A Letter to my 13 Year Old Little Sister

 

We have never been the closest sisters, or as close as I would like to be. But as you have gotten older you always seen to come to me with your problems and to ask for advice. You are thirteen now and you are much taller than me already. You have blossomed into a beautiful young woman. You are so incredibly strong and brave. Since you are now in seventh grade, you have been through much more than I ever went through and it breaks my heart that I am so far away from you at college and I can’t be there to help you and guide you down the right path. There will always be hard times that you come across and some that you feel like you can’t get through, but I promise you will, and you will be just fine. Sometimes it might be hard and extremely overwhelming to get past things but if you just take a deep breath and remember why you are here; you can conquer anything. People will break your heart and people will be mean to you, but it is just a lesson to learn from. It will show you exactly how strong you are so do not ever give up. You will find people who love you and adore you for exactly who you are and they will treat you with the respect you deserve; don’t lose those people, hold onto them. You will lose friends just as fast as you gain them so don’t ever be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and befriend anyone that comes your way. You might think you have friends that you will have forever, but people grow up, you will grow up. People will change and you can’t be mad or upset about that, just remember the amazing memories you made with them. You have family and friends that love you more than you will ever know. And I promise that mom and dad just want the best for you and want you to be successful. I know that they drive you crazy but every decision they make is for the best. Tell them that you love them as much as you can and try to hangout with them more than you do. You are all they have right now and sooner than later you’ll be grown up and gone too. You will miss them. Always stand up for what you believe in and fight for yourself. Take care of yourself mentally and physically. You are one of the kindest, purest, and encouraging people I know. You help me believe in myself and you help me fight my own fights. You teach me more and more about myself. Even though you are my little sister, I still look up to you, just like you look up to me. I love you forever and always Kourtney Brooke; I am just a phone call away.

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Bucket List

I have many things on my bucket list and sky diving is not one of them. My number one thing would have to be going to Greece, specifically the Skopelos Islands in Greece (where they shot Mama Mia). Ever since I saw the movie, I knew I had to go there. Who knows, maybe I’ll go and never return, just like Donna! I’ve always been drawn to the places with old and colorful buildings and crystal-clear water. The second thing on my bucket list is to go swimming with sea turtles. Turtles are my most favorite animal and they have been since I was a little girl. Snorkeling is definitely high up on my bucket list. Another place I’d love to go is Malibu, California. As you can tell, I love any place with a beach which is weird because I live at the beach… but its just not the same. Id love to meet Mark Wahlberg. He is by far my favorite actor…everything about him is so dreamy <3 For more realistic items on my bucket list, I want a beach wedding with my family and closest friends, nothing too fancy and not too expensive. I’d love to have a low-key wedding and use the extra money to travel since being a nurse will give me little free time. Creating a family that is loved and grows up knowing and loving God is something that I have always wanted. Id love to own a million dogs and bring every dog in the animal shelter home with me, but I know that can’t be possible or realistic, so I’d like to save a couple of animals from the animal shelter, since I am such an animal lover. I’d love to do something to help our oceans too. I am a beach girl, no where near close to a city girl so I want to do anything and everything I can to save our oceans and our sea life. But then again, I can’t do it all by myself and everyone should be doing something to save it. I have many more things on my bucket list but these are on the top. Hopefully, before my time comes, I can accomplish some of these things while also being successful. I would love to hear everyone else’s bucket list dreams in the comments, maybe it will give me more ideas and things to add!

