WATCH. THIS. VIDEO.

Dear Reader,

I was on tumblr the other day and I found this video. It’s has almost 7 million views so there’s a good chance you’ve seen it, but it’s fifteen minutes long so there’s a good chance you haven’t.

We all know why the viral videos always last a minute or two–people don’t have the patience or the time to sit at their computer for more than even four minutes sometimes. But I promise you: if you watch this video you won’t be disappointed. It’s hilarious, but it’s always important.

So, please, enjoy:

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Surprise throwback song!

Day 21: Thank YOU!!!

Dear Reader,

Yes, I know, this is super corny to be ending my “21 days of thanks” by thanking you, the reader! But I need to. So just bear with me.

I started this blog almost six months ago because I was bored. And because my life was boring. I literally started out by saying: I have nothing to write about because nothing exciting ever happens to me. Maybe that’ll change if I start writing to random people on the internet.

Well that didn’t happen. Nothing remarkable has happened to me yet because of this, and honestly, none of my posts have been amazing. I haven’t really told any cool stories or had any crazy encounters since starting out on wordpress, but I’ve found something more.

WordPress is a place where I can turn to now. I feel like I actually know some of the people on here. I feel like they actually care. Every like and comment makes me feel better–makes me feel like a part of this community. And I’m so thankful to be here.

Now, I’m nowhere near internet fame (not that I ever intend to be), but this month I hit 100 followers. 100 people get notified, in a sense, when I decide to use this website as an outlet. Because of this website, my voice can be heard–or, at least, I can feel like I’m being heard. Which is more than I could ask for.

I’ve been talking about inspiration a lot these past 21 days. It’s because I’m constantly being inspired by everything around me. My friends inspire me to be better, my teachers inspire me to be like them, my sister inspires me to be myself. John and Carrie inspire me to pursue my dreams and Disney inspires me to stay a kid.

Well WordPress inspires me to do more.

When I first started, I would just write and respond to comments and maybe look at a few posts here and there. This month, though, I’ve been reading. I’ve been learning about the people on here. And it’s wonderful.

I’m inspired to learn and travel and teach and give back and be with my family and make more friends and live. Every blog, every person, every post reminds me of all the other people on this planet who are doing things every day. Some typical, some extraordinary.

But I want to join.

I don’t know exactly what the future has in store for me, but I can say that I will be posting on here a lot more. But not daily. I’m done with the post-a-day technique and I can say that it’s not for me. After all, how am I going to get anything done if I spend each day on my computer?

But thank you. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for following me, if you do. Thank you for inspiring me.

I hope you stick around.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Listen to this song: Dead Air – CHVRCHES

DAY 20: THANK YOU KASSARA MEEK

Dear Reader,

I’m very excited for this thank you. And Kassara, I know you’ve been waiting for this. 🙂

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Kassara for about seven years now. I don’t know how long we’ve considered ourselves to be best friends, but we get closer each year. And now we’re at the same college and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Something I didn’t expect in college is that sometimes people expect you to leave behind your friends from high school and move onto a new friend group. I agree that new friends are great and you should step out of your comfort zone to make some, but if I hear one more condescending comment about spending time with my friends from home, I might scream.

Kassara and I’ve actually spent a lot of time talking about this because, believe it or not, we weren’t high school friends just because we had the same interests or were in the same classes. We didn’t create a disposable friendship that was only ever meant to be temporary. And now that we’re in college, we actually spend more time together. And I don’t care if people take that as a sign that I’m not making friends or something, because that’s just untrue. The truth is that Kassara’s one of my best friends and it’d be stupid of me to avoid her because I want to meet other people. Especially when it’s so easy to do both.

I’ll probably touch more on that topic in a later post, but this one is about Kassara.

The reason why I said that Kassara’s been waiting for this is because I know she follows my blog. She reads everything I write and is always boosting my confidence in that area. She has more confidence in my writing and my future as a writer than anyone and I can’t tell her how much that means to me. She’s told me countless times how she’s going to publish my book. My unfinished book that is hardly even a timeline at this point. She has faith that I’ll complete it and that it’ll be good. God knows what this faith is based upon, but I’m so thankful to have that kind of support in my life.

She also helps me out in every aspect other of my life. She lets me vent for hours and offers good advice whenever I’m in need (which is often).

And the remarkable thing is how selfless it all is. My problems always seem like a walk in the park when she tells me what she has to deal with. But that doesn’t stop her from being a good friend, or even from being positive! She always has a smile on her face and is so much fun to be around. She’s crazy and weird and hilarious and I’m so thankful that I get to know her. That I get to call her my best friend.

