A Chapter Begins.

I did it. I graduated. I did this BS.

Two years at Joliet Junior College, and two years at Shampoo Banana--Champaign-Urbana.

Four years, minimal debt (thanks, junior college and scholarships!), and countless memories later, I'm finally a college graduate and a productive member of society--I think? 

 See that smile? I'm pretty stoked to be done writing research papers. 

See that smile? I'm pretty stoked to be done writing research papers. 

Oh, and I got a job doing what I love in a location that suits me well. 

In a few weeks, I'll be joining the digital team at FLM+ in Minneapolis as a digital and social media writer. If you know anything or have seen any of my work over the past two years, you know this is a perfect fit for me.

As sad as I am to leave my nest and finally fly away, I'm excited to start a new chapter and start making a life for myself. However, I would be remissed if I didn't include some parting thoughts and advice for the college undergrads looking to maximize their time in the world.

5.) Do your laundry, take showers, work out, and eat healthy when you can. It's not always easy to do all four, but investing your time. It's worth it in the end. 

4.) $10 cover and $4 Blue Guys are rarely worth the price. There is the rare occasion that a sweaty frat boy won't make you feel uncomfortable, but I wouldn't take my chances. While we're on the topic of boys, this next one is for the ladies (and non-gender conforming folks, too). 

3.) Fall madly in love with your body and yourself. You only get one body and one life, and we spend too much time trying to fix what's already amazing and perfect. Your body is powerful, beautiful, and deserves your love. 

2.) Stray from the path. Join a club you've always wanted to try. Take a class just to try something new. My best experiences have come from me pursuing my passions outside of what I thought I should be doing with my time.

1.) Enjoy every last minute. It's cliché, but soon you'll blink, and you'll be saying "see you soon" to some of your best friends. Make memories and enjoy the incredible yet fleeting time you have to be young and kinda carefree. 

Thank you, Champaign-Urbana, for the last four years of memories. It's been real and fun and real fun, but now I have to leave and be a grown-up.

Don't you forget about me. 

Wait.

I've been absolutely horrible about writing blog posts, which is evident by the lack of content on my blog (one post) and the number of drafts I have written and saved (three).  

While that is the case so far, nothing quite gets me to change like a new year and some resolutions to go with it. Most of them are regulars--go to the gym more, cut back on drinking/eating out/spending money, post content regularly to my blog--but the one that has crossed my mind the most is to stop waiting.  

It's a strange phenomenon for me to be someone who waits. Me, the Type-A personality who started looking for full-time employment last summer--I graduate this May. However, what I've noticed about my "waiting," and the "waiting" of humans in general, is that it's a little more subtle than completing tasks. It means waiting for things that aren't in my immediate attention to get bad. Like, really bad.

I can see the confusion. I know, I'm being vague, but stay with me.

The things I'm talking about ranged from the small--a relationship that isn't very healthy, a peer making mildly ignorant comments--to the near catastrophic--the Syrian civil war, the presidential election.  In each of these situations, I kept telling myself, "Things aren't as bad as they seem. That friend didn't mean to say those hurtful things, that guy was just trying to be funny, I can't do anything to help Syrian refugees, there's no way our country would elect a reality TV host that says and does reprehensible things. " 

Except those things did happen, those things were as bad as they seemed, and in some cases, even worse. Yet they didn't get the necessary attention they deserved because they weren't falling apart or blowing up in our own faces. It was easier to not say anything because it wasn't affecting us. It was easier not to say something than risk unfavorable attention from our friends.

The truth is that things shouldn't have to be falling apart for us to help. We shouldn't have to wait and see children dying in Aleppo on our Facebook feeds for us to care. We shouldn't wait until our colleague uses the N-word for us to call out ignorant behaviors. We shouldn't wait until someone hurts us to realize the relationship isn't worth saving. We can and should start solving problems sooner. The best time to start helping is now. 

In Last Week Tonight's final show of 2016, John Oliver talked about how real change comes not from sharing content on Facebook but by making sacrifices, and outlined many nonprofits that support issues like women's health, Syrian refugees and the LGBTQ+ community.

If you can't afford to help with money, then choose to help with your voice. If something makes you uncomfortable, speak up. If you don't like something, speak up. You were given a strong voice. Use it make the world a better place for you and for everyone.

I want to finish this inaugural post of 2017 with the words of Elie Wiesel.  Let's do better for everyone in 2017.