Posted on June 10, 2019
Yesterday my sister graduated high school. I watched her walk across the stage with her honors tassel, get her diploma from our dad (the School Board President) and toss her cap in the air with the rest of her small class. It was weird thinking that she’s grown up now. Just two years ago, I was the one graduating and she was still learning how to be a student, not an adult.
It really had me reflecting on what all has happened to me in the past two years since I received my diploma. I’ve learned a lot in those two short years and it has shaped me into a completely different person. So what has happened?
I wrote about this before, but I worked for the Boys and Girls Club Association in my hometown. I got to work with kids, which I absolutely love. Teaching them and showing them that not everyone is a bad guy was amazing. Being a role model to kids who not always had the best home lives is rewarding in and of itself, but getting paid to do it made it even better. I met so many different people who loved helping children and it was inspiring. At the time, I was an early childhood education major so it was a great experience for me.
Damn right I did. Five months later and I was out of that hell hole. To this day, I miss my little kiddos that never failed to put a smile on my face. But the other employees from top to bottom were not the crowd for me. After a while, I learned that I had to do what was best for myself and I turned in my resignation. I remember telling the kids I was leaving. It was torture. But now I’m out of a toxic workplace and I’m feeling so much better. No job is worth my sanity, dignity, and time.
I fell in love with my best friend almost instantly. We met 10 months before we started dating. I had graduated high school already and he was at the beginning of his senior year. My friends and I supported him at every Friday night football game. We slowly got closer and closer and then we started dating. When we started dating I felt something different about him. You know how kids feel safe whenever they have a certain teddy bear or blanket with them? He’s my teddy bear/blanket. He’s helped me come out of my shell a lot. I’ve been much better with my anxiety since he’s been there to help me. I’ve never met someone so patient and kind. He really is the best boyfriend ever- although I might be a bit biased- and I love him more and more each day.
In the fall after I graduated high school I attended a community college but it just wasn’t for me. I was looking into switching majors and they didn’t have my major, so I made the switch to a bigger university. It was the best decision of my life. I was so much happier. I took a semester off between schools to recalibrate and dedicate more time to that job I mentioned earlier. Once I got to move out on my own and get out of my suffocating hometown, I flourished. I made new friends, learned new things about myself, and got to grow into who I was supposed to be. Being in a big city was super different but with the help of my boyfriend and my new friends, it was manageable.
After a stressful semester and a lot of hard work, I made the Dean’s list in the spring. I surprised myself with that one. I got roughly 28 hours of sleep a week and the only thing keeping me awake most days was coffee. I was constantly studying or planning time to study. It was an endless cycle of stress for me so getting the news that I made the Dean’s list was really rewarding. Now that I’ve found a major that I like, I’m excited to see how it impacts my grades in the future.
After thinking about all the things that went on after graduation, I’ve thought of a lot of advice I would give people in the position I was in two years ago. I know a lot of it is cliche but I genuinely mean every word I say. If even one piece of advice helps one person, all this Hallmark channel bullshit will be worth it.
I did this a lot in high school and once I was out, I realized how much control I really had over my life that I had never known before. When you’re chasing the trends or following the crowds, it’s easy to lose control of yourself without noticing it. Use this time to sit down by yourself and make a loose plan for the future. Don’t let yourself think one time about other people’s plans or interests. Think about where you want to be in five years, ten years, etc. Make it your goal to get there.
Don’t let anything stop you from enjoying these years of your life while they last. Eventually you won’t be able to do these things anymore. The life you live now is what the younger you dreamt of, so you have to make it something he/she would be proud of. The life you’ll live in 10 or 20 plus years will not be like how it is now, I promise you. Make the best of life now so you can look back at it and say you lived it right.
Guilty as charged. But please, whatever you do, don’t dwell on the negatives. Bad things happen to everyone. But the way you recover from them says more about you. Don’t waste your time thinking about the bad things that have happened to you in the past. Spend your time making sure the good things are coming your way. We always remember all the little things that go wrong instead of the little things that go right. We need to fix that.
You have to realize that you won’t be the same person forever. The environment around you will change, your friends and family will change, you will change. Be open to it. Be welcoming to change. I had to teach myself that growing up and achieving my goals required alterations to my life. It was hard at first and I was definitely guarded. With time it got easier and now I cross my fingers every day hoping for more changes because that means I’m one step closer to being the best version of myself.
