Saying Goodbye To Winter Break: Senior Year Edition

Saying Goodbye To Winter Break: Senior Year Edition

It's down to the wire as the last true break of undergrad draws to a close.
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Saying goodbye to your hometown, friends, and family as winter break draws to a close is never fun. There's always someone you don't want to leave, or someone you didn't get to see, or a hometown haunt there wasn't time to go back to. But as you begin the spring semester of your senior year of college. it's different. Not only is the last semester of undergrad terrifying in a hundred ways, you may or may not be moving back after graduation. The pressure to make it the best visit ever is intense, and near-impossible to live up to.

1. Hug The People Who Matter


Especially if you know not everyone will be able to make it to graduation, you need to make time for the people you love. Not every friend or cousin or grandparent will be able to see you before you move to wherever your new life is starting, and between student loan payments and rent it could be a while before you make it home again. Hug them all tight before you head off into a new beginning. If there's anything 2016 has taught us, it's that tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.

2. Go To Your Favorite Hometown Restaurant At Least Once

There is nowhere better to get boss queso than Vallartas in Pensacola, Florida. Vallartas has incredible food (and margaritas!) and is a gem of awesome atmosphere and service that's one of my favorite places to go when I'm home. Your hometown likely has such a place, a hole-in-the-wall that has food like no other. Make sure to go, so you'll have something to dream about in the haze of Ramen that lies ahead.

3. Spend Time With The Small Fries

If there are kids in your life who are important to you, you've likely realized by now how quickly they grow while you're off at school. If you think a semester away is bad, you won't be prepared for how much damage a year can do. Find time to sit with the kiddos, explain what you can to them, and find ways to stay in contact while you're gone. It will help you both.

4. Bring What You Can

You may look like a pack-rat dragging everything back to the dorm, but it's worth it to have the blanket your grandma made for you or the teddy bear you got when you were 2 to snuggle when the perfect job doesn't come along right away and you're crying into your ice cream. Don't go crazy, but make sure the most important things come with you.

5. Don't Be Afraid Of Goodbye

You're starting a new chapter, and terror is normal. Be afraid, but don't let it hold you back. Your hometown is great in all its own ways, but new places and faces will shape your life now and that's good! Take a breath, take a step, and don't be shy about letting go.

6. Remember It's Still Okay To Cry

Whether it's saying goodbye to your baby sister that cracks the dam or just realizing it's the last time you'll see your street sign for a while, crying is normal. Life is full of messy goodbyes that hurt like hell and it's healthy to let yourself feel that pain. You will get through it, but tears will probably come first.


Take a deep breath, Spring Seniors, we're almost there!

Cover Image Credit: Pavel P.

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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To My Boyfriend, As He Prepares To Graduate College

Good luck in the "real world," you can do it!

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Five weeks, excluding finals and that's it. No more classes, first-day icebreakers, Pub Wednesdays, or game days at the Pepsi Ice Skating Rink. You. Are. Done. Crazy right?

In just a blink of an eye, your four years here at Illinois State University have flown by. It's heartbreaking because I know how much you love being here with your friends, enjoying every minute of living your best life, and not worrying about "adult" responsibilities. I can see how hard it is for you to fully accept that these next couple of weeks are your last weeks here.

You look at me with those eyes every time I mention how close the graduation date is, but I can't help but express my excitement and how proud I am even though I know for a fact that my senior year won't be the same without you here. Questions like who would I grab Panda Express on a weekly basis with? What about Sunday grocery trips? Or simply calling you and having you right at my door in a matter of minutes.

It's sure going to be different not only for me but the guys too. Why? Well, there's going to be no one to make random noises or say random things. All I can say is, you have made strong friendships with people you consider your lifelong friends — ones you'll stay in contact with until the end of time. It's amazing how much of an impact you have made on your friends, peers, and me. Everyone has so many nice things to say about you. I know you're smiling and shaking your head right now, but I have videos to prove it! Thanks to your family for creating and influencing that amazing heart of yours. They really did raise such an amazing person.

I am truly lucky to witness the good times and bad times with you these past two years. Those experiences have made you who you are today. From partying every weekend to getting your grades up to becoming captain of the hockey team, then struggling to find internships, to finding one, and finally in a couple of weeks...stepping into that stadium and on that stage to receive your diploma. I have so much much faith that you'll be nothing but successful, however, YOU have to believe in yourself as well.

In just weeks, you'll be considered an alumnus. Don't be sad, be happy about all of the memories you hold in your heart — all the friendships you've made, all the games you've led and won. I'll be waving, cheering, and, most likely, crying from the stands as you walk and receive your diploma. Be proud and walk with pride.

Here's to a great four years — the end of chapter 16 and the start of a new one.

Congratulations, baby, you did it!

P.S. Don't forget to come back and visit me and the guys!

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