My Long-Distance Relationship

My boyfriend, who I have been dating for about a year, and I have had a long-distance relationship for the duration of being together. I first met him in 2010, I was ten years old and he was nine years old. He was my next-door neighbor for six years before he moved to Stafford, Virginia, which is 3 ½ hours from Virginia Beach, where I live. Throughout those six years of him being my neighbor, he was also my best friend. We hung out every day and both of our families were best friends as well. We went on vacations together every summer, hung out all the time, had cookouts and Christmas and Thanksgiving together. He had always had a crush on me, but I continued to blow him off while I had other relationships throughout this time. This time last year, I had just gotten out of a relationship and prom was around the corner. The school that he was attending when he moved had a junior/senior prom and my high school had just a senior prom. Him and his family were staying at my house for the weekend and he decided to ask me to be his date at his prom, of course I said yes. I later asked him to go to my prom with me. While we were at his prom, we were dancing together, and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time.  Since then, we’ve been inseparable. He went to prom with me at my school and he went to my graduation as well and stayed with me for a week after graduation during the summer and asked me to be his girlfriend at the beach (my favorite place). He was nervous about me coming to college while he was a senior in high school, but I assured him that there was nothing to worry about and everything was fine. During my first year of college and the first year of our relationship, I have learned about the importance of communication. Not being able to see someone as much as you want is such a burden, but we make it work. Communication is key, if you don’t have communication and trust, you have nothing. He comes to visit me as often as possible and I stay the weekend at his house as often as possible, but it is sometimes many weeks without seeing each other since he is a full-time student and lacrosse athlete. Having him as support as well as my best friend is something that not everyone can find, and I am so grateful for it. I can definitely say that it’s hard and it’s not ideal, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

 

Becoming a Better Me

During my first year of college, I’ve let myself go. I have gained weight, ate bad, and don’t work out as much as I should. Before college, I ate super healthy and cooked most of my food. I lost twenty pounds in a month in a half just by cooking healthy foods with a healthy amount of carbs and lots of protein and even more water. When I got to college, I didn’t even think about gaining weight or being unhealthy. But as the time has gone by, my jeans are getting tighter. I feel like there are not as many options as there should be. I eat so bad here because there is no other option. I am a super picky eater and that does not help my situation at all. I should also work out more than I do now. I work out MAYBE once or twice a week and we all know that doesn’t do anything good for the body. Also, I don’t give myself enough relaxation time or any me time for that matter. I seclude myself in my room while I do homework, study, lay in bed doing nothing and I always think about wanting to go sit in the park to get fresh air, or take a bubble bath, go swimming, go sit in the hot tub, do some yoga, go for a walk, etc., but since I am so self-conscious about myself now, its hard for me to go out and present myself in a bikini to go swimming. So, from here on out, I’m going to focus on myself and become a healthier me but also focus on my school and my future. I know that I have an unbelievable support system between my family and my friends and my boyfriend. People can always tell you over and over how much they support you and sometimes you just need more than that. You need yourself and the support from yourself to keep going and move forward. We can all put ourselves down so much, but for what? We all have so much potential, we are so strong and all of us are so beautiful. We will all be successful and accomplish anything that we put out minds to. We need to not stress about every little so often and focus on ourselves, stress about our importance, our health and our well-being. I love you all. <3

STRESS

I’m sure many people can relate to this blog. With the end of the semester coming to end there are many things that have been on my mind lately worrying me to death, even if they shouldn’t. I have applied to the nursing program, and many people who have applied can probably relate to this but… the stress is UNREAL. I am basically a ticking time bomb waiting until May 1st to know if I got in or not. There are good and bad things about this. If I get in, I will be unbelievably happy and grateful, but the bad thing about getting in is finding somewhere to live next year. Since there are no on-campus housing options available to me, I’ve been looking for off-campus apartments to live in. My best friend from home, who is also my roommate this year and I want to live together next year again but she has already signed a lease for an apartment but I cannot sign a lease until I know if I got in or not because if I don’t get into the nursing program, I am unfortunately going home, and with that being said, the other room available with her could be taken by someone else and I wouldn’t be able to live with her. If I don’t get into the nursing program and I go home, I will do a two-year program through the Sentara nursing program or go to the community college near my house to get my degree in nursing. On top of that, I am having to take two five-week summer courses this summer at a community college an hour away from my town because they don’t offer it anywhere else. Either way, I’m hoping everything works out. I am a believer in the saying “everything happens for a reason”. I have worked extremely hard this year at VCU to get good grades, better than my grades in high school, to pursue my dreams of becoming a nurse. I haven’t had the best experience here at VCU and I don’t know exactly why. I haven’t made many friends and I haven’t joined a lot of clubs like I said I would… but I feel like the reason is because I’ve got myself so wrapped up in school work and doing homework and studying that I have no time to relax and give myself “me time”. I know college is stressful, but I feel like it shouldn’t be this stressful! So, if anyone has any tips on how to calm down (A.K.A take a chill pill), please let me know! Also, if anyone wants to be my friend and hangout, feel free, I need some girl friends xoxoxo.

