To The Friends I Grew Up With

To The Friends I Grew Up With

To the friends most responsible for making me who I am.
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Friends are important. That much can be said. They build you up, provide you with outlets, and oftentimes have their interests rub off on you and vice versa. Sometimes, they morph into your family. Simply put, friends and the companionship are integral to life. And this is my letter to those friends in my life that have made such a difference.

First off, thank you. For literally everything. The experiences we had together. Whether it be football games, the days just playing games at my house, soccer, or even "extreme basketball," they have provided me with experiences and memories I will forever cherish. But friendship is more than just mutual experience. It's about support, as well as respect. And you all have provided more than ample support for me, and vice versa. Whether they be some of the worst personal tragedies any could experience, or just years and years of heartbreak, we leaned on one another. We had each other. And that was enough.

Second, I'm proud of you all. Though our fortunes may be mixed currently, we have managed to remain resilient and persevere through the hardships. We all still have goals and places we want to be. Maybe they aren't immediately in reach, but we will all get there in time. Whether we are teaching, in medicine, police officers, etcetera. All in time, we will attain the success we desire.

Third, never, ever, EVER, give up on life, your aspirations, or whatever it is you may be down about. I know we all have wanted to at different points. However, we shouldn't. Things might get difficult. Hell, things WILL get difficult. But we will all persevere and survive, just as we did before. Just as we will continue to.

Most of you guys serve as inspirations for me, whether it be for your perseverance or your courage. And it should always be known that, despite vast distances or decreasing communications, you all have a place in my heart. My brothers, my sisters. Part of my family. And we will meet again. Bet on it. Wherever we may be, and wherever we may end up.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why Nursing School Friends Are So Vital

Pun intended.

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When I started nursing school, I knew it would be difficult. I wasn't naive. I heard the stories. I knew what I was getting into…to a certain degree.

It was everything I thought it would be and more. The highs were higher and the lows were lower. The thing you realize quickly in nursing is that it's not something you can achieve on your own. You have to have a support system. It's how you survive. It can feel like you're on your own because you have to perform the skills and make the grades, but really, there are so many friends standing behind you pushing you through.

I've seen it over and over again. I've been a part of it, witnessed it and had help myself. The truth is, even the most intelligent students need help in some sort of way. It might be hard to realize it when you're so inwardly focused, but when you look around you, everyone is walking the same path. They just have different strengths and weaknesses. It's an incredible thing when others use their personal strengths to offset your weaknesses. Nursing friends see in you what you don't see in yourself. Nursing friends share your passions, sleepless nights, early mornings, stress, panic attacks, victories, and failures. Nursing friends are your own personal cheerleaders.

It's no secret that we deal with some pretty gross stuff. Who else can you count on when you're walking down the unit trying to find an extra pair of hands to help you change the clothes of a morbidly obese patient who's covered from shoulders to ankles in their stool? Your nursing buds.

What about when your patient goes into v-fib (ventricular fibrillation), and you need someone to relief on chest compressions? Your rock star nurse friends are there to lend a hand or two.

Or what about when you are scrubbing into a C-section for the first time and you're kind of, sort of, secretly concerned you might get queasy or faint? Your nursing squad will remind you how tough you are. They'll assist you as quickly as possible and when you are finished washing your hands a thousand times, they'll make you laugh or smile. They'll always be there to help you with dignity, support, love, and encouragement.

Your nursing friends know which supply closet you go hide in when you are about to lose it or when class is so long it's giving you a headache so they pass you some Tylenol. Nursing friends are the backbone of your nursing school experience. I always love it that whenever I need hand sanitizer, Tylenol/Advil/Motrin or even a Band-Aid, someone always has it.

Even if you don't talk every day, or you take different class times, there is always someone waving hello or asking how you're holding up. You are all so different, but at the same time, you feel like you're surrounded by so many who are just like you. They care as much as you do. They love as much as you do. And the best part? They just love you. Even on your worst days. There will be times when you trip up on the easy stuff you know that you know, but they'll be there with open arms telling you about when they were in the same place. They are the ones who “fight in the trenches" with you. They'll carry you when you can't keep going, and you'll do the same. No woman or man left behind.

Nursing friends are incredible lifelong blessings. So, remember to thank them every once in a while. Keep cheering each other on, keep fighting together and keep reminding each other that the end goal is closer than it seems.

Cover Image Credit: Maddy Cagle

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To Niall Horan And My Best Friend, Thank You For The Best Summer

The summer where we followed Niall on tour.

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To start off, I met my best friend Caroline in the tenth grade. She is my go-to gal, and I could never imagine my life if we didn't become friends. When we first met, we instantly bonded over our love for One Direction together. One Direction was the core of our friendship. We laughed and bawled our teenage boyband obsessed eyes out when they went on their hiatus which meant essentially they would be breaking up.

A year went by, a whole year with no music from any of the boys. Until our senior year rolled around and Niall announced he would be releasing an album and going on tour. Caroline and I were thrilled, we never knew how badly we needed this. When the album was released, we soon bought our concert tickets.

His show was in November of that year. The day of the concert we were overjoyed as we had waited so eagerly for that day. We missed him so much. We waited in line for what seemed like days but in actuality was only eight hours and were able to snag a great place to stand during the show. The concert itself is one of my favorite memories. It was such a warm and welcoming environment, and I never knew I could feel like that. After that show, Caroline and I knew we had to see him again.

We weren't sure when we were going to be able to see him. The next time he was playing in Atlanta was in September of this year. However, Caroline would be at her school in Chicago and had no way to be able to see him in our home town. We came up with a plan. We were going to convince our parents to let us see him in July in Nashville. We made a powerpoint and everything in hopes that it would work.

Our convincing our parents which ended up being a bit easier than we ever expected. We were in the clear to go. We purchased our tickets for that July to see him at Ascend Amphitheater. We bought soundcheck tickets and everything to make this an experience of a lifetime.

July soon come and we headed off for the adventure of a lifetime. It was an experience let me say. Driving on the highway, our GPS taking us down a one-way road and almost being slammed into by eighteen wheelers definitely made it memorable. We made it Nashville in one piece thankfully. We had a few hours before the show and just decided to get ready in our hotel and head to the venue.

Time passed so quickly. It's almost hard for me to remember everything. Niall's soundcheck was such an experience. We got to see a side of him we had never seen. He is one of the nicest people. He cares so deeply about us fans and constantly checking on us.

The show itself was indescribable. He was so happy to be able to play in Nashville. The show was completely sold out. It was a madhouse. Caroline and I befriended the girls beside us, and we danced the whole night away. We had waited for so long and it was just the best feeling to have no worries about anything because everyone was in the same boat and we were all able to appreciate Niall's pure talent together.

When the show ended, we were devastated because a night we had longed for had quickly come to an end. We spend the rest of the night in our room depressed because we didn't know the next time we would be seeing him. In the morning, we decided to go and grab some breakfast.

We had another master plan to try and see him the following night in Ohio. We really didn't think this plan would work. We both had to work the following few days, and we never thought our parents would allow us to do this so last minute. However, everything worked out and we were able to travel to Cincinnati to see him one more time.

In Cincinnati, we had the best time being able to explore the city for a day and being able to go to the show later that evening. We were so appreciative that we were able to see him again. We really had no care in the world. We danced the night away yet again. It was just so great to be able to be in that space and just have the best time listening to your favorite artist.

I will always look back on last summer. My best memories happened because of Niall and I couldn't be more grateful for both him and my best friend. I only hope we can do it again sometime soon.

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