You're Not "Too Fat" For Spring Break

You're Not "Too Fat" For Spring Break

Wear whatever the heck you want to.
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Dear Girl Worrying About How She'll Look In a Bikini On Spring Break,

First off, girlfriend, have fun at the beach! Coming from someone who goes to school in the middle of the corn fields where it is gray out 90% of the time, please enjoy every single minute. The sun and the water are honestly the best way to recharge and refresh after half a semester of grinding. School is tough and exhausting, spring break is a much-deserved pause.

However, I get that for some of us it isn't all that straightforward. Because with going to the beach comes wearing a swimsuit, and with wearing a swimsuit comes exposing parts of your body that you may not usually. This world can be a mean place, from fat shaming the tiny Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl, to encouraging women to crash diet in order to look "good," there is no end to the body shaming and unrealistic expectations. Nobody can look the same as another, everybody's genes and lifestyles are different. That is just how it is. Expecting every female body to fit into a specific set of guidelines is actually ridiculous. Unfortunately, this society's expectations for women's bodies are ridiculous.

The beach can be a scary place, wearing little more than neoprene undergarments. But, listen, in the grand scheme of things, how you look is really not going to affect your experience. Does not looking like a Victoria's Secret Angel in a swimsuit impair your swimming abilities? Will you drown because of it? Will it cause you to be less able to soak up the sun and have fun? The answer to all of these questions is no. Your physical appearance truly has nothing to do with how you are going to experience your vacation, so don't let it affect your outlook on the situation that much. Worst case scenario, if someone makes a rude comment to you about how you look, you can tell them not to talk to you and move on with your trip and your life. If someone thinks they have the right to belittle you or treat you anything but respectfully, they are stupid and don't need to be in your life. They are especially stupid if they belittle you or disrespect you on a basis of your physical appearance. You don't need that. You deserve better.

Sweet girl, spend your time before your trip getting excited about surfing the waves and feeling the salty breeze in your hair, not going on a "spring break diet," being mean to your body and ruining your self-esteem. Spring break is supposed to be a fun time, and not just for the people who look how society believes they should.

So, get packing, and pack whatever the heck you want. Wear whatever the heck you want, because it won't do anything for your experience if you wear one thing versus another. Wear what you like and what you feel confident it, and just remember - you are NOT too fat for spring break.

Love,

The "Fat" Girl You'll See On The Beach In a Bikini

Cover Image Credit: Bustle

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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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It's Okay To Not Be Okay

Don't think that you have to be "on" 100% of the time, because that's very unlikely.

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A lot of people don't realize that it is okay to not be okay because they think that they have to be 100% 24/7, but that is unrealistic. You need to understand that everyone struggles and that you are not expected to be on top of your game every second of every day.

This doesn't mean that you need to go around telling everyone you're doing horribly when they ask you how you are doing, but don't let yourself believe the lie that it's not okay to not be okay.

I had a woman recently tell me that her faith in Jesus was questioned when they realized that she wasn't okay. She was so heartbroken because she knows where her faith lies, but that doesn't take away the hurt in her heart considering her situation. She knew that Jesus would and will see her through this situation, but it was going to hurt.

It's not okay for us to undermine others' worth when they're not okay.

If you're telling everyone that you're "great" 99.9% of the time then you're lying. I hate to say that, but we all struggle and nobody is exempt from it. Some may handle those days and moments better than others and that is great, but it's unlikely that those never struggle or have struggled a day in their lives.

I don't believe that this means we should relish in our angst, hurt, and disappointment, but that when we are hurting we shouldn't be made to feel less. We will have moments of weakness and while it's okay to not be okay it's important to seek someone we love and trust who will help point us to Jesus who will comfort us.

When you're hurting and you're not okay please seek Jesus. Find that person who holds you accountable and let them be there for you. Don't think you're not allowed to hurt, because it is okay, but don't let it consume you.

Jesus loves you and He will always comfort you, but you have to be willing. Seek Him and allow Him to hold you when you're not okay.

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