America: Could Be's and Should Be's

America: Could Be's and Should Be's

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I thought I was educated. I went through elementary school, middle school, high school, and here I am at college. This means I probably have a lot of knowledge stocked up in my brain like books on shelves, knowledge that I access every day. Every interaction I have, every word I say, and every opinion I have draws off of what I've learned over the last eighteen years. But here's the thing about college: most of the things you thought you knew are wrong. And honestly, I think a lot of people are thinking that right now.

College has been one of the most eye-opening experiences in my life so far. I met people that became my best friends after only two weeks, in fact, I still meet new people almost every day. Just the other day I met a girl from China while staking out a spot for class registration (four hours early, might I add). We talked for almost forty-five minutes, and I don't even remember how it all started. The hardest part about meeting new people is that you never who they are or what they are like until you've have multiple interactions with them. You won't be able to understand the way they think just by looking at them. This misconception is the origin of generalization.

It has been a very emotional few weeks. Political tensions have risen on campus, some classes were cancelled, and tears were (and continue) to be shed. I watched two of my professors struggle on the verge of crying, as they tried to explain to us what had happened to the world we thought we knew. I heard people speak up and say such heart breaking things that I had to take a minute and breathe. The part that hurts me the most is I didn't even know about it. I didn't know about all of the discrimination that goes on here on my own college campus; it goes right over my head. So hearing about these things breaks my heart, and what is even worse is I don't know what to do about it. I sat in on a small discussion after my American Government class, and I listened to people that I see every day speak up about how hurt they feel every day. One said he stayed off campus during the entire election because it was just too hard. I heard these things, and felt utterly useless. I felt ashamed that I didn't know, I felt bad that I hadn't experienced these things, and most of all I felt afraid. I'm afraid for those around me that have to cope with flaring emotions in this country right now as a reaction to the election. Today I heard about a Muslim woman who was attacked and beaten by two men, because the idea had been instilled in their minds that it was okay. It's not okay.

Perspective is a scary thing, especially when you become exposed to thousands at once. Having an open mind is very important in a time like this, because we have to be there to support each other. Partisanship and division only makes it worse. James Madison wrote that factions are the "mortal diseases" that make governments everywhere perish, so don't let America be another one of those governments. Have perspective, have empathy, and be open-minded. I end with a monologue by Aaron Sorkin from the hit "The Newsroom", because I believe it captures what America could and should be. In his words:

"We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reason. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reason. We waged wars on poverty, not on poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chest. We built great, big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists AND the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence, we didn’t belittle it. It didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed… by great men, men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.” ― Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom Script Episode 1

Cover Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/20/Americanflags.jpg

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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