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Ashley Quinones
Life

5 Things Younger Me Wouldn’t Believe I did

This year I was lucky enough to do some incredible things I never thought I’d get the chance to do. If you told me about these experiences back then, I probably wouldn’t believe you.

1. I got involved with THON

Madeline Haller in her THON shirt
Original photo by Madeline Haller

This is a lovely candid photo of me that I had to use. When I was in 11th grade, one of my friends tried to put a Mini-THON together. That was the first time I had heard of THON, despite growing up in PA and in a town full of Penn State fans.

I was involved in a first-year committee, and it was a life-changing experience. There are so many moments I’ll remember that include explaining to a person at 10 pm that Chickie and Pete’s doesn’t sell chicken baskets, working security during a snow squall and a lot more special moments that I’m going to keep to myself.

There is nothing more rewarding than putting in long hours of work for a cause bigger than yourself. I also got the opportunity to stand with my sorority for a total of 15 hours, and I am incredibly thankful I had that opportunity. This brings me to my next point. 

2. I’m in a sorority

ADPi COB sorority bid day
Original photo by Sam Langer

This, like most of my brilliant ideas, was a last-minute thought I went for because I knew I’d regret the “what if” more than the possible rejection. So, I did it. I never imagined myself as a sorority girl, but then realized that was simply from the media’s perception of sorority girls. There is no requirement to be a complete extrovert — that’s just how the media portrays the stereotypical sorority.

I am so happy with my decision, and can’t wait to continue my involvement. I also just made another spontaneous decision over spring break to switch from living in Eastview Terrace next year to my sorority floor instead, and I cannot wait for all of the fun times in my future. 

3. I prioritize sleep over studying

School work set up
Original photo by Madeline Haller

When I was younger, I prided myself on how much I studied and how I put everything else on the back burner — that included eating meals and maintaining a steady sleep schedule. The difference between an A+ and an A was minimal, but I felt like I succeeded so much more if I got the A+.

Now, I’ll take breaks from schoolwork and studying to eat. I call it a night when it’s time because I do my best to stay on a consistent sleep schedule. I still work hard, but I no longer work myself to the bone. Younger me, who stressed about her GPA to the fifth decimal, would not believe this. 

4. I wear jewelry

Jewelry pile
Original photo by Madeline Haller

I’ve always owned a lot of jewelry, but I never wore it. I worried about what others would think of my jewelry choices, and didn’t want to stand out. So, I just let it all sit in my room and collect dust.

Now, I actually have pieces that mean more to me other than them simply being pretty, and I proudly wear them. I either wear one or two necklaces, four bracelets and five rings. It’s a weird adjustment, how I went from wearing nothing to so much, but I think growing up, in general, is a weird adjustment. Every single piece has meaning, and I think younger me would think it’s really cool that I don’t care what others think about it. 

5. I’m a writer

Madeline Haller childhood selfie- seventh grade
Original photo by Madeline Haller

This little girl right here would be smiling at where I am right now. This was me in seventh grade, the year a teacher let me work on the gifted assignment for one project. I got to read a firsthand account of the plague and write my own entry like I was a person living in it. That’s super fun to think about looking back.

That was also the year we did a class debate. We had to articulate an argument on why our assigned person deserved to get a heart transplant over the others. We then followed through with the debate, and I remember the pride when I put together the majority of my group’s argument and we won. I still have my folder of poetry from that year, with my pristine 100 that I had so much pride in.

That was the first year I felt like I could write. Seventh grade me would be beyond happy that I’m still writing. I’m currently in two English classes, and I’m extremely proud of my HerCampus involvement. 

Growing up is weird, but it’s the most exciting adventure. I’m so grateful for the life I live, and I love that I can look at it through the lens of childlike wonder. It’s so much fun to realize I’m living a life younger me couldn’t fathom.

Madeline (she/her) is a first-year at Penn State studying Psychology and Labor and Human Resources from Bangor, Pennsylvania.
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