How to Deal With the Haters

Originally Posted on February 17th, 2017 on Her Campus UCF.

One of the greatest things about living on a planet with seven billion people on it, is that there are seven billion personalities out there. With so many people to interact with, it’s amazing how many connections can be made. That being said, there are many circumstances where personalities clash, leading to a less than ideal situation. We all know that drama is the least popular dessert at the party, but why do we continue to let it into our lives?

I’ve noticed a trend in petty fights and dramatic people, and it’s no secret that dealing with it involves lots of uninvited stress. It’s increasingly unfortunate when drama is created because two personalities just don’t mesh well together. Fights break out over nothing more than the fact that there was a loss of connection, leaving both parties pointing their fingers at each other. We’ve all been in these situations and we’ve all experienced haters during all the checkpoints of our life, but what can we do to fix it?

The first step to dealing with a hater is realizing that you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault that they don’t like your sense of humor, backwards compliments, and extra behavior. If you’re a people pleaser, it might be hardtop restrain from correcting yourself to make them happy, but that is not the healthy solution. If this situation occurs, it’s best to just slowly avoid them to skip unnecessary conflict.

The second step is to ignore the drama. It’s easy these days to get wrapped up in what others are saying about you, but be the bigger person and stand above the rest. Resist the urge to subtweet. Refrain from texting them big long paragraphs. Ignore and stand strong. If you are being targeted in one of the aforementioned forms of mockery, keep your chin up and keep scrolling. Don’t give them the satisfaction that they crave by firing back.

The third step is to learn to move past it. If someone puts so much effort into hating you, you don’t deserve to have them in your life. Take it as a form of flattery that they are spending all their time talking about you and don’t dwell on the past. A lot of times, haters are ex-best friends so it might seem like an impossible task, but moving forward is the most crucial step.

If communicating isn’t an option, don’t sweat the small stuff, or the small people who think they are making a statement by dropping you. Some people thrive off of drama and create it wherever they see necessary. If you’re ever in a situation where someone is mad at you for no apparent reason, think long and hard about how much you value that friendship and make the appropriate moves forward to make things good for yourself. The great thing about living on a planet with seven billion people on it is that you’re destined to find people who love you for who you are.

xoxo,

25 Pieces of Advice That Will Change Your Life

Originally posted on February 16th, 2017 on Her Campus UCF.

I was recently told the most life changing piece of advice, that I have included down below, that truly changed my outlook on how I view things. After hearing this, I gained a more positive outlook on life and started to wonder, what other words of wisdom are out there to explore. So I set out to discover what advice others have given or received that has changed their life, and the results captivated me in a way I never knew possible. So here are twenty-five of the most unique outlooks on life, and hopefully some of them change yours as well.

“If you want to be outstanding, you have to live an outstanding life.”

-Kyle M, 20

 “‘Life is short.’ That simple saying has had a huge impact on my life, especially where I am at this point. Ever since those words were said, I have had a new perspective on life. It’s such a simple thing to say, and many people use it as an excuse to do stupid things, but I believe it means so much more than that. Don’t live a life full of regrets and “what-ifs”. Wanna have desert? Have dessert. Wanna make new friends? Put yourself out there. Life is SHORT.”

-Julia F, 18

 “Not everyone you lose is a loss.”

-Ashley W, 18

 “As student body president, I gave the incoming freshman a piece of advice I wish someone had given me when I was a freshman. I told them to not be afraid of failure because the fear of failure can paralyze people and keep them from doing big things.”

-Will S, 19

 “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

-Anna D, 19

“Do as much as you can because you’ll never know your full potential until you reach failure.”

-Josh E, 18

“Whatever is meant to happen, will happen.”

-Samantha Y, 20

 “’Don’t deny yourself the simple pleasures.’ I’m not sure where that originated or how it got into my brain but ever since that piece of advice got itself lodged in the back of my head, I’ve been a lot happier. I don’t deny myself the candy bar in the grocery checkout line or the walks to the mailbox on nice bays. I’ve lived my life very happy and relatively stress free with that saying in my head.”

-Jess R, 20

“We will have faith in you, as long as you have faith in yourself.”

