All three of these ideas are based on the human mind wishing to seek reasons behind actions. Are we predestined for certain events to happen in life? Do we have choices to be made? Or, are we under some incorrect assumption that we have some control over what happens to us? The hope is that we do get to make decisions for ourselves on some level. Whether you believe in a higher power or not most people believe that they have some ability to change their lives for the better and to positively impact the lives of those around them.

What would the world be like if we as individuals felt that everything was preset for us. Would we try in our education pursuits, sports, the arts, in our careers? It would be nice to say we still would but I don’t think so. If life is about moving through it with an external locus of control would we be able to guide our actions with beliefs and morals? Studies have shown that generally individuals are psychological healthier and work harder if they have an internal locus of control which means they believe they have the biggest control over their own lives. Though having an external or internal locus of control is based on a continuum and no one is 100% either way.

Fortune Cookie

I would like to think that I lie within the continuum. I do believe we make our own choices in life, however, there are events that seems to happen so spontaneously that I would like to think they are meant to show us something or impact us in a way to improve ourselves. In thinking about my own life and speaking with my friends it seems as if missing a train, not getting a certain job, meeting someone new, the loss of someone are all ways in which unexpected consequences happen to us though most involve positive outcomes. There is just not much true coincidence. I know I have been shaped by the people I have met, the people I have lost and the experiences along the way. It would seem to me that if we could open our eyes to the beautiful possibility that things will happen the way they are supposed to it would eliminate a great deal of stress and worry over what might happen. So enjoy those random things that seem to happen to you, they could lead you to a great career, some time with a great friend, or meeting new people that you want to remain part of your life.

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Broken Heart

The theme of a broken heart is pervasive in our culture and art. You can’t listen to the radio, watch a movie or go through an art gallery without finding one piece that depicts the idea of a broken heart. Even in two of the many songs I personally enjoy I see this theme. Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer and You Can’t Break a Broken Heart by Kate Voegele both depict this theme but in different ways. Now if we think about this theme it would seem that our culture is stuck on something so depressing. So why is this so prevalent?

Love is why this is so prevalent. It would seem as if true love is the good end of a spectrum with a broken heart on the other. I would disagree. It is my argument that love and a broken heart are so intertwined that instead of being on opposite ends of the spectrum they are really side by side. This might seem counter-intuitive and I can see why but just hear me out. True love, and I am not just talking about the romantic kind, is something that can kick us around sometimes. Loving someone isn’t all about fun times, meaningful conversations, and understanding a person. Love is also a difficult process by which we learn that the person we love isn’t a static character in our lives but a dynamic individual who changes over time. Love isn’t always easy and sometimes we love someone but don’t like them.

Even in a relationship there are times that our hearts get broken when something doesn’t go right or an event happens that we don’t expect. Individuals aren’t perfect so love isn’t perfect either; it is tough, it knocks us on the ground sometimes and teaches us the true meaning of the human condition. We love others and fall in love because of the beauty and the amazing feelings that come along with it. We stay in love or continue to love others because we don’t let the fact that we get beat down keep us from getting back up. Love teaches us to keep from being selfish because it isn’t just about you it is the joining of two people together. This requires listening, understanding and compromise. Both individuals have to work towards the benefit of the couple, and this means you can’t always get what you as an individual want. In learning not to be selfish and looking at the bigger picture you can create something that is even better than what you have as an individual. In addition by letting someone into your life they can affect it in ways you never thought possible. Even in a seemingly good relationship your heart will get slightly broken. This is because no relationship is perfect each one takes work and people make mistakes sometimes. At the very least individuals make white lies to each other or make greater judgment errors like flirting with someone outside of the relationship. These things and many more can cause a heart to get slightly broken. This seems to be a very pessimistic out look on life but if something is never broken then how can you fix it and make it better.

What I am trying to convey through this is the idea that you never know how great something can truly be until you test it. When our hearts get broken it enables us to truly look at ourselves and what we went through to see what we did wrong. The moment we find where things went wrong is the point at which we can learn how to do things right. It is our learning experiences that makes individuals better people. We have two options when our hearts get broken, we can either leave it broken and go through life with a heart that has been banged up and unable to let others in or we can go about it in a different way. I prefer the other option which is to look at what caused my broken heart in the first place and move forward using what I learned to fix it. Trust me a rebuilt heart and the learning that comes along with it leads to a stronger one that is even more ready for the wonderful things that love can bring.

