All My Friends Are Getting Married and I’m Still Eating Chicken Nuggets

All My Friends Are Getting Married and I’m Still Eating Chicken Nuggets

What even is adulthood?
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As I grow older into this “not a teen but certainly not an adult” phase of my life, things only get more and more confusing. This is not your standard “hit-11-here-comes-puberty,” or “hit-18-buy-your-first-lottery-ticket-slash-cigarette.” Everyone is taking 19-24/25 at incredibly different paces. Honestly it’s a little frightening. Here are just a few things I’ve noticed are significantly…varied.

1) Housing

Some kids are in dorms. Some are in apartments. Some are at home. Some are probably homeless. And we’re all reaching these milestones at very different times (maybe except for the homeless thing.) For example, I know kids that got their own place right after high school graduation. Some went to dorms, like I did, and moved off-campus their sophomore year. Some people didn’t get apartments/their own place until 22/23. I’m not saying one way is right, or better, or anything like that. But it’s weird seeing your twenty-four-year-old ex-coworker buying their first place as you sit in your first place…at eighteen.

2) Relationships

Why in the hell are some of these kids married? Okay, wait, that sounds really harsh. I don’t mean it like that; if you’re happy and in love and want to get married, great. That’s fantastic. Congrats. But we were dipping chicken nuggets into our mashed potatoes in the cafeteria what feels like just a little while ago. I so often see photos of people I knew in high school getting married, getting pregnant, celebrating their kids’ birthdays, etc. Meanwhile, I’m watching American Beauty alone, eating dry Froot-Loops in my Batman pajamas, resisting the urge to go back on Tinder. (If you’re single, never get on it. You’re welcome.) Do you notice any inconsistencies?

3) Socializing

Okay, I don’t even care if I sound mean: some of you guys went insane. You got three minutes of freedom and you whip out the fake I.D. To be honest, I like partying just as much as the average person. But when I’m living in a dorm and you wake me up at four A.M. because you drunkenly tried to open the wrong door? You very likely have a problem. You’re also breaking the law, but I’m not gonna snitch on you. I’ll let you do that on your own when you pass out on the quad.

Please balance work and fun. You don’t have to drink to have a good night. Eat some ice cream. Watch a bad movie on purpose. Lay outside with your friends and tell them your dreams. I don’t know. Just do me and your liver a favor and lay off on the margaritas.

4) Interaction With Other Adults

I’m talking real adults. Established jobs, a spouse, the whole shebang. This is especially prevalent to me in university where, yes, my T.A. may only be four or five years older than me, but I still feel the need to call them “sir” or “ma’am.” It’s a difficult time when your generation is becoming people of authority and you’re unsure if you have to treat them as such. Another would be talking to older people—some of my peers talk to professors like they’re best friends. They’re totally comfortable, feel equal, and share a mutual respect as adults. I’m still sending e-mails because I’m too scared to piss them off. Yes, we’re all adults here, but you’re still teaching me. Where can I draw the line?

So while we all struggle in this odd stage of post-adolescence pre-adulthood, let’s remember just that. We’re all struggling. I don’t care how established you are. It took a hell of a lot to get there, didn’t it? So be kind to one another; don’t let your friend do something super stupid if you can help it. Motivate one another to get that essay done, or work through that final hour of their shift. We’re all in this together, and yes, please feel free to sing that aloud. Your peers will join in.

Cover Image Credit: http://marccortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/young-adults-550x367.jpg

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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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