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    Shenga

    There's so much I could say about myself in a long winded ramble, but how about the 'basics' instead? You'll get to know me through this blog soon enough. Let me start by saying that I'm an advocate of the color pink in every shade it comes in from blush to magenta, and even dangerously into the this-might-actually-be-purple territory. I'm a dog person, although I have a tiny cat fetus in a jar named Phineas Cedric Gallagher. Isn’t that quite a name? It suits him. He doesn't do much. I think he’s pretty austere. I got to keep him after I dissected his mom in an anatomy lab a while back. Since we're talking about animals, I'll mention that I love elephants and giraffes, but elephants more than giraffes if I really had to choose. I like to travel (14 countries and counting), but when I can't make it across borders or oceans, small adventures suffice and hopefully you'll see a few of those on this blog. My favorite book is The Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho. I'm a college senior majoring in biology with a minor in business administration. An aspiring neuroscientist, I originally thought I’d grow up to be a princess. Finding a prince has proven harder than chasing a career in neuroscience. Go figure. I'm a tea girl and if it's interestingly flavored, I'm all in. Last but not least, I LIKE PINEAPPLES ON MY PIZZA. DEAL WITH IT.


    I’ve been churning out GRE posts like it’s my job lately, but it’s only because succeeding was such a big deal to me, and I want to make sure that through my experience, you have an equally amazing experience as well. Today’s post won’t be quite as long as my GRE preparation post, but it’s definitely packed with 7 of the best tips I could think of.

    As much as it is important to prepare for what will be on the test itself, it is equally important to prepare for the test day itself. Here are 7 of my favorite tips that I believe truly made a difference in my experience.

    1. Get Enough Sleep

    You’re told this before every exam, and with good reason. Getting a good night’s sleep ensures that your brain is working at peak capacity. Imagine how much of a bummer it would be to sit through a nearly four-hour exam while fighting back yawn after yawn. It’s not a good look, and it definitely won’t do your score any good.

    I made sure not to study anything the night before the GRE. Nothing at all. I ate a good dinner, took a long hot shower, slipped into my comfiest PJ’s, treated myself to an episode of Grey’s, then hit the sack. You can read what was going through my mind that day right here. A restful night’s sleep later, I was up at the crack of dawn, ready to take on the GRE.

    2. Make a List Of Universities

    At the very beginning of the exam, you will be asked to provide a few universities to whom you would like your exams to be sent. I hadn’t expected this, otherwise, I would have prepared. Luckily, I already knew the schools I wanted my scores to be sent to, so I was able to provide them without faltering too much.

    3. Pack The Essentials

    During the exam, you will be given a break roughly halfway through, and you are also allowed to take breaks on your own time (the clock will still be ticking though). It’s a good idea to pack snacks and water to have during these breaks. You won’t be able to bring the snacks or water into the exam room, however.

    I also like to have gum handy because I read that it increases focus. In all honesty, it just relaxes me and eases tension. You'll definitely need to have some valid ID on you, as well as a printed confirmation of your exam appointment.

    4. Don't Cram

    You might feel tempted to bring your study guides or flashcards with you to the exam to study in the car or during your wait but this is a bad idea. I know that every time I’ve crammed right before an exam, I’m filled with a heightened sense of anxiety, and I end up forgetting most of what I crammed anyway.

    A better way to spend free time before the exam is by focusing on your breathing or eating something yummy. You may even want to play a round of Candy Crush.


    5. Wear Something Comfortable

    You’ll be sitting for hours. This is not the time to wear your blood flow constricting skinnies or strappy 5 inch heels. I promise this is not a place you should worry about being stylish for. Your GRE exam location will likely not be the place for an OOTD pic.

    Pull out your birks, leggings, and sweatshirt, throw that hair up, and get ready to go at it. In fact, if you’re having to choose between contacts and glasses, I’d say go for the glasses. It gets cold in there and dry contacts is just not a struggle you want to be dealing with at this time, sis.

