An Open Letter To My Freshman Year Roommate

An Open Letter To My Freshman Year Roommate

In a time that I was afraid to encounter the next stage of my life, I was grateful that we took it on together.
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My dearest freshman roommate:

First of all, I hope that your adventures abroad have been treating you well. With the constant updates and pictures on Facebook, I see that your time abroad is a time of exploring your vast horizons. It still amazes me that it has almost been a whole semester without you here on campus. Trust me when I say I can feel your absence. As it being my first semester without you here, or having any roommate for that matter, I often think of you and how amazing it was to experience my freshman year together with you.

Throughout the summer before freshman year, the most anxiety inducing aspect of college to me was discovering who my roommate was going to be. Questions about our relationship while living together clustered my mind: Were we ever going to get along? What if she has a weird personality? Were we just going to be those types of roommates that would just avoid each other until one of us moves out? What if she is into country music?

I'm not going to lie, when I got the letter saying that you were going to be my roommate, I immediately went to your Facebook. With each scroll down your profile page, my anxiety steadily declined. You didn't appear to have that nightmare-roommate material look to you so I had honestly thought I would be alright. And if you did end up like a psychopath, I at least had the option to change rooms. Thankfully it didn't come down to that.

As we had gotten to know each other, I felt that we became more than just roommates but genuine friends. From detailed plans about getting me together with guys in our class, random dance parties in our room, obsessive baking of banana bread and apple pie, and way too many memes, we slowly but surely grew as a dynamic duo.

As you have probably heard many times before, I write better than I speak. If there is anything I regret about freshman year, it is that I wish I would have thanked you more for everything you had done for me. You were my first friend on campus when I was scared that I would make none. When I felt sad or moody because of school or just life in general, you found ways of cheering me by showing off your sick beats and dance moves. During sleepless nights we would just lie in our beds and talked about random, and sometimes disturbing, things across the room. Every single one of those memories (along with countless others) made me realize that throughout my freshman year I didn't just gain a roommate, but a lifelong friend.

All in all, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for accepting me and putting up with my shenanigans just as much as I put up with yours. Thank you for the random dance parties, late-night baking, and random adventures even though I didn't want to go on them half the time. Thank you for being my cheerleader throughout all my mental breakdowns through calculus, Spanish, and writing courses. And thank you for choosing to go to our college; for if it wasn't for meeting you, I don't know where I would be (most likely still sad and miserable as a biology major).

Even now with you across thousands of miles and even an ocean between us, it always brings a smile to my face when you message me or post about your travels. Needless to say, I do miss you. Seeing now that you are enjoying life, tasting delicious foods and adventuring across Europe with a bright smile on your face, I'm glad that you are enjoying every moment of it.

But as happy as I am for you to be venturing off across Europe, I honestly can't wait for you to come back to campus and tell me all about it over some Five Guys.

Cover Image Credit: Elissa Pulliam

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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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13 Signs You Really Need To Get Your Sh*t Together

Because there's being a hot mess...and then just being a mess.

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With jam-packed schedules and loads of homework, college students are commonly depicted as walking train-wrecks of people. Sure, it's okay to be a little bit of a mess, but you don't want your entire college experience to be one giant jumble of chaos. Here are some signs that you really need to get your act together.

1. You're constantly late to class...but always manage to find the time to get coffee

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If you walk into class with Starbucks and you are on time, then that means you really have your act together. You left early and had the time to get coffee on the way, good for you! But if you decide that a caffeine boost is worth being late, then you may want to set your priorities straight a little bit.

2. You own a planner...but only used it for the first week.

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If you're anything like me, you still carry it around in your bag because it makes you feel like you have your life together. But do you really use it?

3. The word "free" catches your attention every time

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Maybe you don't need another t-shirt, but it's free! Better yet, free food. Because who doesn't like food, and who actually wants to pay for it.

4. You've already spent your budget allowance...for the next three months

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It felt amazing making a budget for yourself. Honestly, I was considering switching to a finance major I felt so put together. Yet, actually sticking to said budget...didn't really happen. Unless I manage to not spend a penny for the next 3 and a half months I don't think it's going to work out.

5. Never actually working out in workout clothing

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Buying a bunch of workout clothing always gives me inspiration to actually workout. The only problem is that the inspiration doesn't really last long, but they're comfortable to wear to class. At least people may think I'm planning on going to the gym after class when really I'm going to be on my bed with a bag of Doritos's.

6. When the only sleep you get is through naps

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There's nothing better then taking a quick nap once you get back from class...but the problem arises when that quick nap ends up being five hours long. There's nothing truly more nerve wracking then waking up at ten o clock at night and remembering you had a paper due at midnight.

7. You can't remember the last time you drank something that wasn't alcohol or caffeine

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Because what's the point of taking the time to drink something if it's not going to either make you wake up or make you forget all your problems, right?

8. Replacing sleep with Netflix

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"Okay, if I just watch one more episode, then I can go to sleep after and still get three and a half hours of sleep in." But, does anyone really ever just watch one more episode?

9. Constantly shifting stuff between your bed and desk

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During the day, you move all of your stuff from your desk onto your bed, and then at night you move it back onto your desk to make room on your bed to sleep. It's just the natural cycle of things.

10. Greasy hair don't care

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The one thing that is easier to procrastinate on then homework is showers. Especially with the creation of dry-shampoo, sure it's not the same as washing your hair but it's a whole lot quicker.

11. You're behind on laundry...like really behind

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Not only does it take up your precious time, but you have to pay for it? Sure, your hamper is overflowing and you're running out of clothes, but will that motivate a college student? Probably not.

12. Taking days to actually email someone back

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With your busy college schedule, who actually has time to check their email every day?

13. Putting off homework until the very last minute

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Because you know it's not going to get finished when you tell yourself you'll wake up early in the morning to finish it then.

Overall, are you really getting the college experience if your life isn't sort of a giant mess? I mean, things always end up kind of working out in their own way, so don't sweat it!

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