A county over, a state over, a country over- who cares? Just travel. Meet new people and visit new places. Remind yourself that this world is bigger than your hometown. You could end up anywhere in the future and that’s really helped me open up my eyes. I didn’t go too far from home, but it was just far enough to give me a taste of diversity.
No half-assed love here. If you love someone, prove it. Nobody is required to stay in your life forever. You need to show them what they mean to you. Give them attention, support, and stability. And if you aren’t willing to do that, let them go. Don’t be selfish. Love wholeheartedly or not at all.
If you think you can leave high school and keep being a judgmental prick, you have another thing coming. It’s not cool dude. I was that person who judged every book by its cover. Once I went off to college I got to know people for who they really were- their interests, stories, and personalities. Life outside of high school isn’t cliquey and I don’t think I want that to change. So don’t bring that shit into the real world, please and thank you.
If you missed it, I made a Facebook page! It’s where I’ll be sharing behind the scenes work, life updates, and other fun things you won’t see here! Check it out and drop a like!
Posted on June 3, 2018
Today’s the day! All that hard work and dedication that you’ve applied throughout the years is finally paying off today as you graduate high school! I know that you’re extremely excited, and I am too. This moment is a huge one. Today as you move your tassel from the right to the left, your life will be changing immensely. Walking across the stage will be one of your last moments as a high school student. Then it’s time for the real world. I know you have already “adulted” more than many of your fellow graduates, but there’s much more to come. And I know you’re ready for it.
It’s fairly strange to me when I think about what is actually going to happen only hours from now. You’re leaving the high school as I did the year prior. We will lose our immediate connection to the place that introduced us to each other last year. I know it won’t actually change anything for us, but deep down, it feels like an important mark. We met in that building. We grew to love each other in that building. And now, as the last attending of the duo, you are receiving your diploma and becoming an alumni of that very building. It’s bittersweet, but I’m so ready for us both to head north for our next big adventure- college!
In the past year and five-ish months that we’ve known each other, I’ve watched you excel in so many ways. You’ve gotten straight A’s while working at a steady job, and gotten accepted into the college you wanted. Every smile and excited scream you let out (you know exactly what I’m talking about) got me more stoked to see all the things that you could accomplish in the future. And now with all the things you have gotten done so far, I believe that the sky is the limit for you!
I am very proud of you for working so hard in school (in-between your naps in Mr. Perry’s class). You’re leaving behind a great legacy for yourself. And although high school is already designed to be hard enough on students, you had your fair share of difficult moments this year as well. The way that you managed yourself throughout those times of trouble really tell a lot about your character. You are brilliant, dedicated, and very mature. At this rate, nothing will get in your way.
You’ve not only made it through high school alive, but also done it so outstandingly. You are really inspirational to me and many others. I hope that when you toss your cap today, you truly feel all the hard work that you put forth these past years, and feel proud of yourself for all that you’ve done.
I love you so very much, and I am excited to see what all the future holds for you and your bright mind.
Posted on December 26, 2017
2017 is coming to a close, and judging by the millions of Odyssey articles I’m seeing on my Facebook newsfeed, a lot of us can agree that we took some brutal hits this year. My 2017 was full of bumpy roads- trials and tribulations. But with only a few more days left, I’ve looked back and been utterly thankful for the year that changed me more than I expected it to. I realized that the Meg that is walking out of 2017 is not the same Meg that walked into it. And it’s one of the most beautiful, fearful, and magical things ever. So 2017, this is for you.
I came into 2017 with the intensions of making the year one of my best yet. Ah, “young and naïve” some might say. But don’t we all have that goal when the new year hits?
However, I was not as lucky as I had hoped I’d be. A few months into the new year, I lost a boy that I thought was my world. Looking back at it, I was relishing toxicity. I thank God now for removing me from the position I was in. Although it taught me a lot about myself, I know that I was not meant to remain stagnant in false hope.
Shortly after, I experienced the most stressful event of 2017.
Actually, let’s back up just a little.
I was a senior in high school, and these finals determined whether or not I would graduate. A lot of my fellow classmates weren’t even slightly worried because they had accumulated a grade that would assure their graduation. I, however, did not. Since I spent most of my senior year obsessing over a boy who, as we addressed earlier, was not made for me in the slightest, I did not devote the proper amount of time to my grades. This was especially true about my Advanced Math class.
