Wrap Up

At the beginning of this semester, I had no idea what to expect. My first college experience wasn’t the best, considering I had no friends and failed pretty much all my classes. While I knew this semester would be different, I had no idea how. I honestly had no idea how well this semester would go while I struggled with some classes, specifically my English class which loved to pile on the homework, I didn’t think emotionally it’d be so easy. My first semester of college was filled with anxiety and depression, caused by many factors, but being in college was one of them. At sixteen, I couldn’t drive, had a terrible schedule, and no friends to spend time with on my hour to two hour long breaks. I dreaded going to class and I found any excuse to miss. This semester those side effects seemed to be minimal. I can’t decide if it was due to the fact that I had a better class schedule or had friends on campus with me or if I’ve just matured as a person. Probably a combination of the three.

It took a semester of college for me to figure out how much I’ve grown as a person, sometimes it takes a do-over and you handling a situation differently for you to realize how far you’ve come. I would never have imagined coming this far in my life this fast. People tell you things get better, and they do. Even though things aren’t perfect, I still struggle and still have some of the same bad habits. Like doing all my homework the night before, like I currently am, but things are still better like they promised. Which I know this whole thing makes me sound very cliche but if I had read this way back, my first time around in college it may have helped. Not that anyone will be in my same situation, but if they are it could help.

WC: 329

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Five reasons the “cool kids” were wrong about reading being uncool

I have no idea what it’s like to grow up not being a reader, having a mom that’s an English teacher really causes an emphasis on reading in the home. Even my dad, who was a math major, read books to my brother and me growing up. Maybe because I grew up this way I will always think reading is a cool thing to do, however most people don’t. All throughout my years of schooling I was told by the “cool kids” or jocks that reading was something nerds did, even being in honors classes students had that mindset. Let me tell you why they are wrong.

  1. Reading increases your vocabulary.

Without having to study lists and lists of words you can easily increase your mental word bank. You can read a book that actually interests you and while you’re enjoying the story you’re subconsciously adding new words to your memory. You can sound smarter without studying and while doing something you enjoy.

  1. Reading provides an escape from day to day life.

Reading a book can allow you to immerse yourself in a story that is unlike the life you currently live. You can use a story to remove you from your daily life. Like a watching a movie, a book can give you a different story other than your day to day life that you can focus on.

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The different covers of Harry Potter
  1. Reading helps you relax

As previously stated books give you a different story from your daily life, allowing to distract from the stressful things going on in your life. While you’re focusing on the main character’s ailments yours seem to fade away. Whenever I have something stressful going on in my life, I’ll just sit down and read a book and let it take me away.

  1. Reading brings people closer together

Book series, even the less popular ones usually have a fan base, because of this you can connect with the other fans of the series. Another way books can help connect people is through book clubs which you can form with your friends or you can find one in your area of people you don’t know. Either way, they are great ways to bring people together.

  1. Reading allows you to step into someone else’s shoes

Without having to pay an expensive traveling bill you can experience what it’s like to visit London or Paris. You can see what it’s like to live in a different time period or even a different universe. Books written about a different world or universe can allow you to see and experience things that you never would have thought possible without running up a large bill.

I included a picture of Harry Potter, why? Yes it is my favorite series, I’ve seen all the movies and read the books. However the first time I read the books, I didn’t read them, my dad read them to me because I was too young. I grew up looking forward to spending time with my family via reading. I was raised on stories of the boy who lived, and now with my parents divorced and my dad having moved away, I can reread or even just think about the good times we had around Harry Potter. Not only did Harry Potter unite my family when I was younger, but it also brought me closer to my best friend at the time who also loved Harry Potter. It has a way of bringing fans together and with things like Pottermore the fans can keep the magic alive. This is just one example of why reading is so cool, among the others that I stated.

 

 

Dream Big

When you’re eighteen years old you’re supposed to know what you’re going to want to do for the rest of your life. Well they say 18, because that’s when you start college, but really you should know around 16 or 17 because that’s when you’ll be picking which colleges to apply to and filling out applications. Let’s be honest, you’re really supposed to know what you want to do from the moment you’re born. When you’re little you’re asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While no one explicitly says it’s not okay to know what you want to do at that age, you also don’t want to be the one kid that doesn’t have anything to dress up for on career day. Oddly enough we expect kids to have big dreams, like rock star oor president and laugh when they already want to be something serious like a lawyer. Then once you’re older, if you tell someone you want to be a rock star they hit you with the “What’s your back up plan?” So you’re telling me I’ve wasted my whole childhood dreaming about a future that can’t happen?

When I was younger I wanted to be a vet, that’s one of the popular ones that kids choose. It was also a career path that I was encouraged to pursue, probably because it was realistic. However despite my encouragement at a young age in high school people began discouraging vet school as well telling me “Getting into vet school is very hard, I hope you have a back up plan.” and “It’s very expensive are you sure you can do it?” and even, “Are you sure you’re going to be a good vet?” While I was met with opposition  for my seemingly attainable career, I can’t imagine the negativity people who had bigger dreams faced. While I realized wanting to be a vet wasn’t for me, it wasn’t because of the struggles people thought I’d face, I just realized I had other interests in other fields I’d enjoy more. I just think it stinks for people who have big dreams that are attainable to them, but they don’t try because they’ve never had real encouragement.

Word Count:370

 

Community II

My friends and I have formed out own community. At the very center, there is me, Hannah, Alex, Coleman, and Dustin. Alex, Coleman, Dustin, and me grew up together, I’ve known the three of them since I was 5.  Then Hannah joined us around the tie of our senior year of high school. On top of us we have brought many other people in as well. Alex has included his girlfriend Destiny by having her live with them. Their roommate Christian has been added to our community because he moved in with them as well. On top of Christian is his younger brother Jameson, however he got added to the group not through Christian but by being Coleman’s friend first.