    6. Be Early!... On Time is Late.

    There are check-in procedures that take place upon your arrival so if you think arriving 5 minutes before the exam is set to begin is going to cut it, you are sadly very very very mistaken. I’d say it would be best to give yourself a 30 to 45 minute buffer. If your exam starts at 10 AM, getting there by 9:15 is ideal so you can get checked in and even have enough time to go to the restroom if necessary.

    7. Don't Rush, But be Aware of Time

    If you read this post, you’ll know how much I emphasized the importance of not running out of time. I want to reiterate that although you shouldn’t be off in la-la land and not focusing on the exam, there is also no reason for you to be sloppily speeding through the exam. You’ll make silly mistakes this way, and we definitely don’t want that.

    I hope these tips put your mind at ease and help you have the best GRE day possible. Don't forget to take a nap afterward! You deserve it.
    xoxo, 
    Gossip Girl

    . Wednesday, May 23, 2018 .

    popular posts

    . Monday, May 21, 2018 .


    Hello Lovlies! Today’s post is on how to prepare for the GRE on your own time. I’ll be giving you my top tips to make sure you get through the GRE easily, breezily, and beautifully. I discussed a prep course that I took in a previous post and told you all why I didn’t like it nor recommend it, so check it out if you’d like to know more about that. Or if you’re interested in what was going on the day before I went in for my GRE exam, you can read about it here.

    NOTE: This post does not contain sponsored links/content.

    Plan Ahead & Give Yourself Enough Time

    The GRE isn’t something to make light of—it’s a major exam—so you’ll want to make sure to plan ahead. Consider when you want to take it and give yourself a good amount of time to study while factoring in your day to day schedule and any important upcoming events. You don’t want to schedule your GRE exam on the same day as your best friend’s wedding. That would be tragic.

    I think a good amount of time to give yourself to study before the GRE is three to six months. Longer never hurts, but beyond six months, I don’t think you’ll be internalizing things as effectively. Any less than three months, however, wouldn’t do you too much good either. You don’t want to push yourself too hard. Rushing creates stress, and stress is the last thing you want before an exam of this magnitude.

    The GRE is a popular exam so it would be best to book your test date as far in advance as possible because if you go into their booking page a week in advance, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the date you want. So plan ahead for that.

    It’s also not cheap. My GRE cost $205, which surprised me because estimates I had seen online had told me that it would cost $160 if I took it in the US, and $190 if I took it overseas. I took it in the US and registered on their official site. Plan financially for the exam as well as for the necessary study materials if you intend on buying them (there's a free alternative I'll discuss shortly).

    Pencil It In

    When I wasn’t at my prep course on Saturday mornings, I penciled in my study sessions just like I penciled in my classes and homework sessions. By blocking out specific times to study for it, you are more likely to actually sit down and make it happen. I know that during the weeks I told myself that I’d go with the flow and study in my free time, there was always something I wanted to do more than study for the GRE. 

    Whether you’re a google calendar gal or a handwritten schedule babe, the way you schedule it in doesn’t matter as long as you do it. I found that the ideal amount of time for me to study was one hour every day or at least one hour every other day. I would go through the Verbal and Quantitative sections and pick up strategies during the week, then I would apply them when I took my practice tests on the weekends (usually on Sundays).

    Here’s what my last week of February looked like when I knew I had to pencil in GRE practice every day:
    I love Google Calendar because it's so easy to color code different things. My classes are in blue, study sessions in pink, exams in orange, personal events in lime green, and GRE study sessions in red!

    Check Your Surroundings For Resources

    When you register for the GRE, the ETS website gives you the option to buy one (or a few) of their own books. In fact, a quick amazon search gives you access to a plethora of study books as well. Everyone from the Princeton Review to Kaplan thinks they have the perfect success formula to have you acing the GRE. Let me let you in on a secret: they all contain the different variations of the same stuff.

