Hello, Goodbye

Summer is so close to being over! Wow! My summer has been crazy hectic. Between working almost full time, being the RA, and taking a class, I hit the ground running every morning. Add on top of this friends and family, it is crazy. Whew. Thankfully, I have wonderful bosses who let me take some time off, and with that time, I will be going to Florida! YES! AND! AND! I get to go to Warped Tour when I get back. So I have ONE week of all of this, then vacation, and then OH MY GOODNESS SCHOOL STARTS IN TWO WEEKS! Summer is FLYING by. Sorry about all the caps, it’s all important.Then there’s Welcome Week, which everyone who is going to MSU-WP in the fall should go to. For more information, go here: http://wp.missouristate.edu/studentlife/WelcomeWeek.htm I get to be a group leader, so I’m pumped! I leave that Saturday to go home for a couple days because the Springfield Swap Meet is going on, and that’s practically a holiday in my family. It’s a blast. After that, I come back and start school Monday, and that’s the start of a new semester! Whew! THERE IS LESS THAN A MONTH UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS! That’s terrifying. In the next few days, I have to pack, move, take a final, then go home so I can go to Florida with my roommate and friends. I think the worst part is that I’m packing to take all of my stuff to the third floor, but I’m also packing all of my Florida stuff too. It’s a crazy process, I tell you.

So. Summer on campus. I’ve never done that. I’ve kind of been playing grown up the last couple of months, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Waking up, looking nice, working during regular hours, taking a real actual hour lunch break, it’s all pretty weird. Looking back, it’s been a good real world experience. So I’m going to make a pros and cons list of being a grown up.

Pros:

1. Added responsibility. This is a pro because there is a wonderful sense of doing well that goes along with it.

2.You are responsible for your own self. Being your own person is amazing. Knowing that if you’re hungry and you want pop-tarts, you can decide if that’s worth the extra calories and money.

3. Making decisions. Again, this is a blessing and a curse. If you don’t want to go to movie night, you don’t have to! No one is MAKING you do anything. You make every decision for you.

4. Freedom. Being autonomous and not having someone you have to check in with is incredible. You get to come and go at your leisure.

5. That feeling of accomplishment. This is great. When you finish something, be it a work project or a research paper or cleaning the kitchen, it’s amazing to sit back and go, “I did that.”

6. Starting your life. My life will never be the same. I can’t go back to how I was in high school. I’ve seen the other side, and that will lead me.

7. Real life experience. Dude this is so important. I mean, I knew a lot before I came here, but I had never put it into practice. Now I’ve put it into practice, and I’ve learned so much.

Cons:

1. Early mornings. Worst thing ever. I am not too much of a morning person. I like to wake up around 9, 9:30. When your job starts at 8, that isn’t really feasible.

2. Added responsibility. This is also a con because with more responsibility comes more stress.

3. There is no hiding out in your room because people will always find you! Seriously. If you want to get away from it all here’s what you have to do: Leave the country, smash all of your electronics, buy your ticket with cash under a false name, wear a disguise so the flight people cannot identify you, and tell no one you are going. (I do not advise this.) I’m exaggerating, but I used to have solace. Now? Not so much. Someone always needs something, and with technology, it is so easy for people to track you down.

4. You’re always worried about something. Work, school, friends, family, etc. The first few weeks I was the RA, I was constantly worried I was doing something wrong. I worried something catastrophic would happen while I was grocery shopping and there were a million scenarios we won’t go into.

5. You actually stress over work. This is a biggie for me. At any job I have ever held, it was  pretty stress free. I left work at work. Now, since I’m off on Fridays, I stress something will happen that needs my immediate attention. Usually that isn’t the case, thank goodness. I learned after a few weeks I do not need that added stress.

6. Dangit, sometimes I just want to be a kid! People expect you to be appropriate and well mannered in public. I have to mingle with people, which is sometimes difficult when all I want to do is crawl under the covers and eat ice cream and watch Netflix. Being an adult means people are ALWAYS watching what you do, so you always have to monitor yourself. What about in the privacy of your own home, you may ask. Sometimes it works, other times, well… (Refer to #3.)

