To The Best Friend I Left Behind

To The Best Friend I Left Behind

I will miss you in the big and little things.
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I’m sorry, but at the same time, I’m not. We both knew I needed to go off on an adventure. What I’m sorry for are all the things I didn’t realize I would miss, or more importantly the things I would need.

I should have realized that late night phone calls would have to take the place of our face to face conversations. We couldn't just pick each other up and head to Starbucks to discuss the details of our lives. Soon all we would have were FaceTime calls and screenshots of texts to discuss. I wasn’t ready to not get your hugs or reassuring looks when I called you crying at night. But what I’m most sorry for is robbing us of some of the best years to make memories. The time we could spend making memories is crushed into the small amounts of time we both have off of school.

I look around my room and see the countless pictures of the two of us. They span from just nights of us at home laughing to SEC football games, and these photos represent something more than just events. They’re the conversations we had, the jokes that were made, and the super uncomfortable memories of random guys trying to dance with us in the middle of Starkville, Mississippi.

Looking back I wish I had made a different decision. Sometimes when I think of all the things that I can’t do with you I wish I had stayed closer to home to go to school. I wish the things we could do together didn’t depend on if I was going to be home when they were going on. I wish that you were the person I had here to talk to when I needed a shoulder to cry on, that you were the one I could call to come and get me when a date goes horribly wrong.

I wish I had been there the nights you needed a friend and didn’t have someone else there to talk to. I wish I didn’t have to watch our friendship struggle because I decided to leave you.

We both know that this was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Neither of us learns things the easy way. I’m so sorry for missing out on the memories that we could be making right now. And I’m especially sorry for not being there when your life changed drastically.

Honestly, its one of my biggest regrets. I wish in the moment you told me what was going on I could have packed up my car and driven straight to your house to move in. But I couldn’t and I’m so sorry. Because you've been there for me in times that I didn’t deserve to have a friend who would stick by me, and I couldn’t even be there to fight off the long nights and the moments of uncertainty.

I hope that one day I can make up for all the moments I’ve missed. I hope that I haven’t lost too much time with you. I know that life changes and that things will never be the same as our college years, but I pray that when I finally get to come home, our friendship will be that much more precious. It made it through years of being six hundred plus miles apart. I also pray that you cherish every phone call, FaceTime, Snapchat, and Tweet as much as I do.

As dumb as it sounds, this is what our normal day looks like and I don’t want to forget any of it. I may not be able to sit on a couch and eat ice cream with you when we've had a rough week, but I sure as heck can send you a dorky picture when you need a pick-me-up.

I’m sorry that I changed the course of our friendship. You’re one of the most important people to me. You make me smile, but I also know when you tell me something I’m doing needs to change you only have my best interest at heart. When I say I genuinely trust you with my life, I mean every word of it. You are the peas to my carrots and I wouldn’t have anyone else take your place.

Cover Image Credit: Adria Johnson

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To The Defeated Nursing Major, You'll Rise

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

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You will have weeks when you are defeated. Some mornings you won't be able to get out of bed and some days you won't be able to stop crying enough to go to class. You'll feel like nobody understands the stress that you are under, and you have absolutely nobody to talk to because they either don't get it or are dealing with their own meltdowns. There will be weeks that you want to change your major and give up on the whole thing. But, you'll rise.
You will miss football games, concerts, and nights out with the girls. There will be stretches of two or more weeks you'll go without seeing your mom, and months where you have to cancel on your best friend 4+ times because you have too much studying to do. There will be times where no amount of "I'm sorry" can make it up to your little brother when you miss his big football game or your grandparents when you haven't seen them in months. But, you'll rise.

You will have patients who tell you how little they respect nurses and that you won't be able to please no matter how hard you try. You will have professors who seem like their goal is to break you, especially on your bad days. You will encounter doctors who make you feel like the most insignificant person on the planet. You will leave class some days, put your head against your steering wheel and cry until it seems like there's nothing left to cry out. But, you'll rise.

You will fail tests that you studied so hard for, and you will wing some tests because you worked too late the night before. You will watch some of the smartest people you've ever known fail out because they simply aren't good test-takers. You will watch helplessly as your best friend falls apart because of a bad test grade and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do for her. There will be weeks that you just can't crack a smile no matter how hard you try. But, you'll rise.