An Open Letter to my Best Friend

Thank you for being you. Thank you for being by my side for the past eight years. I think you deserve the world and I know you don’t see that. You are my shining light in times of darkness. I always find myself wondering about what I did to deserve you. You taught me exactly what a soulmate is and I couldn’t imagine my life without you. You have so many friends and family that love you more than you could ever know, and we all see so so so much potential in you. You believe in me when I don’t even believe in myself and you have loved me for exactly who I am throughout all these years. You taught me what love means, you are love. You are the most beautiful person I have ever met inside and out and everyone in this crazy world would be lucky to know you like I know you. You rock my whole entire world (as if you already didn’t know that). I think people are placed into certain lives for a reason and I wonder how I got so lucky. You loved me when I was hard to love and you listened to me when I didn’t have a voice, but most importantly, you never gave up on me. You give me so much happiness and love and I know that wherever life takes us, you will always be in my life. Your friendship is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I thank God that our paths crossed because you are the best thing that has happened to me. People want to be around you, they want to get to know you and get the energy you give off and the vibe that you have. You are the positivity in any room you walk into. I will forever be so blessed for our memories and our hardships… I will cherish them forever. You are so much stronger than you realize. You are a fighter but so soft and sensitive. You are so kind and warm and beautiful. You are everything. You make everyone around you want to be the best version of themselves. You always strive for more, you always want more, and you will do anything in your power to reach your goal, you don’t give up… no matter what. Don’t let people turn you into something you’re not or make you believe you should be somebody else because out of all the people I know, you are the one that God created almost perfectly. You amaze me every single day.

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Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

Hello! My name is Ashlynn and I am a freshman at VCU as a pre-nursing major. Aside from the ordinary and boring things that most people know about me like being 5’1”, having dirty blonde hair and green eyes, blah blah, I want to share some personal things about myself. I was born three months premature weighing two pounds and thirteen ounces. I was very sick and so was my mom. She was diagnosed with preeclampsia, and I was in the NICU for two months; both of us were struggling to survive. My mom and dad were very young when they had me… only twenty years old and living in my grandparent’s basement in Farmville, Virginia while my dad was still in college at Longwood University. My mom had left Liberty University and once I was born, she attended a community college to get her nursing degree. Throughout my life, I have always been super close with my parents, my mom is my best friend, “in high school the only girl you can really trust is your mom,” is what she would always tell me. When I was younger, I danced for 8 years, but I quit because I broke my foot and wasn’t really into dancing anymore. I tried cheerleading but I was not a fan of that at all. Finally, I tried softball and found that it was my passion. I started with rec ball, and after a couple of seasons, I was on a travel softball team and went to Myrtle Beach, Orlando to play on the ESPN field, Tennessee, and many other places. Softball consumed my life and all of my time. I was also on my high school’s varsity softball team. Coming to college, I had to end my softball career but when I get the chance, I always go to watch my old team play in tournaments. I also really enjoy swimming. The beach is, by far, my favorite place to be. During the summer, I spend most of my time at the beach with my friends. One thing I’ve always wanted to do was learn to paddle board in the ocean. My favorite animal is a sea turtle; I have a sea turtle tattoo on my back that I drew myself. I am a full supporter of cleaning the oceans and protecting our sea life. During my junior year of high school, I was in a CNA program to become a certified nurse assistant. Passing my state boards and becoming a nurse assistant was the best decision I have made because it made me realize that nursing is what I really want to do. I love to help people and bring comfort to patients and families during some of their most vulnerable times. My birthday is on Earth day! I also broken eight bones in my life; four of them being the same bone (two in my hand and two on my foot). I have a benign tumor in my left hand from being premature causing my bones to be very fragile and easy to break. I also have PCOS (poly cystic ovary syndrome), making it hard for me to get pregnant, easy to gain weight, messing up my hormones, and other things. I am borderline diabetic and have hyperthyroidism.  I know, I’m a mess!