-Megan P, 19

“Don’t forget to floss. Wash your face every night. Be the nicest person in the room. When you think of something nice to do, do it! Don’t delay, just do it, regardless of how it’s recognized or received.”

-Rebecca S

 “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.”

-Hunter L, 22

“When I was going through a prolonged period of trying to change career paths, a number of promising leads appeared but dried up. This went on for a while and the sense of just not knowing where I would end up was taking a toll. My sister said to me, ‘Just think about where you are now and the work you are doing. Five years ago, you couldn’t have imagined doing any of it. It wasn’t even on your horizon and yet here you are. I have no doubt that five years in the future you will be doing work that right now you can’t even imagine and it will be great.’ Somehow taking the long term perspective was enough to get me through the interim churn and frustration. And she was right!”

-Lisa B

“Don’t f*ck up.”

-Hallie B, 18

 “Don’t let the day run you, you have to run your day!”

-Gabriella M, 18

“Whenever you are upset or angry about something, try to think about whether or not it will matter a year from now. It really puts things in perspective and helps you get back to being happy quicker!”

-Claire J, 20

“Six months might seem like a long time right now, but years down the road when you look back on yourself, it will feel like nothing. Don’t miss out on any opportunities right now because you are scared of missing out on six months of your life. Just because it’s not part of ‘your plan’, doesn’t mean it’s something worth losing. Take everything that is handed to you, because you’re only young once and you don’t want to look back and wonder ‘what if’.”

-Lena D, 18

 “Thank the people who have hurt you in the past because they are the reason you are so strong today!”

-Alexa I, 20

“Measure your own success and have a rich and wealthy life. Don’t worry about the material things. What really matter at the end is to be rich with love, surrounded by a loving family, and a wealth of loving friends!”

-Anonymous

 “You owe yourself the love you give to give to everyone else.”

-Samantha Y, 20

“Recognize yourself in your overall personal goals.”

-Brennan V, 18

“Another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own.”

-Shannon L, 23

 “I’m about to graduate from college and, naturally, have spent some time throughout my years struggling with school. I usually always try to get A’s but sometimes that doesn’t happen and it usually devastates me. In my last conversation with my favorite relative, my great-uncle Wayne, before he passed away, he said, “Just get the degree!” That feels especially relevant right now in the middle of midterms of this quarter!”

-Cayenne E, 22

“Spend money on experiences, not objects.”

-Julia T, 18

 “Focus on making yourself proud of you.”

-Justin J, 18

 “Knowledge is the most important thing in life- You can never learn too much about anything, ever. The second most important thing is fashion.”

-Nicole W, 18

xoxo,

Fall in Love With the Word “Love”

Originally posted on February 7th, 2017 on Her Campus UCF.

The word “love” is often feared due to the pressure of emotional attachment. Most would agree that the only thing scarier than falling in love, is finding out that you are not loved back. But what does that mean exactly? Well to one person, it might mean that the guy they’ve been crushing on doesn’t have mutual feelings. For others, it might mean that no matter how much time and effort they put into a friendship, it might not be reciprocated. On the contrary, it could be less severe and mean that the puppy you’ve been admiring in the park wants no part of your attention.

Each of these scenarios lead to drastic changes in how it affects your mood. These downers could last from minutes to months, depending on the weight of the situation. That lead me to wonder why. Why do all of these situations inquire unique changes in one’s mood if they are all based on love? It’s because love is one of the most powerful emotions in existence, and holds the ability to manipulate feelings in thousands of different ways. Simply, no two loves are the same.

If you asked me my opinion on love six months ago, I would have broken down in tears. Fresh out of my first relationship, I was convinced that the two years I spent in it were all fraud. But time goes on and people change, and the growth made is the most important thing that could happen. Two and a half years ago, my best friend at the time turned into my first boyfriend. Still awkward teenagers, fresh out of puberty, our 14 and 15 year-old selves didn’t know what we were getting into. We made mistakes, and we fixed them, but we never knew how to love.

“Love” was a term that we tossed around like a softball, letting it come up whenever and as often as possible. It seemed sweet and endearing, and was always the perfect phrase to use to solve all of our arguments. Yet because of this, its meaning got smaller and smaller with every use. There is nothing wrong with expressing emotion, but throwing it around in the wrong context gave it a new meaning to us. The word holds such a power that is deserves much, much more than this.

