January 20, 2018
by Brittany

Sweet and Sour Chicken


• 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½ inch thickness and chopped into 1 inch pieces
• ⅓ cup corn starch
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 1 green bell pepper
• ½ white or yellow onion, chopped
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ cup apple cider vinegar (may sub white vinegar)
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• ½ teaspoon onion salt*
• ¼ cup ketchup
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoon cold water

1. First prepare the sauce. Add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion salt, and ketchup to a medium sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil. In a small bowl whisk together the 1 tablespoon corn starch and cold water until dissolved. Add to sauce pan and stir until thickened, then reduce to low heat.
2. Add chicken pieces and corn starch to a large ziplock bag. Seal and shake to coat chicken. Drizzle a large pan or skillet with oil. Add coated chicken. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and onions. Continue to saute over medium heat until chicken is browned and cooked through.
3. Add sauce to chicken and peppers. Stir to coat well. Serve warm with cooked rice if desired.

*Recipe originally came from

January 15, 2018
by Brittany

Rigatoni with Italian Sausage


• ½ pound uncooked rigatoni
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• ¼ pound ground Italian sausage
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• ¼ cup finely chopped onions
• ¼ cup beef broth or red wine
• 1 can petite diced tomatoes
• 1 8-ounce can tomato paste
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
• 1 cup parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add garlic and onions. Sauté for about 2 minutes, just until the onions are translucent.
4. Add ground sausage to skillet and stir until fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
5. Add beef broth/red wine and scrap browned sausage bits off the bottom of skillet.
6. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, stir all ingredients well, turn heat down to low-medium and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
7. Add cooked pasta and ¼ cup reserved pasta water to the skillet and stir all ingredients until the pasta is coated with the sauce. If needed add more reserve water to create a sauce consistency to your liking.
8. Remove from heat. Sprinkle Parsley and/or cheese just before serving

Our Tips:
• Cut back on either the tomatoes or the tomato paste, unless you are a huge fan of tomato sauce.
• Add additional sausage

*Recipe originally came from

April 19, 2016
by Brittany
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Blog #77

Today was no special day. The sun rose the exact same way this morning, in the East, shining through her front bedroom window, leaving a silhouette of the blinds on the wall. The alarm went off at the same time and for once, the bed didn’t feel so empty for some reason. It was warm and comfortable. She put her feet on the floor and started her day. Just an ordinary day. Time ticked away the seconds just like it does every minute, every hour, every day. She poured a cup of coffee, added some sugar, and sat on the couch with her laptop to check Twitter. She took a shower and washed her hair the exact same way, conditioner first. She brushed her teeth with that same toothbrush, the one that always sat beside his. As she finished, she picked up his toothbrush, and without thinking twice, she tossed it in the trash. She put on that black top and her favorite pair of jeans. She checked her appearance in the bathroom mirror, the one with all the extra lights, put on that pink lip gloss that she never wears because he prefers chapstick, and walks out the door. She had a meeting at 10 so she left 20 minutes early to get a blueberry muffin, her favorite kind. In the backseat of her car, she noticed that old t-shirt that still smelled like him. Like it was nothing at all, she tossed it in the dumpster that sat in the Starbucks parking lot on the corner of Jefferson and Eighth. She had lunch with some friends from her office and she never mentioned the emotions she had been fighting, didn’t mention them at all. She left work and stopped at the grocery store for some dinner and for once, she didn’t have to spend the extra $10 on frozen pizza, she hates frozen pizza but she ate it anyway so many times just for him. Instead she bought some organic strawberries. She stopped in for a haircut on the way home. She got it cut short, about shoulder length, even though she had been told so many times before not to cut her hair because he prefers it long. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, her favorite show, came on tonight, and for the first time, ESPN was not anywhere to be found.

