Summer is a time for people to be outside swimming or playing sports, but not everyone likes these activities. Some people like to stay indoors with the air conditioning. They can’t be bothered to go outside. They like the indoors where they can watch Youtube videos or Netflix. Maybe they read. Either way, working out isn’t a priority. They don’t want to do it. They just want to laze around and relax, or maybe they don’t think they have time. There are easy things to do to stay in shape and continue whatever they want to do instead.
If working out isn’t your thing then start off small and add the amount you’re comfortable with as you go.
Planning doesn’t always guarantee your preparedness, as you never know what the future holds. However, your ability to adapt and stay positive can guarantee your success. Sometimes undesirable things happen, but we must learn to use our negative feelings to push us forward, and never let them hold us back.
I didn’t know I’d be meeting my best friend
Every summer, I am fortunate enough to attend some sort of camp. A few years ago, I went to medical science camp at my dream high school. South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Math, a residential high school I have been daydreaming about for years. I was obviously so excited, but I was also nervous. This was to be expected, as I didn’t know anyone going into it.
On the first day, I was trying to meet people and make friends, but it seemed as if everyone had already created their groups. Then I heard someone say “hey, you are welcome to come over here with us! I’m Sriya by the way.”, and that was it. She introduced herself and opened her arms to me. I immediately felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders and a light surrounded me. She had the most beautiful and welcoming energy that radiated to everyone.
Something between us just clicked. We instantly felt comfortable with each other, so we decided to be roommates the next week we were at camp. During our second week, we were in different classes, so we looked forward to the evening when we could discuss our days. That week was filled with conversations, both silly and serious….and plenty of Harry Styles sing alongs. We started to talk about our futures. We both knew we were going to apply to the residential program. We knew it would be extremely challenging, but we could get through anything together. About halfway through our residential application process, Sriya found out that her family is moving.
Okay, not a big deal. We will be away at school and she will just go home to a different city. They won’t be that far away, right? Wrong.
Pursuing our dream… solo
A few months later, I got a call from the president of the school congratulating me on my acceptance! It was one of the most exciting days of my life! After I finished my crying tears of joy and shock, Sriya was the first person I wanted to call. Then it hit me. My best friend, the first one I always turn to, is moving 8635 miles away. We live in different cities, but I can get in the car for about an hour and be at her front door. That obviously isn’t going to work anymore.
How am I supposed to do it? How am I going to live our dream without her by my side? I felt guilty. I felt guilty about being excited. I felt guilty about being selfish. Why do I get this and she doesn’t? I don’t deserve this. Can I do this? How can I go back to Governor’s School all alone, knowing that there will never be someone like Sriya waiting with open arms?
Eventually, after a wake-up call from my best friend, I realized a few things: I did this on my own. I got in on my own, with the support from her. Sriya will never leave my side. She will always be there, even if she’s thousands of miles away, she will always be there. She’ll still be the first one I turn to, the last one I tell goodnight, and the one I always express my love for.
I can do this. I have to do this. I will go away to Governor’s School and I will be successful. I am doing this for us. I will use the distance as motivation to be the best I can be.
Plans change, but that just means doing things differently
Everyone knows that things don’t always go as planned, but the only thing we can do is make new plans. Whether your best friend is moving across the world, or you just had a bad day, it will all be okay. There is always a way to modify your situation, or just your attitude, for improvement. It is going to be hard, and it might seem inconvenient and unfortunate at first, but distance, or any other factors, cannot destroy things that are meant to be.
To my Sriya-
Thank you for everything – for welcoming me, for being my best friend. I love you more than words can describe, my angel. Please remember that I am always right beside you, even if we are on different continents. You will always be my rock, my #1, and the love of my life. When I held you in my arms for the last time (for now!), my heart broke. My heart broke, so I could give you a piece to take with you. I’ll come see you soon. Pinky promise.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it” –Aristotle
From technological advances and scientific discoveries to controversial politics and social progress– we are witnessing history in the making. The significant increase in social media and other platforms in the past 15 years allow us to access sources and opinions from people of all backgrounds. However, I have noticed a problem within the fibers of our media-centered country:
I think people have forgotten what an opinion is and why we, as citizens of a democracy, are entitled to have one.
An opinion is a view formed about something that does not necessarily have to be based on fact or knowledge. However, in today’s society, we need to focus more on supporting our opinions with facts as well as respecting those who have different perspectives than we do. People typically formulate opinions and ideas based on their own backgrounds and views. Therefore, we tend to forget that our own lives are different from others. Opinions are typically relative to one’s own socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, and the people surrounding them.
Your opinion is subject to change based on your values and experiences. So, you should learn how to properly create your own opinions at a young age in order to remain well-informed in a nation that appears to be unable to agree on anything.
How to Create Your Well-Informed Opinion: Do the Research!
The first step you should take in order to categorize your primary attitude towards politics is to figure out where you lie within the political spectrum.
Here’s a Crash Course that explains what Political Ideology is and what your’s may be:
Second, it is necessary to research all aspects of the political spectrum as well as other religions in order to fully understand other people’s values and beliefs. Being ignorant only creates more bias. Over time, bias can turn into hate. It is okay to disagree with one another. But, it is better to have at least a foundational knowledge of many cultures, religions and political labels in order to be able to create your own ideas.
Having a calm and well-informed conversation with those who disagree with you is much more productive than name-calling and assuming they are “wrong.” These discussions will enable you to either further solidify your own beliefs, or, at the very least, begin understanding others’ perspectives.
