Why Rome Was Exactly What I Expected (And That's Okay)

Why Rome Was Exactly What I Expected (And That's Okay)

How I hoped for amazing, and left realizing what I can accomplish

Rome – the ancient city where it all started. We spend hours learning and discussing ancient Roman civilizations in school, yet many of us have never been there (or at least, most likely hadn’t been there before we started learning about it). Aside from not seeing the modern city, it is of course impossible to return and see the ancient city, when the Empire was at its height. Therefore, we use science to infer the way the culture thrived, and textbooks, documentaries, pictures, and sketches to imagine how it could have looked. Additionally, friends who have visited in the last 100 or so years are able to supply us with pictures that grant us peaks into Rome's 21st century buildings and streets. With all of our modern technology, it’s easy to assume we know the way it was through the many centuries, and we develop fairly complex visuals of it all in our heads.

Thanks to all of the prep work through years of schooling and social media, I had a pretty certain idea about what I was about to see when I arrived in Rome this summer. Sure enough, yes. Rome was exactly how I had imagined it. Huge. White buildings. Ruins. Tourist traps and vendors everywhere, but also regular neighborhoods where civilians lived. I was actually surprised at how similar it was to the picture I had drawn in my head.

However, despite all of this, it was still breathtaking, and still felt surreal. The buildings were bigger, older, sturdier than I had been able to envision. They felt more out of place among all of the bustling vehicles and shops than I had thought they would. Even the streets, cobblestone and old, were more unstable that I had anticipated. Every detail mattered, and every detail felt right. I was a modern girl, dropped into an ancient city, where any number of moments previously, a chariot race may have been occurring just a street away; (it wasn’t too hard to imagine, as I did see some horse drawn carts.)

But it didn’t happen just moments ago. It happened millions of moments ago. A thousand years ago, and even more. And yet, here it was, standing before me. Yes, many pieces of ancient marble had fallen, and many buildings were altered from their original state. But still standing on their own accord were the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Saint Peter’s Basilica, and more, as they always had. I am glad they’re still there and I feel lucky to have had the chance to see them. It’s important to preserve ancient monuments and buildings, and to remember where we and our model of society come from. We need to remember how innovative we can be, and how much we can accomplish when we choose to put forth the effort.

I have always been a visual learner, and visiting these structures helped me finally add context and meaning to everything I had learned in class growing up. Even though Rome was exactly what I had expected, I found myself staring, eyes wide, jaw dropped, amazed at what humans had accomplished with their own brains and hands. It called my attention to how much we think we cannot accomplish, or only can accomplish with the help of technology and gadgets. It was a wakeup call to envision what I want to do, and then go do it, because I am capable. Yes, I knew what what to expect, and yes, it was just as amazing as I had hoped. But most of all, it left me inspired to not only dream more, but to do more to accomplish it.

Cover Image Credit: Ellie Pinto

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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5 Vital And Helpful Tips I Live By When Packing For A Trip

Try and pack smarter, not harder.


If you are anything like me, you tend to overpack thinking you are being a great packer and being ready for any scenario that life may throw at you. Well, that is, unfortunately untrue, and I have learned that you are only doing more harm than good. Over the years, I have come up with five tips I always use when traveling and have been proven to work. You've heard of the five golden rules of life, and, well, these are the five golden rules/tips of packing.

1. Start with a packing list.

This is the best tip I could give to anyone else who is getting ready to travel. Making a list is very useful, especially when stressed about your travel. You will not forget anything because you have it all written down. A packing list is a great way to keep organized when packing.

2. Use space bags.

Now, this is a tip my dad lives by. Space bags are great when you are packing because it protects your clothes and makes room to put a lot in your suitcase. The crazy story of a time when my dad was traveling, and his friend's bag was soaked with the shampoo he brought on the plane. All his clothes and everything inside the suitcase was ruined. So always use space bags because you never know what could happen on the flight. You can buy a space bag here.

3. Pack the essentials first.

I will be honest and say that I do over-pack a lot. I use the line "just in case" as an excuse to pack my entire house. But I have learned that packing for "just in case" is a waste of time. When you first sit down to pack, lay out all your essentials. For example, clothes that you will wear during the trip. You will be surprised to see how effective it is.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Chicago Is The Best City In The World

4. ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry on.

This tip is one that I have been very grateful that I used. A while ago during my trip to Canada, my check-in bag was missing and delayed for multiple hours. Luckily I had an extra outfit to keep me fresh and not feel gross. It is always crucial to this in your carry on In case of emergencies such as your bag getting lost.

5. Put identification on your suitcase.

Everyone in the airport somehow tends to have the same black or red suitcase that you have, which only means confusing when you're trying to find your check-in bag. To quickly identify your suitcase, put a sticker, or tie a ribbon on the handle. You can easily pick up your suitcase and leave. This will prevent any sneaky people trying to steal or claim that your suitcase is theirs.

P.S.: Use a bright color ribbon or a different sticker. Also, tie the ribbon properly to make sure it's secured.

I live by these five packing tips every time I travel so I hope you can use them the next time you take a trip!

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