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G. Tolley

Turkey Basil Sandwiches — July 22, 2017

Turkey Basil Sandwiches

For this recipe, I decided to bake a whole turkey breast rather than buying deli meat. The smallest breast I could find was 3 lbs, so after I made these sandwiches I had plenty of leftovers. If you don’t want to make the whole breast just go ahead and buy a pound of sliced turkey meat.

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Ingredients

  • 3 lb Turkey Breast
  • 4 tablespoons Basil
  • 4 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 Ciabatta rolls
  • 4 slices Provolone Cheese
  • ⅓ cup Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 4 tablespoons Basil
  • ½ teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon Pepper

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Directions

  1. For at least 24 hours allow the frozen turkey breast to defrost in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a tin foil lined roasting pan, place the turkey breast in the center. Then add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top and rub on 2 tablespoons of basil. Loosely cover it with a sheet of tin foil. My turkey breast took 2 and a half hours to bake, but you will know when it’s done when the center of it registers as 160 degrees. Let this cool down for two hours before carving into slices.
  3. Combine the mayo, basil, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, and one tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl.
  4. Slice and prepare the tomato, then set to the side.
  5. In a skillet on a medium high heat, drizzle on the rest of the olive oil and toast the faces of the rolls.
  6. Spread a little of the mayo on the top bun. Then on the bottom bun add on about 4 oz of turkey, followed by some tomato and a slice of provolone. Put the sandwich together, and put it back in the skillet for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

 

GTolley.com Update — July 19, 2017

GTolley.com Update

I thought I’d update everyone about some changes on gtolley.com. First of all, you might have noticed the new timeline style layout on the website. The theme I picked out is Lingonberry by Anders Noren and is free on WordPress.

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Since I do have a Premium account, I can customize the website a little bit. Currently, I’m using FF Market for headings and the default theme font for a base font.

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Desktop and tablet users can also see the new palm leaf background, which I got from Creative Commons.Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 11.03.16 PM.png

 

Plus, I updated my logo this week as well. I did this by using my two favorite design websites, Canva and Picmonkey. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to add some custom CSS elements as well.

Next month I restart school, and I’m going to change my uploading schedule. At least for this semester, expect normal blog posts on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Monthly favorites will be included with the blog post on the 4th week. What will stay the same is each Saturday there will be a recipe uploaded here. Every once in awhile, I’ll post a random blog as well. 

Upload

 

Apple Pie — July 15, 2017

Apple Pie

I might have lied to you a couple weeks ago when I said that hamburgers are the most American food out there. Ask anyone, but nothing is more American than a homemade apple pie.
Ingredients 

Dough

  • 2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, diced and chilled
  • ½ Ice Water

Pie Filling

  • 3 Granny Smith Apples
  • 3 Gala Apples
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 3 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Water
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract


Directions

  1. In a standing mixer or in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Then using the mixing pallet or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it starts to form coarse crumbs. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time to form the crust.
  2. Divide the crust in half, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Put this into the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Clean off and dice your two kinds of apples. (Feel free to peel off the skin if you want.) Add them to a large bowl, and combine with the cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
  4. Take one of your crusts out of the freezer, and roll it out to fit into the pie tin. Spray down the pie tin with cooking spray, then carefully put the crust into the pan. After this, pour in the apples and put this into the fridge.
  5. Either in a saucepan or a small skillet, melt down the butter on a medium-high heat. When melted, add in the flour and mix together to make a paste.
  6. Stir in the water, ½ cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Let this simmer on a medium heat for three minutes. While the sugar dissolves, keep stirring during this step. Remove from heat and set to the side. Stir every minute or so to make sure it stays smooth and doesn’t burn.
  7. Now take the other pie crust out from the freezer. Roll it out into 12-inch rectangles using a rolling pin. Then cut out 12 even strips.
  8. Take the pie out of the fridge, and on top of the apples lay on six of the strips. Fold back every other strip on itself, and lay down one of the other strips. Then fold the strips back up. Repeat this, but now use the other strips that weren’t folded back the first time, and add in another strip. You basically just weave the strips of crust together, but here’s a video reference.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK bLX AHbc
  9. Once the top crust is woven, slowly pour on the cooled down sauce on top of the pie. Make sure you get it around the edges and tap the pie onto the counter so that the sauce seeps down a little into the apple filling.
  10. Bake in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes, followed by turning down the heat to 250 for 30 minutes.
Best Movies of 2017 So Far + Fall & Winter Movies — July 12, 2017