I do believe I was in love during my first relationship. We cared about each other and were each other’s best friends. Yet every love is different and I would not use the same word to compare my previous relationship and my current one. As I have grown in the past three years, I have brought the word “love” on the journey with me. Each love is different, as the word holds such a powerful position in society. I love puppies. I love Disney World. I love my family. I love my friends. But I don’t love them all in the same way. It’s incredible that such a term has been used to compare passion towards a human being, as well as a favorite food. Which leads me to believe that the word is one that is ever changing.

I was happily in love in my past relationship at the time. I am happily in love in my current relationship now. Yet these two loves are the farthest things from similar. The love I felt in the past is nowhere near as raw and as emotional as the love I feel now, yet that doesn’t invalidate how I felt in a specific moment 15 months ago. Maybe it’s a factor of time, but I’m a firm believer in the evolution of vocabulary.

The love your best friend shows to their boyfriend is a different love that they show you, yet the power the word holds remains equivalent. Love is powerful and everyone is lucky enough to experience it in it’s different forms each and every day. Don’t let the stigma of the word scare you from expressing your true feelings towards anything and everything. Love your pet. Love your favorite pasta dish. Love your grandmother. Love your fuzzy socks. Love your kindergarten teacher. Love your boyfriend or girlfriend. Love yourself. But most importantly, don’t be scared of the word “love”. It’s powerful, but you hold the right to acknowledge it in whichever means necessary to fall in love with the word “love”.

xoxo,

The Balance Between Showing Affection and Being Clingy

Originally posted on December 21st, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

The age old question anyone in a new relationship asks themselves before saying/doing anything remotely romantic is “Will they they this is cute or am I moving too fast and making things creepy?” Okay maybe it’s not an age old question and maybe it’s not worded like that exactly, but the idea is still there. How soon is too soon to say/do/act a certain way around your significant other?

Like a snowflake, each relationship is different from the one before or after it. What may have worked for your roommate might give the exact opposite reaction for your SO. So with that in mind, any relationship advice received must be taken with a grain of salt. Which leads us back to the confusing topic at point, how to show affection without weirding out your partner.

In any new relationship, it’s hard to get a grasp for how your partner handles different situations. The beginning stage is made for getting to know each other and always wearing your best smile, because you’re not ready to drop your baggage on their doorstep, expecting them to take it all in. The beginning is also made for cutesy flirting, and caring remarks showing that you appreciate being with this person. Obviously it’s hard to weigh out when this stage ends and a different level of affection begins. Some say that when the “L bomb” is dropped that a gate opens up allowing the relationship to flourish in new ways. Others say when intimate moments are shared physically is when it’s time to share intimate moments emotionally. But again, every relationship is different.

It’s hard to find the balance because you are so focused on making your significant other happy, as well as yourself. New relationships are full of surprises, and anything that could cause irritation or drama is immediately pushed away. Something magical is happening, therefore the two of you want to stay happily with each other as long as possible.

It’s hard to weigh this out in a long term relationship, let alone a fresh one, so it’s important to keep in mind a few things:

Don’t let how you acted in past relationships haunt you into acting a certain way now. This means that just because your independent ex from high school called you clingy, means that your new boyfriend feels the same way about your actions. Each person you date has different opinions on how they would like to be treated, so the best way to figure out how to act is to communicate.

There is no arbitrary timeline of how and when to act in a relationship. Just because Jenny and Bill did such and such two months in doesn’t mean you need to too. If you feel that something is moving too fast, or not fast enough, it’s up to you and your partner to reflect and talk about, not a decision based on outsiders.

Be yourself. If you want to send cute texts throughout the day and surprise them with random acts of kindness, do it. If you’re at the store and see something that reminds you of them, don’t be scared to send them a pic or even purchase it. Everyone loves being thought of, and if you’re holding back because you think that they will think you’re moving too fast, you both lose out. You never know what little thing you do could put a smile on their face. If it’s genuine from your heart, they will appreciate it. And if they don’t, it wasn’t meant to be.

