I'm a full-time student, I have two jobs on campus, I'm part of a literary society, three on-campus organizations, a loving daughter, a loving friend, a loving sister, a loving aunt, and I fell asleep behind the wheel.
It was a typical Thursday night in the Nancy and Aja residents. I had just gotten back from working out and decided to take a nap. I woke up to a text from one of my favorite cousins, Rita. She asked me if I was coming home for my grandparents memorial Mass. And that was when it hit me. I had completely forgotten about my grandparents. I felt as if all the things people were saying about how I’ve changed were true. Because let’s be real, the old me would have never forgotten something so important and I did. There in the immediate moment I decided that I would be going home Friday afternoon. On average, going home can take me three to four hours so I never look forward to that drive. I went to my four classes starting as early as 8 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. I got into my car and made my way home. I was excited to see my family and to simply be home. I was two hours into my drive when I started to become tired, so I started to sing.
The road was empty and the sun was setting. I was keeping my car pretty cold because I thought that would help me stay up. I told myself, as I kept yawning, that I would stop at the next rest stop but I never made it. Like the blink of an eye my eyes closed shut and my car drifted to the side of the road. The front right side of my car hit the ramp. I instantly reacted, braked, and turned the wheel. Because of my overcorrection, it caused the back left side of my car to hit the ramp as well. In the split second I witnessed my whole life. I parked off to the side of the road to see the damages and it was bad. But what striked me the most was that I wasn't scared because I almost died, I was more scared of what my father was going to say when he saw my car. I began to panic and so I called the two people that I always call; the first one was willing to help with whatever I decided to do, and the second one told me to call my mother because she would know what to do. I trusted my gut and called my mother and as soon as she answered I began to break down. But once again, I realized it wasn’t the trauma from the accident that was making me break down, it was me worrying about all the damages I caused to my car.
This is the moment when my mother taught me one of the most important lessons in my life. She said “Life's too short to worry about the fixable. You must worry about the unfixable”. The car was still driveable so I continued my drive home. As I was driving home, I had time to reflect on what had just happened. I started to notice that most of the roads didn't have a ramp. And then I started to think “what if the ramp hadn’t been there?” And that’s when it hit me. “I should have died.” But, yet again, the unknown had put that ramp there to catch me from drifting off the road and flipping over. When I got home everyone seemed pretty upset about the accident but my mother seemed so happy to see me. I've learned that every minute in life is a blessing and we need to start treating it more like a blessing. I will never get behind the wheel if I am not feeling well no matter what is happening. Because I could have taken someone away with me. I didn't and for that I am extremely thankful.
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There's always a reason to be happy.
It doesn't cost a thing - so smile.
Your friends and Family
Always a reason to laugh with my friends and family.
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Writing in a new notebook is top ten best feelings.
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We, humans get the privilege of living on the same planet as dogs and animals.
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You still get your coffee while in the comfort of still being in your car.
Waking up to an email that class is cancelled will instantly make your day.
A good movie
Watching a good movie makes any night better.
When you are wearing new shoes, you feel like you can conquer the world.
The trees changing colors
The trees changing colors doesn't make driving so bad.
Follow me on Spotify!
One of my favorite things to do when it comes to music is making different playlists on Spotify. I find it so fun to go back to old songs, find new ones, and categorize them into my different playlists. We all have that one playlist that we resort to when we are really feeling some type of way — also known as a "feels" playlist. If you have one of these playlists or feel ~inspired~ to make one, here are 11 songs that are a must to add.
1. "Mine" by Taylor Swift
I mean let's be real, what is a feels playlist without a little old T-Swifty. There is nothing like walking down memory lane and blasting the song that made us all believe in love.
2. "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus
Although this song may be one of the most basic and overused as the caption for an Instagram picture by a mountain, the lyrics of this song are so powerful. "The Climb" is a song where you really appreciate the journey of life even if you do not know the ending.
3. "Stop And Stare" by OneRepublic
This song always makes me stop and think. The lyrics have a deep meaning that can make you feel a bit lost at times that definitely hit you in the feels.
4. "Hallelujah" by Pentatonix
I am not sure why, but every single time I hear this the Pentatonix sing this song, I get the chills. This is technically a remake of the song since they did not write it, but all the different voices really give the song so much power. Although some of the lyrics are a bit odd, this remake of "Hallelujah" gives me major chills.
5. "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol
Maybe I love this song so much because it is in my all time favorite show, "One Tree Hill" (which you probably already know), but I absolutely love this song when it comes on shuffle. It is definitely a song I NEVER skip.
6. "Good Riddance" by Green Day
Whenever I hear this song I feel like I am listening to my parents telling me some sort of life lesson. It always gives me such inspiration whenever I listen to it and reminds me to enjoy life.
