Sunday, November 29, 2015

Elderly People

My elderly family members mean the world to me, and for the past few weeks they have had to make transitions that they had never imagined for themselves.  I cannot go a single week without visiting at least one grandmother, but for about three weeks the visits have not been quite what they used to be.  You always hear people say that when they become elderly they would rather lose their mobility, as opposed to their mind, or vice-verso.  In my family I have one grandmother experiencing one of those scenarios, while one grandmother is experiencing the other.  To me both seem to be very hard to actually live through, but my grandmothers still keep their heads up and persevere.

My Great Grandmother Webb turned ninety-two this summer, but you would think she is still in her seventies by having a conversation with her.  She had a stroke two years ago causing limited use in her right arm and slurred speech.  She stayed in her home for several months with the supervision of my mother, Great Aunt, and grandmother alternating every night. Grandmother Webb went through months of Physical Therapy hoping for a full recovery, but unfortunately that never happened.  They moved her into an assisted living facility in February of that year, where she stayed for nineteen more months, until she suffered from a second stroke a few weeks ago. This time causing the left side of her body to be temporarily paralyzed.  She was transferred to a rehab center a few towns over, and now she is staying in our local nursing home and rehab facility.  Thinking back to when I was a child I would never have thought this for Grandmother Webb seeing that she has been incredibly independent and a hard worker until her first stroke.  Now, she is still a hard worker, striving to get as mobile as possible, and I could not be more proud of her.  

This is Great Grandmother Webb

As for my Father's mother, I call her Meme, she is perfectly mobile at the age of eighty-seven.  However,  she is suffering from Advanced Dementia.  When I visit her I am asked the same question multiple times, and she cannot remember what she said or did in the last thirty seconds, but she remembers many childhood stories in detail.  Every time I visit her, she puts a smile on my face telling me stories about her “days on the farm.” (Of which I live on, that her Grandfather founded in 1891) Her children have now decided that she should be moved into an assisted living facility so she will be in safe hands.  Again, I would have never thought this would be the case for Meme.  I stayed with her all summer, every summer. She taught me how to play golf, and how to be a lady. I can never thank her enough for everything she has done for me.  

This is my Meme and a colt named Apollo
I read a statistic that around one million elderly people regularly go an entire month without speaking to a friend, neighbor or family member. This broke my heart.  Our senior citizens' generation worked so hard to keep a roof over their head and food on the table for their families, and many of them are now all alone.  They deserve company more than anyone and we can learn so much from them.  There are many ways you can  help make a difference in the life of an older person.  You could help them around the house or in the yard, run errands like grocery shopping, or visit residents of a nursing home or assisted living facility just to name a few. I challenge you to  spend just thirty minutes or more a week with and elderly person.  I am sure we all have one in our lives.

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible.” - Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Be the Change!

This world has become more and more scary. It terrifies me just to think about what our world will be like when our children are adults. It seems like all too often these days we hear stories of school shootings, theater shootings, bombs being put in crowded places and these are just in the United States of America. Then you add in the threats received daily from other countries or radical groups proclaiming terrible things on us and it’s enough to make you not want to go anywhere.

I don’t have the answers to closing our borders or what to do about ISIS. I do know that there isn’t a simple solution or a cookie cutter answer. I do know that we should all have HOPE and FAITH in not only our nation’s leaders, but also in God. HE is the only answer we need and HE alone will save us in the end.

We need to have hope for a better world for our children to grow up in. In doing so, we also need to be part of the solution to ensure that it happens. One simple way is by voting. I know we still have a year before the next presidential election, but familiarizing yourself with the candidates' opinions now and staying up to date on the debates will help make next November easier for you.


As a part of a group of women that has so many connections, together, let’s be the change that our world needs now more than ever.

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Friday, November 27, 2015

Beat the Holiday Blues

The end of the year is one of my favorite times! Spending time with family & friends, enjoying yummy treats, and making special memories are always so much fun! With all of the holiday traditions that we have, sometimes it is hard to think about someone who does not find this time of year to be a joyous one. There are people who actually dread the holiday season as they have nothing to look forward to. In the mental health profession, this has been called “The Holiday Blues”. 

