When I’m Having A Hard Time, I Write.

This past week has been one of my toughest.

Since starting college I have had my ups and downs. There have been some frustrating times, and there will be many more to come. But this past week I had my first panic attack at school over an hour long phone call with my mom. Now mind you this was in the middle of me studying and trying to forget I had a chemistry test and a calculus test to take on consecutive days. So maybe my complete meltdown had a little bit to do with that but it was mostly about my future. Despite having a relatively easy course registration (unlike most students at UVA, sorry guys) my schedule seemed to backfire on me. And by backfire I mean it induced an absolute mental disaster. While believing that I was about to bomb two very important exams I couldn’t help but think how I was about to bomb my future too. I kept thinking about the schedule I had made for fall semester which would probably be one of the most difficult semesters I will have during my college career. And then I was trapped in a downward spiral of panicking over all of the courses I would have to take before I graduated. Each one harder than the next.

I lost it.

I started doubting whether I even wanted the career path I was choosing and I kept asking myself: “Do you even know what you’re doing?” The answer is of course that I don’t. I’m not supposed to! But that didn’t stop me from calling my mom in a frenzy of tears and desperation. She immediately picks up the phone and the first thing that comes out of my mouth is: “I feel like I’m dying…” And for an hour she endured me wailing about these two tests, my impending doom (I mean my future) and all of the stuff I would have to do to get to said future. I was pushing myself out of control and she somehow had to calm me down. The best thing about my mom is that she has been through the hardest part about college: not knowing exactly what you want to do with your life or thinking you do and then changing your mind. There she was at Longwood thinking she wanted to go to law school and then in the midst of her second year deciding Accounting was the best route for her. This wasn’t exactly an easy switch but she got help and made it work. So she reminded me of this and said: “If I can do that then you can certainly change your mind, you have plenty of time!” And thankfully she also kept reminding me that these two tests were way more important than worrying about things happening in the future. So she told me to take a walk, shower to clear my head, and come back to studying. She also told me that I can only do what I’m capable of on these tests and that even though she wants me to do well, nobody is perfect. So after an hour of hardly being able to catch my breath and going slightly crazy I finally did what she said and got through the week. And this summer will definitely be a time of reflection in order to figure out what I truly want to do with my future. A much better time to think about my career options than the night before two big exams.

Hey I’m only eighteen I still have time to make bad decisions.

Long story short, I am writing this to talk about something extremely important. Mental health is something a lot of people struggle with in this world. I for one have been riddled with social anxiety and anxiety in general that sometimes has led to panic attacks for a while now. It is never easy. But being around supportive people is always helpful and you can never give up on yourself. Getting help when needed is always an option and I know there are so many people around me that are there if I need them.

But unfortunately college is such a stressful environment and only seems to bring on more intense symptoms of my anxiety. Just a few weeks ago I was in the discussion section of my Philosophy course, a class I love and always want to talk about. But being in a room of only fifteen people having to raise my hand and ask questions or discuss our current topics for a participation grade seemed like a complete nightmare. I had been sitting in the fifty minute long discussion course for about thirty minutes already trying to muster up the courage to raise my hand and ask a question I had been waiting to ask. Finally my TA calls on me and I tentatively ask him my question and quietly listen to his answer. As he is speaking to me I can barely write down his words as my heart is beating out of my chest and my hand is shaking uncontrollably. My hand doesn’t stop shaking and my heart doesn’t reduce itself to a normal rate until I have left the room to the solitude of my headphones and an elevator to myself. Now unfortunately these symptoms come along with everyday situations that I have to go through constantly and it will never be easy. But I am certainly not alone in this and plenty of other people are going through the same things.

I encourage everyone reading this to always be sure to take care of their mental health just as much as their physical. It is amazing what our minds can do. There are plenty of medical cases seen by psychiatric professionals where physical symptoms harming a person are manifesting from purely psychological conditions. Our minds are very fragile yet very powerful and we must take care of them. And if anyone is struggling with mental illness you are never alone and not only am I here for you I am sure there are plenty of others around you that you don’t even know could help you. My anxiety does not define who I am and those that know me well know the crazy and fun person I am once I get past that barrier. It is all about working through your problems to get to whatever good is on the other side.

Thankfully the good on the other side of those two exams is a trip to the beach to see my Grandmother. I don’t know about you but that seems like quite the reward to me.