Growing up is inevitable. If you’re a Friends fan like I am, you will also conjure up an image of Joey looking up towards the sky on  his 30th birthday saying, “We had a deal!” Here’s a gif for your viewing pleasure:

joey2

 

Whether you like it or not, you will grow up! Hang on, and enjoy the ride. Find the good things and never focus on the negative. So, this week instead of focusing on packing, moving, taking a final, and the 12 hour drive to Florida, I will focus on the fact that this time Saturday, I will be on the beach with my friends without a care in the world.

Enjoy what’s left of summer!

 

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Summer School Horrors

I always loved attending summer school when I was younger. I can remember a time when I had never been to summer school before, and I remember being scared to death of the idea of going to school during the summer. I imagined scenes from movies where students would be sitting in class with no air-conditioning for hours with absolutely nothing to do. I imagined the teachers being grumpy and cruel–like from the movie Matilda. I was afraid I would hate summer school and that I would not be allowed to swim or have any fun whatsoever; sadly, I had no choice but to go.

I was absolutely dreading summer school, but after a couple days I realized how much fun it was. My teachers were fun and enthusiastic, and they always had fun things to do, like building robots, making Go-Karts, building roller coasters from Styrofoam tubes and marbles, making castles and bridges from toothpicks and popsicle sticks, and of course, going SWIMMING at the city pool!!! I couldn’t believe how much FUN summer school was!! AND, I was getting paid to go! Life couldn’t have been cooler!

Now, I am in college, and I just started summer school. Again, I was scared of how it would go. I was scared of being stuck in a classroom forever with a lousy teacher and no air conditioning. But once again, my assumptions were wrong. I am loving summer school in college, and it isn’t as bad as I had imagined!

I have been in college for nearly a year now, and I love each and every class I have taken. With each class, there is certain criterion which needs to be met. During normal semesters, teachers have five months (roughly) to teach students all the necessary material; thus, students have five months to retain all that material. In summer school, the same material need to be taught in two months’ time (roughly), but there is less time for professors to teach and less time for students to learn, thus, making classes a bit more difficult than normal. Less time to learn means more cramming and quicker due dates for assignments.

I’m not sure if it is because of summer school or because I am enrolled in the maximum amount of classes, but I will honestly say summer school in college can be a challenge. It is not like summer school when you were younger. BUT, with a bit of dedication and focus, I am SURE you will do great in summer school! :)

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Oooo! A distraction!

I survived the first week! I like most of my classes; there’s only one I’m really concerned about. I’ve mostly gotten into the hang of things, but let me tell you, there is a huge difference between taking classes at home and taking them while living in a dorm. I’ll give a few quick examples…..

1. “Alright! Everything is all set up! I’ve got my textbooks, my notebooks and pens, lets do th-”

“Myriah! We are going to the store! Want to come?”

“Uhh… no, I really shoudn-”

“We are going out to dinner after!”

“SOLD.”

2. “OK. I’m back, and I lost a few hours, but now it’s time to get down to business”

“Woof.”

“Oh my gosh…. Look at that face. It’s so cute. I’m just going to play with my doggy for a little bit- oh my gosh it’s been three hours.”

3. “I finally woke up early! The house is quiet, and it’s time to get this stuff done!”

(I get everything set up, knock out a few assignments in an hour, and then BANG the house is alive. There are barking dogs, whining sisters, mothers making meals, fathers watching cheesy TV shows, and it gets really noisy… so you move your stuff upstairs… and on your last trip, you start to think “Hey, this show is kind of funny after all… Ha! That was good! I bet a few minutes wouldn’t hurt- oh my gosh it’s been three hours.”)

So, that’s a taste of what it’s been like for me at home. I’ve been dealing with the distractions of dorm living for so long that I don’t really remember how to work around the ones I have at home anymore. As always, it’s a learning experience. (:

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This is NOT My Hometown

I always find inspiration for these journal/blog things when I’m listening to Pandora. Whilst in West Plains, my roommates plagued me with country music. That was what they love, both of them. I grew up on country music (courtesy of mom) and 80s rock, (when dad could sneak it in) but somewhere along the line (Pretty sure it was middle school that did it) I developed my own preferences. These preferences were not country music. I hated that twangy crap. Then I started working in Branson. You know what kind of stations Branson has? Country. During work, I heard country or southern gospel. Or a mixture of both. Usually a mixture of both. (I have one of the CDs memorized.) I came to West Plains barely tolerating country music, and now I listen to it. Sometimes. It’s peppered my Pandora, along with musical numbers, Christian music, rap music, and alternative stuff. Mostly alternative stuff.