Today was just like any other day, but today she let go. She let go of him and she let go of the past. She let go of the future and all the intentions. She didn’t read articles on the steps for moving on and she didn’t ask her best friend for advice. She didn’t wonder what she did wrong, or what she could have, or should have, done different. No one honored the success. No one threw her a party, there were no balloons, no rocky road ice cream, and no congratulations from her friends. No one said they were pleased or happy for her. Bells didn’t ring, whistles didn’t blow, and there were no fireworks. She didn’t tell him, she didn’t even think about telling him, she just let go. She didn’t second guess it and she didn’t worry about what he thinks. She didn’t write about it or make a public service announcement. She didn’t tell anyone, not a single person. There was no documentation, no time stamp, or no definite moment.

In all of the normalcy, in all of its entirety, she just let go. She moved on. It didn’t hold her back today, and it sure as hell won’t hold her back tomorrow.

February 17, 2016
by Brittany
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Blog #76

I remember the day we first met. I walked out of my office and there he was, leaning up against the wall looking so handsome in his grey sweater and blue jeans that he took my breath away. I introduced myself, he smiled at me, shook my hand and that was it. I was hooked. Suddenly I was on a mission to find out everything I could about “the new guy”. He was the one I would sit and stare at during staff meetings, the reason I was even at those meetings in the first place. And now he’s still the one I want to know everything about. The biggest lie he’s ever told, the saddest song he’s ever heard, his darkest secret, and his deepest thoughts and fears. I even want to know all about the girl before me, the one he swore he would never leave. He’s the one I want to tell all of my secrets to, read all of my writings to, and share all the small details of my day with. He’s the one I want to learn all about Aristotle, Cicero, and all of the other philosophers from. The one I want to help me when I don’t understand something. He’s the one who helped me become comfortable with my body, the one I stopped perfecting my makeup and hair for because he makes me laugh and I can’t resist his eyes and the way he looks at me. He’s the reason I came close to failing Theories of Counseling because as soon as I sat down to write that paper, which was forty percent of my final grade, I got a text from him that just said “Hey” and suddenly the paper could wait. He’s the one I lay in bed with at night talking about the future and what we want to do with our lives while we still encompass the optimism of college. He’s the one I’ll become an adult with. The one who makes being on my own not so scary. He’s the one I’ll learn to cook with, and the one I’ll learn to enjoy documentaries and old movies from. He’s the one who will rub my feet after a long day and the one who takes care of me when I am sick. He is teaching me what is worth fighting for and what is not. But most of all, when all of my dreams come true, he is the one I want standing right beside me.

November 22, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #75

I think a lot of people don’t understand what true love is. Anyone can buy you flowers, candy, and jewelry. Anyone can say I love you and take you to a nice dinner. And anyone can kiss you at the top of a ferris wheel and teach you how to drive a stick. That’s romance, not love. Love is found in the little things that life has to offer. The little things you do every day to show that you care and that you are thinking of them. It’s going out of your way to make them happy so you can see their smile. The way you hold her hand when she is scared, or the way you save the last piece of pie for him. It’s the random text in the middle of the afternoon just to say “I love you” or “I miss you” and the way he stops to kiss you when he passes by. It’s dedicating her favorite song to her, and letting her eat your fries. Or telling her she’s beautiful, even when she’s wearing a t-shirt, hair in a ponytail and no makeup. It’s putting your favorite show on pause so she can tell you about her day, and laughing at his jokes, even when they are really lame. It’s slow dancing in the kitchen, and kissing in the rain because you don’t want to say goodbye yet.

But more than that, love is happiness. It’s waking up in the middle of the night for no reason, shifting under the covers and feeling the heat of the person next to you. You turn over and see them in their most peaceful, innocent, and vulnerable state. They breathe as though the weight of the world is on anyone’s shoulder but their own. You smile, kiss their face in the gentlest manner so as not to wake them. You turn back over and an involuntary grin forms across your face. You feel an arm wrap around your waist, and you know it doesn’t get any better than this.

Falling in love with someone happens in the moments when you never even notice it’s happening. It happens when you are watching them, sleeping in bed, curled up and silent with their chest rising and falling with their own rhythm. It happens when you see them reading a book, with their eyes fluttering and glowing. It’s when you see them looking at you and you can feel the love and care inside their heart. It happens when you see them smiling and laughing with happiness leaking out of them.

