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58 Things I Learned My First Semester of College

  1. It is okay not to be okay.
  2. Mom was right.
  3. People come and go and that is okay.
  4. Just do the best with what you are given.
  5. Whatever it is, if it scares you, do it.
  6. You don’t have to have everything all figured out.
  7. One piece of pizza will not make you fat.
  8. You will not be the best at everything.
  9. Question everything.
  10. Do not change direction just because you are afraid of what lies ahead.
  11. Change is scary.
  12. Change is good.
  13. Don’t forget where you came from.
  14. It’s okay to admit you have no idea what you are doing — nobody else usually does either.
  15. Be where you are.
  16. Reminisce on the past but do not get caught up in it.
  17. Better things are coming!
  18. High school was fun but college is more fun.
  19. Challenge yourself.
  20. Learn something new from everyone you meet.
  21. You will find your people and when you do, you will know.
  22. Hold onto your people
  23. If there is something that you wish to find in this world, be it.
  24. You will lose yourself. This is scary as Hell.
  25. You will eventually find yourself and you will be a better you. I promise.
  26. Learn to laugh at yourself.
  27. It’s okay to skip your 8A.M. once.. or twice…. or three times
  28. Find time for you.
  29. Take care of yourself physically and mentally.
  30. Do not chase anyone.
  31. You deserve more than you probably realize.
  32. Just don’t with the fried food.
  33. You will make mistakes. Remember that in a year you will probably think its funny.
  34. You’re young, act like it.
  35. Wayside will be there next Tuesday, do your homework.
  36. It is okay to be irresponsible sometimes.
  37. Clothes aren’t dirty until they are stained or smell bad.
  38. You will learn to like coffee. You will. I promise.
  39. People change, for better or for worse, but you cannot be the one to change them.
  40. Listening is so much more beneficial than talking.
  41. I swear, the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other telling you what to do is not fake. That is real. Do your best with this. I haven’t figured it out yet.
  42. You will lose contact with some of your friends at home
  43. Sometimes you have to take the L and you have to accept it.
  44. If something is broken, fix it.
  45. Be there for the people that need you.
  46. You will meet amazing people. Keep them close to you.
  47. Nothing is going to change if you keep doing the same old things.
  48. Let go of the things that hurt you.
  49. Find what you are passionate and run with it.
  50. Go wherever the wind takes you. There is no right or wrong path in life.
  51. One person or thing does not make you who you are. You are you and nobody can take that away.
  52. If your friends are all going to the casino on a Monday night, it’s probably not wise to go with an exam the next day. It’s okay to do unwise things.
  53. Always remember that you are never going to be younger than you are right now. Use that to your advantage.
  54. Getting old only gets scarier.
  55. Crying and sleeping anywhere on campus is easily justified and nobody will judge you.
  56. Love everyone.
  57. Relax.
  58. We’re all a mess. It’s fine. Everything is fine.IMG_0335.JPG
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My Person

For anyone who doesn’t already know, “my person” is a term from Grey’s Anatomy to describe the bond between two people that literally nothing could break. Everyone has a person. Whether or not you’ve found them yet, there is someone out there who (I’m sorry, but….) you are inevitably stuck with. You cannot get rid of them. They are a part of you. Your person is much more than the friend you occasionally keep in touch with or the person that you reach out to when you need something. She is more than your friend, or even your best friend, she is more like your sister. You may not have known her the longest but you certainly know her the best. Ultimately you would go completely insane without her.

Dear “my person”,

Thank you. I do not say it enough, but thank you. Thank you for making me laugh at things I don’t even think are funny simply because you’re the one who showed it to me and somehow that makes it funnier (I wish I could explain this, but if you have a person, you know what I’m talking about). Thank you for making me food whenever I’m hungry because God knows I would be living off of easy mac and apples if it weren’t for you at this point. Thank you watching endless hours of Grey’s Anatomy with me when we both have better things to be doing. Thank you for being my personal eyebrow pluck-er, nail do-er, and hair/clothing stylist. Thank you for being there through it all — the good, the bad, and the really ugly. When I was going through some of my worst days you were there. You didn’t even really have to say anything. I wasn’t looking for some incredible pep talk or some life changing advice; simply having you by my side was enough to lift me up when I was at my weakest was all I needed. Thank you for staying my best friend even after seeing how weird I am… and you are welcome for staying your friend after seeing how much even more weird you are. Thank you for staying by my side when everyone else was leaving. Thank you for telling me what I needed to hear even when it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Thank you for never judging me. Thank you for teaching me that imperfections make us perfect. Thank you for showing me the kind of person I want to be. Thank you for being my best friend, my sister, my other half, my person.