Anyway. I got sidetracked. So I was listening to “Give Me Back My Hometown” by Eric Church (I know that because I just looked it up.) and it made me kinda happy because I get to go to my hometown in a few days. And it made me think. Where I come from, leaving is a big deal. EVERYONE wants to, few do. It’s like an instant blight when someone doesn’t want to leave or comes and stays awhile. “Like, did you hear about Becky? She went to this far away college and now she’s back. She only did a semester there, and now she’s at the local community college.” “What a shame. Poor Becky, she will never get out now.” And I don’t really get that. It’s okay to miss your home for goodness sakes! I get so nostalgic for home sometimes! Besides, I kind of love it. It’s soooo close to Springfield which I miss soooooooo much. Mostly I miss the foooodddd. Sweet goodness, they have so many delicious things West Plains just doesn’t have….yet. (Hopefully.)

ANYWAY! Food is the only thing that can get me off topic. Yummm. It’s okay to miss home, dangit. It’s okay to want to stay in your hometown! Leaving is perfectly fine too, of course, but seriously, when did it become this terrible blight to stay where you grew up? Since I am a planner to my core, I’ve given thought to where I want to live. Indiana is my first choice. Weird, I know, I know. But you can’t help what state you fall in love with. But, there’s one big problem: I don’t know anyone in Indiana. If/when I decide to unleash offspring into this world, I want them to see their grandparents. Who all live in Missouri. So, the conclusion is to stay in Missouri. And you know what? I loved growing up in my hometown for the most part. It was close enough to towns, I could roam free and no one cared if my brother and I were screaming because there was no one around. Okay, mom cared. But only because she was petrified one of us was dying. It was a great time. Why wouldn’t I want to give my hypothetical offspring the same wonderful childhood I had?

Also, for all of you people who think it is the worst thing in the world to go to your community college right after high school, think about who will have thousands of dollars in debt, and who won’t have nearly as much. Community college is the freakin’ bomb, people. Two years free with A+, usually (Usually!) you live with your parents, (for free) they provide your food, (for free) the college isn’t that far, and you may have a job. That means most of your paycheck goes to savings for the two years of unpaid college afterwards. This seems brilliant, just saying.

In conclusion, HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH BECAUSE THERE IS NO SHAME IN CHOOSING LIVING IN YOUR HOMETOWN OR GOING TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE! You are doing what is best for you. Take pride in your fiscally responsible decisions. I kind of did in-between. I’m using my A+ but at a college where I do pay for room and board, etc. BUT! I used my scholarships to cover it. Whoot whoot! Those things are beautiful lifesavers. Another time, my ranting has gone on long enough today.

At a two-year university and loving it,

Tori

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A MUCH Needed Vacation

Vacationing is probably one of the best things ever thought of. We stress about absolutely everything throughout most of the year, but there comes a time when a person needs a break from the thought of bills, taxes, work, school, etcetera. After all, we can only take so much before our hair begins to fall out and our brains explode. I went on vacation every summer when I lived with my mother, and we enjoyed going to different places and doing different things. It was always a relief to get away from the ‘normal’ routine and try something new.

I have been many places in the United States, but my most favorite places to visit have always been near the Gulf of Mexico–places like Destin, Florida; Gulf Shores, Alabama; Gulfport, Mississippi; Pensacola, Florida; Orlando, Florida; and Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas. As you may tell, I love the beach. I love walking on the shore with the sand under my toes, the sun and stars above my head, the vast ocean and its waves crashing next to me. And I love dolphins—c’mon, who doesn’t?!?

This summer, my mother is going on vacation without me this time. I really wish I could go, but I have obligations I cannot leave. I may not get to go to the coast this time, but last week I did get to go to Branson for a few days. Even though I didn’t get to do a lot because of my financial status, it was one of the best vacations ever. I had fun and that is what matters. I got to spend valuable time with someone I love and I had a few days to ‘forget’ all of my obligations and other important things.

