Hello, hello!

The whole summer I wrestled and wrestled with what I wanted the “back to school blog post” to look like. I have written two posts, but wasn’t entirely feeling them. So, here I am, at 12:30 a.m. on a Thursday night writing what is truly on my heart.

After serving in various roles welcoming new students at Virginia Tech this summer, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the lessons I have learned, and what lessons I want new students to take away.

The amount of advice on the internet for folks entering new stages of life is entirely overwhelming.  I have found some it of to be helpful, and portions of it to be too ideal and unrealistic.

I am here, trying to enter this conversation, with a bit of a broken heart.  A heart that is yearning for new students entering transition to understand their themselves before moving into college.  To understand what they stand for, what they are working for, and what can set them on track to get there.  To not listen to the voices in their heads telling them what is “cool” or “right” or will make people “like” them.

My heart aches because each of these things will steal your joy and will never make you ultimately happy.  Three years in, and I am still struggling as I sit here at my desk at 12:45 a.m. now.  Tears are still springing to my eyes as I have constant reminder after reminder that the things of this world cannot satisfy our human hearts, no matter how hard we try.

A lot of new students are in their first week as a college kid.  After hearing all the rumors, seeing all the movies, getting warnings from parents- here we are, at the first week.

This is where my heart starts to hurt because I am feeling what a lot of these students are going through.  

Even if you’re not a college student, chances are that you know what it feels like to look around at a crowd and to experience this pull in your chest to be included and liked.  To not be sure about your own feelings or opinions, but to buy into what the culture is preaching.  These students are living in it, they can literally hear rumblings of the crowd outside their bedroom door.  New students are existing in a culture that they might not buy into, but feel as if they need to adapt themselves to be welcomed.

This is a trap.  Not just of college, but a trap of the world. No matter how hard you try, buying into a culture that doesn’t exude and represent the values you stand for will always let you down. Investing in a community that is not investing goodness back into you will fail you every single time. I am so sure because it has let me down time and time again.

So, I stand here with a broken heart because transition and new experiences are wonderful. I’m not sure where I would be right now without the lessons God has taught me through my university.

But my heart hurts because I know it is so hard.  It is hard to make the right decisions for you, regardless of the crowd.  Regardless of what people will think.  Regardless of being liked. Regardless of fitting in.  It is entirely easier said than done.

So, here I am, sharing that if you are feeling this way, I am too. Three years later, and it still hurts my chest. You are not alone in that.

I believe in you though.  You will find your people, you will find your place, you will find a community that stands for exactly what you want to represent.  I am confident in that.

Until then, think about why you are doing what you are doing.  I will be right alongside of you, brokenhearted yet encouraged that I am not alone, reminding myself of the same lesson.


Much Love,

Happy HC


Just Walk In

Hey, y’all!

Do you know the feeling right before you walk into a new room?

Your stomach is churning as you wonder if you will know anyone, what you will experience, who you are going to meet, if you’ll have anyone to sit next to… That feeling of excitement and sickness settles into your stomach, as you swing open the door and walk your way into this new room.

For young people, the summertime often represents anticipation of changes to come in the future.  Excitement builds, but so does anxiety, worry of the what is to come, and a general feeling of unsettledness.  As fun as “new rooms” can be made to sound- they truly can be petrifying as well.

For me, this summer has been and will be a whirlwind of walking into new rooms- quite literally and figuratively.  It has been a summer of change, transition, reassessment, and vulnerability- and it’s only been about six weeks.

One of the first weeks of this summer, I found myself walking into a very new room with a wonderful friend of mine- Anne.  I remember standing in this new room, looking around at the people and thinking, “Besides Anne, I can count the people on one hand that I vaguely recognize, I feel incredibly out of my comfort zone.”

Walking into rooms that we are comfortable in, with family and friends that we adore, is very important- but I believe it is in these new and different rooms that we will learn the greatest lessons.

One of my all time favorite quotes from Kid President is…

“You add something to every room you enter.”

I remember walking out of that new room in the pouring down rain, and feeling complete Joy wash over me as I got in my car.  I thought about this quote above, but in a new light than I ever had before.

Not only do I agree with Kid President in that, “You add something to every room you enter” but also that every room we enter adds something to us as well.

There are a lot of new rooms coming up- whether it be new jobs, new organizations, new colleges, new family situations, new relationships, etc. Chances are, you are on the brink of entering new rooms most of your life.