I know she has wonderful things ahead of her. She truly is destined for greatness. And Kassara, I just want to say thank you for everything.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Anyone who knows Kassara knows of her obsession with Fall Out Boy, so I thought the song of the day would be my current favorite song of theirs: centuries. Basic, I know, but it’s such a good song!

DAYS 18 & 19: THANK YOU AUNT SUSIE^2

Dear Reader,

I’m lucky enough to have two wonderful aunts who are great role models and awesome people. And they both happen to be named Susie.

My aunt on my mom’s side is really fun and crazy. She’s super outgoing and is always the subject of the crazy stories that side of the family tells. More than that, though, she’s an amazing person. She’s a great mom/sister/daughter/wife/friend and she’s a really good influence for me to have. Even though she lives 12+ hours away, she makes it a priority to come down and go to my graduation and visit me at college. And it scares me to think about how my own sister and I won’t always live so close, but when I see the relationship she keeps with my mom, I know we’ll be fine. They’re constantly talking and catching up and I love how big of a part she (and my cousins and Uncle, too) is in my life. And I don’t think I’ve ever expressed how truly thankful I am for that. But thank you, Aunt Susie.

My Aunt Susie on my father’s side is very similar. She’s the life of the party–always friendly to everyone and always counted on for a good laugh. She’s also a huge role model in my life. My aunt’s life’s work goes to her community. She’s very involved in the church and the schools and she helps people with disabilities. She actually goes above and beyond to help them, not for anything extra, but for the assurance that her clients are going to be better off after her help. She’s one of the most selfless people I know and I look up to her greatly. She’s accepting and understanding and is always always looking to help. She’s the one who told me I should start a blog last weekend! And I kind of wish I wasn’t keeping it a secret so I could’ve talked to her about it, but one day I’ll tell everyone. And then maybe she’ll see this and she’ll know how much I see her as a role model. So thank you, Aunt Susie.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Song of the day: Lock Me Up – The Cab

DAY 17: THANKS SIS

Dear Reader,

I was thinking the other day about how people get to be in our lives. I don’t know if you believe in luck or fate or any of that, but if not, it can all seem pretty random. At the same time, though, it’s pretty remarkable. Every decision we make leads us somewhere with people that may (or may not) become a very big part of our lives. I mean, my best friend moved to the neighborhood from Indiana about five years ago. She almost moved back too, but her old house was sold at the very last minute.

Just think about that. Out of all the public schools and neighborhoods and houses for her parents to choose, she ended up living just down the street from me. And I can say with full confidence that if she moved back, we would not even be in touch right now (we were very new friends when she almost left).

But everything worked out and today she’s one of the most important people in my life.

So I was thinking about that the other day and thinking about how random it all is–and how scary that can be too. Because these people can just get up and leave whenever they want. They can be done with me in an instance and never see me again.

Which led me to think about how important family is.

Which made me think about how lucky I am to have Sarah Neiswander as my sister.

Sarah is younger than me by sixteen months, but is infinitely better than me. She has a bigger heart than anyone I’ve ever met. She cares about everyone and is always more than nice and respectful. Honestly, she’s the only one in the family that no one ever has a problem with.

And she’s smart and beautiful and talented and hilarious. I’m weirder with her than I am with anyone else. I’m the most honest version of myself with her, which is something I’m truly thankful for.

Sarah is always there for me. We fight about the dumbest things but when it comes down to it, I’m more protective over her than anyone else in my life. And, to quote one of the smartest people I know, I don’t protect her because she’s weak. I protect her because she’s important. She’s my baby sister, my future maid of honor, and my best friend. She makes me laugh like an idiot, feel like a queen, and inspires me to be better.

I have to thank her. She’s the best sister I could ever ask for.

And, really, I’m just thankful she continues to hang out with me.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. This song is perfect for this post because it combines two of Sarah’s favorite things: Ed Sheeran and dance. It’s also the best song off his most recent album: Thinking out Loud

THANK YOU TEACHERS (DAYS 14/15/16)

Dear Reader,

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a teacher. I don’t know why, but it’s always seemed like the perfect job for me. I’ve definitely had my doubts here and there, and the lack of support and enormous skepticism that has come from certain people has tested me for sure, but, ultimately, I want to be a teacher. I want to make a difference and I want to inspire. And throughout my years as a student, I’ve had a number of perfect examples who’ve helped make this decision an easy one for me to stick with. Now is the time to thank them.