Before I went on vacation, I was sad, depressed, and upset with how things in my life were going. I needed a break from everything, and I needed to take some time to think. It came to a point where I was slacking at work, short-tempered, and occasionally physically ill. I am the type of person to keep my mouth shut when it comes to my own health, so I didn’t bother going to a physician or doctor. Should I have? Probably so. But one day, my roommate and I were driving around town bored out of our minds, and he said, “I want to go somewhere and do something.” I looked at him, and said, “Why don’t we just go to Branson?,” and the next day we left. This vacation was COMPLETELY random, not planned whatsoever, and TOTALLY fun!!! There was only one thing I did not like: my sunburn I went home with.

Normally, a college student–or person my age–cannot afford to take random trips whenever; but, I am telling you it is possible. You don’t need several thousand dollars to have fun! We spent a total around $300. Not bad for gas, hotel, going to Silver Dollar City and White Water, food, and other miscellaneous items! But what I’m also trying to tell you is that getting away from your troubles isn’t always a bad thing. Often, it can prove to be very beneficial. Since my vacation, I have been feeling physically much better, I have had less temper-issues, I have been sleeping better, and I have stepped-up my game in work and school. I am SO glad I took a little vacation. Yeah, it’s not quite like what I’ve done before. Not as extravagant and expensive, but it was fun and definitely worth it!

Even if you do not have the money to ‘get away’, you can always ‘get away’ by doing something new, like going on a nice walk or run, trying a new restaurant, going out and enjoying the day or night with friends. There are plenty of things to do to help relieve stress; you just need to look for the right relief.

 

 

 

 

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Well, I’ve got Butterflies in my Stomach….

I did it everyone! I survived my first year of college, and I LOVED it! I couldn’t have chosen a better college to start my academic career. I love the atmosphere, the faculty, the students, and especially the professors.

Now, it’s summer. I’m in O’Fallon, far from the campus and friends I have made. Today is the start of something completely new and unfamiliar to me: online classes.

I’m not going to lie to you all; I am scared silly about these classes. The atmosphere I am used to is gone. Why am I so concerned about these classes? I’ll give you a little numbered list, because I love lists. (:

  1. Extremely flexible schedule. This can be a great thing and a very scary thing at the same time. If you have a job or go on vacation then you can log on and do homework whenever you want to to get it all done. On the other hand, some classes have no deadlines at all. So, if you let yourself slack off too much, you may find yourself a week away from finals with 3 weeks of chapter work to do, and that’s no bueno. Basically, this just means that you have to be very responsible and set a schedule for yourself.
  2. Its all on the computer. I’m probably just really tech-challenged, but every time I think I’ve found all the assignments I have to do I open up a new category and find more. They are all like little devilish Easter eggs full of homework…
  3. It may be harder to establish that “connection.” I’ve loved the teachers I’ve had on campus, and I would like to have the same kind of relationship with these ones as I have had in the past.

I am going to keep you all updated on the struggles of online classes far from campus, and I hope in the end I will be able to tell you that I loved them, and I am glad I took them!

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Summertime Sadness

“I got that summertime, summertime sadnesssssss!”

Yeah okay I like to sing. And I love me some Lana Del Ray. Don’t judge! Anyway, the school year is done. It is officially summer….or is it?! It may be summer, but my summer is far from what I envisioned my summer to be. Last summer, I had a part time job as a waitress, which I loved because I had AWESOME co-workers, and my schedule was flexible. I worked 2-5 days a week, and it was always a late afternoon-mid evening shift. I had so much free time for activities! The summer before, I worked and lived at a camp in Climax Springs. Those were crazy, hectic days, usually starting at about 7am and ending about 10pm. However, it was a very unique experience that gave me a lot of perspective. This year, I’ll be working for the university basically full time, and I’m pretty excited. It’s like a compromise between my two previous summers. On top of that, I’m taking a class, and I’m the RA (Resident Advisor) at the dorms. This summer is already full of new and fun experiences. I’m really excited for my summer, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I figured I would go home, work as a waitress, see friends I’ve barely seen this school year, and return to West Plains in the fall. The best laid plans, I tell you.