Best Movies of 2017 So Far + Fall & Winter Movies

Can you believe that we are already at the halfway point of 2017?! I came up with a list of my top five favorite films so far this year. This list includes flicks from the first half of the year so it only features movies that were released prior to July 1st. (Sorry Spiderman!) After that, I thought I’d share some of the films I’m hyped for in the later half of 2017.

5.) Get Out

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The directorial debut of Jordan Peele that became the overnight successful horror movie while also providing social commentary. It’s mega creepy, and the ending is everything.

 

4.) Wonder Woman

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All the DC film universe needed to save itself was one woman.  Gal Gadot under the direction of Patty Jenkins is two and a half hours of kick ass woman powered action.

 

3.) Kong Skull Island

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This is the second installment in Legendary’s MonsterVerse that follows a team of scientists and Vietnam soldiers who travel to an uncharted island, coming face to face with the king of the island named Kong.  I already have a full review and post over the movie on here. In it, I explored how it’s an anti-war film in disguise.

 

2.) A Cure for Wellness

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This German American horror film isn’t for the faint of heart.  It centers around a young banker who is trapped at a Swiss spa. He learns what lurks in the water below the spa while befriending a mysterious young girl who resides there. If you didn’t have a fear of eels before this movie, you will afterwards.

 

1.) Baby Driver

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Edgar Wright’s fast paced crime film with a killer soundtrack and an even better cast. Stars Ansel Elgort as a talented getaway driver who is trying to get out of the game. Baby Driver is currently in theaters, and I’ll link the soundtrack here.

Anticipated films for the later half of the year

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets- July 21, 2017

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Atomic Blonde- July 28, 2017

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle- September 22, 2017

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My Little Pony: The Movie October 6, 2017

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(Don’t Judge!)

Thor: Ragnarok- November 3, 2017

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Murder on the Orient Express- November 10, 2017

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Justice League- November 17, 2017

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The Diaster Artist- December 1, 2017

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi- December 15, 2017

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Pitch Perfect 3- December 22, 2017

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Greatest Showman- December 25, 2017

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Fruit Salad — July 8, 2017

Fruit Salad

For every BBQ or cookout, you’ve got to have some amazing side dishes to eat. This fruit salad is the easiest dish ever and is impossible to mess up. You know what they say: sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Ingredients

  • ½ Lime
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar Substitute
  • 6 cups Watermelon
  • 1 ½ cups Strawberries,
  • 2  ½ cups Seedless Grapes


Directions

  1. Squeeze the juice from half of a lime into a bowl. Add in the sugar substitute and let it sit and dissolve.
  2. Grab a cutting board and chop up half the watermelon to produce the six cups needed
  3. Remove the tops of the strawberries and julienne.
  4. Cut the grapes into halves.  
  5. Add the fruit to a large bowl and pour in the lime juice. Toss until coated

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Get To Know Me Tag — July 5, 2017

Get To Know Me Tag

Guess what?! G.Tolley.com just hit 1,000 views! In celebration of this, I’d thought I would do a getting to know me tag. Thank you to everyone who supported me over the past year.

1.) Are you named after anyone?

Yes. I was named after my great aunt.

 

2.) What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their hair.

 

3.) What is your eye color?

Light blue.

 

4.) Favorite smells?

IDK. Something really masculine, like leather or burning wood.

 

5.) What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A party planner.

 

6.) How tall are you?

5’ 6’’

 

7.) What was your favorite/worst subject in High School?

Favorite: History (If it didn’t involve a lot of research and writing)

Worst: Any science class

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8.) Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?

Ladylike, CineFix, PewDiePie, TheSorryGirls, Binging with Babish, Casey Neistat, Elijah & Christine, and Patrick (H) Willems.

 

9.) 5 things that make your average day better?

-Sleep

-Caffeine ( Diet Dr. Pepper preferably)

-One Hour without interruption in order to work on stuff

-Getting out of the house

-Going to the movies

 

10.) What is your favorite restaurant?