Whatever any of you are going through you can get through it, as my Grandmother told me tonight: “We may have gone through some pretty hard times but we always had fun! And there is always good on the other side.” Get to the good, it will be more than worth it.

The best thing to do is to give yourself things you know that you need. Such as featured at the top of this post is a picture that I have been wanting to take of a house I see every other day on my long walk to class. But I could never bring myself to stop and take a picture as once again, my anxiety strikes and I didn’t want to have people see me take it. But after weeks of contemplation I just did it and I felt so happy afterwords. I know myself well enough to know that very small things make me happy and I need to just give myself those things to keep me going. Such as I hate walking and not looking at the ground because I am so anxious about tripping over something or making eye contact with people I am walking past. But I love looking at the sky especially when it has been so sunny and pleasant outside. So I just give myself those moments and I forget about the people who may be (but probably aren’t) looking at me.

Give yourself what you need. Take care of yourself and your mind. It will make this long journey that much easier.

 

 

Love,

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Let’s Talk About…Basketball?

Okay I know this seems like a completely random subject and couldn’t possibly be important to talk about but I promise it will be worthwhile.

So as of today (April 1st – Happy April Fools Day!) at 8:49 PM tonight the second game in the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament will begin. And why is this so important you ask?

 

Because The University of North Carolina will be playing against The University of Oregon.

 

And much to the dismay of all of my hall mates here at UVA I am of course rooting for UNC to win not only this game but the tournament. It’s fine they will just have to suffer through yet another night of me screaming at the TV and jumping around in our lounge over basketball.

I have been a fan of UNC for as long as I can remember and fortunately enough for me, I have gotten the chance to grow up watching how much a coach can love his players. So when pretty much anyone at this school asks me why I am such a fan of UNC’s basketball team when UVA has such a successful team as well, I tell them something like this (but probably a shorter version). “I’m not quite sure how you can’t see it, maybe you are blinded by school spirit, but Roy Williams is more a father figure to his boys than anything else. He makes sure that they have what they need for life after basketball and turns these boys into men. And I watch their team dynamics and all I see is a group of brothers supporting each other in every way. Players who have graduated come back constantly because they love this school, they love this team, and they love their coach. If that doesn’t tell you why you should always root for UNC then I don’t know what will.”

People at UVA have consistently told me how much they “hate UNC” or “can’t stand them”. And I have yet to ask why even though I am quite curious to hear their answer. I think I don’t ask because no matter what they say it won’t change my mind about this team. Yes I love the school I’m at and enjoy supporting their basketball team but it doesn’t even compare to how much I have grown to love UNC. To me they are two completely separate entities and I shouldn’t even talk about the two at the same time. And I think if the people here at UVA were more open to seeing what truly makes a team great besides talent and skill then they would understand why I love UNC so much.

This past February I went to the UNC vs. UVA basketball game during the regular season. It was quite an enlightening experience. At a school where I believed the students were taught respect, dignity, and honor, I saw something appalling. Sitting one row in front of me were three boys who I thankfully never got the chance to know. And throughout this two and a half hour game they never ceased shouting shrewd and disgusting remarks towards not only the UNC players (as we were seated right behind their bench) but their coach, Roy Williams, as well. It went on so long that in the middle of a fit of anger and annoyance I finally tapped one of them on the shoulder and asked him to stop screaming.

You should have seen his face.

He looked at me as if I was the dumbest person alive and then said to me, “Are you serious?” Of course I was serious! But I just let him keep going because obviously nothing was going to stop them. And after this game had ended a friend of mine told me there was a UVA student who wore a UNC jersey to the game and was sitting in the student section. She also told me that this poor kid was getting slack from just about everyone that could see his light blue colored shirt. You see I wasn’t brave enough to be him, I just wore my UNC t-shirt underneath my disguise of blue and orange. Are college sports so intense that we have to act like we don’t have any sense and discredit the opinions of anyone that doesn’t like UVA as much as UVA students do?

