Senior Blues

I am a proud pirate of East Carolina University, but the finish line is approaching at an alarmingly rapid rate, and I find myself reflecting on the last three years in the purple and gold nation.  There have been some ups and downs, much like every part of your life will have, but college is a totally different time in your life than any other.  On one hand, you are mostly thrown into adulthood.  Unless you are extremely fortunate, you have to find a way to pay your way through school, you have to start paying your own bills, and generally being more responsible for yourself and your well being.  However, you are still part of a tight knit community of other people who aren’t quite ready to embark upon the real, real world either.  College is the time that people can take the time to discover who they really are outside of their hometowns and away from the people that they have known their entire lives, but all while being productive and attempting to obtain a future for themselves.  College students somehow find a way to balance all of their classes, meetings, clubs, homework, studying, partying, working, and general friend time.  Looking back on the last three years, there are things I wish I had done, things I wish I had done differently, and things that I maybe shouldn’t have done, but such is life.  The closer that I get to leaving, the more that I realize things will never be the same.  I won’t have a meal plan that I can swipe whenever I want.  I won’t see most of these people ever again.  I won’t be able to stay up until 4:30 in the morning doing random things with my friends anymore.  Somehow, this is okay.  The truth is, we all knew when we started college that it would have to end sometime.  The real purpose of all of this was to come out on the other side with a degree, but I will come out with so much more.  I just didn’t realize how bittersweet it would feel until it snuck up on me like this.

In May of 2016, I will walk the stage, dressed in my purple gown to accept my diploma, probably bawling like a little baby and half wanting to run back across the other way and start all over.  I will be the first person in my family to graduate, and I will get to be what I have always wanted to me; a teacher.  And I will have 4 years of amazing memories under my belt.  I could not be more proud to have spent the last three years, and soon to be four, as an East Carolina University Pirate.  I vow to make this last year one to remember, no matter what.  So, here’s to the sports games, the nights out, the nights in studying way too hard, the late night trips to get caffeine for studying but getting sidetracked and not coming home for hours, eating in the dining hall, meeting new people, and anything else that comes my way.  Here’s to the university that will have prepared me to walk that stage when the time comes and here’s to all of the people that attend this beautiful university.  Enjoy your time here.  Soak it all in, because one day you won’t be a student, you’ll be an alumni.

Going Rogue

undercoverBAT's Blog

playground

They’re not my kids anymore, but they’ll always be mine.

True, I don’t see them day in, day out like I did the year that they were in my classroom. But there are still snatches of time during the day where we can reconnect–a quick conversation as we pass each other in the hall, first thing in the morning when my classroom has more former students than current students.

In my mind, they’re just slightly taller versions of the child I saw every day for ten months, maybe with a few more teeth and a different hairstyle. But then I’m reminded that they’ve been thrown into a whole new existence.

The testing world.

View original post 665 more words

As promised- puppy pictures!

delilah1

Meet Delilah Rose, or Lilah for short. She is a jack russell terrier mix and, as the breed might indicate, she is a rambunctious little thing. She was born on January 8th of 2014, so that means she’s almost a year and a half.  I adopted her from the Elizabeth City ASPCA this week and I am already in love.

delilah

I mean, how could you not be in love with that face?!  She is very sweet, and she loves everyone!  I was watching the series finale of my guilty pleasure show, Gossip Girl (judge me), and I was in tears, so she came up and cuddled with me and licked my hand until the show was over and I got up.  She’s already so spoiled too, but she deserves it. I’m sure there will be more pictures to come as I share bits and pieces of my life on this blog, because I can tell she is going to be a very important part of my life.

A college student’s perspective on mental illness

One of the many reasons that no one thinks there is a mental health crisis in America is that most people believe they understand these two words and all that they mean.  They think that if they label them correctly and believe in treatment that they are supporters, but for the most part, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Do you believe in treating mental illnesses?  Yes?  But then do you cringe when you hear that someone had an anxiety attack that landed them in the hospital?  Do you think that people are “milking it” when they take anti-depressants or seek therapy?  If talks of panic attacks and suicide attempts make you think about cries for attention, then I don’t think you really know what depression and anxiety mean for those who are diagnosed.  Further, I don’t think you understand that it IS a mental illness that DOES need to be treated.  Superficially you know what those words mean, but not really.

