An Ode To My First Car

An Ode To My First Car

I just sold my first car, and it was a bittersweet moment for me.
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I got my first car the summer before my junior year of high school. I had picked it out myself. It was a white, 1990 Chevrolet K-1500, single cab, long bed, 5.7L, V8. All stock. It was so old that it had a cassette player in it. My parents warned me about getting an old car, about the maintenance and constant up-keep it would need. I knew what I was getting into, and when I finally shook hands with the previous owner, I couldn't have been happier.

That summer involved fine tuning the truck, which I so happily named Willie Mae. She got new lock cylinders, ignition switch, shocks, tires, exhaust, new stickers, a radio, the works. I spent days getting everything to sound just right, and I never once regretted the time I spent working on her.

I couldn't wait to drive my truck over to my old high school sweetheart's house and show him my new ride. He thought it was too much truck for such a little girl, but I didn't care. I was so in love with the truck, and I wanted everyone to know it.

All I did was talk about my truck and how old it was and all the work I was constantly putting into it. I drove it to car meets and helped my parents do yard work with it. I fit two ATVs on it, along with my toolbox and flagpole, and I would whisper words of encouragement anytime I'd have to get on the highway.

I could only seat three people, even though two barely fit comfortably. My poor ex-boyfriend was 6'3" and had to sit at an angle, or with his knees tucked up to his chest because I needed the seat to be all the way forward in order to reach the pedals. Some days, it felt like I couldn't properly see over the dashboard, reminding me that I installed 3" torsion keys to raise the front end of the truck.

When school started, my mom and I talked to the principal if I could park in front of the auto-shop at my school, so I had space to fit my truck, and since he was cool with the both of us, he gave me permission to do so. That started a war at my school. People constantly harassed me for parking there. I had my spot, which was directly in front of one of the auto-shop bay doors. If someone parked in my spot, I'd raise hell. I'd have a security guard come and make them move their car. Sure, I was a brat about it, but if you parked in the same spot every day, and suddenly someone took it, you'd be heated too.

My truck was loud, after having done a full cat-delete and simply welded a three foot straight pipe on it. It attracted a lot of attention, and people began recognizing me by my truck. They would say, "oh you're the girl with the truck," and after a while, it started to feel like I was being targeted. I started getting dirty looks from people, and a lot of the girls didn't seem to like me either.

I took a lot of pride in my truck. Sure, I stood out like a sore thumb, and I was always being called rude and inappropriate things because of it, but I loved my truck. I took her mudding, even though the 4x4 wasn't meant for off-roading. My parents would yell at me, but at the end of the day, I still had a great time.

When I moved to Tallahassee, we had to put Willie Mae on a trailer, since she would have never made the eight hour drive. Touching down in Tallahassee, I knew things would be different. I would take long, aimless drives through the town, and would find myself on winding trails and in what can be considered the "countryside" of Tallahassee. Friends I'd made would show me cool dirt trails I could take the truck out to, and I'd do so by myself, when I needed an escape.

When the weather would cool down, I found myself more and more in love with the truck. The breeze would blow in through the windows and it felt like my soul was riding the breeze alongside my truck. I felt free and all my troubles would melt away, until Easter weekend.

I drove my truck up to Cairo, GA, to visit my friend for Easter weekend, since I wouldn't be able to go home for the holiday. I only had four miles to go before I reached her house, and then the engine blew. My radiator hose popped, the head gasket blew, the truck decelerated, and I was left on the side of the road with my dog for a few hours until I could get my truck trailed back to my place.

I knew it was the end. It would be too expensive to replace the parts and I didn't have the money nor the time for it. So I put up a post on Craigslist and LetGo to sell Willie Mae. For six months, I would pass by my truck in my apartment complex, sitting in the same spot, breaking my heart every time, knowing there was nothing I could do.

I finally sold her, to a hard-working man that needed a reliable work truck, and within twenty minutes, the paperwork was signed, the cash was in my hand, and Willie Mae was making her way to a little town in Georgia. It was over. I felt relieved, but I couldn't help crying a bit. That truck held more memories and secrets than a diary. That truck was my escape from the real world, and I fixed her up with my blood, sweat, and tears, and she was finally gone.

Days go by when I think I see Willie Mae, her flag blowing in the breeze, and the smell of the coconut air freshener I always had hanging from the rearview. I know she's putting in work on some farm in Georgia after having gotten all new parts installed. She made me happy and provided me with a piece of my identity, and I hated seeing her go, but I loved watching her leave.

So long, Willie Mae.

Cover Image Credit: Elisa Nunez-Rodriguez

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.

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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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9 Mistakes That Are Perfectly OK To Make In College

I promise everyone makes these mistakes at some point!

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College is hard, don't underestimate it. While it would be great if we could all go through life as Elle Woods, it probably won't happen. While life would be a lot easier if none of us messed up, it's bound to happen at some point. Here's a couple of things it's completely okay to do wrong!!

1. Choose the wrong major.

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I promise it is NOT the end of the world if you have to change majors. In fact, sometimes it can be the best possible thing for you! It's okay to not be an engineer, I learned very quickly I'm not meant to deal with that much math for the rest of my life.

2. Mess things up with a roomie.

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Roomie fights happen, it's a part of life. While it'd be great to handle every situation perfectly, just knowing you did your best is sometimes all people can ask of you.

3. Go through a phase.

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Whether it be a girly phase, a chill phase, a peppy phase, a gym phase, or something else entirely you will most likely change in college. You will probably go through one or more phases and that's a-okay!

4. Forget a homework assignment, or a test, or something even more important.

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Yes, this situation isn't the best, but NO, it will not kill you. Inevitably you're going to forget something and probably get a zero or a late grade. And while planning ahead might help, you will probably let something slip. So, accept it now and know that the most important thing you can do if it happens is staying calm and figuring out how to do better next time.

5. Date the wrong person.

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College is about figuring out who you are and who you want to be. Part of that involves the people you surround yourself with. It's completely okay to surround yourself with people who might not be there in a few months. In fact, it doesn't even apply to relationships. Sometimes the best friendships for you are the ones that don't last long but help you grow.

6. Have a little too much fun.

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Whether having too much fun means staying out too late and crashing on someone's couch or spending a few extra dollars, it will be okay! Just learn from whatever fun you do have.

7. Impulse buys(!!!)

If you ask my mom she would probably agree this is my most common mistake. But it can also be one of the most fun. So yeah, maybe you don't need BOTH pairs of black wedges, but let's face it: the gold and silver accents mean they can go with two different outfits. So, go ahead and make the purchase... just be sure to thank me later!

8. Join the wrong organization.

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We've all been there. It's so exciting and coming to college means the start of a new era so sometimes the temptation to join every organization under the moon can be overpowering. But I am here to tell you right here, right now that not every organization is the right one for every person. It's okay to join an organization, even if it's the wrong one. Maybe don't completely ghost them, but a courteous resignation is totally acceptable at a natural break (i.e. the end of the semester or year)!

9. Buy crocs.

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Just to clarify, buying Crocs is NOT a mistake. But I felt like it was an appropriate finale to this list as crocs are the most adorable ugly shoes ever. They're so ugly they're cool and everyone should own a pair.

Okay, that's all, I think. P.S. Buy them before the factories close (if that's a real thing!!!).

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