Fall is better because first of all, the bugs start to go away
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Most people who know me learned pretty early on that I LOVE to talk. However, one thing that a lot of people don't know is that I struggled with a speech impairment growing up. If you've ever heard a kindergartener talk, it is clear that they haven't learned how to say everything correctly yet. Most kids' speech improves as they get older, but for some, like me, talking the right way was really hard. I didn't even realize it until I began speech therapy in elementary school, but I couldn't even say words like "dog" or "cat" correctly. I also talked really fast, so that certainly didn't help anything. I never expected, though, that I would need speech therapy.
I was in speech therapy until the ninth grade when the speech therapist at our high school told me that I no longer need it. That was an incredibly happy day for me as I had worked for years to improve my speech. Even though my struggle didn't necessarily end there, I think it is important for me to use my past experiences to help other people, so I want to explain what having a speech impairment taught me about life.
- Our weaknesses can actually make us better, because they teach us how to overcome challenges. I would consider myself to be a pretty determined person. However, my biggest obstacle growing up was my speech and I wanted to give up so bad as the years went on. Had I given up, I would've failed myself, and I wouldn't have been able to see how determination pays off. Now, when I am stressed, I can think about how hard I worked to get where I am and it makes me want to do better.
- People's words hurt. I remember being teased for the way that I talked and I didn't know if people were doing it out of meanness or just because. However, it hurt me because it was something that I worked hard to improve but still struggled with. Outer wounds may heal, but it's our inner scars that stay with us for a lifetime.
- The important thing in life is how we care for those scars. Do we mope about how people treated us or do we use it to improve our own character? Until Jesus comes back, there will be evil in this world and we can't control what others say. We can encourage others to be nice, however, by our own words and actions. I remember one instance at my former job in which a customer couldn’t understand me so they decided to talk to me as if I was a child. I was very upset, but I didn’t react. Holding one’s tongue requires a lot of self-control and it shows more about our character than reacting does, At the end of the day, we are the better person for this.
- Our weaknesses don’t diminish who we are as individuals. We're still as beautiful, as handsome, as smart, as talented, as funny, and as emotional as the next person. I've always been that straight-A student who was super ambitious and had her dreams pointed to the stars, but I felt like because I couldn't talk right, I wasn't as good as everyone else. This just goes to show how we can be our own worst enemy. When we let fear and hurt run our lives, it just brings us down and we start to torture ourselves. Our self-image becomes broken and our self-confidence decreases.
- Having a speech impairment has taught me that our differences make the world a much more beautiful place. Because we are all different, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses which make us unique, and all that’s left to do is learn how we can use those things to help others. When we realize that, it really affects the way that we love on others.
I used to be ashamed of the way that I talked. Now, I thank God for the experience. It has taught me so much more about life than I ever thought possible, and it has made me a better person. Don't let the struggles you face define who you are... Let them change who you are for the better.
Be a ray of sunlight for the world. Even on cloudy days, your light can still shine through.
One in five people suffer from some sort of mental disease, the most common being anxiety and depression. When someone has a mental disease, that disease takes control over their mind and they are no longer the person that they really are. You become your illness.
It's kind of like blood sugar in cases with people who are diabetic. When your sugar goes high or goes low, you become your blood sugars. Each person has different reactions, but typically the person becomes someone else. Someone whose mood changes to something uncommon for the person. The same goes for someone with depression.
Someone with depression may experience this fog that takes over the mind. In this fog there are voices and images that come up. Voices telling you that you're worthless or other horrible things. Images of the world without you, and in those images, somehow the world seems better.
Suicide isn't a joke.
Neither are people with mental diseases.
I have experienced a range of people who have dealt with mental disease and suicide, and I can tell you that someone contemplating suicide is the scariest thing you can be faced with. After dealing with this in many different angles, I feel as though I can put into perspective the value of someone's life.
To the people who feel like they're better off gone,
I just want you to know that without you, someone that loves you very much would be broken. By broken, I don't mean like two halves of a heart. I mean absolutely shattered. I mean floods. I mean no return to the person they once were. Someone loves you. You might be haunted by the fact that no one does, but trust me, that's the fog of depression that comes over us talking to you.
I want you to know that you will regret it. If you go through with it, you will regret it. I don't really know what happens after you die, but you will look down on your old life and see all the good in your life. You will see all the love in your life. But if you leave everyone, you will look down and see all the hurt.
I want you to see that you hold a special place in someone(s) heart. Without you, they would not have the memories, the laughs, and the life they have now. You make a difference in other people's lives. You are important.