     If you’re on a budget, or just don’t want to splash the cash on these books, there are definitely options. I didn’t pay a single dollar for my study materials, and you don’t have to either. Check if your campus library or career center has a GRE book. I got mine at the career center on my campus. They also had MCAT, GMAT, and LSAT books galore. While I was there, I also got my hands on a box of GRE vocabulary flashcards. Click here for the exact set I used.

    The library is 100% bound to have study materials like this as well. Pop into your librarian’s office and ask if they have any GRE preparation materials and they’ll be happy to take you right to them. Even if you aren’t in school, your city library will more than likely have one or two GRE books as well.

    Take Practice Tests & Time Yourself

    Taking practice tests is absolutely essential. When I first started to study for the GRE, I would simply focus on the front part of the study books in which strategy was discussed and problems were broken down step by step. It wasn’t until I took my first practice test that I realized that the biggest factor working against me was time. It’s not that I couldn’t do the math, I was just doing it too slow and wasn’t able to get through the whole section before time was up.

    I immediately made this a focal point and started breaking up the practice tests into their respective chunks. Once a week, I would take just the quantitative portion of the exam for example, and plow through it within the allotted time. I tried my best not to stop unnecessarily or second guess myself (because the majority of the time, my first instinct was right anyway).

    By taking practice tests, you are training your mind to think quickly. I find that when you study strategy and problem-solving skills during the week, you may occasionally daydream or let your thoughts wander, but when you know you’re on the clock, you’re much more likely to stay focused. When I figured this out, I started timing my weekly study sessions as well. I would give my self a set amount of time to get through a set number of pages. Example: 20 minutes to get through 3 pages.

    Consult Professor Google & Crosscheck with TA Youtube

    When you’re studying by yourself, you always run the risk of getting stuck on something you don’t know or understand. That’s totally fine! Your gaps in knowledge are where you grow most. Luckily, Professor Google is always keyboard strokes away from giving you the answers you need.

    If you’re a visual person, you may find that you like to see someone else solving a similar problem. That’s when good ol’ TA Youtube comes in handy. There are thousands of videos on YouTube discussing various GRE strategies as well as walking you through practice problems.

    As a kinesthetic learner, I like to do in order to learn. While I watch the video, I’ll pause it to talk through the steps to myself out loud in order to make sure I’m grasping it, and then write it down as well, all the while talking through what I write down as though someone was sitting next to me. By having my eyes, ears, mouth, and hands all engaged in the learning process, I am able to better absorb the content.

    I hope you find these tips helpful! If you'd like to read more of my GRE related posts, you can find them below:

    xoxo,
    Gossip Girl



    . Saturday, May 19, 2018 .

    I’m Already Studying Abroad

    While many students here in the US dream of studying abroad in ‘exotic’ locations like Spain, France, England, Brazil, or similar locations, my dream ‘study abroad’ was always the US. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend university in the US for the past three years, and I have one more (hopefully) adventure packed year to go. I went to high school in East Africa so going to university halfway around the world was a pretty big deal. I've never really felt the need to attend school anywhere else.

    I Wanted to Explore America

    I made a bucket list of things I wanted to do while in America. Everything from eating cherry pie to going to Universal Studios is on my list. I'm so pumped to continue crossing things off this list. I have one more year to go, so I'm kind of on a time crunch at this point. I'm roughly 70% done with my list and I really need to pick up the pace in order to get through it on time. It's such a vast country and literally, every state has hundreds of hidden gems. A road trip across the US is definitely a dream.

    America is #EducationGoals

    My whole life, I had heard about how great the education is in America and looking back now that I've accomplished 3 years of university, I can't say they were mistaken. In educational systems in other countries, your education is fast-tracked, meaning you don't really take too many classes outside of your core program coursework. In the US, although attending university can be pricy, you are given the opportunity to explore your interests a lot more freely.