I promised you this post had a point and I am going to keep that promise

I may go to a school filled with over 20,000 UVA fans (except that one guy at the basketball game, bless him) but that doesn’t mean that I can’t keep the same opinions I had before coming here. One of those being that UNC will always be my favorite basketball team. This school has taught me so many wonderful things but to those of you in college and those of you soon starting, remember this: no school is perfect. I have met many people who didn’t embody the honor code that has been established at this school and that saddens me. But I can only worry about how I am living up to that honor and how I represent this school to others. Those boys disappointed (and angered) me in so many ways and this was over something that hardly mattered. I can’t imagine how they would act over something truly important.

I guess what I am trying to say is that no school is going to be everything that you wanted it to be. But there will always be a school where you can find your place to thrive. And when you find that place, never let go of your values. Let it change you for the better but don’t let it change the essence of who you are inside.

I love UNC basketball, and I love UVA, but I will never let one change the other. And tonight I will proudly sit with all of my friends who love UVA and scream at the top of my lungs for Justin Jackson to make every three-pointer he can throw.

 

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My New Home.

I just realized that I have now been at The University of Virginia for approximately twenty weeks yet I have failed to share any of my wonderful and even not so wonderful experiences with this blog. I am trying to convince myself that this is a positive thing considering that just means I’ve been busy or preoccupied with other activities at school. But whatever the reason may be I’d like to change that. This school, in such a short period of time, has become one of the most incredible parts of my life so far and I want to share that with you. But unfortunaetly this post would be a thousand years long if I tried to share everything so I think I will start with one of the most important things I have learned while being here.

In an incredibly competitive environment filled with so many talented and intelligent individuals I have somehow found my perfect crevice to stay in for a while. My lovely home in new dorms (some may call me a lucky one) with my energetic and possibly crazy group of friends who I care for dearly and my schedule of classes filled with lots of science courses (its what I do). I have somehow found this combination of things that keep me happy and that is something I could somehow never achieve in high school. High school was rough in a way that it seems is rough for most people. You think you are happy in this unsatisfied way and then when you leave and discover something better you realize how unhappy you truly were. High school is filled with so many things that you grow up and learn were unimportant to you but seemed so important then. So many things that weigh you down. But when you get to college those weights are lifted. I learned a lot in high school but that was mostly academic; what I didn’t learn in high school was a lot about myself. So far in college I have been given so many opportunities to understand myself more and hopefully better myself through that. This school and the people in it have forced me to see my own flaws and learn how to fix or get passed them. I have finally understood things I was too afraid to face about myself. Mostly my own anxiety in forms of presenting myself to people and social situations, as well as my unhappiness within myself. It has taken me so long to figure out why nothing ever felt quite right; I would have these bursts of extreme joy and then it would be so short-lived and never last long enough. I realized that I was just sad. That nothing could make me happy because I am not happy with myself. But in finishing the nine seasons of the show “One Tree Hill” on Netflix over winter break, I learned that ‘Happiness is a mood. It’s a condition, it’s not a destination. It’s like being tired or hungry – it’s not permanent. It comes and goes and that’s okay. And I think if people thought about it that way, they’d find happiness a lot more often.’ I kept searching for this ‘thing’ that would MAKE me happy but no one thing can MAKE someone happy. You have to BE happy. It’s also okay to BE sad. That was something that took me completely changing my environment in college to figure out. But of course it was never good for me to be sad more often than I was happy and so I’ve slowly been working on that. Good things take time.

Thankfully I am surrounded by some of the most caring and special friends that I could have found and they support me and believe in me and that is more than I could have ever asked for. They also push me to do things I’m not comfortable with, something especially good for me since I never like being uncomfortable. But trying new things is all about being uncomfortable until one day they get comfortable and you wonder why you were ever afraid.

Another thing I have learned in college thus far is that you have to take care of yourself first. I have recently changed my diet (very drastically I might add) to a plant-based diet (veganism is basically what that means). And In most cases people slowly work to this, going from the standard American diet to vegetarian and then to vegan. But I decided to watch a few very important documentaries (one I have already spoken about on this blog) and I couldn’t even let myself just be vegetarian after I knew what I would have been eating. So I have been trying to find solid ground in my dining halls and thankfully UVA is just that extra bit special in that they have a station just for me. Knowing that I always have options has really taken a lot of stress off of me and it feels so comforting. I am also surrounded by so many accommodating restaurants in Charlottesville that my friends and I love to visit. Being in that kind of environment has made such a huge difference in this transition since I made the decision to change my diet right before I went off to school (much to the dismay of my mother – love you mom). But changing the way you eat is like changing to a new lifestyle, you have to adapt your life around the way you eat and make sure you are doing everything your body needs for you to. Which means I am very lucky that there is a gym directly across the street from my dorm. I have picked up an exercise routine that is perfect for me and that even includes yoga on Sundays with friends to relax and a dance fitness club on Tuesdays just for fun. It is true you have to find what is right for you and I am so happy now to have a concrete plan to keep myself on track, it makes life just a little easier.