I want you to know about the fog. That's what I refer to depression as, a fog. I want you to know that the fog is not you, it is not part of you. It is part of having a mental illness. Sometimes the fog is there and sometimes it isn't, but when it is there isn't a clear picture in your mind. The fog distorts what is actually happening. The fog makes you feel bad about yourself. The fog deceives you and tries to trick you. You are not the fog. More importantly, you can overcome the fog.
I've had a time in my life where the fog was always there. Sometimes it was dense and other times not so much. Regardless, the fog was trying to take over my life. It was trying to tell me that I was not going to make it. But I did, and you will too.
There may be more benefits than you think
There can be a lot of value in a graduate school education. I experienced it firsthand at DePaul University in Chicago.
I actually had a college advisor tell me not to go to graduate school, mainly because he thought I had all the education I needed in my chosen field with my undergraduate degree. I chose to go anyway and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Being from a smaller town (just outside of Buffalo, NY), going to a big city like Chicago was quite an experience. It was definitely part of the appeal to go to grad school in the first place, a chance to go somewhere new, meet new people and grow as a person.
I got great advice when I first arrived: Every big city has its small ponds. Look for those and get to know the communities of interest to you. Then a big city becomes much more personable and manageable.
Another interesting thing about my grad school experience is I took a 2-year program and I completed it in 1 year. I attended classes in the summer to make that possible. While it wasn't recommended by the university, they worked with me on it and it saved me a ton of money (loans).
So here are 6 reasons you should consider graduate school, regardless of where you are in your life:
1. It's an Ideal Environment for Learning
You probably noticed that not all undergrad students were so keen on the learning part of the college experience. But in grad school, everyone is serious about being there for a reason: to study and to learn. Soak that up and you'll find it a productive environment.
2. Live in a New City for New Opportunities
By branching out to a new city, you'll find chances to network and land internships and other opportunities that you won't find if you stay where you're at.
3. Build Up Your Resume and Credentials
It looks impressive to have gone to graduate school and it can give you a leg up to the competition you'll face in the real world.
4. Meet New People
The networking opportunities alone truly make grad school worth it, whether it be professors or fellow students.
5. Buy Yourself Time
Yes, you're spending money, but you're also giving yourself time to contemplate what you want to do next in your life. Whether it's uncertainty after undergrad or you're ready to chart a new direction years later, grad school is valuable time to figure out that next step.
6. Put Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone
And this may be the best reason of all. It'll be challenging but that's the point - challenge yourself and you'll be much better off for it.
So think about it! It may not be for everyone, but it could be for you. It certainly was helpful for me to grow as a young man and opened up awesome career opportunities, including the chance to move to NYC and work there for 3 and a half years.
My European adventures of past and future.
I still remember the first plane ride I took overseas. I was a bubbly and expectant teenager and the nine-hour flight had rendered me deliriously excited.
This summer, I'm headed back. This time with my best friend in tow again, but we're on our own for most of it.
We're planning on traveling all over Europe and having a great time of it. Growing, and learning, and enjoying ourselves.
I'm overjoyed to be able to spend another European summer growing and loving.
I'm sure I'll again come back more of me having seen the other side of the world.
Hopefully they will make you laugh.
I've been super busy lately with school work, studying, etc. Besides the fact that I do nothing but AP chemistry and AP economics, I constantly think of stupid questions that are almost impossible to answer. So, maybe you could answer them for me, and if not then we can both wonder what the answers to these 15 questions could be.
1. Why are towels considered dirty when you get out of the shower clean?
2. Who closes the bus door once the bus driver gets off?
3. Why is there a "d" in "fridge" but not in "refrigerator"?
4. If you drop soap on the floor is the floor clean or the soap dirty?
5. Is the "S" or the "C" silent in the word "scent"?
6. Does expecting the unexpected make the unexpected the expected?
7. Would Lightning McQueen buy car insurance or life insurance?
8. Who put the alphabet in alphabetical order?
9. What color are mirrors?
10. If 2 mind readers read each other's minds whose mind are they really reading?
11. Is there a synonym for "synonym"?
12. If your shirt isn't tucked into your pants, are your pants tucked into your shirt?
13. Why is it called "quick sand" if you sink slowly in it?
14. If I try to fail, but succeed, which one did I do?
15. If Cinderella's shoe fit perfectly, why did it fall off?
1. Brittany Morgan,National Writer's Society
2. Radhi,SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign