Everyone goes through struggles big and small throughout their lives.

Little kids face problems that feel huge to them but in the grand scheme of things, really aren't. Imagine a coffee shop where that annoying toddler we can all picture from experience, was pulling on their mom's jeans, screaming that they wanted a blueberry muffin. That poor mom was just trying to get in her daily cup of joe and her kid was losing their mind over a muffin. You're standing there watching this scene play out, shaking your head and dumping sugar into your coffee, thinking to yourself, just wait till you hit college and can't afford more than Cup Noodles, let alone a muffin from a high-end place like this.

Tweens go through struggles too. Looking back at them, maybe you still feel the pain of those years; acne, school hallways, gossip, cafeteria food, that lead in the play you had that you will never forget and will always regret. *Shiver* The struggles truly were bad. But what feels bad in the moment will surely be bested by another low to come in your life. Maybe that's a negative statement but we all go through highs and lows, it's a part of life.

Now that I've officially entered adulthood I can say I'm a legal adult but I'm still a teen so that kind of takes away the effect. A teen goes through the struggles of passing their classes, more gossip, more acne, SATs/ACTs, applying for college, hopefully getting into college, and a lot more. As the now adult that you are, you're probably still thinking, yes all of this is accurate but kid, you still don't know what's coming. Trusty adult, you're probably right.

The point that I'm trying to make with all this is that I've finally come to realize that life really can be hard and that's okay. I've had it good till now, I still have it good but you know what I'm saying I hope. It didn't use to be so difficult but it seems like the older you get, the harder it is. As a seasoned adult I'm sure you can say some years are harder than others but as a not seasoned adult, dang, I sure didn't see all this coming.

I am going to put some of the blame of this "reality check" on my exchange because it had to be brought up at some point right? Yeah, sorry if you're sick of hearing about it by now but I'm never going to stop. Whoops.

Anyways, exchange was the best year of my life. I had very few responsibilities; I traveled, learned German, made friends, went to some Rotary meetings, and enjoyed almost every day of those 11.5 months. Of course, there was the occasional off day but as previously mentioned, that's life right? I was happy, carefree, and curious about the world around me.

I was excited to come home and then real life started to set in. Things fell to shambles, they got better, they fell apart again, they got better, fell apart, got better, and here we are in the present. I've stepped onto a see-saw with "I'm doing alright" on one side and "Why does life hate me" on the other and I'm constantly shifting from one side to the other. I've never felt so unbalanced in my life.

It's not all bad though, the growth that I've gone through in the months since coming home from Germany certainly compares to the learning I experienced abroad. I'm still learning and I still think life sucks sometimes but I'm not a quitter. I can gripe all I want but that's not going to get me into my dream school or get me a job, or friends.

My exchange was fantastic but now it's time to get things done. It's time to move forward and push through the struggles no matter how big they feel because hey, that's life for you.