As you stand outside that door, wondering what this new room might hold, questioning if you should enter the threshold, I hope you find yourself thinking back to your old rooms.

The rooms that transformed you, the rooms that provided the exact people you needed in your life, the rooms that made you into who you are at this very moment.  At one point, we were all nervous sweating before walking, or tripping, into those new spaces. Yet, here we stand again, knees shaking with sweaty palms- staring into more new rooms in front of us.

I think back to my “new room” experience several weeks ago with a heart overwhelmed with peace because I know I was supposed to walk into that room.  As I was driving away in that rain, I knew that the room I had walked into was going to add something to my life.  I knew that room was going to change my life- simply because I took a deep breath, and walked in.

My challenge to you- whether you are about to enter college, a job, organization, a new lifestyle, is to just walk in.

Just walk in. These new rooms pop up for a reason on our paths, they are supposed to add something meaningful to our lives, the rooms are supposed to stretch us.  We are supposed to look around and be unable to count on one hand the people we recognize. They change us because they surprise us, they make us think harder, and they grow us.

As Kid President would say, “You’re about to enter some new rooms and they need you.”

They need us, and we need them.  So, let’s walk in, shall we?

Walk In

Much Love,

Happy HC

Investing in Change

Hey, y’all!

Happy Summer for any college students reading this post- and for everyone else, you are almost there.

As I am writing this, I am imagining where I would be sitting about two weeks ago. Every Tuesday and Thursday, one of my very best friends, Lizzie and I would meet at 11:30 a.m. before class to grab lunch and catch up. Amongst a semester that held some of the most anxious and mentally trying times, this was an hour that held my biggest laughs and reflection moments of sophomore year.

One of our last lunches we were discussing change and transition- and how much we hate it. “Change” is great in theory- I love new ideas, innovation, and adventure- but it never quite feels as phenomenal as it sounds beforehand.

As we were talking about changes further, what bubbled to the surface was the concept of change in people. People coming, people leaving, people transforming, people adjusting, etc., etc.

What bothered us the most wasn’t that change was happening in the “things” around us, but more how those situations were gong to change the people around us. We then looked at each other, mutually acknowledged that change was always going to happen in people around us because human beings are dynamic creatures, and then came to a bit of a dead end.

“Grow and Change” was written on a canvas in my suite the whole year. I love growth. I love it when things change for the better. What is our issue then?

A few days later, I was talking with someone who identified folks like Lizzie and I as “the investors.” “The Investors” are the people who find a lot of joy, purpose, and fellowship in the humans around us. We find a lot of our identity in our friendships and relationships, and as you can imagine, that can be a good characteristic but can also turn sour very quickly.

I would gander that possessing investing characteristics is pretty common. My personal belief is that we were built to be with others. We are hardwired to find people and be in relationships that do promote growth and change. We are supposed to be investing ourselves in people and relying on friendships.

What goes wrong is when you find yourself sitting with a best friend at lunch on a Thursday or in any situation and thinking to yourself,“ I love how things are right at this very moment, I can’t imagine it getting better…so I never want it to change.”

That is where the people who invest in people starting investing to a fault.

When you get involved with those around you, fall very in love with the relationships and groups that you have, it is challenging to comprehend how “change” could make anything better.

And, although this doesn’t sound like much of a solution for the issues that “investing” can cause- this is a struggle that I am anticipating having for the rest of my life.

Since coming home I found peace in the fact that change is happening continuously around us, but I am not going to stop investing in people just because it causes me to be fearful of change.

My Tuesday Thursday lunches with Lizzie might not be on Tuesday or Thursday at 11:30 a.m. anymore. I might not be involved in the same groups at the beginning of college vs. the end of college. People will graduate and live faraway. People may move closer. Friends might have new friends, as well as leave friendships. Majors will switch, and organizations will evolve.

If we choose to invest in people, then that means that we are also investing in the change that needs to eventually happen in their lives in order for them to grow to be better.

Although this is so simple- what I remind myself is that something had to change in order for me to have lunches with Lizzie 11:30 before class in the first place. I didn’t always do that. We made positive change, and because of that our relationship got better.

If you are struggling with this transitional season of life right now, I hope you can find peace in the fact that you are not alone. But also that when we invest, we are investing wholeheartedly- we have to invest in the change because we are investing in the people.


Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}


Laptop Stickers

Hey, y’all!

Long time, no blog.  I can blame it on nothing other than the craziness of life and the mulling over of this topic.