Mr. Hamann

My all-time favorite teacher is my eighth grade history teacher, Mr. Hamann. Yes, history. I had never liked that subject before. I’d always been intrigued by English and math and music and languages and, well, anything but history and science. They were just boring. But Mr. Hamann had more passion in his right hand than any other history teacher I had ever had before had in their entire body.

I looked forward to his class every single day–I looked forward to studying for his class at night and taking his tests! I excelled in his class, and it wasn’t because it was easy. In fact, many people struggled with history that year. But for the first time ever (in a history class), I wanted to learn!

And I learned more in his class than I ever had before. I learned how to study and take notes and highlight only what’s important. I learned interesting facts about history and listened to more stories than I knew what to do with. I idolized Mr. Hamann for his teaching style. He knew when to joke around and when to get terrifyingly serious (we did touch on some pretty heavy subjects).

Ultimately, he’s everything I could ever hope to be in a teacher. He obviously loved his job–and his life!–and he cared about every single person he had in class. That’s who I want to be. And I thank him for being the first person to show me.

Mr. Hauge

Mr. Hauge was a very popular teacher at my high school. Like Hamann, he had more passion that I was used to seeing in teachers. And he knew so much! I didn’t even get the chance to have him as my English teacher, and man was I pitied for it. Peers of mine would constantly talk about what they were learning in Hauge’s class and what they were discussing–matters far beyond that of my class. His students left class with new outlooks on life and more funny anecdotes than they had ever asked for. I left mine with homework that I never ended up completing.

But I got to have Hauge as a mentor for my senior year. I was only with him for a few weeks, but on the first day I learned three teaching “tricks” that not only would I have never thought of, but that actually worked! And on another day, as he was sitting in the back with me, just spewing knowledge about teaching, he referenced a book that I had to read. Then he pulled the book out and handed it to me. When I went to return it after break, he told me to keep it and bring it to college–it’ll be useful. This gesture was probably so petty; he gave me a book that he no longer had any need or desire for. But it meant so much to me. And here it sits in my dorm room.

But I have to say thank you to him. For even allowing me to be in his class in the first place (I didn’t do a thing) and for teaching me so much. I’ll always remember what I learned from him.

Senior Year Teachers

Along with Hauge, I got to have three other mentors throughout my senior year: Mrs. Smolenski, Mrs. Bechtol, and Mrs. Gerber. I was expecting to learn a lot from Hauge because he’s exactly what I want to be: a high school English teacher. But I didn’t know I had so much to learn from kindergarten, fourth grade, and sixth/eighth grade teachers.

I have to first say thank you for, again, allowing me to be in class. But even more than that, I cannot express how grateful I am to have been included. I would come back to teaching professions week after week and hear of classrooms where the student mentor did nothing but copy papers and run errands.

Meanwhile, was reading to kids, teaching games, tutoring 1 on 1, checking homework and classwork with the students, and more! I was interacting with the students–getting to see the joys of teaching firsthand. I got to work with a student who moved to the States from Finland. I got to walk in their Halloween parade (dressed as a scrabble letter with the other teachers). I got to take accelerated students to the computer lab and work with them on special projects. I got to help out with puppet shows and food days. I was more involved than I had ever hoped for and I am so thankful.

And I have to thank the kids as well. I must’ve been really lucky or something, but I seemed to have the best kids everywhere I went. And I’m not just saying that ignorantly–I saw the other classrooms. More than that, I heard stories from teachers and parents and students. But the kids I taught genuinely wanted to learn. They cared for each other and they were friendly to everyone. I got to work with students with special needs who had so much love.

I could honestly write another post entirely about how wonderful my teaching professions experience was (and maybe I will someday), but I think I need to wrap this up. So thank you. Thank you so much.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Scarecrow – Alex & Sierra 

DAY 13: THANK YOU DISNEY

Dear Reader,

I know it’s been a while and I’m about to bombard wordpress with a ton of thanks you and thanking Disney is kind of a weird thank you to start things off but we’re just gonna jump in.

College is kind of a roller coaster of emotions. I feel sad a lot more, but it also doesn’t take a lot for me to feel happy. I also feel like I’m being forced to grow up far before I’m ready–and I’ve quickly realized how not-ready I am for adulthood. How irresponsible and immature I am. How messy my life is.

But Disney is always there.

