The Life I Want vs. Society

The Life I Want vs. Society

Do we lead with our hearts and desires or plead into what society expects our lives to be?

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I want creativity. I want to help others. I want passion. Will society understand? In today's day and age, we are tempted with structured classes and coursework that create doctors and accountants. But, what about me? I feel like I don't fit in with what societies preconceived notions look like for "after college" careers. How about moving to an unfamiliar city and sharing a small apartment with strangers and riding a subway to commute to a dream job?


Recently I went on a trip where I met a couple of people who asked about my after college plans and desires. I shared my interest in moving to New York and working as a writer. They asked if I wanted to be a reporter or a journalist and were confused when I shared my dreams to work in the lifestyle industry as a writer or maybe work as a freelance writer...or help people become writers and explore their options? I was asked about money and strictly told there was no way I would be able to "survive" financially on these goals I had curated for myself. I know I am not alone. But, it was incredibly frustrating told that money and living in a place where a family isn't possible was disheartening. I wondered why society had put such an obligation on making lots of money where that beats out having a dream and working to find success.


I may have this wrong, but I grew up believing that you should strive to become something you are proud of. You should attempt to work every day and feel like you are living out your dream. You should strive to help others and make the most out of experiencing new things.


What I want: happiness, a lot of love, a lot of passion, and I want to know I worked as hard as possible to reach my fullest potential


What society wants for me: happiness, love, money, stabilization, and a family


Stabilization is not a bad thing. I would love to ensure stabilization, but I am not going to push my dreams aside to feel safe. Success sometimes comes with uncertainty and taking risks, and I think sometimes society forgets that taking risks is essential.
I think pushing yourself to believe you deserve more is taking action to make it happen. The first step is understanding the future and knowing that money comes in stages and growth is always possible. You are not "stuck" where society believes you will be. Push yourself beyond all limits.

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10 Photos You Have On Your Camera Roll Of Your S.O. When You've Been Dating For More Than A Year

A wide range from "Aw" to "WTF?"

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My boyfriend and I just hit the year and a half mark of dating, even though it seems like we've been together forever. Over the months, we've taken many pictures together... from football games, to his track meets, to holidays. Although we may have a lot of pictures together, I definitely have a lot of candids of him in my camera roll. If you've been dating your partner for as long as I have or longer, then you'll probably notice you have these same pictures in your photos as well.

1. The awkward first photos together

We laugh at these now, especially this one. Why am I so pale compared to him? It was July! And also, we noticed not to long ago that I was sweating under my arms and his underarms were sweating on me... what a great first time meeting!

2. The ones for VSCO

Every girl who has a significant other posts them onto their VSCO. VSCO is like Instagram, but more has more aesthetically pleasing pictures and there are no "likes." The pictures that include my boyfriend on my VSCO ranges from him holding a bunny to him holding my hand while we went ice skating.

3. Them sleeping

I have so many pictures of my boyfriend sleeping (I promise it's not as weird as it sounds), I just think he's so cute when he's fast asleep while cuddling with me.

4. The embarrassing ones they want no one to see

He's going to kill me when he sees this... but we all have those embarrassing Snapchat pictures that we start to send each other because we've gotten more comfortable with one another.

5. The ones for Facebook

The good looking pictures so you can keep yours and his family updated on how you two are doing. I took my boyfriend to a baby bird meet and greet since he loves birds and has one for a pet. I posted this cute picture of him and his new friends on Facebook so my family can see our adventures together.

6. Old pictures

One of the best parts of dating someone is finally seeing their old pictures. Although, sometimes they may make you cringe... like the one I posted above of my boyfriend after prom in his sophomore year of high school.

7. Their accomplishments

My boyfriend pole vaults for his college and he's really good at it. He just went to division III nationals in March because he qualified! I'm always at his meets so I make sure to get him on video in case he or anyone wants to see. I always try to snag a picture with him too because I'm always so proud.

8. The straight up ugly ones

He sure knows how to make me laugh. And I know he's going to be mad at me for this one too but I think it's a talent that he can do that with his stomach! Sorry, Adam, I promise I still think you look good when you send me these snaps for the most part.

9. But you have the hot ones too

He may be funny and sweet, but he is pretty good looking too. I know us girls keep some attractive pictures of our S.O.'s so we can remind ourselves of what a great looking partner we have.

10. FaceTime screenshots

If you and your lover go to different colleges like my boyfriend and I do, then FaceTiming happens a lot. Sometimes I get some great screenshots, like the one above, to make fun of him later.

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Life May Hand Us Lemons, But We Have The Power To Make Lemonade

A story of strength, perseverance and courage.

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The first time I met Hannah was at my high school senior year prom. Although I only knew about her reputation of being an incredible gymnast, I could tell through the few conversations we had that she radiated strength and courage. I was fortunate enough to get to know Hannah on a more personal level through developing a close friendship and as well as becoming sorority sisters. What many don't know about Hannah is that she is a survivor. She has persevered through multiple experiences that have molded her into the strong woman she is today. I am writing to share parts of her story that need to be understood. Thank you, Hannah, for not only sharing your story of bravery but also inspiring so many individuals to never give up on the fight for justice.

