Coping like John Green

john green teaches us how to cope with pain and the importance of it

"It hurts because it matters."


Life sucks sometimes. We go along living our day to day lives until something shitty happens and we wonder how something so horrible could happen to us. It's true, I've been there. Things completely out of my control have messed me up and I constantly wonder what I did to deserve it. The truth is, sometimes I've done everything right. Life simply takes its own course and as much as we like to believe we have ultimate control, it's not always up to us to decide what happens. At this point, I would take matters into my own hands by opening Pinterest, like the white girl I am, and search for quotes that fuel my misery. It's ironic to think sad quotes would somehow make me feel better, but I always came across words that made sense; the only reason I got hurt is that I cared too much. It became simple: to solve my problems I would have to invest less in people and things to ensure I never got hurt again.

This change of mind causes a fork in the road, to continue caring and occasionally suffer or to become a new person, consumed with not feeling anything. Some may pick the latter, but as John Green once said, "It hurts because it matters." Effort, empathy, and anything that makes us human tends to hurt us at some point. Things don't go as planned. People break your heart and you're left feeling empty. But it becomes all about perspective and the way you handle the situation. We choose to give meaning to things; if we didn't, no one would put energy into chores and commitments. John made the point that things suck, we all know they do, but the reason that they do is that something was important to us and went awry. Whether we lost something or had it taken away from us, at once point it made us feel whole. It brought happiness to our lives even if it was only temporary.

The importance isn't to dwell on the hurting, it's to acknowledge the pain, feel it in its entirety and be grateful that something had the power to make you feel as awful as it did. That means it mattered. Moving forward, we can ignore that feeling of wholeness, or we can continue to love the things that make us happy and risk getting hurt. It all depends on if it's worth it. John Green thinks it is, and so do I. To feel happy, we need to experience pain, not consistently, but on occasion. And maybe not to understand happiness, but to know when we experience it and to appreciate when it's there.

Cover Image Credit:

Caleb Woods

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.


To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.


A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.



I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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