Even During Finals Season, Remember Your Degree Is Not Only For You

Even During Finals Season, Remember Your Degree Is Not Only For You

And your grades do not define you.

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In the midst of finals, every college kid is probably scrambling trying to figure out how to make a 230 on their final to make an A in the class. We're all sleep deprived, over caffeinated, human stress balls that haven't had a proper meal in who knows how long. While none of this is healthy, we all need a reminder to bring us back to reality. Your degree isn't about you, so you can relax a little.

I know it's hard to really tell yourself, "If I don't have a 3.5, I will still be okay" but it is true. You don't have to make A's or even B's all the time. Sometimes we barely get by with a D and that's all we need and we're just happy we never have to see that professor again. I know for me, and for many others, it is a pride thing. Part of me needs to make good grades because I don't want to have to admit that I barely passed or even fail occasionally. But at the end of the day, we all fail.

Failing a test or even a class does not make you any less of a person. Trust me, I know at the moment, you think it does define you. I can't even count the number of times I have said: "I know I'm not stupid but the TAMU math department really says otherwise." Sometimes we try our best and it's just not enough. And we look around at how good others are doing and end up degrading ourselves even more. It's hard to admit but that's honestly such a selfish habit. I do it all the time, but I know I should be telling myself other things. My pride is telling me people will think less of me and that my life is going to be drastically changed because I don't make good grades, which isn't really true. (Also why do I care what "that kid from o-chem" says when I won't even know them after this class is over... we definitely shouldn't care about those things)

You have specific strengths and weaknesses that make you unique. Some people can just view numbers like it's their first language, while others can write like it's their sole purpose in life. You might not even know what your strengths are yet, and that is okay too. Just remember that your GPA does not define you. Your character defines you. I promise you, having a good work ethic and kind heart will get you a lot farther in life than having a 4.0.

Your degree is not for you. It is for all of the people you can help with it. Whether you are an educator, accountant, doctor or even a stay at home parent, you will impact someone's life. You work hard for that degree, but what really matters is what you do with it. How are you going to influence people's lives around you? How can you positively impact someone's life?

As a religious person, it goes deeper for me. It isn't just who am I going to help, but how can I further His kingdom? I believe the Lord has me on a specific plan for a specific purpose. The people I meet along the way can change my life and I can change theirs. At the end of the day, God doesn't care if I have a 4.0 or a 2.0. The transcript He sees is full of love and selfless service, not hours spent at the library or how many Q drops I used.

I believe that if you do your part, God will do His. You can't study for a B and pray for an A. I have a relatively clear view of what my plan is, and I know I need to make good grades to get there, but I also know that it's okay if I don't have perfect grades. I will end up where I am supposed to be. If that means amazing grades and working at top research institutes awesome if it means an average GPA and a company that wasn't even on my radar that's great too. I know wherever I go, I can learn and be shaped. I can be a light to others in any situation. I can love others the way Jesus does in any situation. God will use me wherever He takes me. And the same goes for you too.

These principles apply to you, even if you aren't religious. You can make the best of any situation. Take each failure as a learning experience. What can you do differently next time? Were you kind along the way, or were you selfish? There are people who help us along the way, and we should repay the favor. Better yourself, but remember to help others too.

Don't let failure define you. You are much more than a grade on a paper, or a title on a diploma. You have so much to offer that has nothing to do with your GPA. I'll let you in on a secret, you can be smart and kind at the same time. You don't have to be so competitive that you won't teach others and share your strengths. We ALL need help from time to time, even if you won't admit it. Rejoice in your successes but stay humble. Remember the ultimate goal.

1 Peter 5:6–7 'Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.'

Your degree is going to open up many doors for you. Whether those opportunities are your dream job or not, look closely at them. Allow yourself to be open to what God is showing you and where He is taking you. Take your pride out of the situation and really ask yourself, how can I really best use my strengths? How can I further His kingdom in this situation? How can I best love others and help others in this situation?

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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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Why Fordham Should Have a Safe Space Policy

On a campus committed to it's student's safety, why is emotional safety left out?

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Last year college Republicans were asked to leave Rodrigue's coffee house for provoking members by wearing pro-Trump attire within the shop. The reason they were asked to leave was because Rodrigue's upholds a "safe space" policy, which can be boiled down to the simple phrase: "No racism. No sexism. No homophobia." In the eyes of the members and patrons of Rod's, Trump embodied all of these things. Regardless of the politics of this specific incident, the phrase and policy seems redundant because this rhetoric can't possibly be allowed anywhere else on campus. Right?

As this incident made campus as well as national news Father McShane addressed the events in an e-mail to all students in which he made it clear he did not condone the approach of the College Republicans, as well as stated that Fordham has no official Safe Space policy and insinuated if it did this would silence voices on campus.

Let's examine what a safe space policy means and why it's important to so many members of the Fordham community. It simply means homophobic, sexist, and racist imagery and speech are not allowed. On a campus with racial minority, female, and queer students who chose to be members of the Fordham community as well as study here, live here, and pay obscene amounts of money to be a student, it does not make sense for these individuals to be subjected to abuses related to their identity. How can you focus in class when your professor misgenders you, a student makes a disparaging comment about your religion, or you fear for your physical safety due to the way you present yourself? Bigoted rhetoric is oppositional to academia.

Fordham is a private university, not a public one, and could easily legislate a basic safe space guideline on campus. I understand many of us that a safe space policy would protect do not experience outward aggression often, if at all, as the University does take steps to ensure our safety. So why no official policy? The answer is simple to me: money. Fordham receives hefty donations from conservative alumni whose own political ideology is contrary to the safe space policy. The choice to not outwardly support minority students is a decidedly economic and political one, despite Father McShane's plea for political peace on campus.

And what is wrong with silencing hateful voices? Tolerance is an incredibly important value, but should tolerance really extend to the intolerant? I found the logic behind not installing the policy as it would politically oppress individuals, incredibly interesting and telling. This means your politics are fatally bigoted and I would take a critical look at that. It's intrinsic to our perception of our school to remember that colleges are businesses and it is sometimes their prerogative to meet economic needs above the needs of their student body. However, this is hopeful. As patrons of this business, we can demand more of them and the most effective way to do this is economical. Invest money in places such as Rodrigue's to expand their voice, have your parents write letters to the school, tell at-risk individuals to not apply, and encourage alumni to earmark their money for minority student initiatives or withhold it unless the school legislates a safe space policy.

We as a student body should care for one another and above all respect the personhood of everyone on and off campus. Consider honoring the policy in your own lives and social circles, and demand Fordham to officially do the same.

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