    American Culture Fascinated Me

    It's not known as the melting pot for no reason. I love being able to meet people from all over the world nearly everywhere I go. I also love learning about the unique experiences my American counterparts have gone through. Whereas constant travel and moving countries was a hallmark of my childhood, I find myself in awe of those who were able to grow up in one place and make incredible memories in their home.  The concept of a 'childhood home' fascinates me because home to me was anywhere my parents and little brothers were. I never attached the notion of home to a particular place; it was a group of people.

    Career Opportunities Abound  

    America is widely known as the land of opportunity and the field of neuroscience continues to grow exponentially. The research being conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Society for Neuroscience (SFN) excites me and inspires me. In my spare time, I like to read some of the work being published by top neuroscientists around the country. It takes me a while to get through because I'm not always familiar with the vocabulary, but I can't help but be in awe of the creative solutions being thought of across the discipline.

    What's your dream study location?

    xoxo,
    Gossip Girl







    . Friday, May 18, 2018 .

    The French Horn

    I’ve been musical for most of my life. I’ve played one instrument or another for about 14 years, my favorite of which was the French horn. The French horn gave me life. I was the only female in the brass section of my high school wind ensemble during all four years, and I played my heart out for girls everywhere.

    From Michal Giacchino to Samuel Barber, to Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Handel, I adored the parts these composers wrote for the horn. My favorite composer has always been John Williams. I mean, have you heard the Star Wars soundtrack? It’s basically a recital for the horn. Amaaazing stuff.

    When I graduated from high school, I wasn’t able to continue the horn because the one I played over the years belonged to my school so I had to return it. I knew that if I wanted to buy myself a horn, it wouldn’t just be any horn. It would be my dream horn: a Conn 8D CONNstellation Series Double Horn in Nickel Silver featuring a screw bell.

    I literally just had goosebumps typing that. Wow.

    But with a price tag of $5,439, I wasn’t too keen on asking my dad to shell out that kind of cash right before I went to college. I wasn’t even sure I would have time to dedicate myself to playing as much as I had during high school. So I put it on the back burner.

    Tennis

    I’ve played tennis on and off since I was six and when I went to university, I was recruited for the tennis team. I ended up quitting after my first year of playing for my university because of drama surrounding our coach. I’m planning on returning to the tennis team this fall, though. With a new coach, the team seems to be going in a new direction and I definitely think it’s high time I unleash my inner Serena Williams on the court once more. Just kidding, I wish I played as fiercely as her.

    Language Learning 

    Languages have been a passion of mine for the longest. I’ve had the opportunity to live in a bunch of different countries thanks to my dad’s job. I’m fluent in English, French, and Swahili. I speak Portuguese, Korean, and a few other languages to a lesser degree. Just basic stuff.

    I want to bring my Portuguese to fluency, and over the past semester, a few Mexican gal pals (Iveth and Marlene) have been teaching me Spanish but in honestly, most of my Spanish revolves around chismear (gossiping) lol. Lo siento.

    I downloaded the app Memrise per the suggestion of Iveth to improve my Spanish and I’ve been loving it. I had tried Duolingo before but just wasn’t able to stick with it long enough to make lots of progress. Memrise is a great, no pressure, interactive learning platform that helps you learn lots of different languages. In fact, here’s a link to it. Try it out and let me know what you think!

    Writing

    Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It’s stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s basically when writers from all over the world, both professional and amateur, aim to write a 50,000 word manuscript during the month of November. I used to be all over it.

    I never actually made it to the full 50,000 words though because as soon as I started experiencing writer’s block, I killed off a character. I know, I know, there were probably better ways to advance the plot, but in my writing heyday, I thought death opened up many doors (I lacked the patience to wait for inspiration). It worked, but clearly not enough because more and more of my characters kept dying.