You'll rise because you have to — because you've spent entirely too much money and effort to give up that easily. You'll rise because you don't want to let your family down. You'll rise because you're too far in to stop now. You'll rise because the only other option is failing, and we all know that nurses do not give up.

You'll rise because you remember how badly you wanted this, just three years ago as you were graduating high school, with your whole world ahead of you. You'll rise because you know there are people that would do anything to be in your position.

You'll rise because you'll have one patient during your darkest week that'll change everything — that'll hug you and remind you exactly why you're doing this, why this is the only thing you can picture yourself doing for the rest of your life.

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

You'll rise because you have compassion, you are selfless, and you are strong. You'll rise because even during the darkest weeks, you have the constant reminder that you will be changing the world someday.

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Odyssey, From A Creator's Point Of View

Writing for Odyssey is transitioning from the outside looking in, to the inside looking a million ways at once.

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It's 11:59 p.m. and I have two articles due tomorrow afternoon: two articles that are basically figments of my imagination at this point. When I was asked to write for Odyssey, I was ecstatic. I was a devout reader in high school and found every post so #relatable. During my short time as a "creator" for Odyssey, I've experienced what it's like to be on the other side of the articles.

Every post is not #relatable. This is a platform for anyone and everyone. I chose the articles I wanted to click on and read them, deemed them relatable, and clicked share. I, along with Odyssey's 700,000 something followers, did not go through and read every single article.

Being a creator has shown me that everyone has a voice, and by God, they're going to use it (rightfully so).

It can be disheartening at times to get what we think is a low number of page views when there are articles we don't necessarily agree with getting hundreds of Facebook shares. I don't crank out journalistic gold by any means, but being a writer isn't a walk in the park. It's stressful at times and even disappointing. Odyssey creators aren't paid, and even though it's liberating to be able to write about whatever our hearts desire, I'll be the first to admit that my life is just not that interesting.

When I first started writing for Odyssey, I vowed to never post anything basic like some things I have read in the past. If I'm going to dedicate the time it takes to write for a national platform, I'm going to publish things worth reading.

That vow is basically out the window now.

Simply stated, it's easy to write about things that are easy to write about. It's kind of like calling a Hail Mary play when it's the night before an article is due and there's been a topic in the back of your mind for days that you don't think is that great, but you think people might read. You just throw it out there and hope for the best. Being a creator gives you inside access to knowing what people are reading, what's popular, and what's working for other creators. Odyssey's demographic is not as diverse as it could or should be, so it's not hard to pick out something that the high school girl you once were will find relatable. Recently went through a breakup? Write about it. Watched a new show on Netflix? Write about it. When there's nothing holding you back, you have the freedom to literally put whatever you want online.

It's not easy coming out of your freshman year of college, one of the hardest years for any person, and being expected to whip up articles that everyone will love. Not everyone is going to love what I write. Heck, not everyone is going to like what I write. The First Amendment is a blessing and a curse. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and that's okay.

The beauty of Odyssey is that it highlights the fact that everyone DOES have a voice, and whether that voice coincides with your religious, political, or personal views isn't up to you.

You have the power to pick and choose what you want to read, relate to, and share. Remember that you have no way of knowing what every single person on the planet is going through and what they choose to write about reflects their own personal opinions, experiences, accomplishments, and hardships. Odyssey creators can spend weeks crafting articles they hope will break the Internet, but in return only get a few views. They can also pull all-nighters grasping at straws just trying to reach the minimum word requirement and end up writing the best thing since sliced bread.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that even though there are posts out there that are so easy for us to relate to, that's not always the goal for writers. We write what we feel, and if there's nothing to write about, we write what we think other people feel. The kicker is that we don't truly know what other people are feeling. You might hurt someone's feelings with your words. You might make someone cry with your story because they felt like they were alone and finally, finally, someone else feels the same way. You might trigger someone and get hateful comments. You might even change someone's life with your words.

The moral of the story is that words are pretty powerful, whether we choose to believe it or not.

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