Where I'm From

Where I'm From

Inspired by George Ella Lyon

I’m from a broken, wooden, bookshelf in the hallway of our yellow house. Hardly touched, but always looked at, curiously.

I am from crackers, cheese, and grape juice. In our preschool classroom. Sitting on my favorite animal. Listening intensely as a story is told.

I am from hours sitting. At a small Step2 table. Aside Mrs. as she teaches me how to sound out, pronounce, and enunciate. Short, sharp words.

I am from hours of laughing along with my dear friend Junie B. Jones. At the soccer field. “Watching” my brothers play.

I am from large, old, dusty, and stained encyclopedias. In our private schools library of donated, outdated books.

I am from the inside of my desk. Where my Chicken Noodle Soup for a Teenage Soul would hide, and appear upon my lap as Mrs. lectured.

I am from the Scholastic Book Fair. Rooms filled floor to ceiling with an array of words. I didn’t tell anyone, but nothing excited me more. I’d wait restlessly all year, peruse it for days, and read every summary before picking the one. I’d beg my mom that night.

I am from book reports plastered on folding poster boards. Spoken nervously behind the podium.

I am from a mindset of rising. Esperanza Rising the first book I ever loved. I was taught then, that there are worst things than not having the perfect clique in school.

I am from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Long nights committing lines to memory. Sweaty palms underneath fluorescent lights. Newfangled.

I am from an AP English class of strident atmosphere. Days of tearing apart works into our own essays of argument, analysis, and synthesis.

I am from Starbucks. Where I sit in the corner. Blocking out the world. Infatuated with literature. Who could possibly hold a more exquisite conversation?

I am from pages, long ago. Pages of lessons. Pages of tears. Pages of laughs. Pages of triumph.

Pages as precious as gold.

Cover Image Credit: Molly Crabapple

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22 Girl Names Your Random College Roommate Will Have, And The Type Of Roommate They Are

Will she be your BFF?

Every roommate situation in college is going to be different.

All you can do is hope and pray that they'll just leave you alone for the most part. A lot of the time, you can get a hint about what kind of roommate they'll be just knowing their first name.

1. Hailey

Her dad pays her rent. She can't cook. Litters the kitchen with take out boxes from the local vegan joint.

2. Beth

Totally wants you to go to SoulCycle with her at 6 a.m. on a Saturday. Room is littered with leggings and sneakers.

3. Michelle

Comes home at 3 a.m. after a night of heavy drinking. Loudly makes some sort of frozen meal. Sleeps through her noon alarm.

4. Victoria

Probably has dark hair and an acoustic guitar. Keeps pretty much to herself. Does homework in the living room at obscure hours.

5. Madison

Was on the dance team in high school and has not stopped telling you about how great it was. Does work out videos on the TV in the living room.

6. Kim

Brings her boyfriend over every night of the week. Brings different boys home on the weekends.

7. Megan

Actively avoids cleaning the bathroom. Leaves her dishes in the sink. You haven't seen her shower in four days.

8. Erica

Normal. Quiet. Wants to be a high school English teacher.

9. Erika

Wild. Emotionally distraught always. Is always hosting the pre-game. Never comes home with all of the clothes she left wearing.

10. Sarah

"Definitely should have got into Harvard, but I ended up here instead." Too into trying to get a 4.0 to pay attention to you.

11. Julia

Studies music performance. Screams expletives at her keyboard. Cannot play the trumpet, but still tries really hard.

12. Hannah

So tall she almost hits her head on the doorways. Plays basketball. Raps to old Kanye in the shower.

13. Jenny

Should not be allowed to go out. Goes out every weekend anyway. Throws up in your bathtub and doesn't always address it in the morning.

14. Heather

Stressing about her internship. Is currently failing all of her classes. Will somehow still get a 3.5 GPA this semester.

15. Grace

You never see her, only the hairballs she leaves all around your place.

16. Emma

Only has guy friends because "it's easier." Guy friends who leave empty beer cans out after every sporting event on TV.

17. Caitlyn

Has a 4.0 as a biology major. Is going to med school. Sterilizes her room, the bathroom and the kitchen sink every four hours.

18. Sam

Always has a paper about feminism to write. Rosie the Riveter poster in her room.

19. Alex

Is probably dating her boss. Has straight Ds in all her classes.

20. Taylor

Is somehow always home when you're home. You know nothing about her other than where she's from.

21. Alyssa

Trying to become the next big YouTuber. Has lighting equipment all over the place. You constantly hear the phrase, "Hey guys, welcome to my channel!" She squealed because yesterday she hit 25 subscribers.

22. Jesse

Is probably plotting your murder. Lurks around like a cat.

Cover Image Credit: Morgan Yates//YouTube

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I've Learned That Your First Choice For College Will Not Always Be Your Final Choice

This is where I had to be. I had to apply here and I had to go.

I did college tours my entire spring break of junior year. We saw nearly 12 colleges up and down the East Coast in the span of a week. After that trip, I wasn't sure of many things, but I knew one thing for certain. "I'm going to apply to NYU," I told my parents. "And I'm going to go there and live in New York City."

And yet there I was in December of that same year, opening my acceptance email from GW, the happiest I've ever been.

So what happened?

I went to an extremely competitive high school in a very driven community. Large amounts of kids ended up going to Ivy's after graduation, and our AP exam scores are some of the highest in the nation. Despite faring well academics-wise, my grades and scores really only placed me near the middle of the class.

I'd always dreamed of moving to a different school in another state, somewhere where I could be near the top for a change instead of average, or even low. Somewhere I didn't have to be ashamed of being the only Indian kid that isn't planning to do medicine or engineering or business or anything "lucrative"--instead planning to do journalism.

I had developed this bad habit of taking cues from other people around me in school; when someone said or did something I went along with it, no matter how untrue or unfit for me it was. And then I would find myself thinking I wasn't good enough, beating myself up for not doing things that I wouldn't even need for my future, but I thought I did because everyone else was doing it.

I was a victim of the groupthink, the mentality that there's only one road to success, to the best colleges and beyond even though it wasn't my idea of success, and certainly not the route I would even see myself on.

They say you can't compare apples to oranges. And yet, in the environment I was being raised in, that's exactly what I did for four years.

So I weighed my college options again that summer, and I realized something, I needed to be at a place where I could establish myself, where I could finally take the reigns of my life and do my own thing without worrying about other people's academic and social agendas as I often did in high school. I needed to create my own path and be a doer rather than just a talker, going out beyond the classroom and getting my hands dirty in a field I actually enjoy and see myself in.

Enter, the George Washington University. As I researched the school more, including SMPA, I found myself open to so many more possibilities. Interning on Capitol Hill. Professors who had previously worked with CNN and the Washington Post.

The students I talked to were equally as friendly and genuine as they were driven and intelligent, something that you'd be surprised to find rare at my school. Potential experiences that spoke to me for once, that showed me the media and public affairs program was a whole world in itself, while still remaining true to GW and every other factor around it.

And something clicked in my head. This is where I had to be. I had to apply here and I had to go.

After endless conversations with "what-ifs" and "are you sures" with parents and teachers, it was decided. And I hit submit on the Common App hoping for the best.

The funny thing is, months later as more acceptances are rolling in, people at my school are now RAVING about GW; a good school to you and I, but not an Ivy or top 10 or any other school most kids have their eyes set on-or at least I thought they were set on from how they would brag about themselves.

Then again, not everything is as it seems- that's the difference between a doer and a talker. And in pursuit of being the latter, I chose GW.

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