Had anyone told me this time last year what my life would be like now, I would scoff at them. I really love looking back just a year. More than a year is just laughable. A year ago, I was planning on going to MSU-WP by this time, and I’m pretty sure I had my Corp of Opportunity position by now, (Which is pretty much one of the best things about MSU-WP) but I was also planning on going home most weekends to work as well. Ha! That didn’t work very well at all. If I can give you ANY advice, take this: DO NOT WORK AT HOME IF YOU DON’T LIVE THERE. I live two hours away, and people, that is too far for three days of work. Plus, you’re missing out on weekends of fun activities with your friends here. On top of that, you WILL NOT do homework at home. Don’t kid yourself. You’ll be working, seeing family, catching up with friends, and your homework will sit in your bag until you get back to West Plains and stay up furiously scribbling a 5 page essay about Tall Fescue that’s due tomorrow at 8 a.m. Get a job here if you want a job. There’s plenty, between the university, work-study and businesses around West Plains. Anyway, back on track. I was absolutely crazy for this boy that well, we both knew it wouldn’t ever work, but we tried anyway. I was a socially awkward non-social person. Jeans and a t-shirt were my uniform. I woke up at 8am for school at 8:15.

Now, I’m at West Plains, NOT working at home, NOT picking the wrong people, (or maybe I am) and I’m still socially awkward, but it’s in an endearing way. I’m still shy, but I overcome for the good of socializing. My job requires semi-decent attire, so now jeans and a t-shirt are a weekend only classic. Yeah, that last one didn’t change. I wake up about 24 minutes before class/work: 12-14 minutes to get ready because I need two extra minutes to make coffee and 10 to walk wherever I need.

Okay, moral of the blog: You can plan and plan and plan your life out, but it’s probably not going to turn out how you want it. Short term plans make sense. Ex. I have a meeting at 11 a.m. next week, so I need to leave at 10:45 to make it there 5 minutes early. Ex. Class schedules. Big events, yeah plan those out. Summer trips are a good idea to have a game plan, especially when you’re under 21 because lots of hotels won’t rent a room if no one is 21 or older. When I was 18, three of us went to Alabama, and my father had to fax a bunch of stuff to the hotel (credit card info, a paper saying he would deal with the cost of damages incurred, (because all teens are destructive apparently) etc) we were staying at a week in advance so they would let us stay because none of us were 21. Great idea. Anyway, you can’t predict what life is going to throw at you. My entire life, seriously, since I was 9 years old, I was going to go to Andrews University in Michigan, study psychology, and be on the drama team there. Junior year, I had a bit of a meltdown about careers and school and realized I needed a new game plan. My entire life plan had to be thrown out. I still have no idea what I want to do as a career, so I’m taking a bunch of courses that interest me, seeing if one sparks my interest enough to do it forever. Plans are good, don’t get me wrong, but learn to be flexible in case your direction veers off of the path to your plans.

Enjoy your summer, even if it doesn’t turn out how you planned!

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Reach for the STARs..heh..puns…

I’m probably going to get in trouble writing this, but I don’t care! My little baby brother’s girlfriend is coming here! I say baby. He’s 17. I’m pretty excited, because she’s been around so long she’s like a less annoying little sister. Anyway, today is her STAR orientation, and beforehand, I’m showing her around my university. I’m pretty excited about that. I’m not an ambassador, this is just me showing a friend around, but I cannot wait to show her everything on campus! It’s a beautiful campus, especially this time of year with all of the flowers out and the sun shining.

I feel like a proud mama showing off my baby to friends. I’m just so happy here at this university that I want to share the joy. I’ve only been here for a year, but I do love it. This is not a PR line, nothing. I sincerely love this college, even though I thought I would hate it. I love the bell tower, I love Kellett Hall, Melton Hall is my buddy, Cass Hall is a lifesaver, the Grizzly House is my living area, MSU-WP is where it’s at. So I am giddy with excitement that I get to show off my campus to people I care about. (Her mama is here too!)

