Gender Neutral Pronouns Are Actually For Everyone Not Just The LGBT Community

Gender Neutral Pronouns Are Actually For Everyone Not Just The LGBT Community

We are all plural.

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Before I came to college, I didn't have much experience with people using different pronouns, especially gender neutral pronouns. In my first college class, the professor went around the room and asked everyone their name, major, pronouns, and of course a fun fact about themselves. At the time, I only used she/her/hers as my pronouns. Coming from a small town and being the only queer person in my school for a long time, I was not used to being asked what my pronouns were. After meeting several people who use gender neutral pronouns, I had started thinking about my own identity and why I used the pronouns I did.

During my sophomore year of college, I had an amazing professor in my Women and Gender Studies class. My professor identifies as trans non-binary. The usual introductions started on the first day of class and when it came to me I said the class could use whatever pronouns they wanted to use when talking about me. I was fine with she/her/hers, he/him/his, and they/them/theirs. At this point in my life, I had come to a point where I wanted to experiment using different ways to identify myself. Later on in the semester, I went an talked to my professor alone because I needed someone to talk to about the feelings I was having.

When I talked to them, I realized that I was more than I thought I was; we all are. The topic of gender neutral pronouns came up and I mentioned that I did not feel like they were for me. Unfortunately, I still had the "grammar" issue with calling one person a "they". After about five minutes, my mind was changed forever. My professor told me that everyone is plural. Gender is a performance, this is something I have known for years and it has always resonated with me. The social constructs around gender are all a performance and individuals constantly act on them in order to perform the gender they identify most with, or if they don't identify with any gender, then they are still acting on those feelings.

Gender neutral pronouns are acceptable for everyone regardless of their gender identity. I was told that I constantly act on multiple roles in my life. All at once I am a student, child, employee, queer person, writer, etc. Since I act on multiple roles at once, why is it "against the norm" to use gender neutral pronouns that make me plural? When they said this, I sat in silence and thought about all the roles that I am performing at one time and how I truly am plural. I am not one thing, I am neutral in the roles that I play and therefore I now see why I can use gender neutral pronouns.

Since this conversation, I have changed my language to be more inclusive. I refer to people I don't know with gender neutral pronouns, I use gender neutral pronouns when introducing myself now too. As time has passed, I have found that I identify last with she/her/hers pronouns and genuinely, they just don't fit me. I don't correct people if they use she/her/hers pronouns on me because for the longest time that is what I used and went by. I have friends that use gender neutral, she/her/hers, and he/him/his pronouns on me. I love the variety that I have in my life with the interchanging pronouns.

Gender neutral pronouns work for everyone. You are acting on several roles at once and you are plural.

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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.

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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.

Sincerely,

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.

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Seniors,

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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