To A Second Semester High School Senior, From A Second Semester College Freshman

To A Second Semester High School Senior, From A Second Semester College Freshman

I wish you all the best.
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Dear High School Senior,

Springtime is around the corner, and you have most likely applied to or are in the middle of applying to colleges (if you plan to take that route). Whether you have heard back from the school of your dreams or are still waiting to get a letter in the mail, you are probably a mixture of nervous and excited for this brand-new chapter in your life. Once you get your diploma and toss your cap, everything does change, even if you don't think you're ready, but I'm here to tell you it'll all be OK.

You will adjust to living away from your family. A lot of people are most excited for this part, but I'll tell you that the days will come when you miss your parents and your siblings more than anything in the world. When you call them at night, you'll wish they could stay on the line forever, and when they send you letters and cards in the mail, you will hold them close to you like you never thought. After a couple months, you will find your niche in school and feel less homesick, but you will forever appreciate your family in a way you never could before.

Enjoy the next couple months you have with your childhood best friends by your side, because you might not be as close to them once you all go your separate ways. We would all love to say we stayed as close to our old friends as we were the day we graduated, but that's just not true. Although at first the distance might make you a little upset and you will miss all the crazy times you had together, you will meet amazing people in college who can fill your heart in a matter of minutes, and you will make countless beautiful memories with them.

College is a chance to re-invent yourself, truly. It doesn't matter if you go to a big or small school, because there is an incredibly slim chance you will know everyone there (I'm willing to bet big money on that), so you have an awesome opportunity to become whoever you want to be. You can get involved with whatever club or team you want to and not be ashamed or embarrassed of your quirky interests because I assure you there is a group for everything and tons of other people who love the same things you do.

You might have gotten lucky and known which school you wanted to go to for years. For instance, I knew when I was a little kid that I wanted to come to UMass, and I strove to make it happen with everything I did. You might go to a school you have been dreaming about, whether it's because you have family there or specifically because you don't, or because you want to play for a specific team or get into a specific program, or for any reason in between. If you don't know which college you want to go to, that's OK. I encourage you to go on tours of campus, but not on those that are directed by tour-guides (though those can be helpful too). If you're unsure, I encourage you to take a trip to the campuses you applied to and just walk around, or do an overnight with someone you might know who is older, to spend time there when no one is trying to impress you. The right college exists for everyone, and when people say you will “feel at home" when you are there, they're right. You will know, and a lot of your fears and worries will disappear.

College can be stressful, but you will have the time of your life. I am still new to this experience, but in a year you will be too, and you may be offering the same advice to someone who looks up to you. The next four years of your life (at least the next year, because that's all I can be sure of), will be full of new adventures, people, and things you never knew before. Cherish your last few months of high school, because things do change once you receive your diploma, but don't stress too much about the future, because you will do just fine. I wish you all the best, and I'll always be here if you need me
Cover Image Credit: Colleen Ward

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Coming Home From College For The Summer Is Much Needed

Wait, how do you drive a car again?

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Since finals week began, I believe I can say for all college students that we were ready to come back to our hometowns for the summer. We had grown tired of eating at the dining hall, spending countless hours in the library, and pulling laundry from the dryers for it to still be damp. Being home for the summer rids you of those worries and only provides a sense of comfort and security with a furnished home and bedroom to yourself. We sometimes forget how things were before college, with a fully stocked refrigerator and even a dishwasher to keep things clean. Coming home often makes life much easier.

Coming home means revisiting all of your favorite places around town — restaurants, parks, or museums — with fresh eyes. Being away from these places for months on end only causes you to develop a deeper appreciation for the little things. In my case, the first thing I did upon arriving home was take a trip to my favorite local coffee shop. Not only is the coffee delicious, but going back to the shop itself also brings back numerous memories made over the past four years.

That is one of the best things about coming home — it's as if you're rediscovering parts of yourself that you left behind.

Being back in your hometown also enables you to reconnect with only friends and classmates whom you haven't seen in months or even a full year. Whether it be going for a walk together or grabbing breakfast, being able to update one another on your year of college life makes for great connections. You oftentimes find yourself missing your old friends more than you thought, but once you all get together again, it seems like nothing has changed.

One of my favorite parts of being home is spending more time with my family. I have never felt so grateful for home-cooked meals or a real washer and dryer until I stepped into my house again. Rather than talking on the phone with my parents about our days, I can sit down with them at the kitchen table and have a conversation in person. I also never realized that I would miss my parents — or my dog — as much as I did over the past year.

Though finding activities to pass the time can sometimes get "boring" in one's hometown, spending some time away can reinstate plenty of ideas. My sister and I found ourselves making a list of things we can do throughout the summer, and though some of the things we had done before, it sounded so much more exciting after spending the school year in a different city.

In the end, coming home makes you appreciate your town even more.

Even if you didn't love it before, being home for just a few months keeps you from taking life's finer things for granted. Especially when it's summer, you can relax on your own couch without the stress of school in front of you. Enjoy your city while you can, because it is always there to welcome you back.

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