Okay, I should clarify things. STAR orientation is how incoming students sign up for classes, get your BearPass ID, your parking permit, all of that good stuff. It’s pretty cool, and super helpful. I came as a scared teen, alone, and in West Plains for the second time in my entire 18 years. I did all of my stuff and left. I said maybe two words. I was a big kid, so I didn’t need anyone to go with me. Psh. My advice to you: bring someone. Seriously. It could be your mama, your sister, your brother, your dad, your grandma, your grandpa, your best friend, that shady guy down the street, anyone. Okay, maybe not the shady guy. Just bring someone.  It will make things much less scary. And when you’re trying to find all of these weird building names, there will be two sets of eyes instead of one pair which is also desperately driving all over campus.

Anyway, our campus is cool. Schedule a visit with an ambassador. If you’re coming here, schedule your STAR now! You won’t regret it.

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Have You Ever Wanted To Travel?

I love to travel and have been fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to travel to Europe twice in my life time. With traveling comes so many new and exciting experiences. Going through customs, trying new food, seeing the people, all of it is so exciting to me and something that I hope everyone can experience. If you are a student I really encourage you to travel now while you are young and carefree. As life goes on we get more responsibility and life seems to get in the way of a taking a ten day trip to Europe! Every year Dennis Lancaster, our Interim Dean of Academic  Affairs, takes a group of students on a trip somewhere outside of the United States. Two years ago I went, and it was a trip I will always remember. We went to Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland.  We got to travel through the Swiss Alps, visit the Eagles Nest, eat gelato while walking on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, and visited numerous other historical sites. Our tour guide knew so much information and was fun to be around. It was truly an awesome experience! Thanks to Missouri State University-West Plains I was able to take a trip like this, and you can too! As I said earlier, they take a group every year, and it is a wonderful trip to take! If you are interested in a longer stay on the other side of the globe you might want to consider our study abroad program in China! If you are an A+ student you can study for a semester in China for free!!! If you don’t have A+ you can still study at the same price as you would if you were attending here in West Plains. It is an amazing deal for students. While you are studying over there you work in the tutoring lab as an English tutor along with getting the opportunity to see the awesome city of Dalian, China. If you get on You Tube and search China Internship Program, Joseph Puzzo created a video talking about his experience in China.  Watch that video and you will be ready to hop on a plane! If traveling out of the states isn’t your thing we have many opportunities to travel to neighboring areas to learn about the rich culture we have. From the old TB clinics in Eminence, to the mills and streams of the surrounding areas, there is so much that can be learned. Whether it’s close to home or far away, I encourage you to get out and explore the world, learn about different cultures, and broaden your horizons. Bon voyage!!!

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Say It Isn’t So….

You know that feeling. You wake up, and see the sun streaming through your curtains, you hear the birds chirping happily outside your window, and you think of all the things you are going to accomplish as soon as you get up….then you make a mad dash to the toilet and throw all of those wonderful, glorious things right down the john.

In the past, the best thing to do is to curl up on the cold, slightly disgusting bathroom floor and call out “Mooooooooooomb? MoooOOOOOOOOooommmb? I’mb sick!” For most of us at college, however, that call is either met with silence, or your roommate yelling, “Do you even KNOW what time it is? I am NOT your MOTHER and I SWEAR to GOD if you vomit on my stuff…! OH AND DON’T YOU DARE COME NEAR ME!”

I exaggerated a little here, most roommates would probably pat you on the back and give a tender, yet hesitant “there, there” before scurrying off to grab the Lysol and hand sanitizer. My point is, when you move out of your house, you don’t have your mom to stay up all night putting cold rags on your forehead and telling you what to eat, how much, and when.

Here are my tips:

1)     Don’t be afraid to go to the doctor. I’ve been to Urgent Care (MSU-WP pays for our visits, don’t we have an awesome college?) three times since last fall, and all of the doctors are just lovely and are there to help you out. In fact, when you leave they give you a packet of papers explaining in detail what your body is doing and how you can help it heal. (Do all doctors do this? Because it’s awesome.)

2)     Don’t be afraid to call your Momb, or whoever it was that used to take care of you when you were sick at home. They know what foods you like, and CAN eat, (which is a very slim list when you have the flu) how long to rest, and other small trade secrets.

3)     When you discover that you did have a contagious illness, disinfect everything you can before you have to hobble back to bed. Let your friends and teachers know to take a little more vitamin C than usual.

Being sick is no fun, but it is one of the things we have to get used to when living on our own. It helps to have amazing friends, family, and healthcare providers to help you along the way. (:

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