The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) describes The Holiday Blues as temporary feelings of anxiety and/or depression, during the holidays, that can be associated with extra stress, unrealistic expectations, or memories that can accompany the season. It is found that 64% of people are claimed to be affected by The Holiday Blues. It is also reported that 24% state that the holidays have a negative effect on them. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, tension, frustration, loneliness/isolation, sadness, and a sense of loss. The Holiday Blues vary from clinical depression and anxiety in that the feelings are short-term. Although the symptoms are temporary, it is still important to take seriously as they can lead to long-term mental health concerns. 


So what are some ways to avoid The Holiday Blues?

- Make sure to continue with normal routines as much as possible. This will allow consistency and normalcy while going through the holidays.

- Sleep is essential. It is recommended that a person should sleep between 6-8 hours a night. Although there is much to do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, sleep is still very important.

- Watch your food and drink intake. If you are feeling any depressed symptoms, it is best to avoid alcohol.

- Continue to exercise. Not only will it help burn the calories of all the amazing holiday treats you have consumed, it also increases the endorphins in your brain. Endorphins help combat sadness and fatigue.

- Set a budget. A lot of stress during the holidays is due to financial burdens from buying gifts and the many activities that are planned. If you set a reasonable budget before the holidays get started, this will give you peace of mind about where your money is going!

- Finally, set appropriate expectations and goals during the holidays. There will most likely be a million things that have to be done during the last few weeks of the year. Plan your day out and make a to-do list in order to simplify your life and avoid the chance of double booking yourself.

My hope is that these tips will get you, or someone you know, through the holiday season!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving is a time to pause for just a moment. Most of the time my life is so busy and it seems like I am always rushing off from one thing to the other. I have to remind myself to take the time to stop and reflect on what I'm thankful for.

I could make a long list of all the big and small things I am thankful for because I am truly blessed, but I want to focus on just one thing today – my family. I can't wait wait to spend time with all of them this Thanksgiving. I know it will be full of good food, laughter, and catching up. They have supported me through everything in my life. From my mom and dad, whose unconditional love and guidance helps me in more ways than they will ever know, to my big brother and sister-n-law who are always just a phone call or text away, to my extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins with whom I share the most wonderful memories. Two of my grandmothers are dealing with some health issues right now and I am so thankful that I am able to spend time with them and help them during this difficult time like they have always helped me. I am missing both of my grandfathers that went on to be with the lord several years ago, but I am forever thankful for the time that I had with them and will cherish those memories forever.

My challenge for all of you is to take a break from the turkey and think about what you're thankful for and share it with the special people in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible.” - Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Season of Gratitude

It is finally November which officially means that we are in the season of gratitude. This is one of my favorite times of each year. I love all of the decorations that come with Thanksgiving and Christmas, all of the food and especially being able to spend extra time with our families that live far away. This time of year is so very busy, but taking a moment to reflect on all of the good that we EACH have going on in our own lives is even more important.

For me, not only am thankful to be able to represent each of you and the International system, I am eternally thankful that my platform is one that my husband and I can do together. I’m sure some, if not all, of you know a veteran. In my experience, they tend to keep those memories (good or bad) locked away in the back of their mind. My husband was, and is, still one of those veterans. It wasn’t until I dove headfirst into competing for Texas and shortly after I won that he really started to open up about his experiences more and attend more veteran outings. Getting veterans around their brothers and sisters that have faced the same situations is so important. They need to be reminded that they are not alone and don’t have to face their return to civilian life alone. Even if that reentry to civilian life was 1 month, 1 year or 20 years down the road.


So for this, I am thankful. I am thankful that I have a supportive husband and one who encourages me. Because that same one is also the one who is benefiting from becoming Mr. International 2015, regardless of if he can see that right now or not.

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Staying Healthy While Traveling

Before winning Miss International, I loved to travel for fun. Now I get to travel as a part of my job! Although there are so many perks to traveling (different foods, different cultures, etc.), I noticed that if you aren't careful, traveling can lead to some unhealthy habits. With the excitement of going to a new city, state or country, our first thought isn't necessarily "How can I maintain my healthy habits while I'm on my trip?"! But if you are a person on the go, like myself, it's extremely important to still treat Your body with the respect it deserves. Here are a few tips that I wanted to share with you!

