Top 5 Things I Miss From My Hometown

Top 5 Things I Miss From My Hometown

College has taught me that bagels hold a special place in my heart
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As someone who grew up in the relatively small town, I couldn't wait to go to college and be somewhere other than my home. I was excited to live someplace new and immerse myself in a completely different place. For the past three months, I truly have loved being away from home and living on my own. Being in a new town is everything that I thought it would be and more. Yet, there are some things from my hometown that I miss dearly, things that I will never be able to replace while away at school.

1. Real Bagels

Who doesn’t love a good bagel? There’s nothing I miss more than stopping by my favorite deli on the way to school in the morning to get bagels. Not to mention, good bagels only come from New York.

2. New York Pizza

I took pizza for granted my entire life. Since being away from New York for so long, I have realized that New York pizza really is worth all the hype. I will never take pizza for granted again.

3. My bed

College dorm bunks simply can’t compete.

4. Driving

Nothing beats driving while blasting the radio with the windows down, specifically down the parkway near my house with my best friends in the back seat.

5. My high school friends

Although I love all of the people I've met at college, I can't help but miss the people that I've been surrounded by for the passed 7 years.
Cover Image Credit: Twenty20

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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Gentlemen, We Need To Have A Conversation...

...because we have got to do better.

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Imagine this.

It's opening night. You hear it's a sold out house. You dress up sweet and sharp. You arrive at the theatre, wish your fellow production team members many broken legs, hand the usher your ticket, and take your seats. But it's about 15 minutes to go and the theatre is still a little empty. You scratch your head, read the program, check out the awesome dramaturgy section, and repeat. 10 minutes to go and the theatre is still a little empty.

Finally, they start to pour in.

College boys. Dressed in athletic shorts, logo t-shirts, hell even some backwards baseball caps. Once again, you're scratching your head. You almost ask them if they got lost on their way to the gym. Then word begins to spread: they were required to come see the show for a class. They're not here by choice. Ah. Things make sense now. You cross your fingers, hoping that they'll be respectful (not talking, not playing on their cell phone, etc.).

Well, it's nice to have a dream.

If this sounds like a situation you've recently encountered, you very well may have been sitting with me last week when I attended the opening night performance of a production I recently served on the dramaturgy team for.

Not only were these boys late (Look, I get it. No one is ever on time. Things happen. But when we have to hold the house for reasons other than an extremely long line at the box office, I get antsy), but they were rude. Constantly talking during the show, mimicking the things happening onstage, complaining that they didn't understand the show, etc.

This is not a sporting event where you can talk at a normal volume while the action is taking place. It is live theatre. You are here to watch, or at the very least, be quiet. And hey, don't be on your cellphone. Oh? You didn't hear the announcement at the beginning of the show telling you to turn off all electronic devices? Maybe it's because you were talking straight through it.

About three or four scenes into the first act of the show, a boy behind me let out an exasperated sigh, whining to his friends that "he didn't understand a *bleeping* thing that was going on".

Well, I do apologize Frat Boy Frank. But sometimes art isn't going to make sense.

Moving on.

Remember that thing about not being on your cellphone? Halfway through the first act, a text tone went off.

And then again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

AND AGAIN.

SIX. TIMES.

Over a period of 30 seconds. I could feel my blood boiling as I sat there, trying to enjoy the hard work of everyone finally paying off. By the time the first act was over, I could hardly recall anything that had happened because I was consistently being taken out of the moment by the people around me.

I thought maybe the second act would be better. I mean, half of the frat boys had booked it during intermission. They had their playbill to take to their professor for credit. Why else stay?

I guess the show must have been somewhat intriguing, because the boys seated directly behind me decided to stay. The second of this specific show was when it really started to hit the fan. In one of the climactic scenes, a female character is forced into an aggressive kiss by a male character. It's unsettling watching this abuse happen onstage, but what was even more unsettling was hearing the boys behind me react to it.

They were actually cheering the boy on. Maybe they didn't understand that it was supposed to be sexual violence.

God, I really hope that was the case.

The scene onstage resulted in the girl attempting to break free from her aggressor; the boy ultimately gained the upper hand and killed his victim.

More cheers erupted from the boys behind us. And the boys that weren't paying attention to what was going on? Oh, they were on their cell phones.

Now, before you say, "You're generalizing. Not all boys are like this. You're just stereotyping...", I have this to say: last fall, I directed a production of "The Great Gatsby". We had an onstage suicide (the character George Wilson kills himself after murdering the titular Gatsby). During our school performance matinee, a chorus of cheers and laughter erupted from a section of the theatre after Wilson shot himself. And oh yeah, they were teenage boys.

Two separate situations.

Exactly the same reaction.

And before ANYONE says "boys will be boys" or some shit like that, I'm going to politely ask you to shut up.

This is the problem in our society: people are so desensitized to issues like this. They find it humorous when a woman is depicted being sexually abused or when a man shoots himself. I was absolutely disgusted by how unsympathetic these boys in both situations were. They seriously think it's appropriate to laugh at stuff like this?

Maybe I'm overstepping by saying this next bit, but I'm going to say it anyway: both set of boys in each situation were white males with privileged lifestyles. Interesting. Maybe there's a correlation here...?

But what do I know?

To summarize, we must do better. Men, we must do better. Have we lost all traces of empathy? Are we so caught up in attempting to maintain every scrap of masculinity that we can't bring ourself to enjoy the arts? I long for a time where people can go see live theatre (and not because a course requires them to) and be moved to think and make change.

The show I was a part of was a conversation piece. It encouraged the audience to think outside of their personal bubble. That level of thinking and concentration can only be achieved if you get off your cellphone and focus on the art in front of you.

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Overall, opening night was an amazing experience. I was so happy to be a part of my first college production, even if it was in a very small capacity. I just wish that certain things (and certain audience members) would not have interfered with my experience as much as they did.

Why have we gotten to a point in our society where we've lost not only basic theatre etiquette, but traces of actual humanity and empathy? And why is it always this specific group of individuals that seem to be the least empathetic?

No one is forcing you to come to the theater. But when you do, please be respectful of the practices and etiquette expected of you. To some people, theatre is important. It's their livelihood. Don't make fun of that.

So, gentlemen, allow me to use an analogy that you might understand: the ball is in your court.

Do better.

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