To the Mom Who Did It All 20+ Years Later

To the Mom Who Did It All 20+ Years Later

This is the congratulations that you deserve. The thank you for showing me that no matter what life throws at you and no matter how tough things may get, that you can still find some way to push through it all and come out stronger.
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You didn’t have the normal life; graduate 8th grade, go off to high school, then graduate and go to college, meet a guy, fall in love, and start a family. Instead, your family started in high school. There was no graduating and college. No perfect guy. You had your first kid when you were still one yourself. That’s one of the biggest challenges you encountered that caused you to start the life everyone leads 20 years later.

You then met my father and got pregnant with me. That postponed whatever opportunity you may have had to pick back up the lasso and get back on the horse. However, you did it anyway. You still had me. Rather than trying to take the life that others deemed right, you choose me; you got on a different horse.

I know it was never easy for you. While you may have come and gone in your first two children’s lives, you came around when things were right. Yeah, there were bumps in the road and during those tough times you weren’t as present and even though that hurt at times, I knew there was part of you with me and that you were trying to do what was best for you which ultimately would be best for your children. Then came my half brother.

Seeing him be the motivator and the apple of your eye made me happy. To see you finally have that drive within you made me proud. Even though you may have had a couple bad seeds looting the garden which caused about a year set back total, you still did it.

So this one is for you. To the mom who did it all 20+ years later.

I am so proud of you. To see all those tough times you went through in life and to see you now, I am thrilled to see you finally be who you are. That you finally overcame all those things and people who were holding you back and get what you deserved.

I cannot believe how happy I am for you. How happy I am that you dropped that 200 pounds of weight and got your degree instead. That you persevered and pulled through when only a few of us knew you could.

So, this is the congratulations that you deserve. The thank you for showing me that no matter what life throws at you and no matter how tough things may get, that you can still find some way to push through it all and come out stronger.

“So mom. I am extremely sorry that I wasn’t able to get out of work and be there for your big day. I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you. These past few years have had their ups and downs yet you never let that tear you away from school and chasing what you wanted. You persevered in way that I admire. I know it has been tough but you did it. You did it, mom, and I could not be more thrilled and happy for you. I know you’ll continue to be strong and I know you’ll find an amazing job and won’t stop till you do because that’s who you are. You’re someone who doesn’t stop. You don’t stop fighting. Don’t ever lose that. I am so proud of you. Smile big and proud, you deserve this.”

You waited 20+ years to start and finish your education. I can’t wait to see you prove to those who thought you couldn’t do it that it doesn’t matter when you get it done, that you can do amazing either way. I love you, mom. Keep your head up and keep moving forward. Be proud to look people in the eye and say, “I did it”.

Cover Image Credit: UC Magazine

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Profit Over The People

Diversity comes in various forms; whether it be culturally or fiscally, there are several ways to identify people as similar or different. The city of Miami, FL loves to advertise its diversity when it comes to attracting tourists, yet it is choosing profit over its people.

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The google definition for gentrification is "the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste." Which seems extremely palatable, but the gross and harsh reality is that gentrification is the destruction of housing in impoverished areas to then construct neighborhoods of higher value. And in that process, the homes, memories, and culture of those areas are erased off the face of the earth as if they never existed.

The residents of these homes do receive compensation for giving up their homes, but not nearly enough to find an alternative housing solution. This has been the case for the city of Miami for quite some time now; placing shopping malls and luxury condominiums on top of the memories and homes of families that have resided in the same area for decades on end.

According to the 2015 and 2016 census, Miami ranks second worst in the nation for income and poverty levels, yet officials deem it appropriate to further the expansion of luxury living and attraction by ridding of the low-income communities. The homeless population in the city of Miami has been a major concern for years; but instead of addressing said issue, they are simply contributing to it by further permitting these expansions to occur.

These construction projects not only contribute to pre-existing traffic problem in the city of Miami due to overpopulation but leaves those who once had a home, out on the streets. There is a total of 179,200 households in Miami-Dade County, 44% of those house children under the age of 18 years old and the household poverty rate in Miami- Dade County was 21.3%, according to the 2013 ACS.

What are the odds of there being households that fall under both of those categories; not only is gentrification putting paying citizens out on the streets, but their children as well.

Allowing the private agendas of public officials affect our neighbors in such a manner is merciless. A large part of Miami consists of low-income areas, yet they have been falling off the map little by little over time. They are starting from the bottom up, and what once was considered a middle-class community will soon be deemed a low-income area in comparison to new structures.

When will it stop? The living expenses in Miami are already unmanageable, but if this continues Miami will soon lose all of its original residences and cultures. Left in the remains of a once culturally thriving and accepting community will be a playground for the wealthy, built on the soil of what used to be home to a culturally, economically and experientially diverse community.

The unfortunate matter is that this isn't only happening in the city of Miami, but in various large cities across the country. Pushing low-income housing off the map, contributing to the homeless population, to then drive initiatives to relocate the homeless if they are found in affluent neighborhoods.

How can one rise to the occasion in hopes of creating a better life, if they are constantly being pushed down by institutionalized prevention? Gentrification is a national issue; a country that prides itself on opportunity and progress is slowly evolving into a country for the wealthy.

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