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to wait for? Why do you want to be a nurse?

There are many things that I’ve had to wait for in my life but this is probably the most nerve racking one. When I first picked VCU as my school, I had no idea that getting into the nursing program would be so competitive and just straight up hard. I also didn’t know that I had to apply to get in after already starting prerequisite classes and everything else that comes along with it. I’ve always wanted to be a nurse; during my junior year of high school, I became a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). It was probably the best decision I could have made for myself because it gave me real life experiences on what being a nurse would be like working with patients who were chronically ill, suffered from strokes, etc. I grew a strong bond with many of the patients in the hospital and it was the highlight of my days during clinicals. SO, becoming a nurse was something I was positive about. Completing my application for VCU’s nursing program a month and a half early and waiting until May has got to be one of the hardest things to wait for. It has become a waiting game and I hopefully I get the news I want, if I don’t, I will be going home to complete a different program. Becoming a part of VCU’s nursing program is something that I want so badly because I will be provided with the best education, one of the best hospitals and facilities, make some of my forever friends, and most importantly, save lives, and birth babies. If I do become a part of VCU’s nursing program and I succeed, I want to become a neonatal nurse or a labor and delivery nurse. I was born premature weighing two pounds and 13 ounces and hearing all of the stories my family has told me about the amazing support and care of the nurses made me want to become a nurse even more. The life of a nurse is never boring OR slow. Even though you can prepare yourself for what is to come to the best of your abilities, there will be moments when you have no idea what to do and you just want to break down. I think nursing a great choice for women and men who thrive under pressure and excitement. I want to be the person who helps people and families during some of their most vulnerable moments.