When I think of depression, I think of the feeling of utter hopelessness. I think of trying my hardest to succeed every single day, but never having it be enough.  I think of myself during my sophomore year of college, wanting nothing more to succeed, but also hating every aspect of myself and feeling like I could never have the energy, motivation, or willingness to face the world around me.  I would know that I needed to get things done, and I would want to do them, but at the same time, daily tasks like taking a shower and feeding myself had become too much to bear, and I didn’t think anyone could ever understand. People would just tell me to get over it or to fake it until I made it, but they didn’t know how hard I tried, or just how much faking that I did.   The worst part for me, was the feeling that I could never be happy.  I have always been an optimist, but depression took away my ability to see the light at the end of my dark tunnel, and even my favorite things could no longer make me happy.  Nothing could.  Although I never seriously contemplated suicide, I understood for the first time why someone would want to.  Whether you believe that the worst case scenario in death is living again in the firey pits of Hell, or plain nothingness as one ceases to exist… both of those seemed better than what I felt everyday.  I persevered because I held out hope that better days would come, and they did, but too often, those with depression never live to see the light at the end of their tunnel.

Then, there is anxiety and there are panic attacks.  When I had panic attacks, it could be over something simple, but it never felt like a small problem in that moment.  I couldn’t breathe.  I would feel like the air around me was disappearing and not being replaced.  The walls around me would get closer and closer, but I couldn’t move.  I would start crying and hyperventilating, wishing nothing more but for everything around me to stop.  I would have my conscious screaming at me that my behaviour wasn’t rational; that if I just took a second to think about it, everything would be fine, but the part of me that was being irrational was too strong for that.

Depression and anxiety, both, are all-consuming and dangerous.  They are not problems that people wish to have or over-exaggerate.  They are just things that most people don’t understand unless they have lived through it, so they don’t understand mentally not being able to just “get over it.”  It is a chemical imbalance in the brain, so maybe we should start acting like it IS the disease that people pretend to understand it being.

Resolutions and New love

Hello everyone 🙂  It’s been a long time since I last posted, but I have decided to make it my goal to post at least once a week.  I was on Pinterest last night and I saw a list of 25 things that every person should do before they’re 25 and, somewhere on that list, it said that every person should make a blog about their life and update it frequently because it will be a great way to reflect on the greatest times in life.  I have always loved the idea of preserving a memory, not just for myself, but for my current and future family, which is why I scrapbook in my free time.  So, with that in mind, I have resolved that blogging isn’t just something I like to do when I remember to do it, but something I want to do frequently to help preserve my memories, thoughts, and dreams as they happen.

Now, on to that new love that I talked about in the title.  Matt is on his way to pick up my new doggy Delilah right now! I could not be more excited.  She is currently at the ASPCA in Elizabeth City, NC and if everything goes smoothly with the adoption paperwork, I should see her here around 1 or 2 PM today! She is about a year old and was abandoned at the shelter for being “too energetic.”

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” am I right?

You should all be seeing pictures this week of Delilah and her new home, which is all ready for her to come home to.  She has a pink crate, some toys, dog treats, shampoo, anti-allergy wipes, and just about everything that I could think of her possibly needing.  I also may have gone overboard, so don’t judge me too harshly.