    When you reach 35,000 words and you’re down to one character, you tend to slap a ‘The End’ on a manuscript pretty quickly. I have't written in a hot minute so I think I might just give it another try this fall and see how it goes. Hopefully no one dies, but I really am in no position to make promises.

    What are some things you regret quitting? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

    xoxo,
    Gossip Girl


    . Wednesday, May 16, 2018 .


    I did something a little silly. I SPENT WASTED $1,500...on  GRE Prep course I absolutely didn’t need. Let’s talk about it.

    For those of you who don’t know, GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. It’s basically the SAT for graduate school. Not everyone wants to go to college, and that’s understandable. Even more understandable is not having the desire to chase a Master’s degree or Ph.D. Both are very much a time and sometimes financial investment; especially if you have loans to pay off from your first degree.

    The GRE is probably the most commonly required graduate exam out there because people with a variety of academic goals can take it. It’s pretty general so it’s not as specialized as the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) or even the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study for it, though. It’s not easy.

    Anticipating the difficulty of the exam, my father suggested I take a prep course over Christmas break of my junior year. Fantastic idea, we thought. It would give me an edge on the exam by giving me the opportunity to get insider tips from a seasoned pro because come on, not just anyone can teach the GRE.

    So at the conclusion of my first semester of junior year, instead of flying home for the break, I stayed with my friend Kristen. Although the majority of the break was fun and I got to cross a bunch of things off my bucket list, I had to not only carve out independent study time to review GRE material, but I also attended GRE class once a week for two hours. This went on from mid-December to early February.

    On March 19th, I walked into the GRE exam with not enough sleep, a caffeine-induced eye twitch ( I don’t recommend this) and my heart hammering against my ribcage. Five and a half hours later, I walked out of the exam, switched on my phone, called my father long distance and it went a little something like this:

    Me: Hi daddy, I just got done with the GRE.

    Dad: Great! How was it? I was praying about it all day.

    Me: First of all, that $1,500 was a waste, and I’m so sorry you had to pay for it. Secondly, can I call you after I take a nap? I think I broke my brain.

    Dad: Regardless of what happened in there, I know you did your best, I’m proud of you. Eat something before you sleep.

    Of course, he knew I'd be hungry.

    Here’s why the course was a waste: I could have done it all myself. Why? Well,

    I had the practice book

    I had borrowed the same practice book he printed out pages for us to study from every week from the career center at my university. I'm willing to bet there was probably a copy of it in the library too. Although it was a mental relief that I had a good book to study from—a quick Amazon search reveals a plethora of similar books—I still felt like a variety of study materials could have been incorporated into our sessions.

    His tips were very google-able

    Not to discredit my GRE tutor/teacher dude (he was totally nice!) but he wasn’t giving me unique information. I had come across techniques he was teaching in my searches online (hello, Khan Academy!) and I didn’t feel like his insights were groundbreaking. They were great as reminders, sure, but they probably weren’t going to change the game for me. My brain cogs just weren't whirring at max capacity.

    The meeting point was out of the way

    As an international student in the US who doesn’t see myself living here past graduation, I didn’t see the need to buy myself a car. I lived a short bus ride or leisurely stroll from the downtown area of my city, and if the need for more extensive travel ever arose, all my friends had cars. Initially, Kristen drove me to my GRE classes on Saturday morning as she lived a city over from where I lived and where the GRE classes were set to take place.

    Once school started back up in January, I started taking the bus to classes in the mornings. Don’t get me wrong, I love bus adventures when they’re spontaneous and whatnot, but being at the bus stop by 8:45am for a 10:00 class was just not how envisioned my Saturday mornings. The initial location for the class was advertised as being an actual 10 minute walk away.

    Once the location was changed, it was a 25 minute bus ride away. I wasn’t a fan. Especially since the class ended a few minutes after the bus heading back in the direction of where I lived had already left. Yayyy for waiting to catch the next one.

    The other person in my class was a distraction

    I had chosen to do an in-person class so I could ask questions. I hadn’t chosen the one on one session because a) it was $200 more expensive ($1700 was not about to be coming out of my dad's pocket. I wouldn't allow it!) and b) the likelihood of someone else having a brilliant question I hadn’t thought of was too much of a draw. The class ended up only having two students. Me and an older lady. I mean, she was 29, so she wasn’t that old.

    Anyway, the problem with this was that in his attempt to tailor the class towards what we both wanted to learn, he would split up the time into what she wanted to learn and what I wanted to learn. There were occasional overlaps, but I feel like a set curriculum of what we would study would have been a better idea coupled with a day or two towards the end of our sessions to review what we may have struggled with.

    There’s really only one good way to prepare, in my opinion

    To be very honest with you, every valuable thing I learned in preparation for the GRE came from putting in the time by myself every day. I scheduled it in like I scheduled in my homework.  At regular intervals, I would take practice tests to gauge where I was time-wise.

    Independent study was crucial for me. It allowed me to go at my own pace, ask Professor Google and TA Youtube questions when I struggled with something, and take responsibility for my own learning. I'll be writing a post about exactly how I studied for the GRE very soon.


    Interested in what was going through my head the day before the GRE? Click here to read all about it.

    I honestly think that if you’re dedicated enough, you can study for the GRE all by yourself. Although just about any resource you could ever need is online, if you really want to splash the cash though, don’t let me stand in your way.

    xoxo,
    Gossip Girl






    . Monday, May 14, 2018 .

    Last night, I was looking through an old scrapbook that I received as a birthday gift several years ago and saw a picture that really had me a little shook. I mean goose bump inducing, chill down your spine kind of shook. Why? Well, my eyebrows were simply atrocious. And I remember the day that picture was taken so vividly because it’s the day my arch nemesis told me my eyebrows looked like sperm.

    Yes.

    Sperm.

    It was a normal day in the life of me, the world’s most fabulous 9th grader. I woke up that morning and thought to myself that it would be a genius idea to give my brows a bit of a pluck and give them some arch because Lady Gaga, still basking in the success of her Born This Way album release was inundating YouTube with fabulous music videos. Music videos in which she continuously experimented with different brow looks. was always experimenting with her brows. And why shouldn’t a faithful Little Monster like myself follow suit as well?

    So I started to pluck at one eyebrow, slowly gaining confidence as it took shape. Yes, arch! I’m gonna be killing it at school today. Then I switched to the other brow and repeated the process. When I stepped back, to my horror, they were uneven. The left one was thicker than the right one. Not to stressed, I thinned out the left one and stepped back once more. Now the left one was thinner than the right. That was alright, I had more brow to go, so I thinned out the right. Finally, they were “perfect.” Excited about my new look, I got ready for school and dashed out for the bus.

    On the bus, some of the older girls gave me strange looks but I just assumed that it was because I looked super mature with my tweezed brows. As I took my seat near the back of the bus, a senior girl turned around and asked me who had done my brows. “I did them myself,” I quipped before adding “I can totally do yours too if you want!” A quick shake of her head told me she wasn’t interested in my new talent.

    Once at school, the day was mostly uneventful until my algebra period in which my arch nemesis, we’ll call him Mojo Jojo (he honestly did look like the Powerpuff girl antagonist) turned and said, “so what’s up with the sperm brows?” A group of people around us had heard his question and burst into laughter. I was mortified. I dashed out of the classroom and ran to the girls’ locker room only to come face to face with my reflection and my brows that did indeed look like sperm. I had left the inner corners of my brows thick and the rest were a mere sliver.

    It was a disaster. I was not as avant-garde as Lady Gaga. I looked like a joke.

    That brow day still haunts me because I’ve never been able to completely grow my brows back and as I’ve tried to tweeze them into more flattering shapes, my brow hairs have grown more reluctant to grow.

