Prose On Odyssey: It's Time To Go Home

Poetry On Odyssey: It's Time To Go Home

Spoiler: Moving a thousand miles away didn't miraculously fix everything.

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After waking up to yet another day of gloomy skies and lethargy, I bought a mochaccino -- The Sweet Shop's double-shot of espresso with steamed chocolate milk -- paying three dollars for a six-hour caffeine high, heart palpitations, and a twitchy eye. I scribbled for a few hours, trying to make sense of the hurricane of ideas and creativity and college algebra in my head; caffeine tends to have that effect. Welcome to December. It's almost the end. I just have to survive the finals week stress.

I sluggishly walked to my statistics class with a philosophy podcast in my earbuds, untangling the chaos of my existence. It's hard to focus on these freshman-level classes when, deep-down, I know that the universe offers so many bigger things. It's hard to focus on any single thing at this point in the semester. The class period, taking up an hour and twenty-five minutes of the morning, proved the perfect window of time to drink my coffee and crank out major progress on my English class's seventy-page final portfolio. Pay attention in class, folks -- unless you're allowed four pages of formulas on the final exam.

Work came after class; a slow shift gave me a glorious break from brain-frying study sessions. For a few hours, I let myself settle into the calm repetition of my part-time job, making customers smile in an effort to get some of that stuff they call "Christmas spirit" inside of me. Lately, the campus has been overrun by ugly Christmas sweaters and absolutely insufferable holiday music; I love it. It reminds me that I'm going home soon.

After work, at some point in my evening study session, Spotify played Keston Cobblers Club's rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Nostalgia dissolved my brain's wall of ambition, and I took a break to go for a walk, one of my favorite medicines, and process the feeling. Maybe it's homesickness, or maybe it's sick-of-Tallahassee-ness. I imagined myself two weeks into the future, flying over the swamps, over the glowing lights of Atlanta, Nashville and Chicago, and over the snow-covered fields of rural Minnesota. "From now on our troubles will be miles away."

Pull it together. I stepped slowly over sidewalk cracks and chalk drawings. I rubbed my eyes until the phosphenes turned patches of dirty sand to glittering snow. I never thought I'd miss the cold. I never thought I'd miss home as much as I do.

I thought of the valleys and the country drives and the fireflies and all of the sparkling little lights on that summer night when the child inside of me came back to life, climbing trees and playing with fire. I used to think that moving away would fix everything - that college and freedom were synonymous - that a new city would cure my sadness. All I ever wanted was to be alone, but alone feels different when it's a thousand miles from everything you know. And, although I am okay on my own, it's time for me to go home.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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6 Ways To Save Money As A Broke College Student

Money saving tips so you can afford adult life while also paying for an expensive tuition.

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It is difficult to work, attend college, and make all your payments on rent, tuition, and bills, (not to mention finding a little money to spare on yourself). These are six ways to save that have helped me in this money stressful time and that you should use too in order to reduce the expenses of adulting.

1. Saving money on rent.

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Apartments are cheaper than houses because most include some of the bills in the rent cost. Make sure to check what amenities apartments offer such as free wi-fi, trash removal, or water included. When choosing roommates the more the better for cost. You should get at least one roommate because it is difficult to afford even a studio apartment living on your own. If you want pets you should choose a place that doesn't have pet rent because even if you have a large non-refundable pet fee it is cheaper in the long run then paying twenty a month per animal.

2. Saving money on bills.

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If you choose to live in an apartment complex, having an apartment on a higher floor will make your electric bill cheaper in the winter because heat rises. Even though your electric bill will be higher in the summer you can afford to work more because classes won't be in session. When purchasing light bulbs get ones that are energy efficient and use lights with batteries to help save on the electric bill. Also make sure to turn off all lights when you aren't in the room. You can save water by not running the faucet when you brush your teeth. Anyway you can think to conserve water and energy use that to your advantage.

3. Saving money on food.

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Your best friend is buying in bulk when you go to get groceries. I personally buy ten pound ground beef logs, cut them up, and place them in the freezer to use later. Everything is cheaper when you buy in bulk and you save time grocery shopping. If you don't know how to cook now is the time to learn because frozen and fast food eats up your money. You should also go to your local food bank if you are really struggling because everyone has to eat. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it! Going without food to pay your rent is not something anyone should have to do.

4. Saving money on furniture.

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You should buy used if at all possible when finding furniture for your apartment or house. Living in a college town has its perks because people are constantly moving you can find great deals at garage sales or on craigslist. For instance I got my couch for free, I just had to move it out of a graduating students apartment. You can also check out thrift stores and consignment shops in your town.

5. Saving money on entertainment.

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There are a lot of deals and discounts for college students so take advantage of that for entertainment.. For example movie theaters usually offer a student discount and if you go to a matinee showing, tickets are even cheaper. Find out when your local bar's happy hour is and use it. Also see what meal deals are offered by restaurants around you, such as 3 items for 10 or specials on Thursday nights. You can also use apps to find coupons, my personal favorite being pocket points because it rewards you for studying.

6. Saving money and side hustles.

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Put back money during the summer in order to have a backup fund for when things get crazy busy during the school year. Scope out banks and find out what interests they offer on savings accounts in order to increase the amount of money you have saved over the years. If you need extra money you can get paid for donating plasma and you can sometimes find research studies that will offer participants cash for things as simple as just an opinion. There are also baby sitting and pet sitting apps you can download to get one time gigs if you are low on funds for the month.

These are all great tips that I have been taught or have learned living as a broke college student. It isn't easy living life in the adult world and pursuing a degree at the same time. I hope these tips will help you save money and keep you out of hard times.

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