"Ohana" Means Family

by USjournal Student Writer: Rebecca Darrup, Cross-Country Cowgirl

I might be a college kid, and not a freshman anymore at that, but let me tell you, I still love me a good Disney movie! Traveling to a rodeo toward the end of last semester, one of my hauling partners was watching part of Lilo and Stitch on his phone on the way to Laredo, Texas. It's an older movie now, but if you've never seen it, you've got to put it on your watch list!

One of the most famous lines from the movie is 'Ohana' means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

This, to me, is possibly one of the best lines from any movie, ever.

Family can be a difficult and touchy topic sometimes, especially for college age kids. In today's world, family is often pretty messy: divorces, step-parents and step-siblings, adopted siblings, and wide age ranges. And that leads to lots of things being more challenging for kids, never mind the ones who are starting to step out on their own, like you are. When you're looking to go to college far from home, there are lots of extra pressures that come with that territory. You're busy, your family is busy, it can be hard to stay in touch, and you sure don't get to just run home every weekend or even once a month. Sometimes, that can make a person feel pretty guilty, and then let's throw younger siblings into the mix; you don't want to miss them growing up, right?!

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

I'll be the first to tell you: Yes, it is a struggle sometimes to stay in good contact with your family! I'm two or three hours / time zones behind my family, so when I call them, sometimes I forget that they might already be in bed (but who needs sleep anyway, right?). You'll learn quick, though, that trying to communicate makes all the difference in the world. You might not get to talk as long as you'd like, or your conversations might take place more in the form of hit-and-miss text messages, and that's alright. If you've got younger siblings, I promise, as hard as it is to miss out on some of the big events in their lives, you're doing them a favor by setting the example of being brave enough to chase your dreams, even if they scare you some. Ask them about how things are going in their lives, care about them, love them from a distance, and be thankful that when they start to get on your nerves, you can just hang up on them! If anyone asks, you didn't get that advice from me, okay? (I was joking anyways. Mostly.) Your love for your family, and theirs for you, won't change just because you're far from home! Sometimes, it even makes you stronger; I think it has for me and my dad.

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

The really cool thing about college and family? You may very well find another family at school. That's one of my favorite things about my small school, and I've talked about this a little bit before, but it's on my mind again. I always go back East for the holidays, but one of the coaches scheduled his college rodeo for this weekend. It's Easter weekend. Guess who couldn't go home? This kid! (Was my mom ever mad when she found that outů)

So, anyway, I was without my family over the holiday for the first time. Spring break was last week, too, and while most of our rodeo team went home, I stayed in Tucumcari at the school, along with a couple of other kids from the team, and our coach. We treated it like a normal week, except a little bit more laid back, and practiced every day. The weather was great and I got to do what I love; I can't complain! When we left for the rodeo at the end of the week, it turned out that only four of the kids on our team were entered, including me. One of them had gone home for the week, and wasn't coming back to school before the rodeo, so the other two hauled the six hours with me, my crazy pup, and my three horses. Usually, we don't get on each other's nerves too much, but for some reason, that trip wasn't a very pretty one. Throughout the weekend, we picked each other up after bad runs and rides, and picked on each other just as much. If somebody from another team picks on us, though, you better believe we don't stand much for that! The guys and girls on my team, especially the three who went to the rodeo last weekend, are just like my brothers and sisters. We pick on each other, fight sometimes, and don't agree on everything, but we're always there for each other, no matter what's going on.

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

It's not just with my teammates, though, it's throughout the college, and that includes coaches, teachers, and other staff, too! It doesn't matter who it is or what you need: They are there for you, regardless of what's going on. I get to talk about my faith with our librarian, and sometimes I rant to my coach about the fact that the guys have been on my case for the last three days about the same dumb thing. When I really just don't know what to do for an assignment, or maybe for my friend for her birthday, I just might go pay a visit to one of the ladies in our front office.

This sounds pretty great, right? Honestly, it is a huge blessing! I'll be upfront with you though: You have to put yourself out there a little bit. People can't be there for you if you don't let them! Allowing others to see what's going on in your heart might be a little difficult, but it's worth it, if you choose wisely. Be sure the friends who turn into family are trustworthy -- but I promise, if you get that close to someone, and they stick around through all your tough stuff, you can trust them. Your college family is the people who will stick with you for years to come, so don't lose their phone numbers, and keep in touch with them! This family will be one of the biggest blessings you'll have, more than my words can ever describe. Make sure you thank them for it sometime!

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

Here are Rebecca's other posts, in case you missed them:

Best of luck in all your endeavors,
especially as you move forward on your college path!

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