I’ve turned to Disney movies so many times in college. They’re great to watch when I’m knitting because I know the stories and the scenes by heart, so I don’t really have to focus on the TV. They’re great when I’ve had a rough week and I need to cry it out (Disney does tend to pull on my heartstrings). They’re great when I want to just feel good.

I love stories. I love becoming invested–leaving behind the world I live in for a magical land with beautiful characters. I love being able to just tune everything out and experience something new.

Recently I saw Big Hero 6 in theaters. GO. SEE. THAT. MOVIE. I can’t say that enough. Honestly, I can’t wait to go home again because I need to see it again.

I loved everything. The characters, the music, the story, the lessons! I laughed out loud and bawled like a baby–I shook in my seat. And I’m still raving about it.

This is going to sound really bizarre, but watching this movie made me really excited to have kids. I can’t wait for them to experience the disney magic as they grow up, and for them to believe they can do anything. Disney is introducing more strong female characters and straying away from the typical Sleeping Beauty types. They’re really changing with the times and blazing a trail that leads to empowerment and inspiration, and I can’t wait to experience it all through my kids’ eyes one day.

But not anytime soon because, after all, I’m still a kid. And Disney allows me to be that.

And I’m so inspired by them. In some way, shape, or form, I want to be a story-teller one day. I want to be like Disney–like the people at Disney. And honestly, it’d be a dream come true to work on a project with them. I don’t care how behind-the-scenes it’d be, I’d just love to be a part of the team that creates something so magical.

Who knows, maybe I’ll pursue that dream some day.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. The song from the Big Hero 6 trailer is fantastic: Top of the World – Greek Fire

DAYS 11 & 12: THANK YOU CARRIE HOPE FLETCHER AND JOHN GREEN

Dear Reader,

Today I’m going to thank two people that I look up to very much.

Everyone probably knows John Green: author of Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and, of course, The Fault in our Stars. Most people who know this are also aware that he has a YouTube channel that he runs with his brother, Hank. They have over 2 million subscribers and they started VidCon! He’s basically set for life, and his job is to write and make videos and teach and inspire and he’s in charge of this wonderful, life-changing event that improves each year. He’s incredible.

And then there’s Carrie Hope Fletcher, possibly not as well-known, but equally talented and important to me. Carrie is my idol. She stars as Éponine in the West End (fun fact: she’s the only actress in the West End to have ever starred as both child and Adult Eponine). She has a blog and has announced the release of her first book. She has half a million subscribers on YouTube. And she’s the sister of Tom Fletcher, from McFly! She’s wonderful.

These people inspire me every day. They’re intelligent, thought-provoking beings who challenge everything and truly make the most of life. They’re everything I want to be.

I’ve always had a hard time with labels, and I’ve always seemed to fall into too many categories. No aptitude test has ever picked a single job for me and I’ve never had a standout multiple intelligence. I like puzzles and balancing money and playing sports and following a routine and traveling spontaneously and working with my hands and learning new things. I can be just as introverted as I can be extroverted. I can feel the need to be outside and then go on walks for hours, but I can also lock myself in my room for an entire weekend, perfectly content. I can plan out an entire day and stick to it, or I can be impulsive and trash it all without so much as a second thought.

I’ve been told this is a good thing, but it’s made my life confusing. Some days I feel like a completely different person, or like I don’t know myself at all. And then I get scared I’ll choose the wrong career because one day I’ll just stop feeling like it. One day I might stop liking what I like now.

But Carrie and John give me hope. They’re pursuing their passions and traveling and singing and writing and making videos. They’re connecting with people, and that’s all I really want to do.

So thank you. Thank you so much for inspiring me every day to do what I love. To throw labels and job titles out the window and just move forward–learning and living with every passing day.

It’s because of you that I’ll never give up on my dreams.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Listen to this song: Zella Day – Hypnotic 

FIVE THANK YOUS AND AN APOLOGY

Dear Reader,

Well I’m kind of over this whole daily posting craze that some people seem to adore. That being said, I do owe four days of thanks, so let’s just dive in.

Perrysburg High School & PENTA

Over the summer, I got the amazing opportunity to go to San Antonio for a national leadership conference (I actually wrote a post about it). It was for an organization called FCCLA and I was eligible because I had advanced to nationals in a competition, run by FCCLA. The only reason I was even able to go, though, is because of the support coming from my school and my teacher, Mr. Weaver.

At the end of the trip, we were all supposed to write thank you letters to our school, but I never did. With the stress from my jobs and college fast approaching, and because no one else from my school had gone, I just never got around to it–which sucks because it would’ve taken me thirty minutes tops and my school really deserves to be recognized and thanked for everything they’ve done for me.

