Some Thoughts on Coming Home

I apologize for the small hiatus I took from writing, midterms were rough ya’ll and I really needed the break to recharge.

Let’s move on now to some quick life-updates now that I’m backing from visiting home.

During my first year of college, I had to take a personal essay writing class and the theme of one essay that we had to write was “home.” I remember having a hard time knowing what to write about and I struggled to come up with the right words to describe what home even meant to me. A year later, in an environmental politics course, we were asked to define home and community—and I still didn’t really have an answer.

I’m from a very small suburban area that’s mostly malls and chain restaurants. I’m not complaining about where I come from, that’s just what it is. I didn’t really like it. It didn’t feel very much like home.

My hometown sits between two bigger cities in upstate NY that people have heard of and I alternate between those two cities whenever people ask me where I’m from. I just started defaulting to what people would recognize.

There have been many spaces in my life that have actually felt like home. My college, my grandma’s house, the summer camp I used to work at. But all these homes have been at least a little bit temporary—unlike my home that has always stayed the same.

When I think about my hometown, I can point to the huge rock behind the staples where my high school friends and I used to on sit and talk, the long line I always waited in for the same Chipotle burrito I always ordered with the same ingredients every time, and the almost empty neighborhood where my Dad taught me how to drive.

I treated my hometown like a waiting room before I would finally leave and my Real Life would finally get going and I would make new friends and my weekend plans would be more than just deciding whose basement we should hang out in.

And I did head off to college and I did make new friends and go on adventures and change my major and make stupid mistakes like every college student does, but I spent most of that time waiting for what was next.

That was a really unhealthy way for me to live.

You may be wondering if I really took up all that space just to give you some You Should Live in the Moment speech. That’s not what I’m saying.

My point is that not every moment or memory you have is going to be wonderful and eventful and that’s okay. Don’t walk around feeling unfulfilled all the time. In fact, when you’re bored is oftentimes when you’re most creative and have the time to start new projects.

So to everyone out there who likes to work on a million things at once and engaged in a million social justice movements—take a quick break, go home (or to a place that feels like home)—if you can—and remember some of the things that shaped you.

All the best,


A Letter to my Eighteen-Year-Old Self

I’ve officially graduated from high school two years ago. Here are some thoughts that I’d like to share with my eighteen-year-old self.


Dear Eighteen-Year-Old Christina,

Congratulations, you’ve survived sitting there as the names of your 738 classmates were called and you finally walked across that stage and said goodbye to your high school life—trust me, this is a victory.

You’ve sent in a deposit to Ithaca College and you’re officially a part of the Class of 2017.


You don’t know it right now but the years to come are by far the happiest and most fulfilling so far.

During your first few weeks, you will be really homesick. That’s okay. You don’t know anyone yet and having to share a bathroom with fifteen other women kind of sucks. It’s an adjustment but things will turn around quickly. For the first time, you aren’t just going through the motions in school trying to get the highest grade, you actually enjoy your classes. You’re actually learning things and it’s wonderful.

For once, what you’re learning about matters. You’re talking about race and gender and economic status and the way these pieces of our identities fit together to inform the advantages and disadvantages we will have in life. Unfortunately, a college classroom will be the first time that you ever get the chance to learn what the word feminism actually means.

Ithaca College is relatively small so it no longer feels like you’re slipping through the cracks like it did at your ridiculously huge high school. The days of sitting on a carpet outside the cafeteria because there isn’t enough room for everyone are over. (Yes, my friends and I actually ate lunch on a rug senior year.)

Because of this, you’re able to really distinguish yourself from your peers—you’re able to focus on yourself instead of competing with and comparing yourself to others.

Freeing yourself from this pressure will allow you to excel in your classes, become a DJ, start a new student organization, and speak in front of state legislators all in your first semester. With everyone’s information and personal business available to you as soon as Facebook loads, it can be difficult to not feel like you need to be having as much fun and accomplishing just as much as those around you—but don’t worry about it.

You’ll be so much happier once you learn how to focus on what you love and how to do those things for yourself instead of a resume or because you feel like it will please someone else.

Here’s another secret, first-year college student ever knows what on earth they’re doing. So stop worrying so much about what you’re doing with your life. You don’t have to have everything mapped out. Instead, let yourself stumble into things that you didn’t know you loved. For example, that politics course you randomly selected because you didn’t know what else to take will turn into your second major. The random writing seminar that you actually shouldn’t have been allowed to take will be the place where you meet your best friend. The random talk on Roe v. Wade and reproductive rights hosted on your campus will turn into something that you actively fight for and organize around.

Unfortunately, you will also stumble into bad things and bad people too. A few months into your first semester, you will meet one of the worst people you’ve yet to meet. My advice is to not blame yourself as much as you do for the things that happen between you. It is not your fault that someone else made the decision to treat you like total crap. Realize that he’s inflicted pain on many people and not just you.

This experience will raise the bar for all future relationships—whether it be romantic, friendship, family, or otherwise.

Suddenly you will have no patience for people who don’t text you back or friends who don’t put in enough effort or family members who make constantly criticize you or people who text throughout dates. Walk away quickly from people who make don’t treat you with the respect that you know you deserve.

A year later you will find yourself facilitating programs on healthy relationships and starting peer education based bystander intervention program.

This will be one of the best things you ever do.

You’re sophomore year is going to be a tough one—parts of it are going to straight up suck. Sorry. But work hard through it anyways because even though it may be incredibly challenging it will be so much more rewarding and transformative.

You’ll realize who your real friends are—and who aren’t. You’ll feel lonely sometimes—but that’s only because you’re removing toxic people from your life. Through everything you’ll become connected with wonderful people. Blogging will become an outlet that will give you the opportunity to live in Washington, DC for a summer. The things that bring you pain with inspire you to take action and that action will direct you towards what you want to do in the future.

Here’s to the next great two years of your life,