Suddenly, you realize that you want to know more about this person. You want to know what song they listen to at 2 am, sitting in their bed, laptop on their lap, screen dimly lighting up their face. You want to watch them quietly pace through the their kitchen barefoot on a Sunday morning, humming as they make their coffee, carefully turning the pages of that new book they just started reading. You want to know what that one line from that song is that makes their heart drop into their stomach. You want to hear about that time when they were six that makes them grin uncontrollably, and about that time when they were ten that makes their eyes water. You want to watch them in a room with nothing but white walls and an acoustic guitar. You want to know what it is they see right before they fall asleep at night. You want to know what gets them by, what makes them mad, what makes them laugh, and what makes them cry.

And you want to know everything about their past. You want to know about that time when they were five and tried to run away from home. You want to know about their old dog that died when they were eight. You want to know about their toy soldier collection and you want to see the pictures from little league. You want to know what class they always skipped in high school and all about their senior prom and the awkwardness of their first time. You want to know what they were really feeling on graduation day and you want to know about college. You want to know about the girl he swore he’d never leave. And about the last girl he kissed on New Year’s Eve. You want to know the most they’ve said with just one word, and you want to read that letter they never sent.

You want to know about their future too. You want to hear about that three story, five bedroom house they want to have in the mountains one day. You want to know about the kids they want someday and what they will name them. You want to know about that job that they will love. You want to know where they see themselves at fifty, and you want to know their biggest fear about growing old.

And you deserve someone who wants to know all of this about you. You deserve someone who loves you when you wake up in the morning. Someone who stops you from running to the bathroom to fix yourself before they can even get a glimpse of you. Someone who tells you how beautiful you are, not just in the way you look, but in the way you hold their hands and laugh at their jokes. You deserve someone who sends you messages when they don’t know whether to get coffee or tea at Starbucks. Someone who shares their cookies with you when they only have one left in the jar. You deserve someone who buys you pizza when you’ve had a bad day and who listens to you complain about the lyrics in a song that do not adhere to your logic or the script of a television show that didn’t go according to your plan. You deserve someone whose kisses make you forget you were even upset in the first place. Someone who holds you like an antique vase. Someone who sees your face first in a crowd and someone who finds you in every person they meet.

You deserve someone who will give you wings to soar and then decide to fly with you. You deserve this because this is love, and you deserve love.

August 18, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #74

Saying goodbye is hard. Whether you are saying goodbye to a person, a place, or the past, it’s something I don’t think you can ever be prepared for. It sends you on an emotional roller coaster down memory lane that is filled with mental pictures of moments that have somehow sculpted you into the person you are today.

A few weeks ago I said goodbye to my first apartment, but more than that, I said goodbye to the person I was in that apartment. I said goodbye to the life that I created and the life that I lived in that apartment. It was the first time I had ever lived by myself, and more than that, it was the first time I lived in a city where I knew no one. A part of me grew up in that apartment. I discovered who I am and what I want out of life in that apartment.

Iranian author Azar Nafasi once said “You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you will never be this way ever again.” I find this to be very true. I have never felt so far from myself as I have since I moved back to Rocky Mount. It’s weird. It’s as if I don’t fit in here anymore. I decided to move back in with my parents now that I have graduated and I couldn’t feel more out of place. The house I grew up in, no longer feels like home. I look around and, while everything is familiar and comfortable, it’s not mine. It doesn’t have my furniture, my sounds, or my decorating style and it isn’t filled with the smells I love; the scents that made my apartment unique. I feel like I’m on an extended vacation in someone else’s home.

