College: The Time To Be Self-Centered

College: The Time To Be Self-Centered

What are we missing out on?
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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up." The college experience is little more than four years of self-centered processing and focusing on yourself - your future, your opportunities, and your belief system.

College students are bombarded with questions surrounding their individualistic concerns. What's your major? What do you want to do with that? Are you going to graduate school? Do you have an internship? Do you have a job? What are you doing right after college? Where do you see yourself in five years? What is your dream job? All of these questions have one or two words in common: "you/your."

Over the past three years, a period where I am no different than the college student next to me, I have succeeded terrifically at being self-centered and failed miserably at being other-centered. I have built up my resume. I have over-scheduled my weeks. I have sought out leadership positions on campus. I have even, at times, ignored people when all they wanted to do was hang out. I have been too preoccupied, too busy "getting ahead in life" to notice those suffering around me.

While we're engaged in our self-centered pursuits, we may ignore or fail to recognize someone who has been sexually abused, struggled with anorexia, depression, or substance abuse, or in need of improving an area of their physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual health.

Universities are degree factories, not other-centered factories. These institutions encourage doing well on quizzes, tests, exams, projects, and assignments to benefit yourself. They keep your mind locked in and focused on number one. We start to lose our ability to empathize in the process, however. We forget that what really matters down the stretch is not how many A's I got in college or how many students I did better than, but how many quality friends I made or how many people I was there for in their time of need. To be other-centered means to care for the brother or sister next to you. It means being the best son or daughter you can be, the best friend you can be, and the best person you can be, all the while devoting your time and energy to helping someone else's life.

People don't care about what grades I get because they won't remember it. They won't remember it because it doesn't make them feel better. Civil rights activist Maya Angelou said that "people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

From here on out, I will do my best to cherish the dining hall workers and the work they put into creating an enjoying dining experience, be thankful for my teachers, check in on my friends and family, welcome the younger students to the University, and remember what is most important: relationships with others.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.unityleaders.org/from-uwm/board-connect-now/

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Why Ignorance In Our Country Is Not Bliss

And it never will be.

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The saying ignorance is bliss is a bunch of crap. Ignorance is ignorance.

With everything going on in our country, I think it is very important for us to be educating ourselves.

You don't trust the news? Do your own digging.

You don't understand? Do some research.

You don't have the same perspective? Share it.

You only have your religious beliefs to base your knowledge? Learn before you judge.

We live in a scary world today. People judge others they've never met or before they've ever heard their story. People involve themselves in matters that they shouldn't be involved in. People are trying to regulate other people's bodies.

People don't want to learn about the issues they so strongly believe in. People don't want to hear the other side. When did party affiliation become more important than being a human being? When did men get the power to decide what women can do with their bodies? When did we stop being compassionate? When did we stop being decent human beings?

I don't want to live in a world where I have all these questions.

I don't want to live in a world where a judicial system will convict a woman who got an abortion after she was raped, but won't convict her rapist.

I don't want to live in a world where my social media timeline makes me want to cry.

I want to live in a world where everyone's opinion matters, not just the one you agree with.

I want to live in a world where everyone's voice is heard equally, not just the one's in power.

I want to live in a world where everyone's story is taken into consideration, not just the one's the government wants you to hear.

I want to live in a world where I can raise a young girl and not be afraid for her.

I want to live in a world where we do good.

I want to live in a world where we have differences, but that doesn't make us any less equal.

I want to live in a world where we don't judge before we know.

I want to live in a world where religious beliefs are respected.

I want to live in a world where it doesn't matter what political party you are.

I want to live in a world where people see right from wrong.

I want to live in a world where I am not afraid.

What kind of world do you want to live in?

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