The Cheesecake Factory.

 

11.) What is your usual bedtime?

During the school year, it’s  about 10:30-11:00 pm. During the summer it’s way too late, so maybe about 3 am.

 

12.) Which languages do you wish you could speak?

Spanish.

 

13.) What could you have done to make today more productive?

Get out of bed.

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14.) What is your favorite movie?

Jurassic Park.

 

15.) What is your favorite song at the moment?

“As If It’s Your Last” by BLACKPINK

 

16.) What is the last thing you bought?

A milkshake and a movie ticket to Cars 3

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17.) What phone do you have?

Rose Gold IPhone 6s

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18.) What is your favorite color?

Gold, but some people argue that it isn’t a real color, so I guess right now it’s millennial pink.

 

19.)What is your greatest achievement?

Catching two dodge balls at band camp two years ago.

 

20.) What are your guilty pleasures?

Women’s wrestling or stealing mini shampoos and conditioners at hotels.

Red, White, and Blue-Cheese Burger — July 1, 2017

Red, White, and Blue-Cheese Burger

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the summer heat is beating down! We are in the middle of grilling season and for Americans such as myself it’s Fourth of July weekend. Hamburgers are the hands down the most American food out there. Right behind cheesecake, burgers are probably my second favorite food of all time.
Ingredients 

Buns

  • 1 ½ cup + 1 teaspoon Water
  • 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 4 ½ cup All Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 5 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ¼ cups Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg

Hamburger

  • 1 ½ pounds Ground Hamburger
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cups Blue Cheese Crumbles

Sauce

  • ¼ cup Mayo
  • 2 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Pickle Juice
  • 2 teaspoon Hot Sauce of Choice
  • 1 teaspoon Season Salt

Directions 

  1. Before we begin on the actual burger, we are going to need to bake the rolls. Normally I’d just buy buns, but I just have too much time on my hands. In a stand mixer or bowl, combine the 1 ½ cup of water, active yeast, and brown sugar. Let the yeast activate in the water for five minutes.
  2. Then in the same bowl, add the flour, salt, and melted butter in. Mix this by hand or on a low setting until no large flour clumps are left. If you are doing by hand, this is going to be sticky so knead this on a floured surface until smooth.
  3. Whatever bowl you were using needs to be greased with nonstick spray before placing the dough back in. Put it back in, and cover it to rise for an hour.
  4. After the dough has risen twice its size, put the dough on a floured surface. Cut it into 8 even pieces, and spray down a 9×13 pan. To make the bun shape, pull the edges of the dough wedge together to make a sphere shape. Once you’ve done this to all 8c of them, place them into the pan and cover again to let them rise for an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring about 8 cups of water to a low boil. Once the boil is constant, remove from heat and slowly whisk in the baking soda. Bring this back to a simmer on a low heat.
  6. To give the buns the pretzel crust, you are going to need to boil them. One at a time put the buns in the water. Start by using the steam side down and let it sit for 30 seconds. Then rotate it over for another 30 seconds. Quickly remove it from the water and drain off the water using a slotted spoon. Put it back into the pan and continue on.
  7. In a small bowl, beat the egg with one teaspoon of water. Brush the egg wash onto the balls. With a paring knife cut slashes on top of dough balls. Let them bake for 30 minutes.
  8. All you have to do for the hamburgers is combine the grounded beef with the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and blue cheese. Grill, bake, or pan fry this however you want the paddies.
  9. To top this all off combine mayo, ketchup, pickle juice, hot sauce,season salt in small bowl.
  10. You are probably going to have too many buns, but they should be fine for a couple of days in a ziplock back. Take one of the buns and cut it in half lengthwise. Take some of the sauce you made and smear it on the top bun. Then gather the rest of the condiments and put the patty between the buns.
June Favorites + Playlist — June 28, 2017

June Favorites + Playlist

Now that June has passed, I’m at the halfway mark of my summer break. Thinking back, I haven’t done much since I had my birthday at the beginning of the month; all I’ve done is studied and written essays for my summer classes. One goal of mine for July is to do something at least once a week – to get out of my PJs and have an adventure with my friends. I think now I’m also going to make a monthly playlist on Spotify, so this month’s songs will be listed below.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish

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One skill I’ve never mastered is painting my nails. When I get the chance to get them done, I want them to last. Normally gel polish has to bake on, but this formula dries like normal polish yet has the strength of gel. This summer I recommend the colors 184 Frill Seeker, 419 Redgy, and 240 It Girl.