7. "Drops of Jupiter" by Train
There is nothing better than a good old song by Train. You will never be disappointed by "Drops of Jupiter" when it comes to a feels playlist. Train always hits that soft spot in my heart.
8. "Smile" by Uncle Kracker
Is it just me or does this song make you smile? For real though, this song always puts me in the best mood ever. It's positive vibes make me want to roll my windows down and take a nice long drive.
9. "Red" by Taylor Swift
I don't know why, but this song takes me back to my middle school days where I would play sad songs and pretend to be going through the "boy problems" Taylor Swift writes about. I vividly remember pulling the lyrics up and pretending to perform this song as if I was the lead singer at a concert.
10. "You and I" by Ingrid Michaelson
This song gives me no other feelings than wanting to go dance in a huge field of sunflowers in a white sundress. I couldn't tell you why exactly, but this song makes me feel so dainty and cute.
11. "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty
Although this is the only John Mayer song I know (some would call me a fake fan), this song never fails to hit me in the feels.
Now that you are done reading this, I think it is time to find a spot for these killer feels songs in your playlist that makes you feel some type of way. Hop in a car, roll the windows down and blast these songs. I guarantee they will hit you in the feelings and unleash a bunch of different emotions.
A letter to my friends with RBF about understanding your own face and helping others deal with it.
To the girl with resting b**** face:
If you don’t know who you are, a hint is that people tell you to smile more. And it’s not because you have such a beautiful smile (although you may have), it’s because your other face looks unapproachable. Our faces all say different things, from sadness to anger. Mine tends to say, “I’m arrogant” and it comes with its own host of assumptions. When I don’t smile, people assume the worst about my attitude. When I do smile, some people assume I am doing so out of condescension. It can be a no-win situation and hard to deal with, but there is nothing wrong with me just like there is nothing wrong with you.
Please believe that you are a likable person. I didn’t realize I struggled with resting jerk face (as it is also known) until my first job when coworker peers told me. It was a shock to realize that my face was deterring people, but a relief to realize that it wasn’t my personality.
You are a valuable individual. I know that it’s hard to make friends. I know that people seem uncomfortable when they talk to you, even when you’re matching their expression. As an individual with resting jerk face, your perception of your expression is on a different scale. A good way to test your scale is by pausing in the middle of an activity, decide what you think your expression is and look in the mirror without changing it. You may realize that what you thought was a hearty smile is a slight upturn of the lips, or that a sympathetic look actually says, “How could you think that would work?” It could be that some of your expressions say the exact opposite of what you’re actually thinking.
Over the years, I’ve theorized and tested approaches for accurately expressing myself. Some are horribly awkward and others terribly exhaustive. As a 20-year-old and an introvert, I’ve found that these two techniques generate the best results and are easily sustainable:
- Tag-team your words and your expression. When you’re feeling sympathetic, say something like, “I’m really sorry this is happening to you,” and when you’re interested in what the other person is saying, a comment like, “This is really interesting; tell me more!” This goes a long way. You’re basically describing your expressions for people, which may sound dumb, but after a few conversations your friends will be able to recognize your expression and accurately read your mood. You do have to keep it up when you meet strangers, but it eventually becomes habit and others will appreciate the clarity. You’ll find that your relationships all around will improve.
- Think about smiling. Our faces don’t spontaneously smile and so if we don’t think about smiling, we’re often not smiling. Train your mind to react to a pair of eyes by smiling at them. Soon it will become habit, too. I know it’s difficult when they don’t return the gesture (I usually think, “Great, I just wasted my energy on that person. Now I don’t even want to smile to someone who does smile back!”) but remember that they just might have a resting b**** face, too.
Something important to remember is that you can’t win others over every time. I know you can’t always subtly describe your expression to someone and that you’re not always thinking about smiling. You will get discouraged from time to time when a person simply doesn’t respond to your methods, but hang in there. Remember that it is not you. You have a unique personality that others will cherish when they take the time to get to know you. Your smile just lets them know that you won’t bite if they try.
Your friendly member of the RBF sisterhood
Thank you, J14, for the Posters
Every girl remembers her first crush. Even if your first crush was the boy in your kindergarten class that ate crayons, your first true love will always be the one that holds the key to your heart. Growing up in the 2000s, everyone knew who your dream guy was. Your family probably still give you grief and your best friends probably still reminisce, so it is impossible to forget your first celebrity crush. You bought a Tiger Beat magazine every chance you could just to read up about what your favorite celebrity was doing. Your room was fully decorated with posters of them, and it wasn't unusual to have fights with your best friends over who was going to marry him. If you were a 90's baby, lucky you because the 2000s were full of boys that were easy to love. I hope you enjoy a walk down memory lane and quickly realize that Bieber was definitely not the first guy with that hair cut. Here are 15 90's baby's first boyfriends.
