To The High School Senior Who Just Committed To College

To The High School Senior Who Just Committed To College

You have no idea what you're in for and I envy that.
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Freeze this moment. I'm serious. You know how we constantly joke that we're peaking? Well, this is your peak. Nothing could ever top this life-changing decision. Cherish it forever. Never take it for granted.

I'd be lying to you if I said the social media bragging, the official FB status, the flood of congratulatory likes and comments, the never-ending school apparel purchasing, friends decorating our rooms and getting us cookie cakes, weren't a huge reason why this day is so epic. What felt like a lifetime of waiting is finally over. You survived. You know where you're going and I mean this with every ounce of me: the best is yet to come.

To the high senior who just committed to college, I'm so jealous of you. With almost two years down, I fall more and more in love with my school every day and would kill to be in your shoes right now. You're at the point where you truly appreciate the school you're going to and your biggest problem is which shirt to rep your school with now that it's official.

I am forever proud and grateful to go to my school, to have made the kind of friendships that will last me a lifetime and to be given so many countless opportunities to be successful, but it is easy to be absorbed in life's latest problems. Now I want good grades, an internship, cute going-out clothes, trendy tailgate outfits and always something more. I wish I could rewind to a time when I had not a single complaint or problem in the world. I wish I could re-experience the excitement you're feeling, that adrenaline of beginning your college career.

Thinking back on how I committed roughly two years ago around this time, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal but on that day, it was the biggest deal EVER. If you ED'ed (I'm looking at you: Syracuse, Michigan, etc.) the excitement is even more real. Not only are you committing to this school, but you've mentally committed to it months ago because you know this is where you belong. Make these four years exactly what you've been dreaming of. Why limit the hype to just one day?

I want you to keep appreciating what you have. I want you to remember that that class you might hate when you get to college is way better than a class you might love at a college that isn't for you. I want you to remember that some grades might feel like the "end of the world," but you got into this college for a reason, you can handle it. No test grade is as bad as being rejected from the college of your dreams and no roommate issue can define your college experience. Your biggest obstacle is long behind you. Never forget that.

The sororities, the boys, the drama, will all seem like life and death issues, but I promise you, you'll be over it by the morning. But you will NEVER be over how amazing your school is. Live every day like the day you committed to college. You only get four years and if you're like me, you'll wish you appreciated them just a little bit more.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Odyssey, From A Creator's Point Of View

Writing for Odyssey is transitioning from the outside looking in, to the inside looking a million ways at once.

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It's 11:59 p.m. and I have two articles due tomorrow afternoon: two articles that are basically figments of my imagination at this point. When I was asked to write for Odyssey, I was ecstatic. I was a devout reader in high school and found every post so #relatable. During my short time as a "creator" for Odyssey, I've experienced what it's like to be on the other side of the articles.

Every post is not #relatable. This is a platform for anyone and everyone. I chose the articles I wanted to click on and read them, deemed them relatable, and clicked share. I, along with Odyssey's 700,000 something followers, did not go through and read every single article.

Being a creator has shown me that everyone has a voice, and by God, they're going to use it (rightfully so).

It can be disheartening at times to get what we think is a low number of page views when there are articles we don't necessarily agree with getting hundreds of Facebook shares. I don't crank out journalistic gold by any means, but being a writer isn't a walk in the park. It's stressful at times and even disappointing. Odyssey creators aren't paid, and even though it's liberating to be able to write about whatever our hearts desire, I'll be the first to admit that my life is just not that interesting.

When I first started writing for Odyssey, I vowed to never post anything basic like some things I have read in the past. If I'm going to dedicate the time it takes to write for a national platform, I'm going to publish things worth reading.

That vow is basically out the window now.

Simply stated, it's easy to write about things that are easy to write about. It's kind of like calling a Hail Mary play when it's the night before an article is due and there's been a topic in the back of your mind for days that you don't think is that great, but you think people might read. You just throw it out there and hope for the best. Being a creator gives you inside access to knowing what people are reading, what's popular, and what's working for other creators. Odyssey's demographic is not as diverse as it could or should be, so it's not hard to pick out something that the high school girl you once were will find relatable. Recently went through a breakup? Write about it. Watched a new show on Netflix? Write about it. When there's nothing holding you back, you have the freedom to literally put whatever you want online.

It's not easy coming out of your freshman year of college, one of the hardest years for any person, and being expected to whip up articles that everyone will love. Not everyone is going to love what I write. Heck, not everyone is going to like what I write. The First Amendment is a blessing and a curse. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and that's okay.

The beauty of Odyssey is that it highlights the fact that everyone DOES have a voice, and whether that voice coincides with your religious, political, or personal views isn't up to you.

You have the power to pick and choose what you want to read, relate to, and share. Remember that you have no way of knowing what every single person on the planet is going through and what they choose to write about reflects their own personal opinions, experiences, accomplishments, and hardships. Odyssey creators can spend weeks crafting articles they hope will break the Internet, but in return only get a few views. They can also pull all-nighters grasping at straws just trying to reach the minimum word requirement and end up writing the best thing since sliced bread.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that even though there are posts out there that are so easy for us to relate to, that's not always the goal for writers. We write what we feel, and if there's nothing to write about, we write what we think other people feel. The kicker is that we don't truly know what other people are feeling. You might hurt someone's feelings with your words. You might make someone cry with your story because they felt like they were alone and finally, finally, someone else feels the same way. You might trigger someone and get hateful comments. You might even change someone's life with your words.

The moral of the story is that words are pretty powerful, whether we choose to believe it or not.

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