    I’ve somewhat recovered now, but every once in a while, I think about how much better my brow game would have been if I had left them alone until I could get them done by a professional. At least I know I’ll make sure my daughter doesn’t touch her brows until someone with skilled hands has had the opportunity to do so first.

    xoxo,
    Gossip Girl





    . Sunday, May 13, 2018 .

    I recently came home from university in the US for the summer and this summer, much like the last two, I cannot help but feel a strange blend of being out of place yet right where I belong. The annoyance of jetlag aside, it has become more and more apparent that I have sort of lost my stride here. I keep leaving with the assumption that everything will be exactly as I leave it upon my return—silly, I know.

    I cannot help but reminisce on my youth (I know I am not that old, but just go with it, please) when all I ever wanted to do was grow up so I could start living my life—whatever that meant. Now that I am what younger me would consider ‘grown up,’ I find myself wishing more often than not that life would just slow down a little bit (or a lot!) and give me a chance to take it all in or even live a few things twice.

    Life Goes on Without You

    Every time I come home, I find that my younger siblings keep growing. I mean, it is common sense that they would do so, but it never registers in my head until I walk through the door and realize that my little brother has had a five inch growth spurt and his voice dropped a nearly equivalent amount of octaves.

    'Life really doesn’t pause because you’re not there to witness it.'

    There will be births and birthdays, graduations and promotions, deaths and illnesses, and a host of other things that you really want to be home for and if you are an international student like me, coming home for all these events may not be financially feasible. It sucks but there are few options beyond counting down the days until you can actually go home.

    Not All Friendships Were Meant to Last Forever

    As much as you and your high school friends promise each other that you will stay in touch, it doesn’t always happen, and that is totally okay. It really is. Not everyone you meet in every stage of your life is meant to be in your life forever. As much as it hurts, you have to accept that someone may no longer be interested in being friends with you. Ouch, I know. That’s just as fine as you choosing that you no longer feel like pursuing a friendship with someone else.

    The case may even be that you both just drift apart, and I much prefer this scenario than the one in which I seek to continue a friendship with someone and want to hang out, but they flake, or even worse, just ignore me. You have to remember—and I strive to remind myself this often—that you are valuable and have to see yourself as such. Once you do so, you’ll be better able to value others in a healthy manner while understanding that if someone doesn’t see your value, that doesn’t mean it’s absent.

    You've Changed

    There used to be a funny teacher at my high school who used to always tell self-deprecating jokes about how he had peaked in high school and life had gone downhill from there. While everyone laughed awkwardly, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was peaking in high school myself. I was never bullied or went through an awkward phase (that’s what I was telling myself, but looking back now, I realize that I really played myself) or had anything particularly life-altering happen. High school was fun for me. I had a great group of friends, all my teachers liked me, and most days were good days.

    'What if I was peaking and it would all go downhill from here?'

    Let me say that who you were in high school is most definitely not who you are right now, regardless of what stage of life you’re at. You can be 10 days post-graduation or 10 years, but rest assured, you’ve changed. People back at home may tell you that you’ve changed and insinuate it negatively, but as long as you’re proud of yourself and are striving to be a better person each day, their opinion of you matters as much (or little) as you allow it to.  Honestly, I’d be concerned if I hadn’t changed at all. It would mean I hadn’t grown or progressed. Yikes.

    Soak It Up—It’s Only Going to Change More

    The years are flying by and I’m realizing that I will have fewer chances to come home for long periods of time as I go to graduate school and eventually enter my career. That’s why I smother my family as much as possible, to the annoyance of my younger brothers, lol. They’ll grow up too, eventually going off to college and starting their own careers and families and it’ll be harder and harder to get the whole crew back together. Enjoy the little moments and be present. Family dinners mean so much more to me now that I can’t be there for them all the time. 

    Please don’t forget to let those closest to you know how much you love them. Don’t assume they know, remind them over and over.

    xoxo, 
    Gossip girl

    Just kidding.