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The Proud Traveler

          Washington DC

I feel as if I have read so many different versions of Date/Don’t Date a girl who travels.  I agree with those versions entitled “Date a Girl who travels”.  It seems to me the several articles entitled “Don’t Date a Girl who travels” takes a narrow-minded approach to women probably without meaning to.  The ideas laid out in the articles speak about a woman with unkempt hair, who will be bored by others who have regular responsibilities.  They go further and speak about how women who like to travel will not be able to keep a full-time job or a relationship.  I’m sure the author might not have meant for the reader to take the article literally word for word but at the same time I feel as if it has a narrow-minded and a possibly naïve connotation.  My problem lies just as much with the view of women who travel as it does the portrayal of those who don’t.  Just because a woman travels does not mean she can’t settle down in a major city, have quality relationships, or is somehow better than others.  Just as those who don’t travel are not necessarily close-minded, boring, or frivolous people who waste money on material items.  The main point is traveling doesn’t make people automatically better or more conscientious, while a person who chooses not to travel doesn’t automatically make them close-minded or less concerned about the world in which they live.

            In my life, I have had the ability to travel which I am extremely grateful for but others are not so lucky.  I grew up in a household that encouraged me to learn about other cultures and to branch out and be friends with everyone.  My grandma would always be going somewhere when I was a child and would always bring me back something.  She taught me about geography, cultural dress, and that the food in Thailand was usually too spicy for her.  It was with this background that begun my love for travel so much that I began to travel abroad at 14 years old.  My experiences through travel will never be complete because the world is a big place and I will never have enough time or money to go everywhere I’d like.

In my years of traveling, I have done the silliest touristy things like taking pictures in front of White Castle and I am not ashamed to admit that.  I have also conquered obstacles and had truly once-in-a lifetime experiences.  These are some of my memorable accomplishments: I have cooked dinner with a Native American tribe in Arizona; I have served some of the poorest, sickest individuals in the Dominican Republic; I have climbed the pyramids in Mexico with a broken toe; managed to rappel down a snowy cliff in New Zealand; braved the climb to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge; went wandering around the streets of London just because I felt like it; spent two days in Europe for the most part without any human contact; impressed a German professor so much that I received a perfect grade in his class which is virtually unheard of in German university classes; spent the time to speak to a student from Cairo who had been in the midst of the Egyptian revolution; met one of my best friends on a Midwest baseball trip; got soaking wet while trying to get to the Smithsonian Museum; and took a cruise to Alaska where I really started to understand the beauty of the world we live in.

 This list could go on and on but my point is that I travel because I love it.  Traveling is an ongoing experience that can never be fully understood by another person.  You learn about yourself and the world around you in ways you never imagined before.  A great sense of pride, self-accomplishment, and self-awareness is developed through traveling.  Everyone has their own stories to tell and I encourage you to tell your own stories and to listen when someone wants to tell their story to you.

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As most people would know I love to have adventures. My adventures range from trying out a new restaurant to studying abroad in a foreign country which I didn’t know the language for a semester. For me stagnation is very scary and not something I take lightly.

Growing up in a smaller community as a child can be a very comforting thing. This goes not only for the child but for the parents as well. I knew a lot of people who were at my school and in the community as a whole. I was involved in several activities and made use of the opportunities the smaller community provided me with. As I have gotten older I have realized the downsides of living in a smaller community. A lot of people I know have managed to stay here without thinking much about it. When I go out around town I notice they fall into a couple different categories. A majority drink too much and/or take drugs, others are tied into the community because of a traditional family and don’t have career aspirations, then there are those young individuals like myself that left and came back. The later group I believe can be the best off one if we take opportunities to venture out. We can get out of the community because we have seen what else is out there.

My plan is to go somewhere and make something out of myself.  I am not the kind of person who can idly sit by and wait for things to happen.  I need adventure in my life and the only way to obtain that is by jumping outside of your comfort zone.  Do something you never thought possible, travel to somewhere you never thought about before, try a new type of food that you are nervous about.  I know this has become a very overused quote but if your dream don’t scare you then they aren’t big enough.  My dream scare me to death sometimes but in the end I’m excited.  When you’re young get out there and do something! You don’t want to life your life talking about what could have been.