Then there’s also Arric, who we’ve all known since grade school, and Summer, his girlfriend, who don’t spend as much time with everyone but are close with Coleman and Alex and therefor are also in our small community. One of my good friends Amy has also been added to our community recently due to the fact that she’s reconnecting with us all from when we were in middle school.

Honestly,  if I went back in time to my high school self, maybe around sophomore or junior year, when I felt my loneliest, and told me that I’d have such a large group of people I associate with, I’d think you were crazy. Not that these are my only friends, but they are the ones that feel closest to family to me. I spend most of my time with them and they are who I go to when I need something positive in my life. When I’m with them, even though we’ve all found our ways into the group through various ways and people, I feel like I’m a part of a community.

Word Count: 301

Small Town “Community”

Growing up in a small town you might think that there would be a strong sense of community. No, not for me anyways. Especially in an environment like high school the social system created by a small town makes it more difficult to feel a sense of community than to not. While I may have known more than 75% of my graduating class I had a small group of friends that grew and shrank as high school progressed. The thing is, when everyone knows who everyone is then everyone also knows about you. Things that are true and not are spoken and not forgotten. There’s no chance to move on to new friends or a new beginning because there’s no one else to move on to, or the few that you can will also alienate you because it’s what everyone else is doing.

I guess you get a sense of community when you know most of the people around you AND their parents. However you can know the people around you and not feel welcomed, depleting any sense of community that had been established.

It’s not all bad though, because you may have grown up with the people around you there’s a chance they could be loyal to you through thick and thin. Not always, as I lost my “best-friend” in ninth grade to the black hole of judgement and exclusion based on assumptions and rumors. Then there are the few that you can always count on, and I’m not sure you can call three people a community, but when we get together it creates the illusion of community. I have three friends that I have been consistently close with since kindergarten, I even went to prom with one and had the greatest time. Perhaps it’s because they are guys that it is more difficult to suck them into the evil of the small town gossip mill.

In addition to my three loyal guys I’ve got my best friend who I found among the turmoil of high school. She’s seamlessly fit into my group and made it better to not be the only girl. However we’ve had other people join our group, but they come and go. Although I think we can count on keeping our most recent addition. Us four, now five, stay together and in that sense we’ve created our own community. In the middle of a small town where community seems to be a given, but in reality is actually earned and stolen faster than you can blink, I have found an even smaller better community.

Word count: 430

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Extended Family

My family tree on my moms side is slightly messed up in the way that I call my cousins aunt and uncle because they’re so much older than me. My mom and her sister, my real aunt, are 13 years apart. Her oldest of three daughters, my cousin, is closer to my mom’s age than mine, and on top of that her three children are also older than me. My aunt’s second daughter has three children, the oldest of which is 5 years younger than me. I’m the awkward cousin with no one my age, except I’m not really the cousin, I’m the second cousin. On top of the extreme gap between my mom and her sister she waited until later in life to have children, which is another reason things are all mixed up.

Unfortunately all of them live in Texas so we only see them once a year and for a short time. We used to take trips to Disney about twice a year but with everyone getting older the idea of Disney sort of lost it’s magic. Now the youngest three are the only ones left that really want to go to Disney so when they come my mom and I don’t even pay for park passes and we just spend time with them at the hotel. It’s still worth it just to be able to spend some time with my cousins.

My dad’s side of the family is much easier to follow, sort of. My dad’s brother doesn’t have children so that keeps it nice and simple. However if you really want to get into the extended extended version of my dad’s family there’s more than I can count, name or think of. Every three years they have a huge family reunion, organized by the oldest women of the family, referred to as the aunts. There’s so many that they rent out an entire condo complex by the beach and I swear I never recognize anyone. Most of them keep in touch, I get a birthday card once a year from some of them. Which is fair since I don’t even know how I’m related to most of them. However I am one of the only ones in the family left with the original Sir name, even though I won’t be carrying it on. I guess it’s just a family tradition to have girls. I think my brother and two other cousins, who’s names I don’t even know, will be the only ones to carry on the name.

I may not be close with many of my extended family, but they are still family and in my experience, on either side of the family, if I ever needed something I wouldn’t be alone.

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Family?

One of my good friends likes to frequently, drunkenly, say “I’ve got family that aint blood and blood that aint family.” I think we can all relate to that. You’ve got that one family friend you refer to as “aunt” or “uncle” or you even have a best friend that you consider to be family. Which to me is rare, just because I don’t really enjoy getting that close to people, self protection and what not.

My family that is blood: My divorced parents, mom and dad, and then also my brother.

Family that is not blood: My best friend Hannah.

Currently I live at home with my mom and unfortunately my 22 year old brother. He’s not the easiest to live with, although I guess most siblings aren’t. We just moved out of our “family” home that my mom and dad built over 20 years ago when they got married. Somewhere small, where we’re all smushed together.  Not the ideal living situation for someone who just wants to be on their own. Recently I’ve spent more time out of the house than in the house. Usually with Hannah. Or if I am home, Hannah is probably there or going to be there. I spend zero time with my dad, considering he moved to the keys this past summer, even though we keep in touch. This begs the question who’s my family?

I spend most of my time with Hannah and am closer to her than anyone else. However I grew up with and live with my mom and brother. While I know they are of course real family, but if we counted family as the people you spend most of your time with and are closest with then do they even count? Especially since this summer I’ll be moving out to live with Hannah full time, two hours away from where I currently live. And on another note, do you count your animals as family? I do.

Wordcount: 327