Performing Onstage And 13 Other Things I Never Imagined Doing Just Six Years Ago

Performing Onstage And 13 Other Things I Never Imagined Doing Just Six Years Ago

It's amazing how much has changed in just a few years.

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1. Be in a relationship

I spent many years thinking I wasn't the kind of girl guys want to date. Typical, I know, but it was a very strong feeling that took a lot of time and growing self-confidence to overcome. I also could never envision a future for myself; all I would ever see when I tried is a black hole.

Now, I've been dating an amazing guy for nearly three and a half years. Being with him makes me very happy and has helped my self-confidence grow.

2. Dye my hair

I recently partially dyed my hair purple, which was something I had wanted to do for years. It's been an amazing confidence booster and tenth grade me NEVER would have imagined I'd do something like this. Then again, there's probably people now who never thought I'd do something like dye my hair.

3. Go to a legitimate college

I attended a very religious, all-girls private day school for most of my life. The school's focus was more on religious topics than secular ones, so I honestly didn't know if I'd go to a secular, "real" college. Most girls attended Jewish colleges or the local Jewish girls' college over secular colleges. The school also focused more on prepping their senior students to attend seminary in Israel than going to college right from high school. But I knew I wanted to attend a secular college, despite having no ideas for a major.

That was six years ago, sophomore year of high school. I switched high schools the following year, started taking more intense classes, and got on a better path. I also now had access to a college adviser and educational staff that could help me truly learn what I excelled at, what I could go on to major in. I'm currently in my senior year of college, and there are still days where I sit back and think, "I can't believe I'm here."

4. Find something to major in...

I had no real idea what I wanted to do when I began college. Unlike my classmates, who had had the opportunities and much more time than me to decide what they (at least initially) wanted to major in, I had zero ideas. I spent freshman year undecided, and decided about halfway through second semester on a major: Electronic Media and Film, audio focus. I had a strong relationship with music and decided I wanted to learn how to make something so important to me.

5. ...and switch majors.

This can be the hardest thing to do. You spend so much time thinking you know exactly what you want to do. You get so set on this one plan, this one major, only for it to be turned upside down when reality hits--you just can't do it. Switching majors was hard for me, but I don't regret my decision. My new major is a much better fit for my existing skills, and I am thankful now for the learning experience switching majors gave me.

6. Find things I love to do

For many years, all I did was read or draw. But over the last few years, I've learned there's so much more I enjoy doing. I learned that I absolutely love being onstage. I discovered I have a knack for marketing, and that I'm a damn good writer.

7. Become a crazy dog person

My family adopted our fur baby, Delilah, in April 2015 and I've been a crazy dog person ever since. I'd hazard about 90% of the pics on my phone are of her because she's so freaking adorable.

8. Write publicly about my struggles and life experiences

I've typically been a very private person. So to look back at my year plus some's worth of articles for Odyssey and see just how open, honest and emotional I've been on a public platform is crazy. But it also creates a sense of pride, like look how far you've come, how far you've grown. I am proud of every word I wrote, and I'm not ashamed or regretful of a single word. It also helps that writing those articles was insanely therapeutic and helpful for my mental health.

9. Do theater

The first time I saw a high school theater show, I immediately knew I wanted to be on that stage. Say what you want about high school theater, and maybe the show wasn't as great as I remember. But I didn't know any better since this was the first time I'd ever seen a theater show. I was hooked instantly.

But we're talking about a girl who used to have massive stage fright. Who hated singing or performing in front of others out of fear of being judged. And yet, so ironically, dreamed of doing theater and being onstage. The former isn't true anymore, and each production I've done has helped so much.

10. Have real friends

I've had more than my fair share of bad friends who have come and gone through my life. It's so easy to be negative about those experiences, but I will say that at the end of the day, I learned what I need in a real friend--and what are red flags for a bad friend.

I met my current friends through either theater or my boyfriend, and they are amazing. They make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts, and every time together is a good time. The best part is even though we don't see each other too often or keep up constant discussion in our group chat, we all still know that we're a solid friend group. We don't need to be in contact almost all the time just to prove we're friends. (We're also really bad at taking pics together, so this shot isn't even everyone *facepalm.*)

11. Work an internship...or three.

I've had two internships to date, and I've just begun my third (and PAID) internship. It's been so enlightening to work in environments related to my major and actually see what I could do after college.

12. Live in my own apartment

I had an off-campus apartment with a former friend in my sophomore year of college. It was a major learning experience, and one I never would have dreamed of having just a few years prior.

13. Discover my sexuality

I grew up with no knowledge of or ever hearing the term LGBTQ or any sub-strain of that until around eleventh grade. (Like I said, all-girls religious school. We didn't even have a sex ed class.) Once I learned about it, particularly bisexuality, I spent quite a few years pondering the term. It wasn't until last year that I realized and began acknowledging that I'm bisexual. (And yes, I'm a bi girl dating a guy. No, it's not me "picking a side" or "technically a straight relationship." Move on.)

14. See a show on Broadway

I got to see my first Broadway show in February 2018. It was Wicked, and it was one of the most magical and captivating experiences of my life. I'll be seeing Kinky Boots next month, and I just know it will be just as amazing.

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge-drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100% real" and that incoming freshmen should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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To The Big-Hearted Girls Who Just Can't Hit The Block Button

Your compassion for others knows no bounds, and that's why you can't seem to let them go.

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Not everyone is worthy of your good heart.

It might be hard to accept that, but it's true. The ones that don't deserve your attention and your care always out themselves. Maybe they take advantage of your kindness, maybe they use you for your love, or maybe they hurt you because they envy some aspect of you or your life. Whatever the case may be, I know you feel the pain from it. I know you are not naive enough to believe that they don't mean the hurtful things they say or that the awful things they put you through are only mere accidents.

Your problem is that you have too big of a heart. You love giving second chances and when they screw that chance up as well, you just can't help yourself from giving them a third, a fourth, or a fifth. Far too easily you are swept up in this cycle of forgiving and forgetting, only to have it blow up in your face time and time again.

You know better.

How many times have you sworn you wouldn't help them again, that it was the last time you'd speak to them, only to snatch up your phone the second you see their name pop up across the screen? How often have you cried over someone who only wanted to be a part of your life when they needed something from you?

Stop giving your all to people that don't care.

Trust me, I know it's easier said than done. It's a difficult habit to break, but once you do you are completely and utterly free from the toxicity. If you're looking for a sign to block that boy who has done nothing but break your heart, or if you were waiting for your cue to finally end that friendship that does nothing but make you feel small, here it is.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to treat you with the love and respect that you so freely give. Most of the time the people that treat you like crap are just crappy people. It's not your responsibility to save every troubled soul, and you've probably learned by now that not all of them want to be saved.

There's nothing wrong with looking for the good in people, but when they start to drain you of your light you need to have the strength to let them go.

To the girls gifted with hearts too sensitive and ready to burst with compassion, it's OK to cut ties with those who hurt you time and time again. It doesn't mean you've stooped to their level; it doesn't mean you're a bad person. You tried your hardest, but toxic people rarely change their ways. You don't deserve that kind of pain.

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