A Thank You To Our Parents

A Thank You To Our Parents

Without them, life wouldn't be life at all.
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We take our parents for granted. It’s a fact. You ask them for $5 here and $10 there. They wash your clothes, clean your room, drive you to games, make you food, listen do your day and they hardly expect a "thank you." Their love for us is unconditional, and without them we would all be train-wrecks. So parents – this is for you.

Thank you for the endless hours of support at every basketball game, band competition, golf tournament and spelling bee.

Thank you for always being in the crowd–we always look for you, you know.

Thank you for the endless phone calls after that bad test, homesickness or even after the broken heart. Thank you for being real with us, and for never letting us forget where we came from.

Thank you for the laughs after a bad day, and for letting us be ourselves.

Thank you handling the yelling, screaming and fighting of siblings with "wrestling it out."

Thank you for teaching us to LOVE ourselves the way we were, and for never forgetting to make sure we knew you loved us, too.

Thank you for the amazing advice that always seems to be the right thing said at the perfect time.

Thank you for instilling in us the faith and values that made us who we are today.

Thank you for the attempts of helping us with homework.

Thank you for showing us that we have talents, and for encouraging us to keep climbing to new heights daily.

Thank you for making us chase our dreams.

Thank you for prioritizing Disney movies, and letting us know that dreams do come true.

Thank you for making sure we had the “hippest” clothes or never hesitating to buy us that Kit-Kat bar at the grocery store.

Thank you for the hugs when we feel defeated after that tough loss.

Thank you for the long phone calls.

Thank you for being the best chauffeur around as you trekked all over the state to make sure we were always 15 minutes early for whatever event we had going on that day.

Thank you for giving us faith in times of trouble.

Thank you for forgiving us after we crash our car... for the second time.

Thank you for always remembering what we always forget.

Thank you for carrying everything but this kitchen sink in your purse.

Thank you for telling us to buck up when times get tough.

Thank you for teaching us to work for what we want.

Thank you for singing us the songs of your generation, and making it our favorites.

Thank you for teaching us how to drive a car after the endless tears coming from our eyes as we just couldn’t get stick shift.

Thank you for teaching us to appreciate what we have.

Thank you for making all the appointments: hair, nails, doctors, dentists, etc.

Thank you for the good home cooking after we’re sick of cafeteria food at college.

Thank you for letting us explore when you weren't ready for us to leave yet.

Thank you for giving us a home to come back to.

Thank you for doing the gigantic amounts of laundry that we never want to do, and for continuously doing it after we leave for college, even though you said that would never happen.

Thank you for loving us after we do something stupid.

Thank you for believing us when it seems impossible.

Thank you for that prom dress that was way too much money, but you told us we were too beautiful in it to pass it up.

Thank you for always making us feel special and important, even if we don’t believe it ourselves.

Thank you for making our family one of a kind.

To all the parents out there–we love you. Even if we forget to say it now and then.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Wouldn't Trade My DII Experience To Play DI Athletics Any Day

I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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As a high school athlete, the only goal is to play your varsity sport at the Division 1 level in college.

No one in high school talks about going to a Division 2 or 3 school, it's as if the only chance you have at playing college athletics is at the DI level. However, there are so many amazing opportunities to play a varsity sport at the DII and DIII level that are equally fun and competitive as playing for a division 1 team.

As a college athlete at the DII level, I hear so many DI athletes wishing they had played at the DII or DIII level. Because the fact of the matter is this: the division you play in really doesn't matter.

The problem is that DII and DIII sports aren't as celebrated as Division 1 athletics. You don't see the National Championships of Division 2 and 3 teams being broadcasted or followed by the entire country. It's sad because the highest levels of competition at the DII and DIII level are competing against some of the Division 1 teams widely celebrated across the country. Yet DII and DIII teams don't receive the recognition that DI athletics do.

Not everyone can be a DI athlete but that doesn't mean it's easy to be a DII or DIII athlete. The competition is just as tough as it is at the top for DII and DIII athletes. Maybe the stakes are higher for these athletes because they have to prove they are just as good as DI athletes. Division 2 and 3 athletes have just as much grit and determination as Division 1 athletes, without the glorified title of being "a division 1 athlete."

Also, playing at the DII or DIII level grants more opportunities to make your college experience your own, not your coach's.

I have heard countless horror stories in athletics over the course of my four-year journey however, the most heartbreaking come from athletes who lose their drive to compete because of the increased pressure from coaches or program. Division 1 athletics are historically tougher programs than Division 2 or 3 programs, making an athlete's college experience from one division to another significantly different.

The best part of not going to a division 1 school is knowing that even though my team doesn't have "DI" attached to it, we still have the opportunity to do something unique every time we arrive at an event. Just because we aren't "DI" athletes, we still have the drive and competitive spirit to go to an event and win. We are great players, and we have broken countless records as a team.

That's something we all have done together, and it's something we can take with us for the rest of our lives.

We each have our own mission when it comes to our college athletic careers, however together we prove to be resilient in the fight for the title. Giving it all when we practice and play is important, but the memories we have made behind the scenes as a team makes it all worth it, too.

The best part of being apart of college athletics is being able to be passionate about your sport with teammates that embody that same mindset. It's an added benefit to having teammates who become your best friends because it makes your victories even more victorious, and your defeats easier to bare.

No matter what level an athlete is playing at in college, it's important that all the hours spent at practice and on the road should be enjoyed with teammates that make the ride worthwhile. The experiences athletes have at any level are going to vary, but the teammates I have and the success we've had together is something I cherish and will take with me forever. I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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