New relationships are both exciting and scary because everything you learn about a person is a new surprise. Don’t let the fear of being clingy stop you from showing that you care. A small thought here or there can make someone’s mood change for an entire day and cause your relationship to flourish to new levels. If you ever feel that you might be taking things a step too far, too soon, ask your partner because they are the only ones who can give you the feedback you need to succeed. If you two truly care about each other, every moment will be one full of affection and happiness.

xoxo,

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Originally posted on December 21st, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

So your first semester of college has come and gone and you’re still sitting there wondering when you’re going to meet “the one?” No, not the boy of your dreams that you imagine running away into the sunset with, but your female counterpart that will take on the role of your bestie for the rest of your life. The one who will be by your side for all your crazy antics the next four years and still be there with you when you tell your kids about the good times you two had in college.

Everyone has always talked about how you meet your true friends in college, yet if youre reading this, it’s possible that somehow this moment hasn’t happened yet. It’s confusing, of course, because it seems like everyone around has hooked on to someone and began creating endless memories, and looking around, you feel like a lost puppy. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It might not always make sense. In a school with a population of over 60,000 it might seem impossible to find the one person you connect with the most. With so many people around constantly, it’s hard to branch out and talk to new people. We’ve all been in situations where we don’t know how to initiate conversations. And it’s even harder if you’re like me and the fear of embarrassing yourself outweighs your willingness to reach out to people.

The internet has fueled most of my social interactions thus far in college. All of my current friends I have met because I began talking to them online before even moving in in August. I built up virtual friendships that allowed our first interactions to seem more comfortable. It was a blessing and a curse. As I built these friendships, my online persona shined, while my real life outgoingness dissipated. After the first month of classes, I realized that I had yet to branch out from these online friendships, and it seemed too late to make new friends. Everyone already had their groups set up and no one wants to be an outsider. Although I too had a group of friends I could rely on, it seemed to be a mish-mash of people that reflected different parts of my persona and didn’t particularly interact as fluidly as a group. I had yet to make that instant connection with any one in particular, leaving me longing for more friends.

The semester came and left and I was still too shy to branch out from the safety of the group that was already established. They are amazing friends, yet I don’t feel the comfort that I expect when I see other friend groups on Instagram of Facebook. I know it’s silly to judge yourself based of of other social media posts, but its almost impossible to avoid in this day and age.

I see posts from people I hung out with once or twice and instantly regret not making more plans with them. The friend crushes evolve as I become more and more greedy in the friend department. I start second guessing how I can join activities to make friends and how I can socialize more in the organizations I’m already a part of. The gears in my brain keep turning until I finally burst from exhaustion thinking about all of this as I realize an important discovery.

It may seem like you’re all alone in this search for a best friend, as if everyone around you is locked down. But there are so many people out there who are in the same boat as you, on your campus, in your town, and across the country. The first semester at a new college brings more challenges and adjustments than you’ve probably ever experienced, but that’s no reason to lose hope. With each new semester, there are new experiences that allow you to meet people. It might seem intimidating to sign up for something alone, but showing up alone gives you an excuse to mingle and talk to new people. It might seem like your being a bother by talking to the person sitting next to you on your first day of class, but you never know if they could be your new best friend. Exchange names, numbers, snapchats, Instagram usernames, you name it. Just make sure you keep up with staying in contact. You can’t make friends if you don’t try.

Next time you see someone that you want to hang out with’s name pop up on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, slide into their DM’s in the most platonic way possible and set up a lunch date or a study session. The more interactions you have with someone, the stronger your friendship grows. Don’t be ashamed if you haven’t found your person yet, i’m in the same boat as you. Just challenge yourself to be more outgoing in the upcoming semester. It’s going to be difficult for me too, but we are all in this together.

xoxo,

What I Learned After A Month Without Makeup

Originally posted on December 6th, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

Like most middle school girls, I began experimenting with makeup at a young age. Always eager to grow up, it provided me with the illusion that I was a grown up. At such a young age, I became dependent on painting my face to create a mask of pseudo beauty. Since the age of twelve, I have refused to leave my house without the bare minimum of makeup in fear that someone would see my fresh face. I became self-conscious without my mascara and perfectly winged eyeliner and spent the past six years of my life hiding behind the safety of makeup. I admired those who could balance both and change it up depending on if they felt lazy or not; but even on my worst days, I made sure to get up in order to do my hair and makeup because god forbid I am seen for who I truly am.