Stick with me here on this observation- I am sitting in a Starbucks at 10:30pm right now, beginning to write this post and looking around at all the laptops.  I see some people with cool band stickers on their laptops, I see some with cartoon graphic stickers, I see some with artistic stickers, I see some with club and organization logos, and I even see some bare laptops as well.

Flashback to the craziness of this past summer- I found myself writing a blog post about Hokie Superstars. I’ll be honest- I had no idea what phenomenon I was truly talking about while writing it. I had started to notice awesome, stand out people on campus and the post was simply an observation and opinion about collegiate leadership based on these “Superstars.”

Nine months later, and I am still observing and attempting to understand the “leadership fast track” that occurs in universities. One aspect of this phenomenon are the laptop stickers I referenced earlier.

Typically, when you receive an acceptance into a student organization or get involved in a club or group, it quickly comes with a sticker.  A legit physical, sticker that you can choose to place wherever your heart desires! It has become a trend in a lot of colleges to put this sticker on your laptop.  Right on the front, so if anyone looks in your direction they first see your stickers on display and then look past the screen and see your face.


I think on a surface level this occurs simply because it is “trendy”, it promotes groups on campus well, it decorates plain laptops, and if you have stickers, you might as well place them somewhere.  

But on a deeper level, these stickers start become the definition of who we are.  Every single time you sit at your laptop in a dining hall, on campus, or at home, your laptop is physically in front your face.  Whatever you choose to put on your laptop is seen before your own face is seen.  We subconsciously put people into categories, based on decals, that represent student groups,  interests, or expressions and judge them based on those stickers.

I am in no way advocating for everyone to go rip these stickers off of their laptops- I am completely guilty of having sticker decals all over the back of my laptop.  But, I think this is a phenomenon that we need to think harder about.

When we first get into organizations- why is our immediate thought about subtly broadcasting it via stickers?  Why do we find value in creating this presentation of ourselves on a laptop? Why are we terrified to have blank laptops? Why do these stickers matter so much to us?

I know for me it is because I find ultimate fulfillment in people thinking that I am “enough.” That I do enough, that I serve enough, that I am involved enough, that I try enough, that I am ENOUGH.  For me, these “stickers” are a way to prove myself.  Before, someone even looks at my face they can see that I am enough, that I have proven myself, and I am somehow valuable.

These personas we put up- laptop cases filled with stickers proving ourselves serve as a way to boost our image and our surface level worth. They serve as a self-preservation, defense mechanism to show the world a perfect, involved, exciting version of ourselves before they even look over the laptop screen and see our faces.

So, figuratively what happens when you don’t have stickers to fill on your laptop? When you have a blank space after getting out of organization? Or you don’t have all the stickers you want at that moment? Or you didn’t get the sticker you really worked hard for?

At that point, I find myself buying to the lie that I am less valuable, I am less needed, I am less cool, I am less known and that I matter less than the people behind the laptops layered with stickers.  

If we buy into the lie, we will always end up disappointed.  There will always be someone that has more stickers than you, there will always be someone who has less. Over time, those stickers will fade, they will become less exciting,  we will be on our next search for more stickers, and we will continue to fall asleep at night feeling like there was more value to be achieved and more stickers to be won.

It’s a never-ending cycle of the search for achieving value and purpose in stickers that will never give you more meaning or satisfy you. What we fail to remember is that Value and Purpose have nothing to do with achievement.  There is nothing that you can do, nothing that you can get involved in, nothing more you can join, no better way to present yourself that will make you more valuable and important than you are at this very second.

I encourage you to be excited about stickers- whatever that may mean for you.  I hope you do get to cover your laptop in stickers that will get you pumped about the stage of life that you are in.  But, I urge you to remember that they do not define your worth, they do not make you more valuable or needed in your community, and they will not make you ultimately satisfied when your head hits your pillow tonight.

Your stickers are phenomenal, but who you are while sitting around campus once someone looks past the stickers on the front of your laptop is what gives you true value.

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

Your Mountains

Hey, y’all!

Monday was not a good day.  I love to preach that “everyday is a good day to have a good day” and fail to remember that it is impossible for everyday to be absolutely wonderful.  I woke up this morning and immediately started to realize how getting through bad days is what makes the good days sweeter.  Learning from the “bad” is what makes “good.”

