An Ode To The Dining Hall

An Ode To The Dining Hall

Thank you for making freshman year what it was.

Freshman year is full of a lot of fun times. From football games to spring parties, freshman year introduces you to some of the most fun environments you'll ever be in. However, if you had told me coming into freshman year that the dining hall would be one of those "fun environments," I would've laughed in your face. While I knew coming into college that I would be spending all of my time eating some pretty incredible "dining hall food," I never knew how much time I'd actually spend at the dining halls and how many memories I'd be making there.

The dining hall gave me not only some awesome food but also some awesome moments. Freshman year would not have been the same without it. So as the year is winding down to a close, I'd like to say "thank you."

Thank you for being a place for me to post up with my laptop and study (socialize) for hours on end. I honestly give you total credit for that 94 I got on my Spanish quiz. It probably would've been a 92 without the quiet, serene study environment you provided (at least, that's what I tell my mom it is like).

Thank you for your chocolate fudge cookies. There's no better pick-me-up than a moist, warm, chocolate-y cookie. That's all I have to say about that.

Thank you for playing some bomb music. There's nothing like interrupting a conversation by singing along to "Sk8r Boi" as it plays from from the dining hall speakers. And while at times your music choices were sub-par, I can honestly say that your Eagles and P!NK-filled playlists were sure to brighten my day.

Thank you for creating a community. It's crazy to see how close I've become to people purely because we have a lunch break at the same time. The dining hall is a gathering place -- a place where new friendships are started and old ones can grow. I look forward to going to the dining hall every day because I know who I will get to see there. There's nothing like sharing a meal with your good friends, and there's nothing like sharing a meal every day with your good friends. So, thank you for being that meeting place we all know and love.

As my year is coming to a close and I am preparing to say goodbye to everything freshman year gave me, I've realized that saying goodbye to the dining hall and everything it offered will be one of the toughest goodbyes. It gave me some great friendships, a fun study environment, and a few extra pounds that I can't complain about. So, thank you, dining hall, for making my average days not-so average. You will be missed dearly.

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Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.

Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

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Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.


Your Daughter

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This Is What Being Away From Home Taught Me About My Home

... It's ok to make plans with people besides your mom.


My home, for as long as I can remember, has been my safe haven. No matter how many arguments my family and I got into, I always knew my home to be a place where I could feel safe, at peace, grounded, and most importantly, comfortable.

This is why, when I decided to embark on a journey to Israel, 6,000 miles away felt like I was traveling into space. I felt as if I couldn't move forward without my mom by my side, reminding me everything is going to be okay. The relationship that my mom and I have is a special one, and knowing that I was not in close proximity to her created much-unwanted anxiety for us both. Knowing that while she may have only been a phone call away, that she wouldn't be able to come hold me if I needed her to, was something I really struggled with.

While I was away, I had hoped that my excitement for the trip and the adventures that were to come would keep me grounded and sane. Unfortunately, as the days went on, I became more and more homesick. However, I was able to learn some really important lessons in terms of the importance of my home, and sometimes the need to escape it.

The new friendships I made showed me that sometimes it's okay to make plans with people besides your mom (only partially joking).

The new foods I tried showed me that there are so many different types of foods that my chef of a mother hasn't even heard of.

The new experiences showed me just how important it is to step out of my comfort zone, even if doing so means I have to be 6,000 miles away from the comfort of my mom's arms.

There are hundreds of thousands of things that this trip has taught me, but it especially taught me that life exists away from your home as well. While it is natural to want to stay close to the things that bring you comfort, it is also essential that you allow yourself to grow.

I couldn't be luckier to have had such an incredible experience abroad, but I also couldn't be luckier to have been able to come home to a mom that was waiting with open arms and open ears.

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