Yet this all changed starting a month ago. As we entered the month of November, I challenged myself to go the whole month without an ounce of makeup. Yet cutting it out of routine completely was slightly too extreme for me. So I decided to cut it out of my routine for a majority of the month, with the exception of four days scattered throughout, to see if I could do it.

I figured I’d keep it up for couple of days before babying out and going back to normal, yet I decided to try it anyway. It was a strange feeling to wake up in the morning and greatly modify my routine that I have been using for a third of my life. Looking in the mirror, I saw someone I didn’t recognize. My freckled were visible, my eyelashes were stubby, and the dark circles stood out under my eyes. I wasn’t comfortable with the sight, but refused to let myself get worked up about it. As I went on with my day as usual, I felt the need to apologize to everyone I came across for looking dead. To my surprise, most people didn’t notice, and those who did complimented my fresh faced look.

The first week was the hardest because I wasn’t used to walking past mirrors and not recognizing myself. I didn’t feel as self-conscious as I thought I would until I opened my Snapchat camera and immediately tried to hide my face with a filter. But, the positives outweighed the negatives. As the month went on, I felt my skin clearing up. I was able to shave 45 minutes out of my morning routine which allowed me to get more sleep. I was able to rub my eyes without fear of ruining my eyeliner. I stopped curling and straightening my hair everyday and fell in love with the way my natural hair looked. Sure I was self-conscious at first, but I learned to love myself more in a natural state which really boosted my self-esteem.

On the few occasions that I actually did wear makeup, it felt foreign to me. I used the same routine that I had in the past, yet I felt like I had caked on too much. After seeing nothing but my fresh face for weeks on end, it felt strange to be all done up and I felt like I was overdoing it even though it was the look I had always done in the past. My friends were supportive of me and although I wasn’t always comfortable in my skin, this taught me that looks aren’t everything.

In this month I learned that looks aren’t everything, and although I have always been invested in my appearance, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I clearly didn’t have faith in my looks. After not wearing makeup or obsessing over my hair for a month, I became much more accepting of myself, and others who choose not to wear makeup. I am relieved to be able to wear mascara again, but I no longer feel dependant on wearing a full face of makeup.

It is a nice feeling to finally be comfortable with my natural look, but I won’t continue doing it everyday of my life. I love experimenting with makeup and trying new looks, and I did miss out on that for the past month, but I am so glad that I did. I learned to love myself, which is the most important thing to do.

I highly recommend anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable to step out of their comfort zone and try this. You don’t have to jump in head first like I did, but try it for even a day or a week and you’ll be amazed by the results.

I love wearing makeup, and now I love that I have the courage to go out without anything on my face.

An Apathetic Millennial’s View on the Election

Originally posted on November 9th, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

I’m notoriously known by my close friends and family as one who just goes with the flow. It’s not that I don’t care about anything, because I do, it’s just that I don’t normally know enough about things to take a stand. When it comes to politics, I am probably one of the lesser educated citizens on how the system works, but I do understand basic common sense.

It’s not a surprise to anyone that Trump’s upset last night has taken the nation by storm. And I, like many of you reading this and millions of people across the nation, have had my world turned upside down. Throughout the election season, I watched all the debates and kept up to date with the news. I saw the numbers and I knew how it went back and forth between the two candidates, but I never actually could put myself in a scenario where Trump was president. Yes it was a realistic possibiltiy, yet my brain couldn’t wrap itself around the idea.

His campaign always seemed like a joke to me. Not in a funny way but in a “yeah he’s running but realistically Hillary is going to win” type of way. And because I automatically assumed he would lose, I never read into deep about his policies and the impact they would have on the country.

I am a college student right now. A young woman at a point in her life where every adult concept matters. I used to be adamant about not labeling myself as a feminist, but here I am, sitting here distraught about the fact that I may soon lose basic freedoms that I took for granted. I am a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and the progress that it has made in the past years is unbelievable. And now I’m in disbelief that I may soon watch it all slip out from under us. I am an American citizen who now cares and is ready to take a stand for what I believe in. I didn’t care about politics or making any ground-breaking movements. But that was before we elected an inexperienced white male to run our country because we are based on white supremacy.

