Watch Me Glow Up
College Life | 

Watch Me Glow Up

What happens when you don't peak in high school.

Chances are, the super popular kids from your high school probably aren't doing much now. And that super shy, but seriously smart kid from your bio class freshman year is a total smokeshow and has a full ride to an Ivy League. It's the way it always goes.

And I'm also going to go ahead and take a guess that you yourself did not peak in high school. While it may have sucked at the time, you're one of the lucky ones. Here's why.

You see so many people who peaked early end up at community college in your hometown.
I'm not bashing community college here. What I am bashing is people who stick around because they're so scared to leave the small-time fame and popularity they had in high school behind.

They peaked so hard that they aren't really sure where their life will go from there. That's a pretty sad thing for an 18-year-old kid. Thank God you have plenty of peaking left to do, and can look forward to new places and new adventures without the fear that you've already experienced the best life has to offer you.

The people who were rude to you in high school want to be your best friend now.
It's a classic Cinderella story. (Wow, that was fucking cheesy.) Honestly though, high-school-wallflower-turns-successful-and-attractive-adult is a tale as old as time. Plus it always ends in "popular" kids from your high school either wanting to fuck you or be you. Too bad they didn't see how great you were then. You're on to bigger and better things.

You probably won't peak in college either.
This is just as much of a blessing as not peaking in high school is. If I have 75-plus years on this Earth I'm going to be super bummed if I hit my peak before I even turn 22. There is so much life to live after school--but you already knew that.

You're more successful than your peers.
If you didn't peak in high school it's probably because you were too busy focusing on other things. While you had your good group of friends, a thriving social life probably wasn't the top priority in your life. You were focused on grades or a passion turned side hustle and trust me, if that isn't benefiting you now, it's definitely going to.

You're more content wherever you are in your life.
You don't have any expectations for how much people will love you or how many friends you have. You're taking it day by day and enjoying everything life has to offer. It's not that your expectations are low, you've just learned from watching the people who peaked in high school that being popular and cool isn't necessarily a key to a solid life.

You have a lot to look forward to.
There is reward in not peaking too young. You get the chance to look forward to something exciting. You get the chance to live everyday knowing you're only getting better. It's all uphill from here.

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College Life | 

Throwback to Season 1

Every transition is a new season of the ridiculous sitcom of my life.

I have this running joke with my current friend group where I refer to some of them as the, "Season 4," cast in my life. As I've graduated high school, entered college, and then got shuffled into my major, friends have come and gone.

Every transition is a new season of the ridiculous sitcom of my life.

So, Season 4, the season of my Maturity ArcTM, where I'm bravely forging ahead with my life, taking opportunities and preparing for life after graduation. Things are going good. Great, even. So, of course, there's gotta be a callback to my Origin ArcTM.

And that's when we start bringing back the Season 1 characters that we thought were out the door.

To put it less dramatically, a friend from high school came to visit me, and we had a really fun time. No awkward silences, no not really knowing what to say to each other, we just picked up from where we'd left off.

Being fairly out of touch with my graduating class, my time with them has kind of fuzzied out in my brain, but it took maybe an hour (and three beers) for it all to come back. The embarrassing stories, the inter-clique politics, the illicit romances.

God, high school was truly one of the most infuriating times of my life, but looking back on it after having graduated almost three years ago it all seems so funny. And past that, it was just so nice to have someone who's known me for so long back in my life for a night.

If you graduated and didn't look back then that was your decision. Burn those bridges, man. Don't let anyone tell you what to do. But laughing about all the dumb shit you did or saw is miles better with a beer and an old friend than it is by yourself.

The first season may be shittier than the rest, but hey, it's there for a reason.

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College Life | 

High School vs. College

It's a whole new ballgame, people.

Throughout high school, my teachers would always tell us they were "preparing us for college." And whenever my parents refused to help me with a problem--admittedly, one I was perfectly capable of fixing myself--they would say they were "making me independant for college life." But once I actually stepped foot on campus, it was pretty obvious: Nothing that I learned in my high school days could be applied to my new life.

College is, without a doubt, a whole new ballgame.