 

Sailor Stuffed Alpaca

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Japanese kawaii culture is the definition of cute. (Literally and figuratively) Every summer, my two best friends go to a convention in Dallas and come back to show off their cool merch. This month, they picked up a stuffed sailor alpaca. IT’S SO CUTE! I love alpacas and llamas so much. It goes perfectly with my other alpaca named Eric.
Sephora Colorful Eyeshadow Carousel 288

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It seems like my recent go-to look has been a red smoky eye, but I’ve been experimenting with purple shadows this month. You get that bright pop of color without being too crazy. Typically shimmery shadows like this aren’t as long lasting as this is. Sephora’s in-store brand makeup is really underrated compared to others in its price category.
Louise et Cie Kambria Heels

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I don’t normally buy shoes, but when I saw these I couldn’t say no. Neutral shoes like these can be worn all year long and year after year. That’s why I don’t feel bad investing in pieces like these. Chunky heels make the shoe easier to walk in and gives you some support.

Anna Griffin Thank You Cards

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Thank you cards are always good to have on hand. The pink marveling and metallic lettering just stands out compared to other boxed cards.

June Playlist

 

Banana Peanut Butter Scones — June 24, 2017

Banana Peanut Butter Scones

Brunch is amazing. It’s true. You get the best of lunch and breakfast. Today, I’m going to combine one of two favorite ingredients into a buttery scone.


Ingredients 

Dough

  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold & cut into small cubes
  • 2 ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 4 tablespoons Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts

Egg Wash

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Water

Peanut Butter Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  •  2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon All Spice

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Add butter to flour mixture, and with your hands work the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbs form.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, milk, and greek yogurt. Add the flour bowl into this, and stir until combined. Then stir in the walnuts until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the extra 1 cup of flour onto either a countertop or a cutting board. This is going to coat the surface to prevent sticking in the next step.
  6. Transfer the dough onto the floured surface and shape it into a flat 8-inch circle. To make these as flaky as possible, we need to make sure the butter is very cold. Put the 8-inch round into a plate in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  7. While that’s cooling down, make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water.
  8. After the time is up, cut the dough into 8 pieces. Put the scones onto the lined sheets. Brush on the egg wash.
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden on top. Let them cool for an hour on a wire rack.
  10. Finish them off with a peanut butter glaze. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and brown sugar. Drizzle this on top of the scones, or transfer it into a piping bag for a more uniform look.
A Start Of A New Chapter — June 21, 2017

A Start Of A New Chapter

It’s weird knowing in two months that I’m moving out and will be going to college. I’ve found that this is going to be really hard to describe in a way that you might relate or connect to in some way, but in a sense it’s like starting a new chapter.

The philosophy that when one door closes, another one opens has been true in my friendships. I have been friends with a lot of people over the years, but the core three have stayed the same.

I’ve grown up in a small town of about 8,000, and I primarily went to school with the same kids since birth. In Kindergarten, I met the most influential person in my life. She had long light brown curly hair and wore low-rise jeans. (It was the early 2000s, so I’ll give her a pass.) Though we are polar opposites, over the last 12 years she has practically become my sister. We basically do everything together. There isn’t a day when we don’t see or communicate with each other. I’ll admit, our relationship isn’t perfect; we’ve fought, kept secrets, and both have not been there for each other when we’ve needed it. At the end of the day, I’d do anything for her. She puts me in my place when I need it and pushes me to do my best. Most importantly, she doesn’t expect me to be anything but myself.

In third grade, I noticed two girls alone at the monkey bars. They were different from other eight-year-olds. Instead of talking about their favorite Disney Channel original movies, they discussed advanced level books that they read over the weekends. From the outside, the two seemed to have formed a friendship because they were the smartest in their class and shy introverts. They had been friends for just as long as my best friend and I, and they had already made up their own inside jokes with their deep connection. At recess, the dark haired one would do random impressions, ranging from a baby named Gwapes to a retired old man. The blonde one would do gymnastics tricks on the metal bars and laugh at her friend’s jokes. What I didn’t know then was the decision to go over and talk to them would change all four of our lives forever.