Anyways, until next time…

I hope you are all having a great Wednesday ❤

Christmas :)

mickey

Christmas is ever so rapidly approaching and there are really only 11 days left until that most wonderful day arrives 😀 Yes, I am one of those upbeat and bubbly girls that loves wearing the dorky Christmas sweaters with reindeer antlers and drinking eggnog while watching the 25 days of Christmas on ABC Family. Tomorrow, I will be bringing over some of my best friends to watch all of our favorites with spiked hot chocolate, egg nog, and cookies. That will be our reward for getting through another day of finals. This year, the university announced that they would be extending school by another 10 days, pushing the last day of finals to the 18th of December. There are people in the dean of students office that clearly want to ruin my holiday BUT ITS NOT WORKING. I have my Sociology exam tomorrow and my Diversity exam later on in the week, but then I’m done. Normally, that would mean three more semesters until graduation, but with me having switched my major twice, I have another year tacked on to my undergraduate sentence. It’s a great thing that I love college and I really love my university.
Anyways, I like to ramble and get off track, but the point of this post was to say Happy Holidays to everyone. I, personally, celebrate Christmas, but I hope that whatever you celebrate is amazing this year. Always remember to let go of your grudges, because there is no use holding hatred in your heart with life being as short as it is, and be charitable. If you are in a decent enough financial situation to do so, please go to Walmart and buy even one toy to donate this year. Walmart has little donation boxes so that orphaned children living in group homes or children whose parent’s simply can’t afford Christmas all get to enjoy the holidays as well.

A Quote

‘M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right

-NFL Player Benjamin Watson

So I guess I’m racist…or something?

I knew, when I posted about Ferguson and the tragic events that are going on there, that I would receive a lot of negative feedback.  I was not wrong about that.  I have been called a racist, a future KKK member, and several other names that I never should have been called.  I have never considered myself racist or conservative.  I have never considered joining the KKK, believe it or not.  I understand that white privilege exists, and so does racial profiling.  They are very real issues and, to say that they aren’t, would be to lie to myself for the sake of feeling less guilty for my birth-awarded advantages.  During the Trayvon Martin case, although I never said anything publicly about the issue, I was on the side of racial profiling.

Can we all agree on one thing? None of us were there on the night of the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri.  There is plenty of skeptical evidence supporting both sides of the argument coming strictly from the media.  The media just wants a reaction and, man, has it worked! However convincing some of this media-perpetuated evidence may be, we have to rely on actual facts for our information.  We weren’t there.  The truth is, there has already been enough tragedy without burning down towns.  It isn’t helping anyone. The past tells us that it will never work.  People demanded justice in Missouri and threatened riots before the case even went before a grand jury.  All over the world for the last two days, people have broken into places of business, jumped groups of white people who dare not to join in the madness, and stolen from homes and businesses.  People have used the guise of protest to justify their new pairs of Jordans and their ability to cause harm to people without facing consequences.  If police brutality is the problem, you’re asking for more of it.  If racism is your problem, you’re showing people who are inherently racist that they are right in being such.  I’m not saying that’s true- I’m just saying that that’s how those people feel. We weren’t there.  This is something we will have to let go.  Whether you believe in God, karma, fate, or what have you, whoever is at fault will meet their day of judgement, so to speak.  Give the officer the benefit of the doubt.  You were not there and you cannot condemn a man to life in prison or a life of terror without the ACTUAL evidence that you need.  There is a lot of crazy evidence spiraling on both sides, but nothing substantial enough to condemn this man.

The hot topic of debate right now, is of course, the Ferguson trial.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re probably living under a rock, but I’ll help you out anyways.  Long story short, Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot 18 year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th of this year.  Wilson says that he only fired his weapon because he felt as though his life was in imminent danger. These are the facts of the incident but, around that, controversy has grown.  Many believe that the incident was due to racial profiling and discrimination on the part of the officer and that his life really was in danger.  There were several “eyewitnesses,” however, their stories about what happened seemed to become significantly different as time went on, so their stories were discredited.  I’m going to go out on a limb, as inspired by a friend on my Facebook feed, and state my opinion on the matter, which I know is completely insane.

In the past year, I have been out after midnight walking around a small-town area exactly three times that I can count.  I am a white female.  All three of those times, I was with my white male boyfriend.  Two of those three times, cops stopped us to ask us what we were doing and if we needed any help.  One of those times, the cop even asked us if we needed a ride home or anything because it was odd to see people out at night.  When we insisted, he told us to stick to lighted paths and not to stray from the sidewalk so we did not get hit by a passing car.  We did as he said and we were polite.  Before I continue, I am not saying that racial profiling among police officers does not exist.  Stop and Frisk in New York says more about that topic than I ever could, so I will leave it at that.