First off, in college there is no such thing as "popularity" like there was in high school. There isn't a table during lunch where all the popular kids sit. There aren't dances that you need a date for or games where all the "cool" students sit in one section. No one cares about how you dress, because everyone looks like a slob all the time. Friends aren't made by wearing the latest trends or by sitting at a certain table at lunch. In college, you make friends by being kind and considerate. Seriously. College is stressful enough on its own; and no one has the time or the desire to hang out with negative or snobby individuals. So don't be one. In college, the people with a lot of friends are the ones who are genuinely nice to others.

In high school, I would always try to skip class. By the end of each year, my absences would be maxed out and I literally couldn't miss another day. But in college, attendance usually doesn't matter. Many professors don't even take attendance. But the thing is, in college, every class actually does matter. Admit it, there would be days you went to class in high school and probably walked out of there not having learned anything. That does not happen in college--There may be a whole section on a test of information that was covered in just one day. And conveniently, that will probably be the day you decided to take a nap instead of attend class. Before I left for my second semester of college, my dad calculated how much each class was worth: If I skipped class to take a nap, that nap would cost me $70 dollars. I haven't skipped a class since.

Another college trend: Effort is attractive. Studying hard and using your resources is not looked down upon in college, whereas in high school, my peers would always pressure me into doing something fun, rather than studying for a test. But in college, every student is paying thousands of dollars just to learn, so most take it more seriously. In college, effort is noticed, appreciated, and highly respected among college students.

Something I always disliked about high school was that I felt like I had to look, act, or talk a certain way to be accepted. And when I look back on it, that way of thinking kept me from doing a lot of things that I would have really enjoyed or excelled at.

But being a college student gives you the freedom to break out, try new things, and embrace a different side of yourself. You may have been the cheerleader in high school, but you can be a sports writer in college. Or you may have been a band kid in your hometown, but in college you can embrace Greek life. There are no labels when you take your first steps on campus. You can create your own label--and your own college identity.

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Moving From A Small Town To A Big City

It is the best of both worlds.

The words small and big are kind of understatements for me. I went from living in the middle of nowhere with a graduating class of 48 students to attending a university with over 50,000 students. This sudden leap in size can be a bit of a struggle to adjust at first, but eventually you get the hang of it. Here are the ups and downs.

The struggles:
Crosswalks are a thing.
In a small town, you just walk right across the road and don't think anything of it because there is barely any traffic. But, that all changes once you go somewhere drastically more populated. Now there are cars, bikes, and buses everywhere, so you have to press a button and wait your turn to cross the street. I just find this so strange.

It's hard to find peace and quiet.
There are all kinds of noises in the city. Traffic, construction, people shouting, and sirens from various emergency vehicles are just a few of them. It is all so loud and distracting.

What you did back home is no longer normal.
Mudding. Country music. Bonfires. Driving aimlessly around. These basic things that you grew up with just don't happen in the city.

You will miss the stars.
It is such a simple thing that you won't think about it at first. Until one night, you will look up and see lights and buildings. There will be this feeling that something is missing, like the magic and beauty is gone.

The perks:
There is more to do.
Like, a lot more. There is actually a good variety of stores you can shop in. There is more than one restaurant. So many buildings with so many activities like gyms and bars. Cities just provide you with so many more options

You get to meet new people.
Back home, everyone knows everyone. From preschool to senior year, the people in my class stayed the same for the most part. There are so many different types of people and perspectives in the city. You will become friends with people you never imagined.

Food places deliver.
From Chinese food to pizza, it is all just a phone call or a click of button away. It is such a magnificent thing that you never realized you needed in your life. I mean who doesn't love food.

In the end, you really do get the best of both worlds. You get the beauty and relaxation from your small town. You get the excitement and possibilities from your big city. I call both home, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

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Why I Owe Everything to My High School Drama Teacher

Troy Bolton is my hero.

We've all seen the movies: John Keating in Dead Poet Society, Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, Miss Freida J. Rileyin October Sky, even Dewey Finn in School of Rock--where unique teacherstake over a class and inspire and motivate their students in a completelylife-changing way.

For some people, these inspirational teachers remain in the movies, but I was lucky enough to have on in the flesh.

Let's be clear, I was never one of those 'drama' kids growingup. I would have much preferred to get outside and kick around a soccer ball orshoot hoops rather than get on a stage and recite lines in front of anaudience.

However, on a whim, I decided to take the 'Introduction to Acting'class my freshman year of high school. Reflecting back, checking the box to signup for that class was easily one of the best decisions I've made in my entirelife.

