You're Not Ready

You're Not Ready

To the high school senior who thinks they're ready for college: think again.
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It's the end of April. You're studying for your AP exams, going to graduation practice, starting to clean out your locker, and dreaming of college during every monotonous, pointless lecture you have to listen to during your final days of senior year. Trust me, I know; I've been there. I thought I was so ready for college: the independence, the fun, and the freedom I'd experience for the next four years of my life.

It's the end of April. I'm starting to pack up my dorm room, beginning to study for my finals, and spending as much time with my friends as I can before I have to leave them for the next three months. And you know what? As I reflect on my first year of college, I'm starting to realize that I wasn't ready. At the beginning of the school year, I thought I was ready for everything freshman year had to offer. However, eight months later, I'm understanding that I was wrong. And you may think that you're different than me and that you're much more ready to get out of your hometown and go to college than I ever was, but hear me out.

You're not ready for your first night alone in your dorm. Let's face it, your roommate is going to either stay the night with a friend, shack with a boy, or go home at some point within the first few months. And no matter how brave or independent you think you are, getting in bed for the first time in your dorm room without another person six feet away from you is terrifying. Every branch hitting the window sounds like someone breaking into your room, and you begin to realize that your fear of the dark never went away. Your parents aren't down the hall or downstairs, and this was my first realization that I would actually be alone for the next eight months of my life.

You're not ready for your first time getting sick at college. Being sick at home is something I know you take for granted. But when you're lying in your lofted bed alone in your dorm room, you start to miss your mom's back scratches and homemade soup more than ever.

You're not ready for your first football game. You think you know what to expect, but trust me, you have no idea. And while you may be reading this thinking, "it's just a football game," you honestly have no idea what you're getting yourself into. From the fun tailgates to the roar of the crowd when the team runs out to the playing of your school's alma mater, this is the first time you're gonna realize just how much you love your school and how badly you never want to leave.

You're not ready for your first time back home. The worst part about coming home for the first time, whether it's for a weekend or Thanksgiving break, is that home doesn't feel like home anymore. Your living room might be painted a different color, you're completely unfamiliar with your family's new schedules, and you feel like a guest staying at home. While it's great that you're in love with your new school, it's heartbreaking to know that home doesn't exactly feel like home anymore.

You're not ready for midterms and finals. That's all I have to say about that.

You're not ready for the moment when you realize your best friends from first semester might not be your best friends after all. People change. And although you may think that the girls you hung out with 24/7 in October or the boys you played intramural soccer with will be your best friends for the rest of your college career, you might be wrong. It sucks, believe me, but it's a part of college that can't be avoided.

You're not ready for the day you look in the mirror and realize that you actually gained weight. You may think you're an invincible high school athlete who is too fit to ever gain the Freshman 15. Yeah, I thought that too. Those were the days...

You're not ready to say goodbye to your roommate. Although I haven't necessarily reached this point of my freshman year, I'm dreading it. Whether or not you adore your roommate (like I luckily do), saying goodbye is going to suck. They experience you at your best and worst and can be one of the greatest friends you make freshman year. Don't neglect that opportunity.

You're not ready to say goodbye to freshman year. I'm almost brought to tears every time I think of the day this May when I have to pull out of my campus for the last time. From the people you meet to the experiences you have, everything about freshman year is incredible, and having to leave it for three months and never come back to the full experience will probably be the hardest thing I have to go through this year. Freshman year has been the greatest year of my life, and although I've said some tough goodbyes, this one might be the hardest one yet.

So while you're sitting in your AP Calculus class dreaming of your future days at UGA, Auburn, Furman, NYU, or wherever you may go, stop and realize that the time you have at home with your friends and family is limited. College is incredible, but I can assure you that you're not as ready as you think you are.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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My First Year Of College Wasn’t Great And That’s Okay

I didn’t adjust as well as I thought I would, but I made it.

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Everyone always raves about how much they loved their freshman year of college. The independence, the parties, meeting all these new people from different places. It's a big milestone in your life. But not everyone has an amazing first year. And I'm one of those people.

Don't get me wrong. I was so excited about college. Finally getting to be on my own, experiencing all these new things. I even met people in my class before we moved in. And the first month was a blast...but then it wasn't anymore.

Eventually, I slid into this “funk", you could say. I was depressed. I never wanted to leave my bed. Some nights, I didn't even wanna eat dinner. And soon, my friends noticed but soon just stopped inviting me out.

At first, they still would, even though the answer was always no. But I guess they got bored and tired of me always saying no.

Soon, I didn't feel like I even had any friends and at one point, I even found myself debating going home to avoid being alone in my room all weekend. I would force myself to make plans, but found myself not wanting to go out because I got ignored every time I did. It wasn't worth it.

I was homesick, isolated, and just wanted to fit in.

When the year finally came to an end, I couldn't be happier. But now that it is over and I'm home, I realize how much I miss the people that were there for me. The people that came into my life unexpectedly, but it was hard for me to really recognize they care about me.

I absolutely hated my freshman year of college. Yeah, it started out good and I found my sorority, but I never felt like I was wanted anywhere. I felt so alone. I became so incredibly isolated and distant and it took a drastic toll on me as a person.

But in spite of all that, I realize that maybe that's how it was supposed to happen. Because I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and it will all play out.

This being said, my first year might not have been what I thought or hoped for. But I can truly say I am excited to see what my next year holds.

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