At the end of the semester, I realized that if I didn’t do extremely well on my final, I would not pass the class and thus not graduate. I studied for weeks and suffered from long sleepless nights. I started doubting myself in every aspect of my life, making myself feel worthless and uneducated. However, I came to class and somehow- BY THE GRACE OF GOD- passed my final with flying colors.
Ok, so graduation. Just thinking about it gives me anxiety to this day.
Growing up, I looked at graduation as the beginning of my adult life. So naturally I was extremely excited for graduation day. The day was already special, but to top it off, my father gave me my diploma. I was overjoyed and proud of everything I had accomplished to have obtained my diploma.
But then, as I was walking out of the high school I spent four chaotic years in, I got a somber feeling. Everything that I grew up around was over. I spent so long sitting next to the same familiar faces and rotating through familiar daily routines. Now it was coming to an end, and the “beginning of my adult life” was officially commencing. Panic took over my thoughts.
“What if I can’t get a steady job?”
“Where am I even going to college?”
“What’s my major?”
“Will I end up living with my parents forever?”
But I eventually got myself on the right path, and I decided that I want to major in Education. Children are so pure and amazing and working with them makes me feel like I am positively impacting someone, which is all I ever want to do.
Summer 2017 is what I like to refer to as the transitioning season. I made a lot of new friends who mean the absolute world to me, and I also lost friends. However, I regret nothing. I was able to mature, grow, and become someone completely new. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The friends that I will take on 2018 with are the best that I could ever ask for. They’ve become my brothers and sisters and I love them whole heartedly.
I was also hired onto a team of amazing people in September. Boys and Girls Club hired me as a part time Youth Development Professional, which is one of the best things I have going on right now. I work in a middle school alongside three AMAZING coworkers who have more or less turned into family. They have been my rock, and always support me. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given through Boys and Girls Club. I get experience with the age group I want to teach, and I’ve gotten to work in so many different schools. The children I work with give me so much inspiration and even directly motivate me to do great things.
I chose to attend community college for the first two years because it would be completely paid for. It was the smartest option for me financially, and it also allowed me to keep in touch with friends and family easily. Fall semester was full of headaches. Well, technically only one class was, but it was such a huge headache that it carried over to my other classes. But I loved every bit of my first semester. It was challenging at times, but it kept me excited to learn new things. After four years of high school where most things felt like review and repetition, college introduced me to hardcore learning. I read my textbooks all the time, took notes any chance I got, and studied my ass off (except for in the headache class. Fuck that class).
By being home, I was able to support my younger sister in marching band in the fall. Even when I was a cheerleader, I was able to sit in the stands at halftime to watch her perform. But it felt different this year. It was awesome getting to watch games in the stands instead of cheering on the sidelines. It was a whole other world to me, which was sometimes upsetting. I missed cheering with my girls. But I still came to every game I could to cheer on my Alma Mater, as well as my best friend. Yeah, so let me introduce some of you to him.
This is Zach, my boyfriend.
He moved to my school in January as a junior, and I absolutely hated him. He seemed to push buttons that I didn’t even know I had. But I eventually grew to love him. He was super funny, even though most of the time I laughed at him rather than with him. We became best friends within a few months, along with some of our Speech classmates. We later deemed ourselves the “Speech Squad.”
After graduation, we drifted apart for a bit. I still supported him as a friend, but we just didn’t communicate as much as we used to. But as football season approached and I remembered he was playing Varsity, I decided to cheer him on alongside some of my best friends. We jokingly made Z-A-C-H shirts that we would occasionally wear to games to be those people. He seemed to enjoy it so we kept it up.
Towards the end of the season, Zach and I had completely reconnected and somehow admitted that we were attracted to each other. It was something I had kept a secret for months. But after admitting it, we both felt like we had stepped in the right direction. Although this decision came with some pretty brutal consequences amongst our friend group, we began dating. Now we are two months in, and I couldn’t be happier. He is definitely my favorite part of 2017, and the number one reason I refuse to spit on the year and all it did for me. I am absolutely in love with him.
Now, to conclude this homage, I would like to address those who despised their year. Whether you had the best or worst year yet, it changed you. It shaped who you are now. And that is something that we all must take into account.
2017, thank you for all you did for me this year.
2018, you’ve got some competition.