1. Make sure to drink plenty of water. We should do this anyway, and this is definitely a struggle of mine, but especially when you are on traveling by plane you need to stay hydrated. One way is to drink plenty of water. Secondly, you can spritz water on your face and other body parts to keep your skin hydrated on the surface! Also, make sure to take some anti-bacterial wipes with you to wipe of the arm rests and tray table on the plane. They are full of germs that you don't want! 


2. Splurge on food but don't go overboard! I will be the first to raise my hand to go to a new restaurant when I'm traveling! There is nothing wrong with eating some of the delicious, high calorie foods, but those calories can add up quickly if we aren't careful. Make sure to maintain your meals with protein, veggies and fruit. A protein shake can be convenient when traveling too! And for those time when you are traveling by car, remember fast food restaurants always have a healthy option... Salad, grilled instead of fried, fruit instead of fries. When you maintain your healthy eating, then you won't feel too bad when you have your "cheat meal"!


3. Exercise!! Call ahead and see if the hotel you are staying at has a gym. Then you can workout while you are away from home! If the hotel doesn't have a gym, there are plenty of exercises that you can do in your room... And that's actually what I did while competing for Miss Texas International! If you are in a safe place, you can also take a walk or run around the city you're in! I did this while in Paris, and it was a wonderful way to learn more about the city while staying fit! 


4. Rest! Traveling takes a lot of our energy. Make sure that before, during, and after your trip, you are getting plenty of sleep! Definitely talking to myself on this one!

Hope you find these tips helpful as you travel around!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Horses

Although summer has ended I am going to reminisce over my dream job! I am so blessed to be able to work at Missouri Fox Trotter stables training the colts and fillies. I began my job last summer training a colt named Apollo. He is my little buddy! He still follows me around and becomes almost as excited to see me as I him. We even made a page in the Horsemen Round-up magazine last summer!


This summer I was able to have fun with two fillies! One named Knicky, the other Princess Leia. These girls were one of the highlights of my summer! While Knicky loved me, Leia did not want anything to do with me. However we still had lots of fun and I can not wait to see what new babies I'll get to play with next summer! I was so excited that we were featured in the August issue of Horsemen's Roundup magazine again this year!


“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible.” -Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Navy Ball 2015


Recently, I was invited to attend the 240th Happy Birthday Navy Ball. I have attended army balls in the past when Justin was still in active duty so I thought I had a pretty good idea as to what to expect before I arrived. Well, all you Go Army, Beat Navy people out there the Navy is definitely taking the win for the production they put on every year to celebrate their birthday. They not only sold out of their ticket sales (which goes back to veteran organizations), they fly in high profile guests and choose different guests to honor that have made an impact on the United States Navy.

It truly was an honor to meet Sgt. 1st class Leroy Petry, an Army Ranger just like Justin. Leroy is the second living recipient of the Medal of Honor for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He lost his right hand while throwing a live grenade away from his fellow soldiers. Petry became the ninth service member to receive the nation's highest award for valor in those conflicts. He now wears a high-tech robotic artificial hand. Because he made the split second decision to throw away the live grenade, not only himself, but 2 other soldiers lived. Had he not chosen that route, he would probably still have his hand, but the other 2 soldiers would not have survived he told me. 


These are the types of decisions that our nations bravest face while deployed. To save only themselves or to save their brother. They willingly, without even thinking, choose to protect each other (and we back home). They do things that most of us could not and would not be able to do and because of that they deserve our continued support.

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dealing With Others' P.O.V.


Social media is without a doubt one thing that our society has brought to the forefront in the last few years! From Facebook, to Instagram to Twitter, we are constantly giving the world access to what is going on in our lives. For the most part, this type of access can be a positive way to get to know the lives of our loved ones, friends, and even celebrities. However, I have noticed that the negative aspects of social media are just as strong as the positive. Specifically, I have noticed the backlash of people posting their point of view (P.O.V.) online and the enormous amounts of negativity that they receive just for sharing what is on their heart.

