To My Future Brother-In-Law

To My Future Brother-In-Law

There is no better person to be by my sister's side
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I've always wanted to know what it would be like to have a big brother in the family, and now I'm stuck with you. Totally kidding because you have only made this family better from the day we first met you. You might hate every minute of this article, but it is something that needs to be said at one point or another and why not share my appreciation with everyone else too?

The first thing that comes to mind when beginning this is thank you. Thank you for wanting to join our not so normal family and doing it with open arms. You may be in love with my big sister, but that didn't mean you needed to love the rest of us. Knowing that you do makes my heart and the rest of the family's full of joy. Thank you for taking care of my big sister and making her blissfully happy. I knew the day would come that someone would take my job of taking care of her and you did that quite well. I mean I may be the little sis, but we all know she needs some taking care of here and there.

Thank you for being patient and kind with her and helping her find her one true love. She may not be the easiest girl from time to time but you make it seem as easy as can be. Thank you for being the one to always be by her side through thick and thin and loving her for all there is. All I have ever wanted for her is to be happy. With you, I am reassured that will always be the case. You will always have her appreciation for you and what you do, but know that I will always appreciate it just a little bit more. You took my big sister, my favorite person, my one true friend and my "other half." I'm the lucky one that she happened to fall into the right hands.

But enough of about her. I mean this is about you, right? I guess the thank yous continue as this piece goes along because you have done more than just be a great guy for her. You have taken me in with open arms as well and allowed me to be a third wheel on multiple occasions (a great one may I add). I was very lucky that you not only liked to be with my sister, but me as well. Thank you for letting me stay involved in now what is both of your lives and not just hers. It may be frustrating to you at times that we are such close sisters, but it means a lot to me that you take the time to include me as well.

Thank you for being a big brother I haven't had and looking out for me if/when I've needed it. You too have become a best friend and nothing will change that. You've showed me what true love is by watching you and her together. You have showed me your hard work ethic through your schooling and dedication to everything in your life. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family as you are a part of ours.

Most of the times we have together are in good laughter and fun, but I wanted to make sure that you knew just how much you meant to me and the family. We all know the wedding will be one of the best anyone has yet to see, so I figured I would cut the sappiness part of my speech down to a few sentences and share the rest in advance. I cannot wait to be a part of both of your lives and see you two grow together. There is no better person to be by my sister's side and we are lucky to have you in our family. The world better watch out, because next year the power couple will 'officially' begin reigning.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Hall

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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I Thought I Was Invincible But Then I Tore My ACL

i had to fall to get back up again

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Track has been my favorite hobby since I was in elementary school. Nothing could compare to the wind rustling through my hair as I ran, the sun shining down on me, the feeling of complete bliss and accomplishment as I crossed the finish line. Every spring, I lay in wait for the elementary track meet where I would prove I was the fastest girl in my grade (there was only two of us, so winning didn't really prove anything). Every race was a chance for me to do better–to become better.

High school rolled around and I was still as committed to track as I was when I was eight. The season was going well and I was on my way to do big things. The only thing on my mind was state; I didn't even think about the possibility of injury. The sprint relay came along, and like always, I passed all the competition with alarming speed and grace. My pride swelled with each distant cheer from my teammates and friends. It was just about time to hand off to my second leg when things went horribly wrong. I ran up on my teammate which caused me to step out of my lane. Panicking, I pulled my leg back into my lane and stopped. I heard a loud POP! and I went down in searing pain. My coach and other teammates ran up to me after the race was finished to help me off the track.

My coach couldn't determine what was wrong with me, so I hobbled over to our setup to rest until my next event. I ran the 800 relay with none of my former grace and ease, but I finished and help qualify my team for the area. That's when my life turned upside down. I went from being a regional qualifier to not being able to run in a matter of minutes, and I didn't know how to contain myself. This sparked months of rage and despair which made it hard for others to be around me.

Eventually, I started to realize that my sports career wasn't the only trait I possessed that made me unique. There were so many extracurriculars I was able to invest my time in when I wasn't able to do sports. It took some time, but I realized that my identity doesn't come from the organizations I'm a part of, but the type of person I am. Through my recovery time, I was able to get to know myself and rediscover some old hobbies, like reading. I was also equipped with the knowledge that good things don't come effortlessly. Instead, I have to fight for the things I desire.

The most important lesson I learned from tearing my ACL was this: I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined. My determination to overcome this set back showed me a type of resilience and persistence I never knew I possessed. I am strong, not because of my physical abilities, rather, my mental capabilities. These are the few lessons I hold in my heart as I finish up this year's track season. Events didn't play out the way I imagined but I'm thankful for every opportunity I've had to do what I love.

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