From the first time I met him, I could tell there wassomething different about John. Maybe it was his insistence that we call him byhis first name, or the fact that he started every class with a sun salutation.

I went to an incredibly competitive, academically rigorous private college prepschool, so his class was the perfect change of pace. He encouraged mistakes,laughter, and acceptance, and invested himself personally into every single oneof his students.

To my complete surprise, I fell in love with performing, andcontinued to take drama classes throughout my four years of high school. Johnbecame not just my teacher, but my director, friend, and biggest fan.

Knowingmy sports commitments, he scheduled my rehearsals later at night, to give metime to drive back to school from soccer practice. Someone else could have justwritten me off, telling me I had to choose one or the other, but John dideverything he could to ensure I could pursue everything I loved to do.

Four years, five plays, two musicals, and six vocalperformances later, I graduated high school with a confidence andself-assurance that I owe entirely to my high school drama teacher.

Hisconstant encouragement, support, and investment in my happiness was exactlywhat I needed to shake off the insecurities I had about who I was, what I lovedto do, and what other people thought about me. He taught me to be completely,unapologetically myself, and to do what made me happy without worrying about whatother people might think.

I was graduating high school to play college soccer at anIvy League school, and yet, I was no longer just the "soccer player" I was whenI first met John. At the risk of sounding too "High School Musical," he taughtme that it was perfectly fine--even admirable--to want to break out of the moldthat I had been stuck in.

I came into college with that same confidence andself-assurance, while so many others were still in the process of learning thelesson I had learnt from John--you are allowed to be you and do what you love.

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My High School Boyfriend and I Go to the Same University and That's OK

You're not "settling," you're in love.

Every senior in high school who's in a serious relationship and has goals of going to a college out of state has had the same question: What happens to my relationship? My boyfriend and I met in high school and made the collective decision to go to community college in our town for a year and then transfer out of state.

Everyone thinks we're crazy, that "we won't last," or are "too young to know what we want." But the truth is, we know exactly what we're doing, and we're not crazy, just in love. Here's what I learned (and am still learning) about why this isn't a bad thing.

You have someone to experience a new life with.
New date ideas, new restaurants to try, even new places to go grocery shopping. It's all a little more exciting when your SO is there with you to partake in these new adventures. You have enough fun, new things to try every night of the week for the entire Fall semester, why not go live a little?

You have someone to hang out with before you meet all your future BFFs.
Going to college in a new town, whether it's 15 minutes away or 1,500 miles away, it can be scary especially when you're on your own. Moving over a thousand miles away with my beau has eased the pain of wondering if I'll meet new friends right away or find a club to fit into, because I know we have each other until things fall into place. I'm not saying friends aren't important, because they are, but until you find your groove, you'll have at least one person by your side.

He's always there to calm you down when you're stressing about your classes.
As much as we hate to admit it, we all need a break when you're up for 35 hours straight and hyped up on energy drinks while trying to finish the last few thousand assignments we procrastinated and have to turn in by midnight. My boyfriend is always there to calm me down and give me a proofread on that paper, or to help me out with flashcards last minute. Not only does he help me get through, but he also knows when to pull me away just in time to make the stress migraine subside for a little while longer.

You learn things about each other you wouldn't learn until later.
Like how he eats in his sleep when he's super stressed, or how excited he gets when he talks about Anatomy and Physiology (ick), or even when he says he doesn't like to read but he goes into a bookstore one day and picks out something he thinks he'll like. Sometimes it's the little things we learn about each other that keep us going strong.

You know he's down for adventure, anytime.
He's already packed away from his family and moved across the country to start a new life with you, so you already know he's in it for good. What next? A puppy? A soul-seeking adventure in Bora Bora over the summer? Anywhere your extra student loans or your combined birthday/Christmas money from the year can take you, you know you'd be able to do it. Once you grow some balls, that is, because dreaming of it is the first step to doing it.

When you're 20-something and feel like you've found your soulmate, nothing should keep you apart. I'm literally the only girl I know who's been with her boyfriend since junior year of high school and who plans to go to the same college out of state as him.

Some people might think one of us is settling, but why is wanting to be with the love of your life settling? We have goals, and we're achieving them, together. And that's okay. Everyone deserves a chance at a love like this, whether you're at the same college or not.