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There is a common saying that blood is thicker than water.  This meaning that our familial relationships are much more important than our friendships because those are the only ones that will truly stand up to the test of time.   I am truly lucky to have a very supportive family who I know will be there for me no matter what, but I don’t believe everyone has that.  It is not a matter of the type of relationship you have with some one but the strength of the bond you have.  Just because you are blood does not mean you have a familial-tight bond with someone.  This type of bond can come as a result of years of friendship going through ups and downs with one another.

All this being said, I have some wonderful friendships that I am truly grateful for.  Without my friends I wouldn’t have managed through college and especially my semester abroad.  It was these people who had my back and who were always there to make sure I was happy, secure and safe.  Friends can know you the best because they have a tendency to be able to judge less and travel with us on our journey through maturation.  So the moral of this story is to not discount friends.  Be there when they need you to be.  You never know when you might need their support.

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Greek Membership

I think most people would agree that there is a certain stereotype in regards to Greek life as a whole in the United States.  I mean I can’t deny that the media portrays Greeks in a certain way and not necessarily in the way in which most Greeks would want to be portrayed.  This has a huge impact on the preconceptions the world has about Greek organizations and members of those organizations.  Shows like Greek and movies such as Animal House do nothing to help the United States Greek community.  However, a tendency is to blame the media for all the stereotypes that exist about Greek membership.  You can’t just say that a movie or show is going to completely be the reason why certain College students have a negative view of Greek Life.

What I am trying to say is that I know for a fact that different Greek organizations on difference campuses work to keep this stereotype alive.  Most of us know this stereotype; that Greeks are promiscuous, alcoholics, unintelligent, and purely social creatures.  Some Greeks like to complain about how sororities and fraternities are being portrayed in this negative stereotypical life but the truth is that we perpetrate the stereotypes.  For example fraternities holding parties where they judge at the door who is pretty enough to be let in, sororities who sit out on the balcony of their chapter house to suntan when all the freshman move in, and finally in recruitment.  Yes in recruitment, some of the biggest stereotypes are perpetuated.  During formal recruitment we give the girls a list of things they should wear to come to our houses, and then are in this competition over who has the most socials.  Since when did sororities who are supposed to empower young women to be better women; who are leaders in their communities let the self worth of an entire organization be based on the opinions of one group of men.

However, I have never regretted my decision to become a member of my sorority.  In fact it is one of the best decisions I have made during my college experience.  What others fail to see is the true benefits that come along with membership in a Greek Organization.  There are the typical things such as formals, socials, philanthropies with other fraternities, fundraisers, and chapter retreats.  However, there is also what you don’t see.  I have been to plenty of leadership development conferences, forums on specific issues that face college students and many more.  I have truly been moved by the kindness that my sisters have shown me and have grown as a person.  I am certainly not the same person I entered college as, I am a more social, confident, and strong person because I joined my sorority.

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Relationship Deal Breakers

So we all have deal breakers when it comes to relationships, some are pretty common like not doing drugs while others are not so common like only dating someone whose blonde.  I think it’s necessary to form these deal breakers before dating someone so you know before hand what you won’t put up with.  This way you won’t be wasting someones time.  I know I have deal breakers while my other friends have some different ones.  So I decided to create a list, so if you have one of these you might think twice about it.

  1. Drugs
  2. Not having goals
  3. Lack of an education
  4. Smoking
  5. Someone who can’t laugh at themselves
  6. WOW
  7. Playing video games instead of hanging out with other people
  8. Arrogance
  9. Being Disrespectful
  10. Forgetting to shower
  11. Not looking nice, no you don’t need to be metro but please care about what you look like
  12. If your shoes are kept up
  13. You must try to keep in shape
  14. They can’t hold their own in a group of people.  You have to babysit them in social situations.
  15. Being tied to a cell phone especially texting and talking on it at dinner
  16. Dishonesty
  17. If an ideal party is always getting drunk
  18. Guys who can’t compliment
  19. Guys who don’t keep up their cars, throw away trash etc.
  20. When they have a temper
  21. Not being of a certain religion
  22. Laziness
  23. Being in the military
  24. Not wanting kids
  25. Not liking dogs

It seems as if there are a lot, but believe me these aren’t all one persons deal breakers.  Also understand that what one might really want in the opposite sex is a deal breaker for someone else.  Its all about knowing what you want and don’t want in a relationship.  I believe that as time progresses and as you get older you will understand what you want more and more.  Maybe at the age of 18, you don’t want to get married or have children.  But by 24 you might decide that those things are for you.  Don’t ever be afraid to meet new people, they will challenge your thoughts and beliefs and can help aid you on your journey on finding who you really are.

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