I don’t feel like myself either. It’s almost like I feel trapped in this place and I’m fighting my way out. After living on my own for a few years, having alone time is something I got use to, something I fell in love with, and something I will crave for the rest of my life. There is something serene about the peace and quiet. There’s no better healing powers. It’s just me and my thoughts. I have lost that since I moved back home. There is always someone around. Always. And they can’t just let me be. They always have something to say. I wake up in the morning and all I want to do is have some tea and think about the day ahead. Instead I’m followed into the kitchen by someone who wants to have a conversation with me that it is way too early to have. I get home at the end of the day and it’s the same thing. And there is no such thing as quiet. From the time I wake up in the morning until the time I go to sleep at night there are TV’s blaring all over the house, phones ringing everywhere, and someone constantly calling my name. And sometimes it just gets too much and I just want to scream. And sometimes I do yell. It’s not that I mean to, it’s that I can’t take it anymore and it sort of just happens. I love my family more than anything in the world, that’s why I moved back home, but I’m not the same person I was before. Going to college, surrounding myself with people from all different walks of life, learning new things, having new experiences, and not going home and being subjected to my parents ways of thinking every day has allowed me to form my own views and my own opinions and I’m starting to see that they don’t always coincide with the views and opinions of my parents. Things that matter to me don’t necessarily matter to them. I also began doing things my own way, and now I like those things to be done a certain way; a way they do not do them. And it drives me crazy. And sometimes I get the feeling that living at home is pushing me backwards and that scares me. It scares me because I know that staying where I’m at will not help me grow into the person I am meant to be. And I now realize that sometimes growth is painful, and so is change, but nothing is as painful as being stuck somewhere you don’t belong.

March 18, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #73

He was a storm I got lost in; a hurricane that just spun me around and around until nothing was familiar but him. A storm so strong, I was always struck down by the lightening. He was a tornado and I was a tree, snapping in half at his intensity.

He introduced me to a game I never had any intention of playing. A game he was the master of, and a game I never had any chance of winning. It was a game of checkers, one where I was always backed into the corner surrounded by black buttons. It was monopoly, only he owned all the property. We were a crossword puzzle so complicated that none of the letters lined up to make sense; they were just blocks of mixed signals. We were color by number when we were both colorblind.

Loving him was like flying down the highway in a new Camaro before realizing you just passed a cop. It was like changing your mind when you have already jumped out of the plane. It was free falling without a plan to land. It was like picking daisies and then getting stung by a bee. It was a day at the beach that ended in sunburn.

He made me feel strong and yet weak. Tall yet short. Wanted and yet not needed, all with his blissful arrogance. I was his umbrella that he only needed on rainy days. His life jacket that he only wore when the boat was sinking. He was a fire, one that always left me wondering whether he was going to warm my heart or burn down my house. He was the danger sign that never kept me from diving off the cliff. He was a drive I took a million times, one that always resulted in going the wrong way on a one way street with nowhere to turn around.

Missing him came in waves, and on the nights when I was drowning, he was always there to rescue me. He never broke my heart; he just turned it into a compass that always pointed me back to him.

February 13, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #72

They say there are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts – before and after. For me, one of those moments came a little less than a year ago. I still remember everything about that day. It was a beautiful Sunday evening. The sun was peaking out through the clouds as it was setting over the trees, creating a picture perfect postcard view. The air smelled like rain from the afternoon showers and the weather was nice – not to cold but not too hot. We were all just sitting around the table about to have dinner and he just fell. He fell out of the chair and onto the floor. Just like that, he was gone. It was less than a second, maybe half a second, but it changed everything.