You Will Find The One

During middle school, I was not the popular girl, I did not have many friends. I had a small group of friends that I hung out with, but I mostly played travel softball and that’s where I met most of my friends. Went I moved to high school, my small friend group cut in half because of school zones so some went to a different high school. I had a few friends, maybe two that went to the same school as me, and one of them has been my best friend ever since and is now my roommate here at VCU. For the first couple of months, I stayed isolated and focused on the new transition from middle school to high school and school work. I would go to football games every Friday night to support my school team. I met a boy who was a junior at the time and I was a freshman. This was my first serious relationship. We hung out almost every day, he was the popular boy in school with all the friends, good looks, football player, etc. and I fell head over heels for him. We dated for two years on and off and the main reason we broke up every time is still unknown to me. Having someone break up with you for no reason is so hard on a girl and the thoughts of “not being good enough” ran through my mind constantly. My best friend at the time was a boy, he was a year older than me and he would always be my go-to when things got rough. After my first boyfriend and I broke up, me and my best friend at the time started dating and things were perfect. He respected me, he made me laugh, his parents liked me, and it seemed like he loved me. I also dated him for two years. After he graduated high school, he joined the marines but was discharged for personal reasons. He was a changed person when he left bootcamp. He was not sincere or warm anymore. We broke up a couple times because of his lack of communication but during my senior year of high school, he told me he was moving to Pensacola, Florida to live with his grandparents. We decided to get back to together, I don’t know why because things went down hill fast. He would go weeks without talking to me at all, no communication, no texts, no phone calls nothing. After that, my wall was as far up as it could be. I was tired of being hurt and feeling like I was worthless. During this time, I was still playing travel softball, hanging out with more friends, and playing varsity softball for my school. I attended Ring Dance my junior year of high school, I went to my senior banquet and many more memorable events. Some traumatic events happened within my family as well. My grandma had a stroke and my grandfather had a heart attack, both caused from smoking and poor diet, and I got into my first car accident, totaling both vehicles involved. All the while, my neighbor, who had known me for ten years and was a year younger than me was right by my side through all of this. Sadly, he moved to Stafford, Virginia which is three hours away from my house but since our families were best friends, we still got to see each other.  He was my biggest supporter and was always my shoulder to cry on. I took advantage of him because he had always had the biggest crush on me, and I knew it but I always pushed him to the side. He really was the best friend any girl could have, and he still is. With him, it all started when he asked me to be his date to his junior/senior prom. I thought nothing of it and that we were just going as friends. I wore an all-black dress with laced up red heels and he wore an all-black tuxedo with a red bow tie and when he saw me for the first time, he was speechless. He had the biggest smile on his face and he hugged me and spun me around. At that time, I knew that he was someone that I wanted to be with. At his prom, we had our first kiss and slow-danced together. It heartbreaking leaving him the next morning to go back home but I asked him to be my date to my prom so I knew I would see him again in a few weeks. For my prom, I wore a flowy yellow and black floral dress that was shorter in the front and longer in the black and lace up black heels and when he saw me this time, he had the same reaction. A couple weeks I graduated from high school with honors and he was there to support me. A week later he asked me to be his girlfriend. I had no hesitation in saying yes because he respected me more than anyone, he made me laugh no matter the situation, he treated me how I have always wanted to be treated, and he was truly my very best friend. We are still together presently, going 9 months together. He comes to stay with me on the weekends, and I go to his house on the weekends to watch him play lacrosse and football for his school team. Moral of the story, do not let any boy treat you any less than what you deserve. You are beautiful, you are strong, you are worthy, and you are loved. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. It may seem like you will never find the one, hell, I don’t even know if I found the right one, but right now it’s all I need. Find someone that makes you feel calm, makes you feel free, and always lets you know you are beautiful.

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Following My Dreams

I have many dreams, wishes, and goals that I want to accomplish throughout my life. I also have many things on my bucket list that I want to cross off. I have goals right now that aren’t even reachable yet, but that is okay because there will come a time and a place for them. I have visions of myself in the future with an amazing career being a nurse and helping people in need. I see myself living on a ranch with a wrap-around porch on tons of land. Having a loving family with lots of kids and dogs. I also vision myself becoming closer to God. I want to travel to beautiful places, especially Greece- that’s at the top of my bucket list. I dream of getting into the nursing program here at VCU in a few months, I dream of graduating from the nursing program as a registered nurse in four years, and I dream of being a neonatal nurse a couple years after graduating. There are many things that I wish for and hope for and I can only try my best to make them all come true. You should never let someone tell you that your dreams are unrealistic and unreasonable… because they aren’t. I know it is cliché, but we can do anything we put our minds to. The journey to get to your end goal will not always be a straight path. People fail, people mess up, and that is perfectly okay. Everything will fall into place how it is supposed to be and if you don’t like the way it turns out, you can always change it. You should always end up feeling like you are exactly where you are supposed to be and want to be in life. Always work hard for your goals and what you truly want and wish for because when you get it, the reward will so be worth it. I have an amazing support system between my family at home and my friends and that is something that everyone should have. They always give me a boost of confidence when I don’t get it from myself. They comfort me and help me get back up to my feet when I fall, and they also encourage me to keep fighting for what I want and motivate me to stay focused. I always want to have something to strive for and look forward to whether it be something small or something big because if there is nothing to work towards, what’s the point?