Later on, we began to evolve into the people we are now – all learning what we are passionate about and starting to learn where we fit into the world. My three friends all became excellent musicians, and together in high school we had a blast in marching band. (Yup, we were band geeks.) Together we went to early Thursday night movie previews, worked at the same pumpkin patch, and suffered through the same ACT. As much as we did together, personally I think we gained the most through our solo adventures. My curly haired best friend fell in love with theater production and design. She became the stage manager for our theater department during her junior and senior years and worked on seven plays. The dark haired one would go on and become our valedictorian and get a scholarship to go play music for a college next year. Together we work in collaboration on this blog, as I write and she edits. On top of her senior year classes, the blonde one took night classes to get her CNA license and also became a weeaboo on the side. Besides from shipping Naruto and Sasuke, she was part of National Honor Society. Inside of our party of four, we all formed different relationships with each other.

For example, the curly and black haired ones both got into cosplay and going to conventions with each other. Both the blonde one and I were peer leaders on our school’s color guard team and got to build a stronger relationship from that.

In a sense, we were all sisters and created our own little family during the past 10 years. We’ve told each other things we’ll take to the grave, went prom dress shopping, had a few weekend getaways, and created so many happy memories together. Though it’s far away, if we meet someone worthy of marriage, one day we will all be bridesmaids for each other.

I’ve never thought about a life without them until November of last year. I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a trip to Indianapolis for a journalism conference. It was my first time being away from home. I’ve been on vacation and went to camp before without them, but I got the first look at what my future looked like.

Education has always been a big thing for me. I believe the most successful people in life are always continuing to learn. The world around us is pretty interesting. All 7.5 billion people who live on this planet are connected in one way or another. Everyone has their own story to tell that’s expressed by their influences and culture. My decided major is Anthropology, and it looks at human variations in culture in the past and present. Particularly, my focus will be on Sociocultural Anthropology, and that deals with the behaviors and customs of historical culture and social groups. In the fall, I’m going to a state college that has the best Anthropology program in the state only 30 minutes away.

A lot of people in my hometown go to a community college for their associates, continuing on from there or transferring to a larger college afterwards. During high school, I took transferable dual credits and summer classes through my local community college. Taking advantage of this, I’ve already taken my first year and a half of college and only have a few general education courses left. It was smarter for me to go into the state college right out of high school rather than go to a community college. Certain classes I needed can’t be taken at the same time, and I’d waste a year and a half and only be a part-time student. My friends didn’t take as many or any college courses during school, so they are going to our local college. I’ve been used to not having them in my high school classes because we were all on different educational paths. Even if you didn’t have a friend in your class, you always knew someone in the class you could talk to.

People say age is just a number, but turning 18 is a pretty big milestone. I’m the youngest of my family, and basically until the end of time I will be known as the baby of my family. Somehow I never thought the day would come when I was an adult. (According to the parents, I’ll be a child until I start paying my bills.) While walking around alone on campus during freshman orientation on Monday, it kind of hit me. My three friends and I were all adults. While I was making memories at my new home, the curly and dark haired ones were off on their first day at their professional job. Then on the other side of the world my blonde friend and her sister were touring Europe for two weeks without their parents. I looked around and knew no one. Was this what the next three years were going to look like?

No. Part of college is making new friends. In order to live a healthy life, you must have friends. That’s one of the reasons why I’m living in a dorm next year. I’m going to take this once in a lifetime opportunity living away from home to meet new people. Plus, I don’t have to drive there everyday.

This is going be a new chapter in all of our lives, and my friends all making new friends at their college as well. That’s just life. Starting over might be scary, but it might be just what I need. There will never be anyone who can replace them. It’s not like they can’t just come visit me or me coming home to see them at anytime. Even as I write this, we are texting each other thinking up ideas for Halloween on campus and working on a spring break trip. Though my three friends are working this summer and I’m taking a full load of online classes, I’m sure we’ll make plenty more memories.