But of course nothing goes perfectly and while I know I have chosen the best school for me it has its flaws. The environment here is quite competitive and nothing has shown me that more than trying to find my place in the music scene here. I love to sing and it is one of my greatest passions but so do a lot of other students here. So far I have auditioned for two A Capella groups and a mixed choir. All three failures but at least all three new and uncomfortable situations that I have survived. Singing has always been something really special to me, something that I have tried so hard to be confident about. Three failures doesn’t exactly help me in that department but not everything will go my way in the future so I must think about this like practice for later. For now I think I’ll be okay with my wonderful friends giving me praise for my singing. Until next audition time.

But this school has also helped me see so much good in people. Some of the most incredible human beings i’ve met have been introduced to me here. People so kind and selfless it actually amazes me to know them. And they have helped me to have such extraordinary experiences. I’ve protested for the rights of minorities, taken a class all about black women and how intersectionality works in our country, gone to a dance concert featuring just 90’s music (that one was fun), and sat in a room full of people who just wanted to be together as we watched our next president be chosen much to the opposition of our first voting experience. To believe I was actually afraid of going here for the sheer lack in diversity seems utterly ridiculous now. I would have never experienced these things and the different people here anywhere else.

As my second semester is already flying by I hope that my second year here is just as good if not better than the first. But I should’t get ahead of myself, first year isn’t over yet. I have many things I have yet to experience and I can’t wait to explore this school even more. UVA has many hidden gems and I’m sure there is much yet to be explored.

 

Here my lovely camera (and editing) skills are showcased in this picture of the protest I participated in 🙂

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

 

Hope you all had a lovely week, happy Friday!

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Moving Forward…

Today is a very somber day here at The University of Virginia. Around 75% of UVA students voted for Hillary Clinton in this year’s election and I am incredibly proud to say that I was one of those students. In these most recent months my university has experienced many disgusting and hateful acts around grounds and I am so ashamed of it. But where does this hate stem from? From a man that has displayed the idea to the public that it is okay to say whatever comes to their mind no matter if it hurts people or makes them feel unsafe. Over a couple of months we have had people write the word “Terrorist” with an arrow pointing to a student’s dorm room door, anti-semitic graffiti painted onto an upperclassman apartment complex, racist messages written inside first-year dorms, and even this past April hate speech referencing black and transgender individuals was written on our sidewalks (Cox). People believe that this is an acceptable way to speak about others because Donald Trump has made us believe so. I have had people come to me and tell me they don’t even feel safe anymore living in the United States because of their last name or the color of their skin. I cannot even fathom how that would feel. I have even heard Trump supporters tell me that they feel “offended” due to the “ridiculous” accusation that people don’t feel safe due to him winning the presidential election.

How does this make sense? How have we gone from being such a loving, inclusive, and supporting country to this bigoted and white-supremicist group of individuals? He has stripped away years and years of hard work towards including all groups of people and being respectful towards those who are different from us. I just cannot fathom how quickly we have backtracked into this archaic lifestyle. I am utterly disgusted by these acts of hate that are breaking out all across the country. I am angered that there are people who feel so afraid and so unsafe to even live in this country. This is not America. We are a country with values and standards and we are supposed to be full of people who love and inspire. I do not see that today. I voted for Hillary because I could not live with myself if I voted for someone who has caused such unrest, doubt, and hate. What have we become? This is not who we are. We are better. We are stronger. And we will prevail.

The next four years will be hard I do not doubt this. Stay strong in your beliefs whatever they may be. We live under a loving God who will protect us and care for us. No matter who is leading our country we have a God who leads over everything, nothing comes above Him. Psalm 118:8 says “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” and I do truly believe this. Be prepared for change, stand tall in the face of hatred, and stay safe above all else. We have to have hope for a future.

