Taking an Online Class Over the Summer

Taking an Online Class Over the Summer

Get ready to put in work!

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This summer is the first time I have taken an online class. The beauty of an online class is that you do not have to actually show up to class and you may be given a longer amount of time to do the work. I can only imagine the stress of having an online class during the school year with other classes and commitments. I added a Spanish minor late in my junior year and now I am playing catch-up in order to have the minor for undergrad. In addition to working three jobs, I have been taking an online accelerated Spanish course through a community college. I definitely recommend taking online classes through a community college because it is much cheaper.

Although I started the class late through no fault of my own, I have been able to keep up with the work. At first, the workload was more than I expected it to be. Knowing nothing about this teacher or this school, I was unsure what the online class was going to be like. Since I also started the class late, I had a lot of catching up to do. I now find myself to be more comfortable with the workload and manage to get the week's assignment done in a day or two. Nevertheless, there are ongoing assignments that require my attention to be done by a certain point. Taking an online class over the summer requires focus and commitment. If you work every day from 8-5 or have children you need to tend to, you may be in over your head. Even though I work three jobs, I have enough free time and flexibility to make the class work. Some assignments may take me an hour to complete while others may only take me a half an hour. I can only imagine how difficult some online classes in other subjects may be!

Taking an online class is a full commitment. If you are disorganized and have trouble focusing, this may not be for you; especially if it is a course over the summer. However, if you can handle it, it is a great way to get some classes out of the way and to keep your mind active. Do your research and look into many options before you commit to an online class. If you do take one now, in the future, in the summer or over the winter, good luck! Expanding your horizons and knowledge is never a bad thing!

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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

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Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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Happy National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, and it just so happens to be the month I was adopted!

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If you didn't know, November is National Adoption Month! It's extra special too because November happens to be the actual month I was adopted! In honor of National Adoption Month, I wanted to share my adoption story.

When I was little, my mom used to read me a book called Horace. The children's book was about a cheetah cub who had been adopted by two tigers. Every night when his mom tucked him into bed, she would tell him "we chose when you were a tiny baby because you lost your family and needed a new one. We liked your spots and wanted you to be our child." (Keller 1991) Horace, the cheetah cub, always fell asleep before his mom could finish his adoption story. Horace feels out of place - he loves his mom and dad but wonders where he came from, so he goes on an adventure to find where he came from.

I have never felt like Horace. I am the only African-American in my family, yet I have never felt out of place. I have never not felt loved and accepted by my family. I have always known this family is my family, and exactly where God wanted me to be. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I have what is called a closed adoption. What this means is, I do not have direct contact with my birth parents. When I turned 18, I was allowed to reach out to Bethany Christian Services, which is the agency I was adopted through, to attempt to meet my birth parents. However, 23 years later, and I have yet to do so. But I will get to why later.

Before I came around. My mom, Constance, had a very difficult pregnancy with my big sister Kathryn. My sister Kate turned out healthy and gorgeous! But her doctors advised her to consider things strongly if she wanted to have another child. My mom and dad both wanted another child, but they kept this in mind. Both my mom and my dad Gary felt called to adopt.

If you are not familiar with how adoption works, first a disclaimer: every story is different! So I am not stating that this is exactly how it works each time, I can only speak to the process my parents went through. For them, my parents were interviewed by Bethany Christian, and then their information was sent to many different people who were seeking to put their children up for adoption. My parents did not specify gender, race, ethnicity, etc. Typically, you do not know who is interested in you until further down the line. My sister was five years old at the time of my adoption. Before I was born, my sister started to pray "Dear God, please let my little sister or brother arrive here safely. Amen." My parents were pretty confused... while they were going through the process of adoption, they had not been selected to be parents yet, let alone would they have told my sister she was for sure getting a sibling. My parents would say "Kate, mom isn't pregnant! You aren't getting a little brother or sister." She would reply "Yes we are. God told me so just trust me." Closer to my birth, my sister decided she definitely wanted a sister. She even then described what I would look like. And she started to give me a name: Anna.

Finally, my parents got the call that they were going to be parents again. My birth mom had met my parents once during the interview process. She said she picked my parents because my mom resembled my birth mom - both are blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and fair skinned. When my parents came to meet me for the first time, I fit the exact description my sister had been praying for - and although I did not have a name, they knew right away that I would be Anna, just as my sister had decided.

I was born on November 11th, 1995, and I was born with a staph infection. This kept me in the hospital for eleven days. Once I was healthy enough to go home, my parents brought me home on November 21st. While I look different from my family and I am not their biological daughter, I have never questioned my place in their family. I love my family so very much. My adoption is the biggest blessing of my life, and every single day I feel so lucky that I get to call my family mine.

Adoption is such a gift, and it is a true sacrifice for those who choose to give their children a better life. This month honors those in need of adoption, those who have adopted, and those who have been adopted. It is such a special thing to be a part of that. I know my parents love my "spots" and I love their stripes. To those who were adopted, Happy National Adoption Month. Share your stories - they are special and so are you.

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