A part of being a mature and fair individual is respecting the beliefs and values of others, even if some people embody everything that you disagree with.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between expressing a well-formed opinion and being hateful. Constructing and maintaining one’s own morals is crucial and should be encouraged in our society as long as it does not lead to intentional violence or harm to one another.
I’m here to remind you that it is okay to think differently. You are not always going to agree with your best friends, family, or your significant other. Do not succumb to the influence of others just because you want to satisfy them. Your opinion has value. But, so do those of the people around you. And don’t you forget it, because society seemingly has already.
June 28, 2019, marks the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The name might sound familiar, but not too many people know many of the details of the Stonewall Riots. It isn’t taught in history class, although it was a major social disruption with historical significance, and most people don’t bring it up in their daily conversations.
Up until the 1960s, American society was extremely strict, cookie-cutter, and patriarchal. In the 1960s, there was a strong reverse in that trend. The decade birthed many counter culture movements such as the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the further advancements of women’s rights, and the Stonewall Riots.
The riots stemmed from a police raid of a gay bar in Greenwich Village in NYC. The raid quickly got out of hand, and fights between bar attenders and plainclothes policemen soon broke out. People gathered outside the bar and watched. Those in the “audience” of Stonewall soon began to cry out cheers of “Gay Power”, and a mood of liberation and fighting back quickly struck the bystanders.
After the Stonewall raid, the next day there were protests in the Village for gay rights and acceptance. For weeks riots and protests went on to call for LGBT acceptance and rights.
Stonewall is known for the advancements of the LGBT rights. It was the major first step in drawing attention to the issue and led to many social and political reforms that led to the continuing acceptance of LGBT people today.
Oftentimes I hear that children are vulnerable to influence, but that isn’t necessarily true. Adults can be just as easily influenced, but like to think they aren’t. Children are usually more open-minded than adults. This causes them to be more easy going and more likely to go with the flow. However, anyone can be influential, regardless of age. Everyone is influenced, whether they realize or not, by the people around them. It’s natural. Some people are influenced negatively and pressured into doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Others are influenced positively, and stop doing things that they normally do that could be harmful. Others are influenced to do anything, just so they can fit in. Regardless of others’ age or reputation, they still have the ability to influence you both positively and negatively.
The People that Influence Me
I attribute most of my positive traits to the people I spend the most time with, who lead through demonstration. Within my family, there are a few women who I am most thankful for. First, my Mom showed me how to be strong, independent, and generous. Secondly, my Nana taught me to make my voice heard, be sassy, and confident. My Aunt Glenna showed me how to be kind, patient, altruistic, and loving.
I spent the majority of my childhood with my gymnastics coach, Mrs. Ashley, who is my family. She taught me many useful lessons in life, like to always be the best I can be, but always work harder. Not to accept defeat, ever. I will sometimes fail, and that’s okay, but failure is supposed to be used as motivation to conquer whatever obstacle is holding you back. My school teachers taught me about their specific subjects, and also how to be successful and helpful.
Influence can come from anywhere
My younger cousin, Hope, reminds me simply just to be happy. Each of my friends taught me something about relationships. Some friendships showed me that people can be dishonest, others just change over time and you grow apart. The best friendships are the ones where you learn something every day, usually just how to love and be accepting. Each experience and person we encounter makes an impression on our lives, but we choose how it impacts us and how we can help others. All of these women created the person I am today, without even realizing it. I hope I can make a fraction of the positive impact they had on me, on someone else.
Initially, I thought influence typically comes from someone who is older, wiser, and more experienced. While that can be true, it also works the other way around. Some might think that discussing the power of your personal influence is conceited, but it really isn’t. Each person has the ability to interact and change people’s lives, so it is important to be positive. I strive to use what I have been taught and help others, even if it’s just through being myself.
I think it’s safe to say that age doesn’t necessarily determine how much of an impact you have on someone. The age of role models is irrelevant, it is their qualities, and the content of their character that is significant.
The girls I’ve met through Miss Alabama and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen organization have become some of my dearest friends. I just competed for the title of Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen. Although I did not walk away with the pageant title, I had the best weekend of my life, and I got to witness one of my dearest friends getting crowned. The weekend layout is super busy, but it’s a good busy. The phases of competition include a private interview, fitness, talent, evening gown, and an onstage question.
Months before competition begins all of the girls involved meet at orientation. It was such a daunting day for me, being my first orientation. Everyone I met the day of orientation was so nice and understanding. Everyone arrives in shifts. First, you turn in all of the paperwork and then you head back to get headshots taken for the judges’ books. After you get your headshot taken you get sized for your fitness outfit. After you get done with all of that, then you wait for the meeting to get started. During the meeting, we draw which number we will compete with and the director goes over the rules.
Two months later we check in the Friday night before the pageant. Friday night is such a crazy night! Over half of the girls interview on Friday night, then the last few interview on Saturday morning. Also Friday night you practice your talent, run through fitness, and you learn the opening and closing numbers. I interviewed on Saturday morning, which in retrospect was a good idea for me. At orientation, everyone picked their spots, and when picking their spots they found out when they competed. I liked the order I competed and I think it was best suited for me.
On Saturday, all of the girls competed in the preliminary competitions, and then on Sunday, we found out who the top 20 were. Although my name was not called for the top 20, I still had the best weekend. No matter win or lose, rain or shine, the girls I competed with on the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen stage will forever be my dearest friends. The directors and volunteers at the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen pageant are some of the absolute best people I’ve ever met. They work so hard to make sure that everything goes off almost perfectly, and they are some of the most hardworking people ever. I am so thankful that I got to work with them at the pageant. To say that the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen organization shaped me into who I am today is an understatement. When I think back to the past year, I am so happy that I got to do it with the best girls ever.