 

Love. Don’t Hate.

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Works Cited:

Graffiti on Grounds: UVA condemns hate speech—again

My How The World Has Changed…

This is somewhat of a more serious and off topic blog post but a necessary one. I have just finished watching a documentary called “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” (2014) and it was quite eye opening for me. Co-Director and Narrator of the film, Kip Anderson, does an incredible job of bringing to light an apparently very controversial subject that the government has no interest in speaking about. This film is about how the number one leading cause of destruction of our planet and global warming is none other than animal agriculture. That’s right, its not the usual things that we have always been told: oil fracking, burning of fossil fuels, pollution from runoff or dumping, mining, etc. While all of those things are still to blame for some damage the real culprit is the fact that the United States raises 92 million heads of cattle a year.

All of the farm raised cattle in the world accounts for 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions that are currently causing global warming. Compared to transportation in the world, that only accounts for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. That means that raising livestock accounts for 38% more emissions than every car, truck, boat, train, or plane combined. Yet everyone is telling us to ride our bikes to work instead of driving and to carpool places. The problem is that cattle produces a substantial amount of methane gas from their digestive system and methane gas is 25 to 100 times more destructive to the environment than carbon dioxide emitted by cars.

The newest environmental problem: oil and natural gas fracking. This has environmentalists on edge because the process uses 100 billion gallons of water a year. But what we should be more concerned about is the fact that raising livestock uses 34 trillion gallons of water a year. That is a huge difference.

Raising livestock has caused every single known environmental ailment: land use, water scarcity (the animal agriculture industry uses 1/3 of the Earth’s fresh water supply), deforestation, destabilization of communities, world hunger, animal extinction, ocean dead zones, etc.

Just a mere 10,000 years ago (not a long period of time when you think about how long the Earth has existed) free living animals made up 99% while humans made up 1% of the Earth’s biomass. But today, free living animals make up 2% while humans and our animals we own as ‘property’ make up 98% of the Earth’s biomass. It’s amazing how the tables have turned.

91% of the entire Amazon rain-forest has been destroyed. Most of this land has been used to raise livestock. It is said that one acre of the Amazon rain-forest is cleared every second. 136 acres in total rain-forests have been cleared for cattle raising. All of these devastating facts and the leading environmental protection organizations haven’t said a word about this problem. That is because they are like businesses: most of them have members that join and give money to the organization and are used in political tactics by politicians in order to gain more members. If they were to be advertising for people to become vegan and stop consuming all meats and animal products they would lose popularity and funding. It’s as if this is a game we are playing with the life of our home planet hanging in the balance.

Raising livestock has also created more than 500 dead zones due to nitrogen across the Earth’s oceans. Dead zones are areas in bodies of water that have been so heavily nutrient polluted that the oxygen in the water has been depleted to a point that no marine life can survive there. That’s 95,000 square miles of ocean that can no longer be a habitat for life. Lisa Agabian from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says that we could begin to see oceans devoid of fish as early as the year 2048 at the rate that we are going from over-fishing. More than 40 to 50 million sharks are killed ‘accidentally’ in the process of catching fish in fishing nets for human consumption as well.

One of the most devastating facts I have to share with you is that over 1100 environmental activists have been killed in the last 20 years in Brazil, mostly by gunmen hired by the cattle industry. Ranchers of cattle that have problems with predators like coyotes and wolves can just as easily call the USDA and they will have someone fly in near the ranch and kill the wild animals. All to protect their precious money makers.

Nearing the end of this documentary I couldn’t help but become angry. Because most every person that was interviewed for this film worked for the agriculture industry, the government, environmental protection agencies, etc. were lying to the world. Not one person could flat out tell Kip Anderson that livestock raising was the leading cause of environmental production on this planet and some even lied to him about certain factual information. Such as Emily Meredith, the President and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance, a pro-livestock lobbying group (one of the largest) who stated in her interview that conditions for raising animals for meat and animal products has greatly improved over the years. None of you listen to her false words. Most animals raised on factory farms are shoved into such close space environments they can barely move. They are then punched full of antibiotics to make them grow at an unnaturally fast rate. Just so that they can be packaged into styrofoam and plastic wrap and on our dinner tables quicker while we are left poorer and the agriculture industry richer in the process. She says that we have created and used more advanced technology to improve food safety and animal well-being but all we’ve done with this ‘advanced technology’ is farm more livestock at one time and quicken the process of getting them ready for slaughter so that the industry can make a larger profit.

