My First Homecoming as Alumna

Earlier this month I visited Boone, N.C. for the first time since graduation last May. I had been missing college, my small college town in the mountains and most of all my friends. I hadn’t seen any of my friends from school in over four months.

I love my friends so much and I have a wonderful group of girlfriends from school. We are all scattered now which is really hard. Towards the end of my final semester I was worried that we would get distracted with our lives and find it difficult to stay in touch. I know that the older we get the more time and effort you have to put into all of your relationships in order for them to last.

I was inspired by the Sisterhood of Travelling Pants and dragged my friend, Laura with me to all the thrift stores in Boone because I insisted we were to find a pair of jeans that fit all of us so we can keep in touch like they do in the books. In reality, there are a couple problems with this. One, it’s not possible and two, even if it was, about 90 percent of jeans at thrift stores are hideous.

olivia leigh gaggi

About mid-summer I came up with a plan B to magical pants, a more realistic one. I started a group chat with our group of friends on Facebook. It was a perfect alternative to magical pants! We all contribute to an ongoing conversation about funny stories, dates and life updates. It also has made planning trips together so much easier.

Homecoming was our first trip and now that we all have jobs we can hopefully begin planning more. It was so good to see them all again. We had so much fun returning to our favorite bar, tailgating and going to the football game. Since I’m in Florida where we see almost no Fall, I forced myself to get up early a couple days to go for hikes and see the changing leaves in the mountains. I can’t wait to go back to Boone again and I definitely can’t wait to see all my friends again.

olivia leigh gaggi

olivia leigh gaggi

olivia leigh gaggi

It’s so strange visiting your college town. I feel like I’ve only been pretending to be a grown up! Maybe that’s why they say “fake it till you make it?” I don’t know!



What I Learned in College

For the past for years I’ve answered the same question countless times.

“So, you’re from Florida, how did you end up at Appalachian State?”


Four years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to get out. I wanted to have the ‘going away to college’ experience. I wanted to try something new and live somewhere new. I wanted to grow up and become the person I wanted to be.  So many people I knew from high school (not all though), went to the same college, hang out with the same people, went to the same parties– Personally, I just don’t think you really have a chance to grow as a person and mature if you don’t challenge yourself and put yourself in new situations that may even feel uncomfortable at first.

Everything I had hoped I’d get out of college, I got. I definitely have had a lot of lessons in the past four years and looking back I got everything I wanted for out of college. It didn’t happen as easily and smoothly as I had imagined (nothing does) but I got there and I’m better for it.

At the end of each semester the seniors in my sorority stand in front of chapter and read a letter to the younger girls. I really liked mine. It was more of a list of things I wish I had known four years ago and lessons learned. Maybe I have regrets. I’m not sure, I’ve always believed you shouldn’t regret anything. But lately I think people who have regrets are good. They’re the people who look back on their life and thought about how they could’ve done better, how if they’re in a similar situation in the future they’ll do it right. As long as you don’t dwell on regrets and use them to give you direction in the future and be a better version of yourself I think they’re healthy and a good thing.

Anyways as cheesy as it is here is my list of things I wish I had known four years ago.  Continue reading


I always get urge to write in the middle of the night right as I’m falling asleep. I plan on getting up and writing it down first thing in the morning but as soon as my day gets going a million other things are more important to get done and writing gets pushed further and further back on my to do list. So here I am at 1:30 in the morning with class at 8 but I’m going to type this thought out anyways.

I like making hard decisions. I always have. The thought of doing something because it feels comfortable or easy makes me nauseous. Aside from a couple guys with sports scholarships, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person I know from my graduating high school class that went to a school that not only was out of state but also where I knew absolutely no one. I don’t even think I had ever visited Boone before when I made my decision to spend four years of my life here. Not to mention, I went to a school where if I check the weather during the winter and its between 30-40 degrees I think to myself, “that’s not that bad.”

Now that I’m nearing the end of my college career people keep asking me if I’m going to move back to Tampa or go to Charlotte or Raleigh or somewhere else where everyone goes in North Carolina. As much as I love Tampa and my wonderful friends back home I feel like it would be a cop out if I were just to move there and work. I think Charlotte or Raleigh would feel that way as well because now I know so many people who will probably be moving back there too.

I don’t know why I run from everything/everywhere I know. I can’t tell if this is a character flaw or a character strength.

And most of my friends will live a die in this zip code and it might be for me, but until I go how am I ever supposed to know?”
The Band Perry, Independence

Mother’s Day Hike

After many sleepless nights in the library, three research papers, two presentations, four final exams, moving out of my apartment, moving into the family’s condo, moving into a hotel, moving into my uncle’s beach duplex, going to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday, my parents leaving for Italy, and now my first day at my internship I think have finally been able to catch up with my life! A chaotic month and a half later I am hopefully beginning to find a little routine in my life!

So I made it through finals and the semester from hell is finally over and I could not be happier! Literally the first thing my sister and mother said to me a month ago when they came to Boone for Easter was “Liv, you do not look good,” ” you look so tired,” and “you do not look like yourself.” After I got finished up the semester and after I spent a few days in hibernation in the mountains this HOPEFULLY this still isn’t the case. One lesson I have taken from this semester is that I will never again even think about attempting 19 credit hours again. Bad idea for almost everyone unless you’re super human (which you may be), but for an ADHD college girl, definitely not.

My mom and I spent Mother’s Day in North Carolina as well. Since I’m not only a tired, ADHD college girl but also a broke one,  my mom picked out a bracelet, bought it and came to me and said, “Here Liv, why don’t you give me this for Mother’s Day.” I promise one day when I have a job and I am making money I’m going to take her on vacation to somewhere really amazing.

Mom and I also decided to go on a hike that day too. My mom searches the internet for a nice hike that isn’t too far away. She finds one and says she found one that isn’t too far away and it is labeled as a moderate hike so it shouldn’t be too hard. I’m driving because of course, its Mother’s Day and I’m such a sweet daughter. The hike she wanted to go on may have only been 25-30 miles away but since more than half of it was driving up a windy, GRAVEL road, that had steep overlooks where it looked like we were about to drive off the mountain, it took more like an hour. By the way, my mom is terribly afraid of heights! I’m not even very scared of heights and this drive was freaking me out! Finally, we got to the parking area, which I thought was practically the top of the mountain and I didn’t understand why anyone needed to get any further up! The hike itself may have been “moderate” but the I’d say driving my two-wheel drive Nissan Versa on mountain gravel road would have been considered “vigorous”!

This was the mountain my scared of heights mother chose to hike!

Continue reading