A Lesson from 18-Year-Old Me

I’m a week away from heading back to IU for my last semester of undergrad, and needless to say my emotions associated with this reality are all over the place. Excitement to see my friends after months abroad. Anxiety at the idea of beginning the inevitable job search. Unease thinking this very well may be my last stint in my hometown of Bartlett. It’s quite a lot to take in, all at once.

But this afternoon, I happened across something I wrote four years ago when I had decided journalism was the career path for me and IU was my means of making it happen. It simplified everything.

18-year-old me dreamed up an article that makes absolutely no sense, yet all the sense in the world. She never took things too seriously, but remained grounded in her passion, though the experience she had was slight. What’s more, she knew what she wanted, and drove me to achieve all that I have thus far in my undergrad career.

That girl seems light years away from the woman I am now, but she’s still rooted within me. Her fire, spunk and thirst for the creative combined with my experience, worldliness and sense of self will take me far, of that I have no doubt. She has now given me the little push I’ve needed to stick with who I am and what I know and see where that leads.

So thanks for the reminder, Kourtney. And if any of you are curious about what inspired this post, take a gander at the weirdest, strangest, self-created article that ever was. It gave me a much-needed laugh, and I hope it does the same for you.

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Forget aliens, extraterrestrials and all other absurd creatures. A new species dubbed mutant alpacas has been discovered by one of Bartlett’s finest.

Kourtney Liepelt, a Bartlett high school senior, happened upon this breed a few weeks back.

“I was taking my 15-year-old dog for a walk one day when I just crashed right into one,” Liepelt said.

Her initial reaction was one of pure shock and fear. She had never before witnessed a being so off yet fluffy, and could not think of what to do.

“I figured I should call Animal Control—the thing was giving me the stink eye and I felt very uncomfortable,” Liepelt said.

But her dog reacted in the exact opposite manner.

Abbey—short for Abigail Cooper Liepelt—is a dog suffering from severe blindness and loss of hearing, yet she displays an extreme sense of curiosity. An eye witness claims that the dog sprinted straight up to the beast and went absolutely crazy with happiness.

The mutant alpaca proceeded to prance about in delight due to the attention. It nuzzled Abbey immediately and spat on her, apparently customary for this species.

“It was then that I realized the thing would not harm me—I knew this would be my new best friend for life,” Liepelt said.

A herd of this species was found at a later date, all of which were shipped to Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

One, however, remains in Bartlett at the Liepelt household.

“I just had to keep it. And since my sister is off at college, there’s plenty of room for her to stay in my bedroom,” Liepelt said.

The mutant alpacas are up for adoption should anyone take interest. Contact Lincoln Park Zoo or Liepelt herself for details.

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