All of a sudden, I now care. This is a new feeling for me, but I’m determined to make a difference in some way. The next two years with full republican control will be a change Americans will have to adjust to, but if we let our voice be heard, we too can make changes in this country.

No one should be scared to live in a place we call home.

xoxo,

 

Shaming the Rice Purity Test

Originally posted on November 5th, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, the Rice Purity Test has been taking the world by storm. Recently, students at Rice University put out a survey (you can find it here), that told participants how “pure” they were. This rating was based off of a 100 question checklist in which people would mark what they have and haven’t experienced. At the end, the score is tallied up, and you receive a number 0-100. The lower the number, the less pure you are. Simple concept, confusing results. The website reminds its users that it is not to be considered a bucket list, and that completion of all items on the list could “result in death.”

All in good fun, the statements range from the innocent, “Held hands romantically?” to the extreme “Engaged in bestiality?” (hey, no judgement). Because of the variety of the questions, scores range largely throughout results. Although some people use this to determine one’s “kinkiness,” the original purpose was that it was created to track one’s maturation during their first year at college.

It recently has sparked conversation nationwide between college aged kids and younger, and people have already found ways to shame people for their results. Due to the private nature of the test, most answers see not designed to be seen by others, yet when numbers don’t match up, they are usually followed by further interrogation.

And here’s why it’s wrong. Not only is it an inaccurate reading of experience, but it is downright wrong to assign someone a number and judge them based off of it. In this day and age, people are shamed for everything under the sun. One thing that is often a large deal for young adults our age is experience. Yet this test brings it to a new level.

After taking this with a group of friends, it came to my attention that this became a tense moment that felt like a competition between us. After finding our our results, we decided that they were not an accurate representation of us as people, and no one cares how much you have done in life.

It created a degrading sense of inequality, and just another excuse for people to bully each other for no apparent reason. The questions, although worded professionally, surround the topic of purity in order to create some type of label for it’s users.

Everyone has different experiences, and some are meant to stay private. It might seem fun to take a quiz to see how you rank, but keep in mind that the number reflects things that aren’t meant to be advertised.

Next time you take a quiz online, remember that you are more than what your answer says you are. No one can ever tell you more about yourself than you. Pure or un-pure, a score of 0 or 100, it doesn’t matter. You are who you are and no survey can judge you for your actions.xoxo,

A Letter to my Freshman Year Dorm Room

When I first stepped foot inside of these four walls that I’d be spending the following eight months in, i never knew the power that a room could hold. I opened the door for the first time, my name decorated brightly on the outside of it. I walked in, and looked around at the blank canvas made up of cinder blocks and neutral carpeting. I began to unpack and in that instant, I began creating memories.

Upon our first encounter, I never knew that you would hold my life in place for a year. You weren’t just a room; you were a home. You became my safe place to hide in when nothing seemed to go right. You became the destination in which my creativity burst in. You became my best friend as all my secrets were held in your four walls. You became more than just a room; you became a part of me.

I turned to you during my sleepless nights to help ease my stress. You were there for me to cry to when things weren’t going my way. You let me take my anger out on you when I threw pillows around and smacked the wall. You supported me through the tough times.

You endured my wild side as I covered you with glitter. You put up with the half-finished puzzles strewn across my floor. You didn’t get upset when I covered you in clothes when I was behind on laundry. You let me eat and drink, and spill food, without second thought. You binged all my favorite shows right alongside me.

You let me dress you up in photos and ticket stubs. I clothed you with movie posters and inspirational quotes. We made each other beautiful.

You embraced me during the most exciting times of my life. You were there when I got accepted into my dream job. You were there when he asked me to be his girlfriend. You were there when I made countless memories that will be cherished forever.

You created a temporary home for me that I’m not willing to give up.

Soon, you will give me your blessing to pack up and leave you as we both move on to bigger and better things. It saddens me that after I leave, I’ll never be able to step foot in this room again. Gone will be the four walls that house some of the most special moments a girl could have, but forever will be the memories that live on inside my heart.

