To My High School

To My High School

I can't thank you enough..
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To My High School,

Being a sophomore in college has me reminiscing a lot about the countless hours I spent growing up in you. In between your walls I cried, laughed, succeeded and failed. I made memories with new friends, while I grew apart from others. I walked in thinking I knew who I was and what I stood for. But that was far from the truth. Coming from a small private school- I walked in with a clean slate. Terrified, yet excited to embark on a new journey as a Patriot. And I just can’t thank you enough.

Thank you for introducing me to the most kind-hearted, hilarious and genuine friends. To this day they still help me through the bad days, and continue to make the best days that much better. I simply did not know what true friendship was until I walked through your doors as a 14 year old.

Thank you for challenging me, thank you for being hard on me. Thank you for not making getting good grades easy. You taught me that everything won’t always come easily, and work ethic was important. You taught me if I slacked off, it would show. Not just in academics, but everything in life. Success isn’t given to you rather earned. And you taught me that.

Thank you for being my second home. Friends became family, the cafeteria became the kitchen table, classrooms were the T.V. room and teachers became your parents from 7:25 to 2:10. Thank you for making the environment as comfortable as home. Although sometimes I wished that I could sleep in a little later, or not have to take tests, it was all taken place in a positive environment.

Thank you for still being in my life today. Your lessons are with me every day. The friends you introduced me to are still present in my life. And the spirit of being a patriot is as well. I wouldn’t be who I was today without you. And I will admit I miss you from time to time.

Thank you for everything Wootton.

Patriots Rule.

Sincerely,

Renee

Cover Image Credit: Renee Citren

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7 Truths About Being A Science Major

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Whether your major is Human Bio, Chemistry, Neuroscience or any other that deals with a lot of numbers, theories, experiments and impossibly memorizing facts, you know the pressures of pursuing a career in this field. So without further ado, here are seven truths about being a science major:

1. There is no “syllabus week.”

Coming back to college in the fall is one of the best times of the year. Welcome week has become most students' favorite on-campus holiday. But then you have syllabus week: another widely celebrated week of no responsibilities… Unless you’re a science major that is. While your other friends get to enjoy this week of getting to know their professors and class expectations, you get to learn about IUPAC nomenclature of alkanes on the first day of organic chem.

2. Your heart breaks every time you have to buy a new textbook.

Somehow every professor seems to have their own “special edition” textbook for class… And somehow it’s always a couple hundred bucks… And somehow, it's ALWAYS required.

3. Hearing "attendance is not mandatory," but knowing attendance is VERY mandatory.

Your professor will tell you that they don’t take attendance. Your professor will put all lecture slides online. Your professor will even record their lectures and make those available as well. Yet if you still don’t go to class, you’ll fail for sure. Coming into lecture after missing just one day feels like everyone has learned an entire new language.

4. You’re never the smartest person in your class anymore.

No matter what subject, what class or what concentration, there will always be someone who is just that much better at it than you.

5. You get totally geeked out when you learn an awesome new fact.

Today in genetics you learned about mosaicism. The fact that somebody can have a disease in part of their total body cells but normal throughout all others gets you so hype. Even though you know that your family, friends and neighbors don’t actually care about your science facts, you HAVE to tell them all anyways.

6. There is never enough time in a day.

You are always stuck choosing between studying, eating, sleeping and having fun. If you're lucky, you'll get three of these done in one day. But if you're a risk taker, you can try to do all of these at once.

7. You question your major (and your sanity) almost daily.

This is especially true when it’s on a Tuesday night and you’ve already consumed a gallon of Starbucks trying to learn everything possible before your . Or maybe this is more prevalent when you have only made it through about half of the BioChem chapter and you have to leave for your three hour lab before your exam this afternoon. Regardless, you constantly wonder if all the stress is actually worth it, but somehow always decide that it is.

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How I Escaped My Hoarding Tendencies

I was once a hoarder.

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Up until my third year of college, I kept everything. I had notes, homework, and tests from all of my classes starting in kindergarten, all the way until my college years. My walls were filled with photos, art, birthday and thank-you cards, plane and movie tickets, receipts, and even interesting shopping bags I'd collected over the years. Drawers were stuffed with random pieces of toys with which I felt strong emotional connections. I still kept clothes from elementary school that I certainly could not wear anymore, but for some reason felt that I needed to keep.

Despite being a hoarder, I was still quite organized. My room, usually messy, was relatively well-organized. However, during college, something for me changed. I was suddenly annoyed with all of the things I had kept over the years, and wanted a clean slate. I tore everything down from my walls, pulled out all the clothes in my closet, and decided to start over.

This whole adventure of me decluttering my room took three full days, dozens of trash bags full of items to donate, and so much excess emotional garbage. When I was finally finished, I felt so much emotional relief. While I really enjoyed sifting through every piece of paper that I had written, every exam I had taken, every toy and card that had been gifted to me, and all the clothes that no longer fit me, I was happy to finally be finished. My head hurt from the nostalgia, but I slept incredibly well that night.

Since then, I've learned how to live on a minimal amount of stuff. My room is usually tidy and I've found cleaning and organizing to be addicting and cathartic. I now keep only things with which I have strong emotional connections, like the bracelet my now-deceased grandmother gave me and the farewell letters written by my friends before I moved away for graduate school.

With fewer concrete memorabilia stowed away, I can cherish the memories that mean the most to me and focus on identifying the memories happening in the present that I want to remember forever.

Tidying up also helped me achieve a lot of my career goals in life. I don't think this success would have been possible if I had been disorganized and distracted by the past that cluttered my room.

With all of that said, I still have a long ways to go in terms of tidying my life. My work life is definitely not as organized as my home life. My desk and computer files are not organized in the best way, but I hope to implement my personal life philosophy into my work life in the future. My social and familial life are also quite disorganized. After moving to a new city, I found the initial socializing to be overwhelming and struggled to prioritize the people I wanted to spend time with. However, I am slowly working to improve this balance of my social and familial life.

While I am still on this journey, I wanted to share the impact that decluttering has had on my so far and hope that this would inspire you to identify things you can declutter in your own life.

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