 

Now with the sappy stuff aside, I just want to remind you: You are stuck with me. One of the biggest struggles I’ve learned since you walked into my life is that ultimately doing anything without you-for a lack of better words-sucks. No matter what it is, you are always down to do the craziest things with me that nobody else would ever dare. You are my fun friend, my secret keeper, and my partner in crime. If I could predict anything about my future I would put money on you and I ending up in a nursing home laughing about the crazy things that we have done while drinking wine and making other people question any sanity that we actually have left.

“Dr. Yang and my wife sometimes have sleepovers. In my bed. With me in it.”

In the end, Allie, I could never put into words how much you mean to me. No phrase from a mainstream ABC series could explain the relationship we have and that is what makes it so genuine and innocent. Thank you for being the Christina to my Meredith. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being my person.

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It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

If you take away anything from this post, please let it be this: it is okay not to be okay. You do not have to be perfect.

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Coming into college I thought that I should have everything figured out and put together. When I graduated high school I thought I did. I truly thought I was set. I had amazing friends, I exceeded all of my goals for high school, I knew where I wanted to go to school and what I wanted to study, and I thoroughly just loved my life. Then things started changing all at once. I was moving away from my family and friends, I was saying goodbye to my summer camp kids, my boyfriend and I broke up, and I was packing my bags for school. Literally everything in my life changed within days of each other. I thought I was crazy for hating this. Everyone else was so excited to go to school and start over but I was just not. I didn’t want to start over. I loved my life and the people in it, why would I want to do that? But here I was moving into Central Michigan University feeling more lost and alone than ever.

I honestly kept myself together pretty well my first week here. Let me be clear though, I was not okay. I pushed every feeling of being lost and alone as far away as I could because I didn’t want all of these people that I had just met to know that I was feeling so low. My personality is not sad and pessimistic; it never had been. Ask any of my friends from home and I can guarantee that they would never describe me as any of those things, and I loved that. I loved who I was. I didn’t want to be known as anything else because I didn’t want to be anything less than my best, especially not with people who don’t know me well enough to know the real me. I forgot that it was okay not to be okay.

Soon enough my best friend from high school, Allie moved into CMU. She moved in a week later than I did because I moved in early for Leadership Safari. When Allie moved in I lost it. Allie knew everything that was going on and I felt comfortable talking to her. It was hard to still only have one person to really and truly break down with though. Eventually I got closer with more and more people but I still didn’t feel comfortable with anyone seeing me like that. I still thought that it was pathetic and, to be blatantly honest, annoying for me to be sad and what I thought was ‘needy’.

I’d like to clarify that the people that I met here at CMU are amazing people. I knew that they were all here for me and that I could talk to them if I needed to. I chose not to because I saw myself as weak for doing this and I didn’t want them to think that of me too. I see that this now was silly. After getting closer with people and connecting with people on deeper levels I started opening up to my friends. I started telling them about the things that bother me and about the things I was feeling and most of them said one thing very similar to one another: “Tessa you can always talk to me, I understand”. I know we have all heard this before but I never realized how sincere and honest most people were when they said this.

Other people have had their own hardships and struggles and they understand what you’re going through. They understand that you are not weak and that you have imperfections; so do they. People understand that that does not define you, and you have to realize that about yourself. You are allowed to hurt and you are allowed to be lost; we all are at one point. No matter how put together and perfect someone seems, they have their own struggles and insecurities that you would never see. No one else is perfect and you do not have to be either.

Realizing that it is okay to break down and it is okay to be sad was one of the most important things that I have learned so far. Caring about someone or something else so much that it hurts you is not a negative thing. Truly I think it’s beautiful. I encourage you to care. Care so much that it hurts. You do not have to be perfect. It is okay not to be okay.