I’m going to miss those cinder block walls and squeaky furniture. I’m going to miss the fluorescent ceiling lights. I’m going to miss those damn blinds that rattle any time air passes by them. Most importantly, I’m going to miss my freshman year best friend.

Thank you for giving me the world.

xoxo,

Status: Happily Inexperienced

Originally Posted September 21, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

A few weeks ago, millions of adolescents packed up their childhoods, drove hundreds of miles, and started fresh in a new place for four small payments of $30,000!! It’s thrilling, exciting, and nerve-wracking all at the same time and thinking about it ties my stomach in knots. No one knows who you are or what your story is, yet labeling yourself as anything too early is social suicide. But what do I know? I’ve never gone through this before, and a couple of weeks ago, I too became one of these lost teenagers trying to figure out my life. There are a lot of reasons to be excited, and trust me, the good outweigh the bad. But here’s why my nerves are slowly eating away at my insides:

Teen culture in America has always revolved around the same thing. Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. So far I’m one for three, and succeeding in keeping my track record low in the “Life experiences” column. I must clearly be a failed teenager with only having experience in the Rock n’ Roll category, but I wouldn’t trade my long nights of concerts for long nights of getting plastered if you gave me a million dollars. (Okay maybe for a million but…) If that’s the only wild thing I’ve achieved in the past 18 years of my life, I say I’m doing pretty well, (although the general public might disagree.)

Underage drinking, getting high, and hooking up with any living breathing *consensual* human being has always been the “cool” thing to do. Why? I still haven’t figured it out. I’ve spent the past two years thinking that maybe I’d finally understand before graduation, but the only thing I realized is that I’m extremely lucky that I can stay sober and have just as much, if not more fun than those risking it all for a “good time.” My senior year consisted of me freaking out about college. But wow who’s didn’t? The applications, scholarships, and decisions were hard enough as it is, but on top of that I had the added fear of what people would think of me, an innocent 18 year old who has never done anything remotely off the grid.

In my head I pictured walking in on the first day with a giant red “V” plastered on my forehead Rocky Horror Picture Show style. Everyone would know I was a virgin. But not any old average virgin, a Life Virgin. Never been drunk, never done drugs, never had sex. And immediately I would be judged, called innocent, and loose any street cred I thought I had. But hey at least I make my parents proud. 🙂

These thoughts consumed my mind this past year and I did everything in my power to change myself. But the fact of the matter is that I just didn’t want to be changed. Somewhere in my subconscious mind, my good conscience must have been waiting eagerly to give me advice, because anytime I came remotely close to doing something edgy, I stopped myself. Yet this lead me to even more stress about college.

Everyone knows college is for partying and I didn’t know my limits yet. Two thirds of kids my age have been doing this stuff throughout high school and know how to play the game. I instead chose to ~follow the law~ and now I’m considered the minority. The “V” on my forehead shined brighter as we get closer and closer to move in weekend and here I am still sober as ever. And here’s why it’s okay. I discovered that I don’t want to be like every other kid in the world. I don’t need substances to help me make bad decisions, I make plenty of stupid choices on my own. I know that going into college with no experience with anything is dangerous.

I am worried about that, but I also know that I am the way I am because this is how I want to be in the future. I don’t want to get trashed every night. I don’t want to have meaningless hookups with people who treat me like an object. I want to make a future for myself and I want to be able to have fun without the aid of drugs. I have been able to succeed my entire life with these standards and I’m not quitting now.

I’m proud to be a Life Virgin. Although I don’t plan on parading around and announcing it to the world, I want others in my place to feel the same way too.

Don’t be ashamed that you chose to make good decisions. Nobody cares if you like to drink or not. Nobody cares if you’re 18 and still haven’t had sex. Nobody cares if you want to live your life differently. And if they do care, tell them to f*ck off.

The college experience is a scary one, but it’s going to be the best four years of your life. Every decision you make is what you make of it so be smart and think for yourself. You are strong. You are independent. You are beautiful.

Now go out there and show your campus who’s boss and don’t sweat the small stuff. You’re going to be successful af because you’re perfect just the way you are. ❤

xoxo,