I experienced this myself when I wrote a Facebook status a couple of years ago about a pretty significant trial that was going on in our country. I did not take sides on the issue, but simply wrote how I felt with the decision that had been made. What is interesting was through all the “likes” and positive messages that I received from it, one person wrote a very disrespectful message on my post and stated “I am now going to defriend you”. This was not really a person I knew, so the fact that she was going to “defriend” me was not a worry to me. However, I was surprised by how she became so upset with a comment that had no sentiments of judgement or negativity in it. I am so careful about what I post online, that I made sure this particular post would not offend anyone. What I realized is that some people are just not going to respect your point of view. We were all given brains to be able to think for ourselves. Because of this, we are not always going to agree with what someone has to say. However, I do believe in respecting people and their opinions. There is always the option to agree to disagree. By no means do I think it is appropriate to voice opinions that are discriminatory, hateful, or full of prejudice. But with that off the table, I do think that people should be able to share their point of view without feeling as though they are going to be punished for it. There have been many times where I have read or heard comments made by people and disagreed with what they said, but unless I was able to respectfully disagree with them, then I either kept my mouth shut or kept scrolling down the page. At the end of the day, it is how that person feels and it is their opinion. AND. IT. IS. OK.

My hope is that we can continue to be respectful of ourselves and of others so that no one feels as though they can’t share what is on their heart.

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Just Do It!

During my college composition class on Thursday my teacher showed me a video of Shia Lebouf entitled “Just Do It.” While watching it I thought it would make a great blog! He is very motivational telling viewers to “just do it!” He says, “Don't let your dreams be dreams, just do it!” To me this is a perfect example of every titleholder as well as those competing for a title. Everyone may imagine themselves wearing the crown, but it is important to work hard and prepare to “just do it!”

This is actually great advice in all aspects of life. Another powerful quote is, “So you're tired of starting over? Then stop giving up!” For the people who do compete and maybe don't win the first time, you can always try and try again! I urge everyone to go watch this video! However, please watch the one minute version, not the twenty-six minute one. Take this video to heart and “Just do it!” 


“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible.'” -Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran’s day. Veteran’s day is always special for our family since Justin, my brother in law and various other family members were all in the service. I am so happy that this year in particular, Justin is finally taking the day off! He has never been off on Veteran’s day and I’m so glad he is this year! I was honored to be asked to ride in the Veteran’s day parade in Dallas and Justin wants to take the kids to watch.


Texas is and always has been a huge supporter of veterans, veteran organizations and veteran events. We truly are a red, white and blue state not only in regards to our state flag, but also the fact that we support our past and present military. It saddens me that not every state in our country supports them the same way. This needs to change. Immediately.

I have attended numerous speaking engagements where the speaker spoke on our nation’s veterans and their unwavering duty and honor to protect and defend our nation and essentially us. I have heard, and seen, the effects that war has physically, emotionally and mentally taken on our nations bravest. I have met the soldiers that have returned home with missing limb(s) and burns covering their entire body from being hit by a roadside bomb. As hard as the physical rehabilitation was, many of those same selfless soldiers have said that the hardest part was the continued mental recovery. The continued war that they are facing inside their head, every time they walk to the mailbox or drive over a bridge.


We must do more! We must do more than asking “If you ever served in the military to please stand for a round of applause”, more than offering a simple thank you, more than doing nothing at all to honor our veterans. The countless stories I have heard of OUR veterans needing guidance to reestablish themselves as civilians, their families needing emotional support to understand their loved ones new and unfortunate physical condition. Yet nothing or no one is around to offer help.


I urge you to please get involved in supporting our nations bravest. Finding a local chapter for a veteran organization and offering to volunteer at their next event is simple. Are you neighbors with an elderly veteran? Go cut their grass or drive them to an appointment. The easiest thing you can do? Offer a listening ear when they need it most. Because after all, freedom truly isn’t free.