1. Jesse McCartney
He had me as soon as I heard him say that he didn't want another pretty face. I'm gonna be honest, every trip to the beach involves me listening to my old Jesse McCartney album and singing at the top of my lungs to every word. He had to be number one on my list because he will always be number one in my eight-year-old heart.
2. Zac Efron
I remember the first time I saw Zac Efron during the premiere of High School Music as he walked into the heart of every girl in America. Over the years, he has given us plenty of movies to love, from Neighbors to 17 Again, but lets face it, HSM will always be number one.
3. Kenan and Kel
This show had my heart for so many years. Admit it, you had a thing for the goofy boys from Nickelodeon. Oh, here it goes.
4. Drake Bell
From the Amanda Show to Drake and Josh, it was probably safe to call him the King of Nickelodeon for a while. And it probably didn't hurt that he was a musician. Not gonna lie, I saw him in concert when I was ten and my voice hasn't been the same since.
5. Jonas Brothers
Okay, it's time to go crazy over some JoBros. Let's take a moment to mourn all of the friendships that were lost fighting over who would marry which Jonas Brother in sixth grade.
6. Taran Killam
It may have just been me, but Taran has had my heart since Stuck in the Suburbs. If the day ever comes where he plays/sings on SNL, my heart would probably explode from happiness.
7. Devon Werkheiser
Let's face it, Ned got us through school. We all fell in love with Devin Werkheiser for his goofy personality, his quirkiness, and his heart for helping. Thank you to Ned's Declassified for giving my middle school days unrealistic expectations.
8. Chad Michael Murray
I fell in love with him as Austin Aimes in A Cinderella Story. I fell harder each time he walked across my screen as Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill. Some girls may have fallen for Nathan, but Chad Michael Murray always held a special place in my heart.
9. Taylor Lautner
I am pretty sure my seventh grade year revolved around him. Girls in my class would pass magazines around just looking at pictures of him. My friendship with one of my best friends hasn't been the same since she practically attacked me for a poster of him.
10. Ryan Merriman
Don't know who Ryan Merriman is? Well if you have a favorite Disney Channel original movie between 1999 and 2004, he was probably in it somewhere. It seemed like he was everywhere I looked and I was perfectly fine with that. For those of you who don't remember him from movies like Smart House and Luck of the Irish, maybe you will recognize him from a more recent project of his: a small show called Pretty Little Liars.
11. Frankie Muniz
From Malcolm in the Middle to Agent Cody Banks, there was no stopping Frankie Munez in the early 2000s.
12. Justin Timberlake
JT just keeps getting better and better
13. Aaron Carter
Try and convince me that you didn't love him. He was everywhere.
14. Shia LaBeouf
Who didn't grow up loving Lewis Stevens? And then who didn't love him even more after Even Stevens?
16. Ryan Gosling
If you're a bird, I'm a bird.
I hope you all enjoyed this little walk down memory lane. Be sure and comment down below letting me know who you were totally crushing on from the 2000s.
No one expects you to have your life together by the time you're 20, because honestly, they didn't either.
We are all often faced with many life challenges throughout the time leading up to our 20s. Before this time, and throughout it, we often look back at the things we've learned and how they've influenced who we are as people today. Some of my biggest influences were some of the challenges I've faced, but they've taught me 20 important things by the start of my 20s.
1. Believe that every situation you're put in is there to teach you a lesson and help you grow.
The situation may not be ideal and may hurt, but it is still going to teach you something you never knew before. You'll learn many life lessons when you are put into tough situations. You learn to grow as a person and learn more about yourself. You don't always see the good in these situations at first and you constantly over think them, but in the end you'll realize the bigger picture and realize how much of a better person you are because of it.
2. Dream big. Really big.
Don’t think you can’t succeed if you create dreams too big for yourself. How do you expect to achieve your biggest goals if you sell yourself short every time? Dream big, give yourself something to work for and be proud of yourself when you finally accomplish those dreams.
3. Get involved with whatever you can.
Take every opportunity given to you. Get involved in many organizations; each one has their own leadership opportunities to help you, too. Join an organization maybe you thought you never would and learn more about what they do and what they stand for. It may help you grow in ways you never imagined and allows you to learn about things you may have been blind to before.
4. Be a hard worker, but don’t wear yourself too thin.
We all think working hard and doing everything we can is our human nature. It’s important to work hard and gain a good work ethic, but don’t exhaust yourself while trying to do it. Taking on every leadership role may look good, but when you try to give 100 percent to each one, you’ll wear yourself too thin. Work hard, give your all to small things, and take on new roles as you adapt to the others.
