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I had a big birthday this month. I turned 20 on November 2nd (#ScorpioSeason) and it might not seem like much, but to me, it meant a lot. I survived 2 decades without going completely mad. Many feel this isn’t such a big deal, but I had a lot of emotions on my special day and many moments to look back on. 


I was born November 2nd, 2000 at 2:45 am at Saint Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ. I was the firstborn to my lovely parents, Judy and Bill. I was the first grandchild on my father’s side and the first girl grandchild on my mother’s side. I was, and am, so loved by my entire family. My mother taught me everything I need to know about being a strong, beautiful, and amazing woman. She was (and still is) my best friend. When I was down on myself, she taught me the beauty of learning how to get back up. She showed me that life isn’t always easy, but every moment is a learning experience. When I was three years old, my parents blessed me with my younger sister, Veronica. She taught me patience, understanding, and willpower. She stood by my side every step of the way. She sat with me doing homework, motivated me when I was feeling down and was always my biggest cheerleader. She fought all her battles with such strength, I have admired her since we were young. 


When I was eight, I got a puppy named Carla. My very first dog. She chose me by sitting in my lap, I knew I had to have her. She taught me responsibility and love from an animal. Shortly after getting her, my parents divorced. She sat and comforted my mother, my sister, and I during tough times. She may be small, but she is mighty. When I was fourteen, my cat taught me the glory of things happening in your life that you didn’t plan for. We rescued her off the street as a kitten and domesticated her. We never expected to have a cat, but here we are 6 years later. When I was 17, we took in my rescue dog, Leo, and he taught me about new beginnings and trust. He was abused and handed over from family to family and eventually ended up on the euthanasia list. He was soon rescued and landed in my family’s arms. We had to work really hard to gain his trust but he eventually learned this was a new beginning and we loved him dearly. He found his forever home. 


Last but not least, the hardest lesson I’ve ever learned in my twenty years of life. When I was a senior in high school, I lost my great-aunt, Marie, to terminal lung cancer. This was the first time death ever touched me so closely at an age where I’d remember everything about her. I never would’ve pictured life without her. The lesson of death was not an easy one. I learned to tell my loved ones how much I cared for them and to never take a moment or person for granted. 


Turning 20, I remembered all these lessons. I’ve learned many other lessons along the way in these two decades, but I wouldn’t change them for the world. You see, turning 20 had me looking back on all these times. I’ve been knocked down and saddened by things, but these are the things that made me the woman I am today.

Maria Hofmann

Montclair '22

Just a Journalism major with a passion to write. She loves listening to music and attending concerts as often as she can. She loves to drink coffee on the regular as she spends some quality time gossiping with her best friends, one being her mom! She's super outgoing and loves to meet new people so she can share stories about her life with others.
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