Until the Mission Is Complete,

Farabe’

Monday, November 9, 2015

Grass Is Greener Where You Water It


I've always liked the quote "The grass isn't always greener on the other side... The grass is greener where you water it". In a culture where there is a tendency for us to post all of the highlights of our lives for others to see, it's no wonder why it's easy to look at someone else's life and be envious. This can be especially true if you are watching someone receive the things you have always wanted. But with every joyous occasion that a person shares with you, there is also heartache, pain and struggles that are not always mentioned. Sometimes we stand under the false belief that if we could switch lives, or have what they have, then we would be happy. Unfortunately, life does not work that way. Here are a few tips that I have found helpful when I find myself trying to find "greener grass":

#1 See the cup half full instead of half empty. Instead of dwelling on what you do not have, think about the blessings you do have. I always tell my patients that "There is someone that would switch places with you in a second... Even with all of your struggles. Tell me why you think they would?" This allows them an opportunity to explain the good things that are going on in their lives. If you have never asked yourself that question, you should try it!

#2 Happiness vs Joy. We can all be fooled to think that we will be "happy" if we just had more money, more time, more ___________ (fill in the blank). But the truth is that happiness is a temporary emotion. Yes, you may be happy for a little while, but the happiness will wear off and you will be in search of something. Having joy is a state of being. You could be sad, but still have joy in your heart. Being joyful really means that no matter what you're going through, or what your life does not have, you will choose to be positive. Choose joy!

#3 Be careful with the "if only" statements. In my weak moments, I'll find myself saying "If only I had this..." and "If only I had that...". Recently I have tried really hard to stay away from those statements and instead say "Thank you, God for this..." And "Thank you, God for that...". If we have an attitude of gratitude, your perspective will change!

Let's all remember to water and invest in the "grass" we have been given!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Manners

Most of you know, if you can’t already tell by my accent and the frequently dropped ya’ll, that I am from the South. Originally South Carolina to be exact. Surprisingly I don’t consider Texas the south, although living outside of Dallas does have some southern charm, I consider Texas just the west. The South in my eyes is THE Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Kentucky.

I grew up in church every Wednesday and Sunday, attended a Christian school from 4th grade until my senior year, drank sweet tea, went to cotillion, took shag lessons, attended horse races, went 4- wheeling, mud boggin’, blessed hearts and if I didn’t say yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, no sir, no thank you my heart was the one to be blessed. To this day, I say yes ma’am and the likes out of respect for someone, not because they are older than me.


Often times those adults tell me, nicely, “oh please don’t say that” where I proceed to overly apologize and 5 minutes later am saying yes ma’am to them again. It’s the way I was raised and it is the way we are raising our children. Hearing “yea” come from a child’s mouth when answering an adult makes me cringe. Again, it’s the way I was raised. I often times have to remind our boys (4 year olds) what do you say, but 7 times out of 10 they remember and our just turned 2 year old says yes ma’am. You might actually be a sir she’s answering, but I’ll cut her a little break. Ha!

My point is, no matter if you are teaching your children to say yes ma’am and yes sir or not we should all be teaching our children to use their manners. They are our future. Our future doctors, teachers, military and Presidents. Our world will be left in the palm of their once tiny hands. We should instill in them from an early age that we need to respect every person we come into contact with, no matter their race, gender, religious views, body size or political views.


Until the Missions Continues,

Farabe’

Saturday, November 7, 2015

VolunteerMatch

Through my platform “Be A Volunteer, Make Your Mark Through Community Service,” I have encouraging others to get involved in projects closest to them or maybe a favorite philanthropic organization. One of the best outlets for volunteerism is volunteermatch.org. This website allows us to become on site or virtual volunteers. It gives you exact events as well as some organizations.

VolunteerMatch does exactly that. When you make an account it will send you E-mails according to where you live. You can choose a category of volunteerism such as animals, children, hunger, etc, and VolunteerMatch will simply match you to the perfect organization. I was matched with Ronald McDonald House a year ago and I have been absolutely in love with it since. Go find your perfect match.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I'm possible.”- Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

When the Newness Wears Off

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a huge car person! So you can only imagine how excited I was when I signed a lease to a new car a few weeks ago! Learning about all the new features and enjoying the bells & whistles have been so much fun and makes it just a bit easier to make those monthly payments! However, there will come a day that my car will get older, and the new gadgets will be a thing of the past. All of a sudden, the excitement of driving this new car becomes the dread of maintaining the upkeep of the car and wishing you could have something else to drive every day. 