Losing someone you love is a hard thing to go through but having to watch them die, unexpectedly, right there in front of you is unbearable. And hearing the words “He’s gone” creates a feeling you didn’t even know you could feel. Your heart just drops. It’s like missing a step when walking up the stairs. It feels like that except it doesn’t go away. It stays there inside of you, this feeling of emptiness and pain. And it hurts. It hurts like hell. But that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt. And you can’t escape it. You just can’t. Every time you think you are starting to feel better, something happens. You see something that reminds you of them. Or maybe you’ll hear their favorite song on the radio. The memories all come rushing back to you and you get stuck in this period of nostalgia and all you wish for is a phone that will call Heaven so you can hear their voice just one more time and tell them all the things you had left to say to them. And then it hits you so much harder than you ever thought it would. You think about the fact that you will never be able to hear their voice again, or the sound of their laugh, and see their goofy smile that comes out when they laugh. You’ll never again be able to feel the warmth of their hug or be stuck listening to the advice that you never wanted but they always gave you anyway. And also the advice you did ask for because you knew they always gave the best advice. And it’s even worse when they are not there celebrating milestones with you like your college graduation, or your wedding day, or the birth of your first child, and even the moment when your biggest dream finally comes true. You think you would find comfort in knowing that they are there with you during those milestones, but more than comforting, it’s just sad.

They say that life goes on but that’s the saddest part. How can life possibly go on when they were such an integral part of it? The hardest part isn’t losing them; it’s learning how to live without them. Everyone around you will try to make you feel better. They really will. But there isn’t anything anyone can say or do to make the pain go away. Some will try to comfort you by saying “God needed another angel.” But you know what? That statement just makes me angry because it’s easy for them to say that when God didn’t ask for their angel. Others will tell you that your loved one is looking down on you and watching over you. That’s nice in theory but in reality, we don’t want them looking down on us. We want them right beside us, watching over us and protecting us. And furthermore, at least for me, that statement just makes me feel lonely. Doesn’t the Bible say that those in Heaven know no pain? We are down here on earth feeling pain and sadness all the time so really they aren’t watching over us in our worst moments when we need them the most. My personal favorite is when someone says “Time heals all wounds” or “Just give it some time and it will get better, it will get easier.” That’s all well and good but time takes time. What am I supposed to do right now, in this moment when all I want to do is disappear somewhere and forget about the world? I don’t need someone to tell me it will get better; I need someone to tell me it hurt because it mattered.

I wasn’t prepared for the fact that grief is so unpredictable. It wasn’t just sadness, and it wasn’t linear. Somehow I thought that the first days would be the worst and then it would steadily get better, like getting over the flu. But that’s not how it was. It’s still hard. Sometimes it hits me out of nowhere, all of a sudden, this overwhelming sadness rushes over me. And I get discouraged and I get upset and I feel hopeless, sad, and hurt, and once again, I feel numb to the world. And it’s not the kind of sadness to where I cry all the time, but more like the sadness that overwhelms my entire body, leaving my heart aching and my stomach empty. Making me feel weak and tired and yet I can’t even sleep because the sadness is in my dreams too. On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly make it through, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that is pretty good. And I have come to realize that sometimes it’s okay if the only thing I did that day was breathe. I made it through and that’s what matters.

Saying goodbye is hard. That’s no secret. But rather than focusing on the goodbye, we should celebrate the legacy being left behind and remind ourselves, in the words of Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

January 10, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #71

College. It’s what you spend hours in high school dreaming about. You sit in your 10th grade history class staring out the window thinking about how cool it will be and how much fun you will have while your teacher goes on and on about the boring topic of civics and economics. You sit down at night to study for that To Kill A Mockingbird test you have tomorrow in English but end up looking through blogs of awesome dorm rooms, getting decorating ideas for the dorm room you will one day have instead.

Graduation day comes and you couldn’t be more excited to move on from that little town you grew up in. You spend all summer hyping yourself up, growing more and more excited as the days pass by. Finally, the summer draws to an end and the next chapter of your life is beginning. But it’s not what you think. You quickly realize all those assumptions you had in high school about college couldn’t be more wrong.

Here’s how it really is:

The day you get there, reality sets in that you are actually on your own. You have spent your whole life living off of your parents, having them there for your every little need. But now they are far away, probably packing up all of your belongings and turning your room into a gym or a game room where your dad can finally put that new pool table he has always wanted while your dog gets used to life without you. You are left there all alone with no one to cook you dinner or do your laundry or remind you to do all the other adult things you now have to do. Nothing kicks you in the butt and sends you flying into reality like the sight of your parents driving away and leaving you in a tiny dorm room with a complete stranger.

