By Jean Elizabeth Miles
Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama for 2013
As a freshman in college, the first question asked by all adults following the traditional, “How’s college?” and, “What’s your major, again?” is the ever so embarrassing, “So… do you have a boyfriend?” Worse than asking me, I am often told that they even ask my mother and grandmother! If that doesn’t win the award for the most awkward situation ever, I don’t know what does. Recently, America celebrated a day of swooning over your significant other. Since it was my first Valentine’s Day celebrated as a college student, I had big decisions to make. Who would I pick to be my valentine date, you know, since I had so many options….*Insert hysterical laughter here* Usually, my mom and I would dine out, catch a movie, or take a lap around the mall for some window shopping, but since I was three hours away, it seemed I would be doing it alone. That was, until I decided to change my outlook on the holiday as a whole! Who said you had to spend it with your beau? After all, it is a day to celebrate love, right? Why can’t you spend it with the people you love most – friends, roommates, sorority sisters? As soon as class was over, I bolted for the door, heading to my dorm to catch up with the roomie. I had a plan. As we hopped in the car, Walmart list in hand, we discussed the plan. A cart full and hour later, we had what we needed. That’s right, you guessed it. Since we didn’t have that special someone to buy us the box of goo-filled chocolates or bake us terribly decorated, but still kind of cute cupcakes, we decided to make our own goodies. This was an adventure, of course, since all we had was a small toaster oven and microwave, but still we managed to succeed in our task and create chocolate dipped Oreos, chocolate covered pretzels, cookie cake, and cupcakes, which we proceeded to eat as our dinner (you’re only in college once, right?). It was then off to our next adventure – the Auburn vs. Alabama Gymnastics meet! It was a night full of food, fun, laughter, and love and I wouldn’t trade the memories made for anything.
Even though it wasn’t quite conventional, it was perfect. I like to think of it as my own little ‘gal’entines. I tell you all of this to say, if you find yourself in similar shoes, DON’T GET DISCOURAGED! You are awesome, with or without a guy by your side! As Beyoncé says, “Who runs the world? GIRLS!” It doesn’t take a guy to complete you! You keep living life, spend every moment with the ones you love, and make memories to last a lifetime! If you still don’t feel like this will work, I’m going to give you some simple steps to loving the solo life:
- Stay rooted in God’s word, find strength and comfort in Him, and he will be all you need! (Not to mention the fact that He already knows your plans anyway, so he may just be saving you for the absolute, most perfect, hottest, smartest guy around. You never know what’s in your future, but He does!)
- Find your gal pals! Even if it is just one or two, find those people who are, for lack of better terms, your soul mates! The ones you can talk to about anything, tell your secrets and struggles. The ones who let you do you… no matter how weird or strange that may be. I mean, usually, if they are the friends they should be, they’re right there being weird with you and laughing all the way!
- Don’t stress about it. The more you worry and search for the perfect guy, the more likely you are to miss the great people and opportunities right in front of your face. Don’t focus on the destination, but enjoy the journey, every crazy step of the way. Life goes by fast as it is, so don’t spend it dwelling on the negative. Cheer up! It’s not the end of the world!
All in all, I just hope you remember that it’s ok to be single and ready to mingle! You’re awesome enough for two people as it is! For a long time, I felt as if I was inadequate because I lacked what others might call the “normalcy” of a relationship. Then I realized something. I wasn’t made to be normal, I was made to be me, and I was pretty darn good at that. So, if you’re ridin’ solo down the streets of life, go pick up your gal pals, let the top down, blast some Beyoncé, and just have fun! Laugh the hardest and live life to the fullest, because it is then that you will love the deepest.
Jean Elizabeth Miles is a college freshman at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama majoring in Civil Engineering. Originally from Rehobeth, Alabama, Jean Elizabeth was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama for 2013. Learn more about Jean Elizabeth here!