But, I’m Sammy. I procrastinate and things slip my mind and before I know it, it’s much too late and I’ve left too much unsaid, yet again.

Perrysburg High School: Thank you so much for allowing me to go on this trip and supporting our participation with FCCLA in the first place! The conference taught me much more than I ever expected. I got to see the beautiful city of San Antonio while improving my public speaking and presentation skills and stepping out of my comfort zone to make a truly memorable trip. FCCLA definitely made the highlight reel of my senior year, and I can’t express how thankful I am that I got to go to a school that did everything in their power to push their students towards excellence.

PENTA/Anthony Wayne: I was sad and scared to hear that no one else from Perrysburg advanced to the final round of the competition, but the trip turned out to be better than anything I imagined. The students and staff from PENTA and Anthony Wayne were so friendly and welcoming, I never felt like an outsider. I made some of the best memories of the summer on that trip, and that’s because of the people I was fortunate enough to be grouped with. Thank you for everything.

Everyone Who Gave Me A Birthday Card

This is so bad. I turned eighteen over a month ago and I still haven’t sent out a single thank you card. They’re on their way! But I obviously can’t go this whole post without thanking them. When you’re in college every penny, every piece of mail, every text message from someone who cares, means something. And this year I had the best birthday ever. I can’t thank everyone personally (this post is already much too long), but to anyone who even thought of me on my birthday: I truly appreciate it. It’s a great feeling to be cared for. And to anyone who sent me a card or gift: proper thanks are on the way. 🙂

Jaden Northcutt

I don’t know if I’ve made it all that clear, but I am possibly the worst roommate on the planet, and Jaden’s had to put up with it. In her words, I’m basically a guy. I’m messy and sloppy and I have the worst sleep habits and I belch and do other annoying things. But Jaden tolerates it and she makes me want to change because she really doesn’t deserve to room with such a slob. And she’s still my best friend, and we’re going to remain that way even after rooming together. We may never be roommates again, but after we’ve survived, we’ll have proved everyone wrong who ever said this arrangement would destroy our friendship.

Ashley Shaffner

Speaking of best friends, I really do need to thank my newest one: Ashley. She’s made my transition to college so much easier and it’s only hard to remember the pre-Ashley days. We have so much fun together and she listens to me vent all the time and is always there for me. We just had this instant connection when we met and I can’t express how thankful I am that we ended up living down the hall from each other.

Sidenote: Ashley is on WordPress! I’d highly suggest following her 🙂

http://collegewithashley.wordpress.com

So there are my thank yous and I’m sorry for being so late with them all. You can expect another tomorrow, but don’t expect me ever doing a post-a-day project thing ever again because I’m kind of done with it.

It’s a nice thought, though.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. I LOVE BEA MILLER and you should to. Current favorite: Young Blood

MISUNDERSTOOD

Dear Reader,

I feel like a cliché. Like a teenager, constantly full of angst. I don’t know who I am.

I used to, I think. I think I used to have a pretty firm grasp of my identity, but ever since I got to college, I’ve had no clue. I don’t know my own opinion about all kinds of topics that I used to talk so freely about. I don’t know what kind of student I am in the classroom anymore. And it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish between the real me and the person I want to be.

Or maybe it’s getting easier.

All I know about myself is negative–which becomes clearer to me each day, as it gets pounded deeper into my head. I know that I get hurt too often. And that I cry too much. I know I’m messy and awkward and I’m feeling uglier and fatter every passing day. I know that I crack far too many jokes and only about a third of them get any genuine laughs.

But then there’s all this stuff that I used to know about myself that is so confusing these days! And I’m at the age where I have all of these people in my life who assure me that they know me. They tell me things about myself that I don’t want to believe–and then they give me evidence so that I have no choice!

And it all goes back to the same old fight I’ve been having for years now. The fight between the inner me I deeply want to bring out–that I deeply want to discover! The fight between her and the person I seem to be.

Because lately I’ve been feeling that the person that everyone seems to know me as isn’t really me at all.

And I don’t know what to do about that.

Sorry this wasn’t like my latest posts, and I promise I’ll be back with at least three days worth of thank yous tomorrow, but I really needed to say that. I needed to write it out so I can decide where I want to go with this. And I need to share it because maybe I’m not alone. And maybe someone out there can help me get through this.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. A song that reminds me of summer, where everything was so much simpler: Pumpin’ Blood – NONONO