At the young age of one, Hannah began her gymnastics career and eventually started competing when she was seven. On average, she trained six days a week for five hours each day, while also fitting in her schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and personal life. As her competition seasons went from January to May, she would travel to compete in around 10 meets a year. She spent tireless hours in the gym practicing and conditioning to prepare for these highly intense competitions. Hannah describes gymnastics as both a mental and physical sport. She expressed to me, "I never knew what types of injuries could result from the skills I tried - whether those skills were in routines on bars or beam - I was scared of what would happen to my body if I fell." Despite the physical and mental challenges that came with being a gymnast, she never gave up on her goals. She competed at one of the highest levels in the sport and in 2015, Hannah won the Level Ten Junior Olympic National Beam Champion Title.

Hannah was always a role model to the younger girls at her old gym. They looked to her for support and she never hesitated to stand up for them, even in an incredibly competitive environment. She explained, "Although I loved gymnastics, practice was under very brutal circumstances. There were many injuries, tough workouts, and rigid coaching techniques," which is safe to say her journey as a competitive gymnast came with many highs and lows. Hannah experienced multiple severe injuries, which led her to become a patient of The USA gymnastics national team doctor, Larry Nassar, at Michigan State University. With his high credentials and time spent with the USA gymnastics team, the gymnastics community (specifically the coaches) restricted athletes from the care of any other doctor in order to take time off of training. Larry, now an American convicted serial child molester, has been sentenced to life in prison for the appalling, manipulative actions he took towards the athletic community.

In January of 2017, Hannah spoke out to defend her and the many other victims who were manipulated, abused and assaulted by Larry. She courageously stood up in court to express her testimony, describing the pain and trauma his disgusting actions put his patients through. She used the power of her words, to directly express to the face of her abuser, "Life handed me lemons and you best believe that I am well prepared to make some lemonade. You cannot break me. I am a survivor." Hannah is a survivor. An inspiration. A hero. A fighter. And she has never stopped fighting for not only her justice but also the justice for all victims of assault.

Hannah's perseverance is astonishing. Since testifying, Hannah's fight has not ended. She continues to empower others through her positive mindset and courageous heart. Survivors continuously reach out to Hannah from other schools, states and even countries expressing how her story has impacted their lives. Many have explained that hearing her story has empowered them to come forward and receive the justice they deserve. Hannah spoke twice at the United States Senate and provided statements during press conferences in attempt to make a safer environment for athletes in recreational, competitive and professional sports. She has used her voice to hold the individuals accountable that covered up Larry's abuse for so long because unfortunately since 1997 there have been multiple reported cases of abuse, but no action was taken when these victims' reported their stories. They were shut down for questioning his credibility. Hannah explained, "People attempted to report assault, but MSU, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and USA Gymnastics were all apart of the cover-up process, which ultimately enabled him as an abuser."

In her own community, Hannah began spreading awareness through an organization called Speak Your Silence. The mission of this organization is, "To help those affected by sexual abuse and assault move forward to live great lives," and to support this cause Hannah began raising money through designing and selling her own t-shirts, hosting events at local companies in the area and increasing awareness at her school. Hannah was a keynote speaker and advocate for sexual abuse prevention at the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center Luminary Award Dinner. She helped raise over $400,000 dollars to support this organizations mission to, "unite public, private and community partners to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of abused children." Hannah also hosted a self-defense class at a local martial arts center to empower the strong women in her community.

Hannah's impact has continued to grow through her time at college so far. At Iowa State University I can truly say she has made a remarkable impact on the campus through her servant leadership. She has used her experiences to stand up against sexual assault and violence in not only her own community but also on a large university campus. Hannah was a featured speaker at the Iowa State women's WE Lead conference in November of 2018. This conference focused on empowering women through leadership, networking and influencing others. This year, Hannah developed an entire philanthropic event through Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Delta Pi at Iowa State called Live Your Oath. This organization recognizes the need to bring awareness and conversation about sexual assault prevention on college campuses. This year Hannah and her committee were the first to create a meaning behind the oath taken at the event, which states, "No matter where I am, no matter who I'm with, consent is always mandatory. I pledge to stand by survivors and not engage in any acts of sexual assault."

Hannah confidently states, "Whatever situation you find yourself in, you can use what you've gone through to help others and make a positive impact." She inspires me every single day by her courage, grace, but also her authenticity and individuality. She has made me want to become a stronger woman. She wants to stress the importance to her survivors, "if you or someone close to you has been affected, never feel like you can't seek help." Put yourself in the shoes of a survivor. Be their support system. Listen to their stories of perseverance. And help them fight for their justice by making a difference in your own community. Hannah, you defeated this monster, but that monster will never defeat you. You are strong forever.


Resources for support-

Please visit these websites for more information.

Speak Your Silence- https://speakyoursilence.org/#

RAINN- https://www.rainn.org/

Chicago Children's Advocacy Center- https://www.chicagocac.org/who-we-are/

Central Iowa ACCESS- https://www.assaultcarecenter.org/

Live Your Oath- http://www.liveyouroath.org/

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