Yes. You are on your own and you are nervous. But so is everybody else. Everyone there has collectively been pushed off of a cliff into the ever widening canyon we call college. Everyone has been slapped in the face by the cold frigid air called adulthood and higher education. You are not alone. The only thing you can do is stick together, be brave, and help each other out as best as you can.

You will soon realize that your family is the best and you will miss them every day. You will miss them on Saturday mornings when no one wakes you up before one pm because you sleep too much and the first time you get sick and no one is there to take care of you. And your house. You will miss your house. The way it smells and the constant bickering through the walls. You will even miss the annoyance of having cat hair as a major accessory on every outfit you wear. This will show you just how much you took it all for granted in high school and teach you to appreciate your family so much more than you did before you left for school, mostly when you used them for money, food, and free wi-fi. Now when you come home, you spend most of your time with family and less time hanging out with friends, and that’s just how you want it. All you will want is for them to live next door to you and let you choose when they are home.

You will also realize that the people you went to high school with are the worst. When you graduate from high school it’s all “friends forever” and “these are my people” but when you come home for Christmas break after your first semester in college and see everyone, you realize these people are not as great as you thought they were. You will try to find a place somewhere in your heart for them but you will eventually give up because you realize it will never happen. You will get on Facebook and Instagram and see pictures of them smoking in the Walmart parking lot, or drinking Jack Daniels at some bonfire party followed by a post saying “Got another dui last night, lol” and in that moment, you will be even more thankful those people are no longer in your life. There are some exceptions, however, when you see a former classmate doing something productive with their life and enjoying it and you will feel so proud of them.

You will learn a lot in college starting with the fact that people will use you. And they aren’t always what they seem when you first meet them. People are selfish. Though they are not against you, they will not make it easy for you. People only think of themselves and what they want and it may hurt you in the process. They are not a horrible person and posting vague Facebook and Twitter updates about them will not hurt them. Understand that you too are selfish. Forgive them and kindly ask them not to reproduce.

People will call you anti-social. And no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to justify just how busy you are to anyone. Everyone around you will go by the idea that if you are not with them, you are obviously sleeping. You know this is wrong. Nobody sleeps in college. You are lucky to get 5 hours of sleep a night. But then college wouldn’t be college if you actually got 8 hours of sleep every night. Embrace being tired and exhausted, it means you’re doing the whole college thing right.

On the other hand, people will love you. You will meet some amazing people in college and make life-long friendships with some of them. They will be there to help you when you need it. To cheer you up when you are sad. To cover for you in that British Lit class when you decide not to go because you didn’t read the book. And they will be there to make you laugh and move on when your heart gets broken. These people will make a serious effort to get to know you and you should make a serious effort to get to know them too even if they are completely different from you. You will learn valuable and unforgettable lessons from them.

You will have no money. Ever. You will take out student loans because you have to pay for college somehow. After realizing you are thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, you will decide to get a job. It will probably be a job that you hate. After telling yourself over and over that you need the job to avoid taking out more student loans, you will strongly consider taking out more student loans to avoid working with those idiots any longer. But you won’t take out the loan and you will continue to work with those idiots. You will still be poor. The irony of it all is that college students love to talk about being poor while wearing Sperrys and a North Face jacket.

People will constantly tell you how lucky you are and that these are the best years of your life, yet you have no money, you are stressed out and exhausted all the time, and every semester you get to think about how much debt you are going to have when you graduate. There are people living in warzones and actually starving but you can’t stop complaining about waking up for an 8 am class and being stressed over finals.

The classes will be really hard and you will actually have to study to pass the tests. And waiting until the last minute to study or write a paper is the worst thing you can do, and this will be a lesson you will learn the hard way. You will finally figure this out by senior year, and by senior year, you will get good at researching esoteric topics and writing papers. Senior year is also the last time in your life that you research esoteric topics and write papers.

