The 9/11 Kindergarten Class Is All Grown Up

The 9/11 Kindergarten Class Is All Grown Up

Here's what it has felt like for some.
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I remember three things from September 11: being pulled out of kindergarten early, my father seeing smoke above Manhattan from where he worked on Northern Boulevard, and a lot of worry about my mother, who, at the time, was an American Airlines employee at JFK Airport.

Even still, the latter events I didn't quite comprehend until I was older. Being five-years-old during a major terrorist attack doesn't leave you with vivid details to recall, just a general smoggy, chaotic ambiance.

I think it's fair to say that despite my young age, I am able to recall scarce events from 9/11 given my geographic and social ties to the region affected. Most kids my age at the time probably didn't have much of a clue as to what was happening. Hearing stories from older adults, recalling exactly where they were when the tower fell, is still startling to me. I'm glad I was so young, so blissful and naïve.

But now, I feel anything but because the kindergarten class of 9/11 has grown up. We're now sophomores in college, finding ourselves on the brink of more terror, more tension and a lot of uncertainty. We've grown alongside the rise of information technology and the rise of ISIS. So sorry if we come off as “narcissistic," it's a lot to handle.

Being so young in 2001, I really could not relate to any of the fear that Americans were burdening -- the quiet hush that laid over the Big Apple, the shock and awe of new security measures. By the time this was the “new norm," it was the only norm I knew. My peers are used to being body checked into concert venues. They don't blink at the sight of metal detectors in high school lobbies. We can open our bags and dump our opened water bottles before we are told to.

In 2016, we are turning 19, 20 and 21. We have our own minds, our own goals, and perspectives. With all this independence, we have paid a price. The curtain has been drawn. We know what is going on in the world. You don't need to tell some of us twice. Guns, ISIS, suicide-bombers, quasi-massacres, plane scares – when has there been a day recently when this has not been heard?

When I heard my parents and their friends tell me about 9/11, where they were, how they felt, the days and weeks that were to follow, I could never imagine such a thing. Last week I was walking through Times Square, enjoying the pre-New Year's Eve festivities with a few friends. I'll turn 20 next month, I'm enjoying college break, I'm young and free and the whole world seems to be in front of me.

Yet, on a Manhattan street corner, bursting with tourists, trying to hold on to my friends as to not lose each other, it hit me. It could happen. Now. Why shouldn't it? There were threats made. It's New Year's Eve. This is a prime location that would result in massive victims. Who is stopping them?

I get hit with this wave every now and then -- in a movie theater, driving down the highway, walking across campus, checking in at the airport. I shouldn't have to feel like this, but like I've said, this is our new normal.

But to answer my own question as to who is stopping them, I believe there are people out there fighting the bad guys, as cliché as that sounds. And not just through war or arms, but through legislation and diplomacy. Your everyday heroes and do-gooders. Don't forget that these people make up most of our crazy, lovely world.

Cover Image Credit: k2radio.com

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20 Important Reminders For All You Girls About To Turn 21

The early twenties can be an extremely stressful time for women.
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I have come to find that the years of my early twenties have been among some of the best years of my life.

Moving away to college, going to concerts and bars with my friends, wild frat parties, beach days, becoming a college cheerleader, getting my first real job as a personal trainer (offering potential for a career).

While these have been some of the most fun and exciting years of my life they have also been some of the most stressful. Pulling multiple all nighters in a row, and still getting a D on an exam, constantly taking two steps forward and three steps back, feeling a want to be independent, and the struggle it takes to get there, quitting cheerleading, anxiety about my post college plans, and fading in and out of friendships and relationships.

The early twenties can be an extremely stressful time for women. Women are two times as likely to suffer from depression or an anxiety disorder than men. Additionally, research shows that depressive disorder may be appearing earlier in life in people born in recent decades compared to the past.

I've compiled a list of things for all girls in theirs twenties to remind themselves.

1. No one knows what they're doing and if they say they do, they're lying.

So many women compare themselves to others, when in reality, you can't actually know what anyone is thinking, or more so what actually goes on in their life. So stop worrying about feeling like a hot mess comparing yourself to the girl who seems to have it all together.

2. Every minute you spend thinking about someone else is a minute you lose to spend working on yourself.

Facebook and Instagram stalking your ex-boyfriend or ex-best friend is pointless, especially if they're no longer in your life. Focus on yourself and the people you currently have around you supporting you.

3. You don't need to find your "future husband" right now.

You have plenty of time to find someone to spend the rest of your life with, which is a long time. Your life timeline is longer than you think, and looking for someone rather than looking for the right someone can be the difference between a happy marriage or a divorce.

4. Don't think of relationships as, "if we're not getting married we're eventually gonna break up."

Be thankful for the time you spent with or have to spend with that person. Cherish those memories while they last even if they may eventually come to an end. Remember, "when one door closes another one opens."

5. Do the things you love, break the rules.

Don't settle for a job you hate just because it makes you a lot of money. At the very least, continue to do the things you love on the side; painting, singing, dancing, football, whatever it may be.

Keep doing the things you love. It will be your saving grace and will keep you sane.

Don't be afraid to be who you are and break free from societal roles, it's OK to be different, the most successful people don't care what other people think and aren't afraid to be themselves and stand out from the rest of the world.

6. You need and deserve a break.

Work hard but don't burn yourself out. It's easy to get caught up in your daily grind, but take the time to do things that relax you, or go out with your friend.

Remember, you're twenty-something, not forty-something.

You're not tied down. Now is the time to have fun, make mistakes, and be reckless once in a while.

7. Put the time in.

With whatever you wish to achieve, put the time in don't expect life to give you handouts. Don't quit when it gets tough or you think you won't make it. If you put the time in and get what you want to do done, you will be successful in life.

