Thank You, JustWorld International.

Thank You, JustWorld International.

Sincerely, your Ambassadors.

For those who do not know, JustWorld International is a non-profit organization that supports more than 6,500 children in Honduras, Guatemala, and Cambodia. This support, however, is more than just the average food donation or school supplies. As mentioned in their mission statement, "We don’t focus on only one area of need. Hungry children cannot learn. Sick children cannot attend school."

JustWorld brings together a community from different regions of the world of all ages. You may be an Olympic equestrian in the United States or a thirteen-year-old girl living in France. People come from all over to provide education, nutrition, health and hygiene, as well as leadership and cultural development for these young minds. JustWorld's support has allowed children in these communities to attend universities and become employed - the first step of breaking the cycle of poverty.

I feel thankful to have found this organization in August of 2013, and becoming so knowledgeable in the world beyond my "comfort zone" at only the age of fourteen. I've gotten the opportunity to connect and fundraise with girls across the country for JustWorld's Team Challenge, raising the most money out of the three countries' teams for Honduras - the country where most of my barn's compassionate and hardworking grooms called home.

I could go on about how much being a part of JustWorld as an ambassador has helped me strengthen my soft skills that have helped me grow as the person I am today, but the important message here is that the more you help people, the more you help yourself, too. You learn about another person's culture, their story, and the world, while learning about your own strengths and weaknesses, your capabilities, and build character.

So thank you, to the JustWorld International team, for providing adults and children alike an opportunity to become a part of such a loving and supportive community. Your presence, especially amongst the equestrian community, has helped us become humble and stay grounded. Not only are you changing and shaping the lives of those outside the country on the project sites, but also those like me who have been able to grow along beside you.

Cover Image Credit: Noelle Floyd

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!

After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out:

14. Some activities on my bucket list are...

This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...

What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why Isolation Is Harmful

No man is an island.

"Solitude is the soul's holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead." -Katrina Kenison

Katrina is thinking of "isoulation" or "soulitude", but regular social isolation is harmful.

There are many quotes from well-known people that claim that solitude has benefits. That is cute, but there is a difference between solitude and isolation; isolation is detrimental. While solitude is chosen and can be ended at any time, isolation is not chosen and cannot be ended at any time. Although people may try to claim that solitude is necessary, isolation is never necessary. Isolation is too much solitude.

According to certain reports, social isolation kills more people than obesity does.

Social isolation is considered to be detrimental to our health because people have social needs that should NEVER be ignored. According to these reports, social isolation reduces immune function and increases inflammation. Scientists have claimed that loneliness leads to social evasion and loss of impulse control. This is because social isolation triggers the fight-or-flight response. When people are alone, they know that they are vulnerable. This includes when they feel alone. When they do not feel as if they have a connection to anyone, they feel as if they have to engage in self-preservation, which induces the fight-or-flight response. Feeling social isolation puts the body in stress-mode.

The symptoms of a fight-or-flight response include rapid heartbeat, increased adrenaline, dilated pupils, appetite loss, trembling, high blood pressure, higher cholesterol, Alzheimer's disease, depression, and pale or flushed skin. The fight-or-flight response is a general response to stress or danger. When a person is under such stress or feeling of danger, they engage in this response for self-preservation. The issue is that social isolation is not always easily alleviated.

Symptoms can also include insomnia. One scientist named Cacioppo found that lonely people were more prone to micro-awakenings during sleep as opposed to non-lonely people—proving that the insomnia symptom is associated with social isolation. This is because people who are socially isolated know that they only have themselves in order to look out for themselves. They have to constantly be vigilant in order to ensure that their safety is maintained. People thrive in communities because these communities fulfill their sense of belonging as well as provide social cohesion that keeps them protected. People are much less likely to be attacked in groups, especially when they are in groups of people who feel protective over them.

Researchers found that a rich social network ensured overall happiness and well being for the majority of participants in their studies, regardless of their socioeconomic statuses. Researchers also found a strong correlation between lack of heart disease and stroke with lack of loneliness, and there was a strong correlation between heart disease and stroke with loneliness.

The harmful effects of social isolation are why most of society considers bullying to be offensive and defamation of character to be illegal. Bullying is usually defined as people trying to have power over another person by isolating them and making them feel weak. Defamation of character is used to purposefully poison a person's network to force them into isolation.

Although Katrina Kenison can "delight herself instead" with solitude, we should not attempt to twist social isolation into a "delight." The fight-or-flight response cannot become a fight-or-delight response. No man is an island.

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