Eventually you will take an online class because you are tired of going to campus every day. That online class will give you a group project. That group will constantly want to meet up on campus and you will go every time because there is a peer evaluation at the end. College will teach you that group projects are the worst and those projects will teach you that you can’t count on anybody but yourself.

You will have professors that you love and you will have professors that you hate. Some professors suck and that’s just how it is, but don’t let them ruin your favorite subject. And if you happen to change your mind about your major, it’s okay. It’s okay to switch majors until you find the one that is right for you.

While all these things seem negative, there are a lot of positives about college.

The best part is that your only responsibility is to learn, which is awesome because learning is fun. Food is being cooked for you, you barely have to clean your living space unless you are a particularly messy person. You don’t really have any monthly bills to pay and you never have to worry about your electricity or water being cut off. You don’t have chores or anyone to answer to. You paid a ridiculous amount of money for an education and that is what you are getting. Embrace it and at least try to be decent at it.

You are being bombarded with amazing opportunities every day. You can travel out of the country for long periods of time for a really cheap price pretty much whenever you want as many times as you want. You can learn to dance, sculpt, act, draw, speak a foreign language, and just about anything else you want to learn how to do for free. You are given the opportunity to do everything you have ever wanted to do, even if it was something you never admitted to but secretly always wanted to do, on a daily basis. There are tons of organizations and clubs you can get involved in, and job and volunteer opportunities to help fill up your resume. There is always something going on all day every day.

You will change. It is inevitable. It is the biggest, most important part of college. You will quickly find new interests and new opinions, and you begin to learn who you really are. For the first time, you are away from all the influences you had growing up. You are on your own to make your own decisions. No one is forcing you to do or believe anything. You will meet people who are from drastically different backgrounds from your own and they will challenge your beliefs and opinions and make you see things a different way. And these people may just change your mind. You will go through phases of different versions of yourself before finding who you really are. People back home will berate you on how much you have changed, but as long as you haven’t spiraled into dealing heroin or prostitution, then that change is generally for the good.

The best thing of all is that you are on your way. You are actually on your way. You have big and extravagant plans for your life that you’ve worked hard bsing for and you are on the path to achieving them. You didn’t realize it when you were sitting in that high school classroom, or even at your high school graduation. It’s when you are doing things in your classes and around campus that you realize that you are on your way. And it feels great. It’s exciting and nerve-racking at the same time, but that’s the fun of it all. All you have to do is enjoy it until you get there.

And the experiences you gain will be priceless. You will develop a caffeine addiction. You will realize you can’t please everyone, and you will be okay with that. You will learn that rejection isn’t as terrible as everyone says it is. Whether it’s negative results from the professor who hates the paper you spent weeks writing, or the boy who never texts you back, you will face rejection at least once during college. At first it will sting. You tell yourself that that professor might have a PhD and 7 books to his name but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And you’ll try to convince yourself that you didn’t really like that boy anyway. You will learn to value your friends. You will figure out how to drink. During high school, drinking probably consisted of stealing whatever alcohol your parents had in the house or convincing your brother or sister to buy you a six pack of Miller Lite from the gas station. When you get to college, drinking is a whole different game. You will learn what it means to take shots and you will learn what it means to take too many shots. You will make out with a terrible kisser and you will develop feelings for someone you shouldn’t at least once. It may be a professor or it may be that hot Italian graduate student who is always grading exams at your favorite coffee shop. Or it could even be your best friend’s ex. At some point, you will fall for someone you know good and well is off limits. You will realize this when you catch yourself going to class a few minutes early or hanging out at a study spot more than usual. You will feel terrible because of someone else and you will begin to learn how to forgive people. You will also trim your social circle. Between classes, homework, work, and the exhausting internship, you hardly have a minute for yourself, let alone other people. In college, everyone has their own schedules and you may go days or weeks without speaking to each other unlike high school where you saw your friends every day. You will learn how to make time in your schedule for those who really matter to you.

Through the good and the bad, college is a wonderful and rewarding experience if you do it right, and you will be lucky to have experienced it.