I was not there in Ferguson, Missouri on the night of the tragedy that resulted in the loss of Brown’s life.  I cannot state what happened there.  Analyzing the incident from the very beginning, I can say that the police officer had the right to say something to Brown and his friend.  They were walking down the road, not the sidewalk.  Sometimes, a police officer just wants to make sure you’re okay.  You’re endangering yourselves and other driver’s on the road walking in the middle of it.  Even if the officer said nothing about your well being and asked you to move to the sidewalk, he was still justified in doing that.  I know that cars SHOULD see you and SHOULD move out of the way, but what if they don’t? Lives could be lost.  That is not racial profiling, that’s a cop doing a cop’s job.  There are several cases going on RIGHT NOW that supposedly involved racial profiling.  Dillon Taylor was a white male that was fatally shot by a black male police officer.  People are rallying to raise awareness about that murder in Utah saying that it was also a form of prejudice.  I can find just as many articles with black on white crime, as I can black on black, white on white, or white or black crime.  Crime is crime.  Death is death. Yes, there are hate crimes still in this world.  I don’t think that this was a hate crime.  I think it was a terrible tragedy that we can never truly understand.  Every time that a black life is lost, we cannot cry out that it is a hate crime.  We, as a society, cannot trash innocent bystander’s shops and homes.  Looting (stealing) and lighting fire to places of business is beyond asinine.  Those people are innocent and can be proven innocent, but they are now losing their businesses and everything that they have worked so hard for.  I understand that those people think that its fair because we are letting the cop get away with taking away an innocent man’s life, but the truth is, no one can prove that he was innocent.  Brown did not have to have a weapon on him to invoke fear in a police officer that was much smaller than he.  According to the Wilson, Brown came to the car and threw several punches, and he has pictures at the police station of his face completely swollen and bruised to accompany that accusation.

Let me put it this way.  Say, my brother was the victim.  He is also white, and he is younger than me, but very tall and generally large for his age.  If he were killed in an altercation with a black police officer, I would want answers.  I would be angry, but even then, I’d have to admit that my brother has the tendency to be angry without reason sometimes, and he doesn’t always react the way that he should.  With all of the uproar about people being anti-police because all police are evil, I have no doubt that the thought would have had crossed his mind.  I would have to admit the possibility that my brother could be wrong.  That doesn’t take away my right to grieve at his loss, and to love him and miss him.  That just means that maybe, had I been in the police officer’s shoes, I would have done the same.  If there were bruises on the cops face, especially bruises as obvious as the one’s on Wilson’s face, I would have to at least come to the understanding that I wasn’t there, and that no matter what I do, I can’t bring my brother back.

Many of you will say that I’m only saying this because I am white and I have never experienced life as a black person.  I don’t know.  I don’t think some of my black friends have ever been jumped by five white people just because of their race.  Right, that was me, being jumped by 5 black people.  I don’t think that any of my black friends have ever been told that their opinion didn’t matter in the classroom, (in front of everyone) because everything that I said was only due to “white privilege” and then called a “white bitch” and told to just go home.  That was me.  Yet, I still hold out no resentment for the race as a whole.  I just wait to judge character because, quite frankly, assholes come in every color of the rainbow.  I don’t know the black struggle, and they don’t understand the struggles that I have had because I was white.  Its that simple.  Racism comes in every color too though.

Had I been serving on a jury, I probably would have voted in favor of the officer as well.  There was enough evidence to entertain his alibi.  For all I know, he was a racist asshole that sought Brown out and brutally murdered him, though I doubt that was the case.  There was enough physical evidence in favor of his story, so he won.  Case closed.  Without extremely incriminating evidence, it is hard for a jury to determine the course of action that will affect someone’s entire life based on what the media says happened instead of the evidence right in front of their faces.