On Monday, I was blessed to have had a lot of good conversations with friends about struggles just because I felt like I was sinking in my own struggle.  Conversation after conversation I found myself feeling a little bit more renewed, a little bit more confident, and definitely more loved.  I think unloading a little bit of the “heaviness” is really what we need at times- I also believe that is what friendship should be about- taking some of the burden of their backs.

The best conversation came later at night as I was attempting to explain how I have been hard core sinking in one particular struggle to my boyfriend, Matt.  I found myself sitting on the futon in his room, legitimately weeping because I coud not figure out why I was so hardwired to struggle with comparison and jealousy.

If you have read any past blog posts, you probably have come to realize that comparison and jealousy is where I find myself stumbling at every turn.  Every single time there is an opportunity for me to feel an inkling of either of these two ugly emotions, they always somehow pop up and reap havoc in a lot of relationships.

I remember looking at him and wondering how in the world he doesn’t struggle with this when I am falling so short all the time. Why was am I the one that seems to have jealousy genes? Why do I stumble? What am I SO unstable in this one particular area?

In the next hour of conversation I very much started to realize how wrong I was about feeling alone in my own sinking struggles.  It is amazing how much we get wrapped up in our own insecurities that we forgot that other humans have just as much as their own ingrained troubles, everyone has their own mountains they have to climb.

As I fell asleep last night, I found myself thinking about these various mountains that we each face.  If you are reading this right now- I have no idea if our mountains are the same, but if you are standing at the bottom of yours and looking up petrified of having to climb it, I can tell you that you’re not alone.  

As we stand at the bottom of our mountains of struggle, looking up knowing that we have to climb it eventually, please know that we are not supposed to be alone in this.  

Yes- it is really unfortunate that we are not perfect humans, it is unfortunate that we fall so short, it is unfortunate that we have to face insecurities that need to be overcome.  But, the fact of the matter is that we do have to come to terms with our own shortcomings, and that we need to be trying to climb each of those mountains.

But, as you think about your life right now, I can guarantee you that there are people around you that have been placed on your path that are there to climb those mountains with you.  These folks are supposed to take some of your burden and help you with that climb.  The purpose of being here is not to live for yourself- the point is to help push your loved ones up their own mountains and for them to do the exact same for you.

You have been placed exactly where you are supposed to be, you have been dealt a hand of cards that comes with great strengths and great weaknesses, you have mountains to climb, and you have people around you that are there to take some of the load and help you get to the top of that mountain.

So, the next time you stumble, the next time you fall short, the next time you are most definitely not the best version of yourself, please remember: This is your mountain- but it is there for the purpose of conquering it alongside people you love the most.

Have a great rainy Wednesday and thank the people in your life that will cry on futons with you about mountains!


Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}


You Alone Are Enough

Hey guys!!

I find myself writing this post at 2am- a hour that I am not proud to be up at debating life’s biggest struggles- but yet, here I am.

The past few weeks have been some of the best of my college career but also the heaviest for me.  And by heavy I don’t necessarily mean “bad” but more that they have weighed a lot, I have felt a constant weight pressed on my chest to be the best, to make everyone happy, and to not crumble under pressure of that weight.

Today, I realized where this insecurity and weight has been originating from and I am sharing because I feel that a lot of people may also be wrestling with a similar struggle.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by phenomenal people.  Whether it be my family, roommate, boyfriend, best friends, sisters, club members, fellow hokie lovers- they all constantly amaze me with their ability to be difference makers on our campus and in the world.  These folks push me every single hour to be better, to reach further, and dig deeper.

I have a crazy amount of appreciation for these people but I also have a constant, ongoing struggle with comparing myself to them.

At every turn, at every second, I am weighing myself up to the people that surround me on a daily basis.  I ask myself how will I ever be able to be as cool, as fun, as faithful, as dedicated, as smart, as pretty, as outgoing, as intentional, as involved, as genuine as these folks throughout every interaction.

Unfortunately, for those of us who struggle with this comparison monster, it is the result of by being surrounded by great people.  It is incredibly dumb, and every second these thoughts are swirling in my head I know that I am acting irrational, but I still feel that I am in no way “enough” in comparison.

So, here I am sitting on my suite couch at 2am, and I am ready to be done.  I am ready to stop comparing myself.  I am ready to stop measuring myself up to my best friends and peers.  I am ready to stop telling myself that I am defined what is or is not on my resume .  I am ready to stop presenting this “perfect” front and  I am ready be vulnerable and admit my glaring imperfections that really show through while writing a blog post while also feeling torn up by self- inflicted, unnecessary torture.

So if YOU, whoever you are, are also wrestling with this, I want you to know that you are not alone.  I also want you to know that you are so valuable as a human and so important to those that surround you. You bring something to every room you enter simple because you are you.

If you are anything like me, and have way too many doubtful thoughts rushing through your head at 2am, and you may even find yourself vigoriously typing on a computer about it, please know that you are not alone. You are so not alone in this.  

And although you are not be alone in this, you alone are enough. You alone are enough. We alone are enough and because of that simple fact we can let that heavy comparison weight go.

Duck Pond

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}


“If I just get this ONE thing…”

Happy Monday, everyone!  

Just last night I was sitting in Starbucks with one of my best friends Lizzie.  She is one of those friends that you know every time you talk to each other it will be the best conversation you will have had in a long time.  We get deep in Starbucks, y’all.

Anyways, we started chatting about involvement at Virginia Tech.  Whether that involvement be in dorm life, working life, classes, Greek life, or Virginia Tech’s amazing Hokie organizations it seems like a lot of our friends find a lot of value in plugging in with this amazing community that we have found in Blacksburg, VA.

I started telling her about a small realization I had a few hours after I found out that I was going to be an Orientation Leader at Virginia Tech this summer.  For months I told myself “If I can just get this ONE thing, I will be happy, content, and won’t apply for anything else- if only I get this one thing.”  Does this sound familiar to anyone? I have told myself this at least a dozen times since coming to college.

“If I can be in this ONE organization, get to this ONE place, be friends with this ONE group of people, I will finally achieve all of my dreams and be happy” is a statement I find myself muttering all the time.  

So, after several weeks of the application period I found out that I will be in serving that position this summer- and to say that I am excited would be a massive understatement.  I truly am ecstatic about this opportunity to love future freshman Hokies but within one hour of getting this email I found myself walking around campus wondering why I didn’t feel inherently “happier.” I was incredibly excited and honored, but I didn’t feel any more content with my overall life than I did earlier that day.

You are probably catching on to the “things don’t make you happy” message, but right now I want to talk about how organizations and groups of people will not make you inherently happier or  more satisfied with your life either.

This has been on my heart a lot recently as my sorority sisters and I have been preparing for Spring Recruitment, which is actually starting in a matter of hours here at Virginia Tech.  Before going through Recruitment last year as a freshman I found myself saying the same old line that I have been saying my whole life, “If I can just be in _________, I will be finally be satisfied and happy.”  If you are going through Recruitment, there is a strong possibility that you have found yourself thinking that same thing and you can probably fill in that line above yourself.

We as humans buy into this lie that if we can just get to this ONE place we will finally be satisfied and all will be right in the world.  But if there is anything I can reflect on in this college journey it is that the statement above is completely false.

For the girls going through Recruitment- you will find some of the kindest, most generous and loving women in your future sorority.  You will find girls that make you incredibly proud to wear your letters, girls that you brag to your parents about being friends with because they are that awesome, and girls that push you to be your best and so much more.

But, that does not mean that one organization will make you intrinsically more content, or will make you genuinely happy for all the days to come.  We put an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves to get to the next step, to reach the next level, and surely THERE we will find that unknown “thing” we are looking for.  “Maybe in that organization or in that group of women I can find the happiness and acceptance that I desire- I just have to get there” was the thought in the back of my mind last year at this time.  

I am just now realizing how toxic this truly can be.  We set ourselves up for disappointment at every turn the more we stake our “future happiness” on the things that are so of this world.  So, if you are about to go through Recruitment, or just someone who struggles with the “I just want this ONE thing…” mindset I want you to remember one thing as you go into this week.

Your inherent happiness and fulfillment in life is going to come from inside of you.  It will never come from anything outside- no matter how beautiful, appealing, or fun it may look.  YOU are enough.  These groups are phenomenal, they help bring out the best sides of you, they help you achieve your dreams and goals, they push you to make a difference, but one organization, one job, one success, cannot make you happy in the end.  That has to come from inside because you never know how the “things” on the outside will change- you can never rest all of your hopes for future happiness in one single thing or you will end up disappointed.

So, as you enter this week I want you to remember that your inner satisfaction, confidence, beauty, and happiness has to be found in you before you enter in new and exciting things. You are enough to find this inherent happiness.  YOU are enough.


Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}