8. Relationships are the hardest part of life, don't dwell on them.

Relationships whether its family, friends or a romantic partner, relationships are the hardest part of life. Just be attentive, listen to other people and hear them out.

Use your intuition and leave behind the relationships that are negative. Being nostalgic never helps, if you don't let people go you'll never be happy with your current life.

9. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

If the first two times you try something it doesn't work out, take a different approach. Trying to get something done the same way and failing each time means you're doing something wrong.

You'll ultimately just pick up learned helplessness. It's not that you're incompetent, you just need to take a different approach.

10. You most likely won't marry your first love.

This is generally the case, and it's OK. Sure, being "high school sweethearts" sounds all nice and mushy, like the perfect fairytale, and for some people, this is the case.

But it's good to experience different people. If I never had breakups I would have never found out what it felt like to be treated well.

11. You're not 16 anymore. Don't expect your body to look like you are.

You're no longer a teenager, your body is different, your hormone release is different, don't expect an effortlessly flat stomach, thigh gap, and size zero.

It's not gonna happen.

Your bones are bigger and your structure is wider and it gets more difficult to stay in shape as you get older. Focus on being healthy, not a size zero.

12. People who want you in their life will be in your life.

Don't waste your time on people who don't care, or constantly blow you off, put you down or hurt you. You don't deserve it, and neither does anyone else. If they don't make you a better person, if they don't make you happier, let them go.

13. If someone tells you "you can't" show them that "you did."

Don't let anyone interfere with your dreams, they're your dreams to achieve, and if you want something, and you put in the work it takes you will get it!

14. Someone will always have more.

There will always be a girl who's prettier, smarter, funnier, skinnier, richer, more athletic. Base your success off of how much progress you have made, not by comparing yourself to someone else.

15. Things are just things.

Things do not equal happiness. Experiences and successes do! Sure that new Triangl bikini is nice, and you deserve to treat yourself to tangible items, but at the end of the day, they are just things.

16. People change, and so will you.

Your life changes dramatically year to year, especially during your early twenties, a time of many new beginnings and opportunities. Things are inconsistent, and people change and move away. Don't let this upset you, and don't base your happiness on other people.

They're just people after all, and they make mistakes. People can't always be reliable.

17. Take it one step at a time.

I like to look at my life like driving at night. Your headlights can only light up a small portion of the road ahead of you. You can let what you can't see coming scare you, or you can follow the road as you see it and worry about the obstacles when they come into view.

This is something I try to focus on when I have anxiety.

18. It's OK to be selfish.

To an extent, yes. Sometimes I have a problem with putting others before myself, and yes this is a good thing in moderation. You need to be well for yourself in order to help others.

19. Follow your intuition.

Your gut feeling is more accurate than you think. If you have a good feeling about something, take a chance on it. Failure is better than wondering if you would have succeeded.

20. You will figure it out.

I know it's a time of so many uncertainties and financial instability, but just keep treading water and you'll eventually make it to shore.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr.com

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Toughing It

A few words about overcoming a rough patch.

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Nobody's perfect. Things can be going beautifully, and all of a sudden become very messy. Not everything is going to go over smoothly, but that's expected. People get stressed, and they overreact. How you handle these situations is what truly matters.

I've seen it all. I've seen people leave these occurrences behind them and move on with their lives as normal, picking up right where they'd left off. I've seen people bottle their emotions in, and not communicate their feelings. I've seen people communicate their feelings to others, but not reach out to the person they're actually upset with in order to resolve a problem. I've seen people be outright nasty for no reason. I've seen people act quite maturely, but I've also seen people act in ways I thought only occurred in middle school.

I'm the type of person who faces things head-on. If I'm upset about something involving someone, he/she will hear it directly from me. I don't like leaving issues to brew, so I tend to directly confront people. That's not exactly everyone's prerogative, but hey - they're not me. Everyone handles their situations differently... some haven't exactly made the choices I would make, but hey - I'm not them.

Some find success in being more passive. But this has two different outcomes - either it gets dropped completely, or it brews. The first is an easy way for everyone to move on. The latter is a disaster waiting to happen. If you feel like something is only gaining steam, then ignoring the issue may not be the best idea. That balloon will eventually burst, and the result will not be pretty. At all.

In resolving an issue, you may just have to take a second and think about whether or not it's actually worth drawing out. If the issue doesn't actually pertain to you, drop it. I cannot stress that enough. If you were not directly involved in something, you have absolutely no place to judge. The best idea, in this case, would be to just accept the fact that things don't always go the way you want them to.

They don't always go as planned, either. If this involves a friend, think about how important that friendship is to you, and whether or not drawing things out that don't involve you is worth risking that friendship. Honestly, actually drawing it out will not only make you look immature but may also come across as you questioning your friend's character... and believe me - that is not worth it. You choose who you surround yourself with, and you chose these people for a reason. Remember that.

These things are going to happen. There are going to be rough patches. There are going to be things that people do that you don't always like and/or agree with. There are going to be things that happen that you can't wrap your head around. But at the end of the day, it's the way you handle it that people will remember.

If you messed up, own up to it. I know - much easier said than done. But taking responsibility will maintain the respect others have for you and will keep your maturity and integrity intact. If someone takes responsibility, don't draw it out. Trust me - it's not worth it. That will only dig the hole deeper, and then you're in an even rougher patch that will be even more difficult to work through.

Not everyone operates the same way. This is to be taken into account for not only what you're handling, but also the way things are handled. People aren't always going to do things you would necessarily do, and they won't always handle it the way you might've chosen to. It takes a lot of acceptance, open-mindedness, forgiveness, and patience. Much easier said than done, but definitely more worthwhile in the end.

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