Just Be You

Just Be You

I am not afraid to share my true feelings, and you shouldn't be either!

I am guilty of something. OK, I am guilty of a lot of things, but in this article, I’m going to focus on one guilt in particular. I tend to blend in with my surroundings. Let me elaborate: I often base things I say or do on the people around me. I am not proud of this, but it is something I do quite often. I am like a chameleon, changing my color according to who I am with because sometimes being different than others scares me. I do not like conflict, and if my opinion differs from someone else, I get a little anxious and feel like there is no need to share what I think.

Why is this bad you ask? This is bad because no one has ever really known the real me because I do this. If you’re constantly agreeing with others for the sake of agreement, are you really being true to yourself or to others? No!

So, with this being said, here are some things I’d like you to know about me…

I am 20 years old but sometimes am mistaken for a middle schooler. I am the oldest of three, but people usually think I’m the youngest. Even though I never say it, this bothers me a little.

I procrastinate, and I am late very often. I also daydream and sing in the shower.

I love Jesus, but I know not everyone does, and I respect that. I believe that everyone should be able to love whoever they want, and I think all love is beautiful! Equality is extremely important to me.

My sense of fashion is a little eclectic; I like to wear dresses sometimes, but I also like to wear snapbacks and sweatpants other times. I love Doc Martens, even though my family thinks they’re ugly.

I don’t really understand the fascination with Harry Potter, but I’m glad it exists because, without it, we wouldn't have "A Very Potter Musical" (if you haven’t seen this, look it up on YouTube immediately). Speaking of musicals, I love them a lot. I would rather have tickets to a community theater production than go out and party on a Friday night. My taste in music ranges from country to show tunes to songs I heard on "Dance Moms" to Justin Bieber’s most recent album. I've seen Taylor Swift in concert three times, and I very much enjoy her music.

If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. If you’re not nice to me, I will probably still be nice to you, but will secretly not like you very much. I try to act tough sometimes, but I am incredibly sensitive. If you say something mean to me, I might cry later (or right in front of you).

I don’t say some of these facts about myself because I’m nervous about what people might think. But that is wrong. Always be true to yourself, and let the people around you know who you are! Do not ever hide anything about yourself because you’re afraid of how your peers will react. Everyone you meet will like you better once they know the real you, I promise.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cover Image Credit: Janet L. Castillo

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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