An Open Letter to My Hometown…

In The Woodlands there is a growing misconception among students that death is the answer to your problems.

To those in high school, in the three years I have been out of The Woodlands; stereotypes, popular things and norms might have changed, but high school remains the same.

When I was a senior, which, truthfully, was not too long ago, those who walked the halls of The Woodlands had seen death, but it happened infrequently, and more often than not, accidentally.

The Class of 2013 graduated 1,019 students on June 4th, and to this day, as far as I know, there are still 1,019 of us wandering the earth, attending college, working a full-time job, taking care of family — wherever the future has taken us.***

The point is, even in difficult times, we are here. We made it through high school, but it doesn’t mean it was easy.

For my sister, about to begin her senior year, she has seen more death at age 17 than I had. She lost a close friend before the Christmas holiday, and now, seeing another fellow Highlander pass away this past week, it has to be hard to understand. The latest fallen Highlander’s cause of death was announced as an overdose on Ecstasy, after her attendance to a musical festival.

As an older sister, I want to protect her. I want to shield her from the difficulties of life. I hope to change the stereotype in her mind that death solves all problems, before she begins seeing those struggling end their lives before finding a solution to whatever burdens them, bothers them or negatively affects them.

I hope to empower her to see a struggling stranger, to help them, because as a person, you never know how others are struggling, or even if they are. Small gestures can change a life.

For those lost, unsure, struggling, anything but happy — just listen.

Life is full of ups and downs. Yes, for many, that is a phrase used so often it has lost its touch and its meaning.

I will be starting my senior year of college in the coming months. For my close friends, I seem to carry a constant load of bad luck.

I broke my leg at the end of January, totaled my car in early February, was put on a scooter later that month, couldn’t figure out why my leg wasn’t healing in April, and have been rattled with stress and anxiety throughout my college experience.

I too have struggled. Struggled with questioning why these things happen to me, struggled with the amount of failure I have experienced and sat with the amount of good things happening to other people before happening to me.

I have spent evenings crying, exasperated for the sign that it is going to be better, that improvement exists, anything that will give me motivation to continue. When I feel helpless, there is more ahead, there has to be.

There is so much excitement, dissapointment and memories to be made. For those who are 18, I too shared this feeling, that I had done it all — ‘I’ve experienced it all… What else is there to do?… What experiences are better than senior year?’.

To those who can identify with those questions, the best is yet to come.

Find a friend to talk to, confide in your mom, seek God, find the good in yourself, whatever you chose to believe in — we are all here for a reason.

You can’t give up before you find your purpose, and at 18, trust me, it has not happened yet. I’m 21, with a possibly very exciting future in journalism, I have found my passion, but more than likely have not stumbled upon my purpose.

And even now, the pressures of high school have not altered, faltered or seen radical change.

The pressure to fit in, to be the best dressed in class, to have a significant other, to find your place in the thousands who walk through the halls, have been the worries, struggles and thoughts of high school students, more than likely for longer than you and I have been alive.

Those were mine, too.

For those who did not find their place in high school, or fear they won’t, I found mine in college — I can even send you a pin of where it is: Norman, Oklahoma.

I think of the six semesters of college I have completed, and see nothing but good memories: even those in which I struggled academically and emotionally. I have spent more than two dozen nights up past three in the morning, I have started many mornings before six a.m. But I smile at those days, because they have shaped me into the student I am right now, and more importantly, the person people call Gloria Noble.

I didn’t find it right away though. I jogged through freshman year passing things so quickly I don’t remember much of it. I dreaded the adjustment period, I counted down the days to see my parents and to lay down in my own bed. I allotted all of my time toward my schoolwork, and even woke up in the middle of the night unable to sleep, to then dedicate myself to more schoolwork.

At the end of year one, I found my place by getting out there, making an effort and finding more friends with similar interets.

Now, closing year three, I have the greatest college family a girl could ask for. I find my strength in three roommates, three girls I call my best friends, I find my good memories, laughs, smiles, happy tears, in a house full of Alpha Tau Omega’s, I find my endless sports chat, long nights, great debates in the lacrosse team and I find my perseverance and hard work (along with endless cups of coffee, no sleep, lots of tears) in the journalism college, along with the most supportive j-school faculty and staff a college student could hope to find.

Life is how you shape it to be. It is full of mistakes, full of disappointment, for some regret and for some other emotions. You need to get to those landmark moments before ending those chances.

If you’re reading this — please feel free to engage me on any social media channel, Twitter @glorianoble_, on Facebook — Gloria Noble, on Instagram under ‘Gloria Noble’, or the Drake tribute username, noble_noble_noble_noble_. If you need someone to talk to, I am all ears. Never met me before? Still, I spend all of my time scouring the internet for news, you can get ahold of me.

Originally Published on Medium.


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