Turning 18 Doesn't Mean It's All Downhill From Here

Turning 18 Doesn't Mean It's All Downhill From Here

Have to start "adulting" sometime, huh?

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As I've just turned 18 (happy late birthday to me!), so many people have talked to me about how I'm a real adult now and I've even gotten the, "It all goes downhill from here."

Though, personally, when I think about turning 18, I really only think about how I can now vote, go to jail, and buy lottery tickets (that's what happens when you work at a pharmacy with a lottery machine). Don't worry, mom and dad, I won't be doing anything that will land me in jail.

I don't think that much is going to change now that I'm 18. Yeah, I'm technically an adult, but what does that really mean? I'm still living at home and am still pretty dependent on my parents.

On the other hand, turning 18 is still a big milestone. I've graduated high school and am about to leave for college, which is a pretty big deal. I'm excited to gain that independence and to be able to make more decisions for myself, though I know that I'll still be calling my mom whenever I don't know what to do.

This freedom that I've gained is something that so many people can't wait for. However, I'm going to miss not having to make those big decisions and being able to rely on my parents to do it for me.

It's so funny how young people wish to be older and have full independence, while older people wish to be back in their younger days.

I know I'm ready to be on the brink of adulthood. I can't wait to see what this year brings for me.

Cover Image Credit:

Ally O'Rourke

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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

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Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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Finding Your Career Soulmate

At Emory, I am surrounded by ambitious, smart, motivated people but a lot of them have no idea exactly what they want to do. But when that moment finally comes, that defining moment of clarity, it is the biggest relief.

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Walking into a local rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, I had no idea what to expect for the volunteer orientation. All I knew was that I wanted to get started on recording volunteer and shadowing hours for my future application to Physical Therapy school. I certainly had no idea that I would leave almost 2 and a half hours later with a smile permanently plastered on my face and a clear picture of exactly what my dream job looked like.

For some it takes longer to figure out than others, but I truly believe everybody has a career soulmate. We are all born with strengths and weaknesses and while some people make a few stops along the way, I think we all have a purpose or calling.

I remember clearly the first time I experienced that moment of clarity that physical therapy was where I was headed. I followed my friend, Kate, to her physical therapy appointment at the Carrell Clinic for her torn ACL. She was kind enough to introduce me to her therapist and I sat in on the rest of her session. At the time, I was working in my high school's Sports Medicine department as a student athletic trainer. I enjoyed everyday of my independent study in sports medicine and owe so much to the athletic trainers, Coach Geier and Crystal Carrizales, because it was through working with them that my interest in PT really started.

Now, several years later, I am getting closer and closer to PT school. I am trying to gain all the experience and knowledge that I can as an undergraduate to best prepare me for my future graduate school studies. I am relishing every moment of college and enjoying all that Emory is giving me, while simultaneously keeping one eye on where I want to go in the future.

I walked back into my dorm room after the rehab hospital volunteer orientation and practically bounced into my roommate's arms. After a few moments of me screaming excitedly at her, she put into words exactly how I feel about my career soulmate. "Now when you have tough days in Bio or you are doing work you really don't want to do, you have a reason. It makes it all worth it because you have something you are so excited to be working towards." Livia, you couldn't have said it better.

I know I am not the only one who feels this way about their future or current career. I think there is this huge misconception that because it is "work" or a "job," you can't enjoy it. But I know that is not the case. There are people out there who don't feel like they ever have to work a day in their life because they genuinely love what they do. It has been my goal for a long time to be one of those people. I just didn't know what career path would give me that feeling.

At Emory, I am surrounded by ambitious, smart, motivated people but a lot of them have no idea exactly what they want to do. And as they say in every college admissions presentation, that is okay. But when that moment finally comes, that defining moment of clarity, it is the biggest relief.

I am aware that I am in an extremely privileged position to be even considering all these potential jobs in the future. I know that not everyone has that luxury of choice. However, even if that choice is not there, it is important to remember that we were all given strengths and weaknesses for a reason. Even if that reason was simply to make us happy by using our strengths for a hobby. There is nothing more inspiring than watching someone work hard to do what they love whether that be for a career or not.

If nothing else, everyone is called to pursue the things they love the most in life. I believe that career soulmates exist and that whether it be for a job or not, we will all find that one thing in life that gives us joy and purpose in our lives.

Now I just have to get in to PT school...

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