

1. We are friendly, therefore we love friendly people.

Don't even pretend like you're too cool for your RA because that will either make them completely resent you or try way too hard to get you to open up. I can tell you right now that those are two things you definitely don't want. Don't be afraid to say hi or go out of your way to introduce yourself, we like that.

2. Don't kiss up.

No one likes a kiss up, not even your RA. If you try kissing up chances are we are just going to be slightly annoyed and slightly suspicious of you for the rest of the year.

3. Be smart.

Here's the catch to RAs: they are there to make sure you follow all the rules of the hall. We know you're going to go out and do things you're probably not old enough to do, but be smart about it. Don't drink in the halls, especially if you're not even legal to drink. Don't go out and get wasted only to come back and trash the halls. You can go out and do your own thing, and as long as you don't cause any problems throughout the hall then you won't get in any trouble.

4. We want you to come to events.

We put on these events specifically for you, so when you don't come it sucks for us. Don't be afraid to just stop by for the food, because we will honestly be happy to see you.

5. We aren't stupid.

We know when you're trying to get on our good side so we won't get you in trouble, we know when you're drunk, we know when you're doing things you shouldn't be doing. We are simply RAs, we aren't stupid.

6. We are students too.

We are there to help you adjust to college, it's literally our job. So don't be afraid to reach out, we're students too, we know what the college transition is like and we are there to help you.

7. Don't you dare turn to passive-aggression.

Being passive aggressive will solve exactly zero of your problems. Don't be passive aggressive to your roommate, to your neighbor, or even to the people that live down the hall.

8. We aren't there to spite you.

We are just doing our job, we aren't trying to annoy you or trying to get you in trouble. So don't be upset when we bust you for drinking in the dorms because you're not allowed, not of age, and it's our job. In the end, it's not our fault it's yours.

These helpful tips will make your time in college just a little easier. College can be hard and having troubles where you live isn't something that you want. So know what your RA wants you to know, and dorm life will be a breeze.

Cover Image Credit: http://nique.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Freshman-Dorm_Online_Edit.jpg

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5 Ways To Make The Most Of Each Day

Don't wait until tomorrow to start

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Checking off everything on your to-do list is easier said than done. It requires commitment, but above all, it requires creating healthy habits. It does not matter if you are a student, in the workforce, or even a stay at home parent. Who doesn't want to be productive and make the most of their day? It takes practice and you can't change overnight. I put together the top 5 tips to be the best version of yourself each and every day.

1. Morning time = YOUR time.

Each morning you wake up, focus on what you want to accomplish that day. Don't just open Instagram and mindlessly scroll through all the pictures of the people that you probably barely like. As soon as you wake up, drink a huge glass of water, take your personal time to wake up and think about how you want to tackle your day. Even if your goal is to watch as much Netflix as possible, at least you have a goal with a plan. This also is where it pays off to have a calendar to keep track of your future plans.

2. Don't try to do so much at once.

Stop trying to do a million things at once. This inevitably raises your stress and counteracts the whole concept of being productive because you're just too overwhelmed. It is much more efficient to take on one task at a time and finish it with the most effort you can give. You will feel like you have accomplished more when everything isn't half-assed.

3. Pray.

You can't do this thing called life on your own... We aren't meant too. Look to him when you need that boost in your day. God will bring good things your way.

4. Get a good sweat sesh in.

It is proven over and over again that a daily habit of exercising increases your health, happiness, and overall being. Exercise can actually give you more energy, as crazy as that sounds. When you sit around all day, don't you feel more tired? Maybe even sore? Go to the gym for even 30 minutes and you can change your entire mindset throughout the day.

5. Be present with other.

I know I put this last, but this is an example of saving the best for last. I can not stress enough how important it is to be present with the people around you, in public and private. Put away down things that distract you. There is a big world out there. Engage in conversations with others around you. People will remember how you make them feel, positive or negative.

Your life is simply days following days. It is up to you to decide if you enjoy those days or barely survive those days. In the end, the life we choose to live is determined by the choices that we make each and every day. Begin each day by doing something different, big or small, and watch your life change.

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