I have identified the real culprit of all of our worldly problems…it’s ourselves. We have gone from being one percent of the world’s biomass to completely dominating all life on Earth. We are at the top of the food chain, we have no predators that balance us in the ecosystem. There is nothing to keep us from overpopulating like there is every other species on Earth, therefore we think we own the place. But we don’t. We have unfortunately evolved into a species that takes everything we are given for granted and instead of using the Earth the way it should be we use technology that destroys the Earth to do everything faster and more efficiently (basically because when it comes to most things we are extremely lazy). Maybe if we didn’t have 7 billion people inhabiting the Earth we wouldn’t need to feed that many people with meat as our main source of protein. And I will quickly mention that red meat from cattle is a highly fatty food choice and would be beneficial for your health to cut out anyways 🙂

Now I’m not saying that every single person that reads this needs to instantly become a vegan and cut out all meats and animal products from their diet because I know most of you probably won’t (although congrats to you if you so chose to). But I am giving you something to think about. Take a look at the way that you live, what all you do everyday, what would your carbon footprint be? What do you do to contribute to Earth’s destruction? But more importantly what can you do to save our planet so that the next generations have a place to thrive? Stop taking literally the only planet in the entire universe that we know of that can sustain human life for granted. This is our only home, the only place with everything that we need to survive and we are killing it. God created this planet just for us, help his gift survive. And don’t be fooled by what others tell you, we are much more dangerous beings than we think.

I encourage you all to watch the full documentary, it is worth your time.

And for those awesome people who after reading this want to change their lifestyle and are going to college like me, take a quick look at these tips!

 

 

 

 

Works Cited:

http://www.beefusa.org/beefindustrystatistics.aspx

http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

https://www.naturalstacks.com/blogs/news/77840453-cowspiracy-documentary-climate-change-and-sustainability

 

 

 

 

Love Your Mom.

Yesterday in my College Composition class my teacher asked myself and my fellow classmates to write a few pieces of advise we would give our past selves from four years ago. This assignment not only put a lot of things in my life into perspective but it also made me realize how much my life has changed in just four short years.

I will be graduating from high school in the next sixteen days and as my last couple of school days come to an end I can’t help but want to think through these last four years.

One long spiel I wrote in the middle of my advise to my young and naive, freshman self had to do with the most influential woman in my life…my mother. The epitome of female role models in a young girl’s life. I think sometimes we forget to truly love our mothers because they just always seem to be there. We take them for granted because it seems as though they will never leave. But oh that is not the case. As I prepare for my new venture in life (also known as college) I am beginning to realize the ramifications of my decision to leave the family nest. I have to leave my wonderful mother behind. I could not tell you the countless sacrifices each of your mothers has made for you individually but I can tell you that you probably ruined any chance of them getting their twenty’s beach bod back.

Whenever you are in the middle of one of your countless mother-daughter arguments just remember how futile they actually are and get over yourself. Your mom is probably in the right and you should just listen to her anyways. Tell her you love her for all that she does. Whether it be making you dinner or holding you while you cry about a stupid boy who did you wrong. Tell her you love her just in case no one has recently.

I can already feel the disappointment of my next four years without her. When I think back I realize how much, even all of the little things, that she has done for me. She would pack my lunchbox every morning (yes I know I am actually five years old still). She would support me in all of my endeavors whether it be my A Capella singing, playing field hockey, or getting the opportunity to be involved in my fist school musical. And she would watch sappy romance movies with me for hours on end. I cannot imagine not having her around constantly to pick me up when I’m down and embarrass me in front of all of her old friends.

Mothers are your personal cheerleader, your shoulder to cry on, and your ultimate best friend. Even if sometimes it may seem embarrassing to be that close to your mom we all love our mothers. They gave us life and raised us to be strong, independent, and successful women. That is a gift that can never be repaid.  So thank you mom for being you. Thank you for shaping me into who I am today, I am so proud to be your daughter.

So as I take the next step in my lifelong journey I will take a piece of her with me. I especially hope that her awesome care packages make their way with me to college as well. Thank you for all that you do mother, it is much appreciated.

I love you, always.