To The Suffocating College Freshman, Just Remember To Breath

To The Suffocating College Freshman, Just Remember To Breath

I can honestly say I never truly understood the meaning behind being a “broke college student” until I defined myself as one.
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Smelling coffee brewing in a dorm room, streaked sneaker markings engraved in the pavement, drool slipping off the page turners lip after studying for finals, and the rigorous sound of crisp fingertips dancing against a keyboard with five minutes left to spare on an essay submission. Sound familiar? All these aspects of life are mastered into this dynamic creation of education which we as students have been forced to convert into.

Isn’t it funny how we are the outrageous and immature high schoolers and within a summer vacation of three months we are transformed into these young adults who are now responsible to take on the rest of their lives? The funny thing is we are not.

In school, we are taught to begin studying for more school. The SAT and ACT take priority to being taught how to pay taxes or applying for a job or even changing a flat tire. The educational system dictates that the Pythagorean theorem takes priority over understanding how to budget an income, and we as students just go along with the trend, trying to make the grades and get into a college where the exact same cycle continues.

It is actually funny that this society dictates our corruption the day you enter kindergarten by always prying into students minds that the only way to be successful is through a college education and we believe it. People will go into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to receive a rolled-up paper stating they made it, but what did they actually make it to?

It makes sense that when you let people taste freedom for the first time, they abuse it, and college is such a prime example of the generational movement. Young adults without a curfew? Free drugs and booze? Parties every night? It is a teen dream and parents would love to believe that their angel children are attending all their classes, sleeping on time, studying every day, and making sure they eat their veggies. That is not always the case.

Students are so wrapped up in getting “the college experience” that they forget why they are attending college in the first place.

People take this “college experience” as an excuse to act like crazy teenagers rather than earn a true education. The idea of attending a trade school or community college is seen as absurd because it is not viewed as “real schooling” when in actuality it statistically has proven to generate more alumni who attend college purely for educational purposes.

People who attend community college typically do so for location or financial reasons. These people are the ones already planning for their future and acting accordingly so that they can be successful without taking on massive debt while balancing out a career and education. The full intention of attending these classes is to receive the education and to truly earn a college diploma, not to live by the saying “C’s get degrees”.

During a college orientation, an advisor told us to look to our left and then look to our right, she followed that statement by stating one of you three will end up being a college dropout by statistics. I thought to myself there is no way that can be true and there is no way I will be a part of that statistic, I learned soon that the advisor was not wrong.

Following my first semester of college, the sound of leaving it all behind and starting off on a clean plate sounded so intriguing. I was ready to forget college and find my way on my own. It wasn’t because of the workload or grades, it was because something just didn’t feel right. In that moment I didn’t feel like the education I was receiving was worth the amount of debt I would be taking on the following semester. I didn’t doubt myself, but I did doubt the system I was being pulled into.

I am sure there are millions of students who felt they were exactly where they were meant to be and there is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you need to look around and ask yourself is the cause worth the effect.

College has become a popularity contest more than a commonality for students trying to earn their degrees. I can honestly say I never truly understood the meaning behind being a “broke college student” until I defined myself as one and while it implied the money factor it was more than just my financial state. It was being mentally drained while trying to maintain this impersonation of myself that I was doing what was best for me while holding myself back and the moment I decided I needed to escape the toxic life I had surrounded myself with was the moment I felt like I could breathe again.

Cover Image Credit: Tish Cama

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To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

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Dear athlete,

The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.

You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.

So each day, continue to choose the game.

It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.

Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.

Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.

Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.

Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.

Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.

Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.

Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.

No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.

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Coping With A Loss

It's only impossible if you say it is.

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Think back to that night. That night when you went to bed, woke up the next morning, went to work, and were expecting to see your girlfriend later that day. Imagine checking your phone after work to 10 unread text messages from her friend telling you that your girlfriend committed suicide. At such a young age, she had a bright future ahead of her and big voids in hearts still have not been filled.

There is no worse pain and repercussions of a loved one passing away is a torture that scars everyone. When it first happens, thought such as, "Will I survive?""My life will never be the same again," and "I can't live without her/him" swim through their minds. As difficult as it may be to believe, you can live with it and there are ways to move on from it. Let's explore how.

As you may predict, the first stage of coping and grief is the shock stage. This is when the death occurs and you cannot absorb and realize what has just happened. While it may seem like a bad thing, it is actually a good thing. The feeling of being numb allows the person to distinguish important decisions and actions. This is because your brain still expects the person who passed away to still be there, you begin to deny the fact they're gone. For example, sending them a text and waiting for a response or knocking on their door and expecting them to answer. The reality begins to set that they're gone.

This leads to facing grief. Here's why this is healthy and good for you. Storing negative emotions and keeping this to yourself is very unhealthy. It messes with your emotions and mindset, you begin to withdraw from people you care about and develop depression later on. You HAVE to tell someone about it. Allow whatever emotions you feel to show without others judging you. If you feel like crying, do it. If you're happy and need a good laugh, laugh until you're blue in the face.

Do whatever you need to do to get your mind off the death. Do activities you like to do, make a daily journal and record how you're feeling day by day, and accept any kind of help. There is nothing more therapeutic than talking. Talk to people that you love and that you can trust about the situation and they will for sure give you comfort. You're in a fragile state and the people you love and trust are there to help.

The next step is to carry out the memories. In this stage, you remember the person and never forget the times you spent with them. As you learn to let go, memories are created that you take with the rest of your life. The element of healing comes into effect and the person has a special place in your heart.

So now, you learn to accept it and move on. How? Well, it's now the past. There's no going back. It's up to you whether you live in pain or choose to heal. Help and healing are there, it is possible, but it's only possible if you make it possible. Living in pain and clinging to the wall you can't overcome is very unhealthy and it leaves you with no time to recover. Yes, losing a loved one is very depressing and difficult to live with, but there comes a time where you realize that you have their blessing to live on. They would not want you to suffer the same fate as they did.

Live your life, God bless, let them sleep in peace, and take good care of yourself. I know you can.

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