I noticed this in my own life when I started my new job a little over a week after I won Miss International. With all the excitement of decorating my new office, getting to know the staff and students, and a nice increase in salary, I didn't even realize that I would have to wake up earlier than I have in awhile, and make a commute that would be much more difficult. Once the newness of my job wore off, I found myself becoming increasingly irritated when my alarm would go off at 5:00 in the morning and would have to sit in traffic for at least 45 minutes. 

During my prayer and devotional time one morning, I felt God speak to me in my spirit. He impressed to me to remember why I accepted this position in the first place. I absolutely LOVE working with children and teens and this opportunity allows me a chance to be in their world in a different capacity! I also know that there are people who are unemployed and would trade places with me in a second in order to have a job and bring home a paycheck again. 


I write this in order to encourage all of us to remember the positive when the newness of a job, car, title (etc.) wears off. It's easy to complain and want something bigger, better or different. However, God has blessed us with an incredible life full of people and material possessions that some would only dream of. Take some time to remember how you felt when it was all new, and this will help you put things in perspective!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

From Shy to Mrs. International

Believe it or not, growing up I was a very shy and reserved person. Yes, I did every activity and was on every team from the time I can remember until I began college, but I was not one to walk up to someone and start a conversation. As long as I was in a group setting I felt ‘safe’. This is probably why the piano and I never clicked.

When I competed in my first, interview, pageant you can imagine how nervous I was. We knew the style of the interview and what most of our interview questions were going to be about, but how was I supposed to talk to an adult when I was still just a teenager and how was I going to make in through the interview portion without a “team” beside me? Luckily, I didn’t faint or go screaming and running from the room. I actually ended up winning the pageant.

After I gave up my first real title, I decided to compete again. Same thing, of course, happened. I was a nervous wreck, but I won that one too! I began to notice that I was totally fine on stage and was never nervous while I was up there, but rather just nervous about the interview portion of the pageant.

Fast forward a few more pageants and I am preparing for the title of a lifetime, Mrs. International 2015. Once again I knew the style of our interview, but I was extremely nervous about what and how to get across all of the information I wanted to share. Lucky for all of us, we have a wonderful sponsor and former Mrs. International 2006, Suzy Bootz to guide and prepare us! Suzy is one of the most kindhearted, genuine and easy to talk to person you will ever come across. I highly recommend working with her as she can give you the ins and outs of the International system. Also, check out her new (and super helpful) books, Creating Queens and Preparing the Mind to Win! www.suzybootz.com

Along with the help of the pros, prayers and honestly just trying to remember to stay calm I’m not that shy girl anymore. I feel like I can talk to anyone, even the President of the United States of America… even if it is only to tell him that I glisten.

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

College

For those of you who do not know, I am currently a Junior in High School, so college has been on my mind quite a bit. I have been asking myself “What college would be the best for me?” “What if I do not meet all of the requirements to even be accepted?” “What would be the major to suit what I want to do?” “Will I be prepared?” As a sixteen-year-old the thought of college can overwhelming and a little terrifying a times. First, we have to try our hardest to even receive an acceptance letter.

I have taken the ACT twice and I am planning on taking it a third time in December. Last week, I took the PSAT just for practice. Throughout my high school career I have worked hard to keep my grade point average up and our teachers have done a great job preparing us for college courses. This year I am taking honor classes as well as two college courses. I guess it is a good thing to have a little taste of college before you actually attend. My professors have told our class that in their eyes we are college students and that is how they treat us. Yes, the scholastic “prepping” is important in college education, but sometimes we can become too wrapped up in that, we miss the central part of prep, developmentally for life away at college.

The thought of leaving home forever does not seem real to me. I'll be looking back on my high school days wishing I could go back and relive those moments, but I can only look forward to what is in-store for me and all of my class mates as we separate into adulthood. Just remember that life does go on after high school and there is so many wonderful year of life awaiting all of us, so many things that can be accomplished!

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I'm possible.” -Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015