5. There’s a reason for every person you cross paths with.
Even if it’s just in passing. That one kid who smiled at you when you were having a bad day? He was put there for a reason. The person you were in a relationship with for two years, but it ended badly? His time with you had a reason. Each person you encounter, whether it’s for a split second or for the rest of your life, has a reason for being there. You may not understand the reason right away, but one day, it will make sense.
6. Make sure your passions reflect your career choice.
You don’t want to live the rest of your life unhappy, and you’re more than likely going to have to work almost every day for the rest of your life. Make sure you’re doing something you love to do and that you’re passionate about. Money is only paper, your happiness is so much more important.
7. Relationships shouldn’t be stressful.
Sure, they take time, but you shouldn’t be constantly worrying over them and questioning whether things are okay. A relationship is supposed to be loving and happy, not stressful. If any relationship is making you feel overwhelmed or unhappy, it’s not worth it.
8. Try new things outside of your comfort zone.
Go out and try a new restaurant with food from a different culture, go on a hike somewhere you’ve never been, talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Try new things and meet new people outside of your comfort zone. It helps you grow and become a more diverse person.
9. Give back to your community.
They gave you so much in your time of getting here, so give back to them while you can. You don’t have to just give money, but by doing things like volunteering to help in a local park or helping with fundraising for the children still in that town. Constantly showing support for your community and volunteering is enough to give back to your community.
10. Don’t settle.
For anything. Don’t settle for a boy just because you need someone. Don’t settle for anything less than your biggest dreams (just use the opportunities as stepping stones to get you there). Don’t settle. You deserve so much more than that. You deserve to have everything you’ve ever wanted, and don’t sell yourself short by just settling for things because it seems convenient.
11. Do random acts of kindness.
Buy the person’s coffee behind you on a Monday morning, buy a young family’s breakfast for them, or smile at a stranger. Do random acts of kindness without even thinking and pay it forward. Such small actions can go a long way and make someone’s day that much better, plus, you feel pretty good afterward, too.
12. Whoever you consider family, keep them first and remind them of their importance.
They’ve been there through the good and bad times, and no matter who they are, you consider them family. Don’t forget what all they’ve helped you through and make sure they are a priority in your life. Let them know how much they mean to you, because we aren’t always guaranteed another chance to.
13. Do things for yourself.
Eat a salad for dinner after a hard workout or get super dressed up just to take yourself to dinner. Do things for yourself and to make yourself feel good. It’s not always about impressing others, it’s about feeling good in your skin. When you do things for yourself every once and a while, you start to realize just how good it feels when you do.
14. Meet new people, lots of different people.
Start talking to strangers and ask them millions of different questions to get to know them better. Where they are from, what their favorite food is, what they like to do, etc. It’s important to meet lots of people and establish connections, but it’s even better to branch out and know a variety of different people. You learn so much more when you expand and know tons of different people.
15. Don’t forget your roots.
Yeah, you hate high school and everything about it. You feel like your hometown has nothing left for you, but don’t forget that it’s still your home and where you came from. It gave you all of your first experiences and helped form you into the person you are today (whether you want to admit it or not).
16. Listen to your parents’ advice.
They’ve been in your shoes and they’ve lived it before. They know it’s what you don’t want to hear, but they know what’s best for you (P.S. they also want what’s best for you). Believe them when they say this won’t matter years from now, or you deserve someone who treats you better, because truth is, they’ve lived a similar experience and they’re probably right.
17. Let go of the past, live in the present, and embrace the future.
The past can still hurt sometimes, but that’s all it is… the past. It’s memories and lessons learned. The present is the now, and live it to its fullest before it becomes the past, but embrace the future and all it has to offer. Don’t get so caught up in the future that you forget about what’s happening how, but anticipate it and use the present to prepare yourself for the future.
18. You’re happiness is the most important thing.
It trumps all. Everything you do should make you happy. You’re happiness is most important. Forget what others think and do what makes you happy.
19. Learn to love yourself and embrace it.
Be proud of who you are and where you've been, and be sure to let people know that. The person you've become and all the things you've been through have made you into the beautiful and strong person you are today. The world should know you love yourself and are passionate about certain things. Just love who you are. You can't be someone until you are yourself.
20. Know that it’s okay to not have your life together by 20, because in all honesty, you’ll probably never fully will.
You're constantly growing and learning new things. This is helping you become a better person and take on new experiences. No one expects you to have your life together by the time you're 20, because honestly, they didn't either. Set high standards and goals and fight through the highs and lows to get where you want to and should be. And who knows, maybe by that time, you might have your life together.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign