From Our Readers
September 13, 2014 8:00 am

The day that I left home and began my “dorm room life” was a very hard, very long day. The familiar stomach pains that symbolize homesickness were utterly apparent. That day, I left my family—who double as my best friends—my pets, my fortress of solitude (in other words, my bedroom), and the place where I had lived for the entirety of my life on Earth. Essentially, I had left everything and, with a new set of “dorm room essentials,” I began my life as a full-fledged college student.

The beginning days of my college life were a whirlwind. I barely got any downtime, since the activities planned for college freshman were abundant and never-ending. The fact that I was constantly running in and out of various campus buildings helped me forget about the fact that I had just swan-dived out of the nest.

The first free day on my “College Freshman Schedule” was the day before classes began. It was a Sunday. When I woke up that morning with nothing to do, the butterflies in my stomach turned into killer wasps. Homesickness and a longing for my family instantly became new roommates in my small, drab dorm room. Salty tears started to flow from my blood-shot, tired eyes. They ran past the dark circles that shadowed my eyelashes and landed in a growing puddle on my light blue pillowcase. All of the feelings that I had been too busy to address were coming back, full force.

Unfortunately, at the time, I was not the type of person that would jump at the chance to “become one with my emotions.” My mind was racing to find a distraction that was powerful enough to push all thoughts of home out of my head. Right away, I started thinking about things that reminded me of home.

My black cat, Jiminy Cricket, came to mind. Then, I started thinking about when I fell in love with black cats in the first place. Suddenly, fond memories of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch popped into my head. In an instant, I was back in my family’s living room, on our musty (and, quite frankly, just plain ugly) floral couch, laughing along with my Mom and siblings at something that Salem—Sabrina’s black cat—had said. The flow of tears ceased.

I ran to my designated desk—which was covered in colorful markings made from past owners—grabbed my laptop, and searched for full episodes of my favorite witch, her kooky aunts, and the black cat that started it all. Every single season and every single episode were available on Hulu. A sigh of relief escaped my wet, salty-tasting lips. I WAS SAVED!

Right that very second, I began re-watching Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. The phrase “binge-watching” could not even be used to describe what I was doing.


The next day, I started classes. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months spanned into a time period that felt endless. During that infinite span of time, I completed classes; wrote long, drawn-out essays; discovered my love of poetry; gained friends and, sadly, lost friends; started seeing a therapist; and learned a lot more about me, myself, and I. In other words, my first year away at school was an emotional, mental, and physical roller-coaster ride.

Throughout the entirety of my up-and-down ride, Sabrina was with me. She made me laugh, she made me cry, she taught me lessons, and she reminded me about what is truly important in life. Even though Sabrina, the Teenage Witch was something that, in my mind, was synonymous with childhood, I began to feel a kinship with this character as an adult.

As Sabrina grew up and learned more about her powers, I did the same. Unfortunately, I do not have magical powers. So, instead of being able to point my finger with a suggestive “ping,” my powers came from learning to love myself, to overcome obstacles, and to relish in the fact that I am a bit weird or “eclectic” (as my Mom likes to put it).

Watching Sabrina grow up was not only a nostalgic learning experience. It was comforting as well. Although Sabrina’s obstacles were, sometimes, quite different from my own, she made me feel less alone. We were both experiencing something new, scary, and unknown. Mine might not have involved making my boyfriend pregnant or visiting another realm, but the same concept still applies. . . right? So, if Sabrina could survive all of these life-changing, seemingly negative experiences, then so could I.

What is ironic is that I finished watching Sabrina, the Teenage Witch the day after I packed up my belongings and moved out of my dorm room. Now, for those Sabrina fans out there, you know that the last episode it quite a doozy (in the best sense, of course), so it was definitely the perfect way to end my tumultuous year.

Most importantly, even though Sabrina was given a run for her money (or whatever type of currency witches use), over the course of seven seasons, she always looked at the glass half full. No matter what magical craziness popped up throughout the day, she never gave up. She kept trying. And she became a fearless teenage warrior with a magic finger that was ready for anything. With this, Sabrina taught me to love life and to “keep on keepin’ on.”

Now, if that doesn’t deserve an enthusiastic, Sabrina-style “Woohoo!” then I don’t know what does.

Anna Gragert is a student, passionate writer, avid reader, cat lover, and Audrey Hepburn enthusiast. Some of her many writings have been featured on Thought CatalogHope Inside LoveWhite Ash Literary Magazine, The Horror Writers Association’s Horror Poetry Showcase, and, now, Hello Giggles! Anna also has a photo blog, which you can find here! In the future, Anna hopes to become a writer and would love to write her own book one day. Oh, and you can witness her virtual self-reflections and attempts at humor, on Twitter, right here

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