As a white person that completely supports the second amendment and intends to own at least one firearm for the sake of self defense, I fear that there may come a day that I am attacked by someone and I have to use that gun.  I fear that the person will be black, because if they are, no matter what they did to me first, my life will be over and no one will believe me.  That’s not okay.

Anyways, to wrap up this rant that has gone on for far too long already:
Stop hurting innocent people with riots and fires and looting in stores.  No one is going to respect anything that you have to say when that’s the way that you say it.  Take a few notes out of Dr. King’s book because he happened to get a lot done quite peacefully.  If you want to eliminate racism, you have to give people a reason to want to listen to you.  Showing them your primitive nature does not make you any better than the “killer” you think Wilson is.

Death

I have recently been approved as a volunteer for my local community home care and hospice center, which basically means that I will now be able to serve my community with an organization that specializes in making patients happy and comfortable while they inevitably die.  I even have a two inch binder, full to capacity, with my training manual.  This felt especially formal and official when the volunteer coordinator first handed it to me, but perhaps that is only because I was very excited to have been accepted.  Now, as I sit in the library and try to read through the seemingly boundless number of pages in this manual, I begin to ponder life and death and everything in between.

Death is a natural part of life that no one has the ability to fully comprehend.  Death is the end of the road for some, while it is the beginning of a trip down a new highway for others.  I realize as I sit here and I read this manual that I really have yet to form an opinion on what death means to me.  I have been around death plenty…I have had people close to me die, and I have seen people that I love have the same happen to them.  I have never truly taken the time to think about the dead- where they may have gone, what they are doing, or if they have simply ceased to exist in lieu of the termination of their body.  My heart and thoughts have always been with the living, and that has never included myself.  This is not to say that I am a selfless saint that always thinks of others before herself.  This is to say, rather, that I naturally have an empathetic heart.  No matter what, I have never thought the dead  to be suffering.  The living struggle to cope with the death of family members, soulmates, dear friends, and even strangers every single day, and it is them that I pity.  It is like I feel all of their pain and just want to take it away from them.  I can look at someone who is grieving and feel the overwhelming heartache that they feel, and once you feel something as deep as that, you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemies.  I have felt personally drawn to people that I have never met, and I have been completely willing to help them through whatever means necessary because the pain that I feel is too much to watch someone else go through that pain or worse.

With all of that being said, I have decided that I have no idea what lies beyond for those that have died.  I think that everyone believes based on what they desire to be true for the ones that they hold dearest.  For that same reason, I choose to believe with all of my heart that death is only the end for our mortal beings, and that we go on to be something greater, whether that be through reincarnation, an afterlife, or what have you.  I choose to believe that there is something else out there for those that have died.  There is no way to avoid being distraught over the death of someone close to you.  The assurance and belief of an afterlife can bring solace, but cannot change the fact that it is impossible for you to hug, kiss, or simply be in the presence of your loved ones.  Nothing can make that okay.  No amount of kind words or sympathy from the living can either, which is something that I have had to learn.  I know now that I can help, but I cannot relieve all pain.

While reading this manual, I have realized that despite everything that I have just said, I am afraid of this job.  I am excited to help people, but at the same time, I am terrified of the unknown.  I am fearful that I will become attached, not only to the dying, but to their loved ones.  I am afraid that when the inevitable passing occurs, I will fall apart because I feel too strongly for the family.  I will want them to be okay and I will put my everything into making sure that they see happiness again.  Reading about the potential suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety that will most likely occur is scary.  I have depression and anxiety issues, and I would not wish them on anyone.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that there is a point to writing all of this.  Maybe my blog just acted as my online journal for today.  I want to make it clear that I am incredibly excited about the opportunities that lie before me with the hospice care center, no matter what.  It just really set in reading the manual just how hard it was going to be at times.  I have to turn off my desire to save everyone at some point.

 

On another note, please take the time to answer my poll question for this post.  I am incredibly interested to see the results and they are anonymous!