The Art Of Picking Yourself Up

The Art Of Picking Yourself Up

When days get dark and rainy and the common cold is spreading to all of your friends, it is hard to stay on top of your game. This article puts a positive spin on those kinds of blues.

The weather is getting rainy, and cold viruses are spreading from person to person like it's The Night of the Living Dead. In the midst of the illnesses and blues that full-on fall brings to people, it is important to stay strong.

People need a strong immune system to fight against the cold bugs that are passed on every time a nose-miner touches a door handle without washing their hands. In the middle of fall, it also takes resilience to get out of bed in the morning knowing that there is at least a month until the holidays start.

With fall also being the election season this year, it takes patience to put up with people who have political opinions you do not agree with (It's time to block that guy on your Facebook). Now that Halloween has gone, people are likely coming down from their sugar high and looking for the motivation to keep on working through the gloomy weather, sicknesses, or crazy voters. It is that crucial time of the year to not give up and keep on fighting.

The day will come when you forget that your instructor assigned you to write notes on the history of macaroni casserole, and you have to take zero credit. You will get sick on a Monday. You will get dressed for work but much rather huddle under a blanket while wishing your fever would break and your nose would get less stuffy.

Possibly the worst of all that could go wrong, a friend of yours will call you names for having a differing political opinion. You both will argue on why the turkey was not chosen to be the national bird of the United States without convincing each other. Someone will be called a name, and the parties involved will leave feeling considerably less patriotic. Someone will be blocked on Facebook.

If something catastrophically bad does not happen, the little grievances will still take their toll. People will cut you off on the freeway. Someone will cough on you. You'll step in a puddle. Your dog will eat your tater tots.

On the strange chance that everything is going well, like if you turned in all your assignments and your boss bought doughnuts, it will still be hard to fully enjoy. Upon looking outside at the rain clouds in the overcast sky after having a good day, you'll sit and think, "Things are going too good. Something has got to give."

What makes these terrible little grievances in life okay is the fact that everyone experiences them. If you notice a guy at the gym, school, or work who seems like he has everything together, it is likely he had to walk around at some point in the last week with wet socks (I hate having to wear wet socks all day). Suffering is awful, but misery loves company. For company, you do not have to look far. And even with the odds stacked against you in the ides of November, there is still hope.

What is important when you are sick, road raged, and wearing wet socks is to not think about how upset you are. Know that anyone who stepped in a puddle or has clogged up sinuses would be miserable. Know that you are the person who has every reason to complain and be upset, but also understand that you are in charge of making your situation better.

Even when the odds are stacked against you, you can attempt to make your life easier. When you are sick and cannot get out of bed, take the time you need to rest and recover. If you missed an assignment, ask your professor if you can make it up. The wrong thing to do in these situations is put yourself in a position where you could get into an even deeper state of misery. If you have wet socks, avoid puddles.

Knowing that you are the one who makes your day better is a big deal even when it seems you cannot escape a bad day. When it seems like you cannot avoid something and it is putting you in a funk, (deadline, homework, chores) you can remove yourself from it temporarily. Take a break and watch the newest Disney movie on Netflix before writing more on the assignment about the history of macaroni sculptures. Some things are unavoidable, but everything can be procrastinated on responsibly in order to maintain a positive life.

Also, making the most out of the fall slump does not have to be done all by yourself. If you have friends, the best time to take advantage of their love is when you are laid up with a cold or when your dog ran away. When something bad happens, they can help you step in a different direction and act as someone to vent to in order to maintain sanity. Friends are there to help prevent depression and they will be the ones to bring you a pair of dry socks when you need them most.

Everyone has a bad day.

Some days are worse than others and many bad days come out of nowhere. It is important to not let the bad day win and ruin your week. Stay on top of things even when they are falling apart. When everything crumbles in life, know that you can possibly sit atop your rubble and restore it and even make the situation better. Adversity is a great creator of character. You can use negative situations for workout motivation or to give you something to strive for. I'm using my despair against wet socks and assignments about macaroni in art as inspiration to write this article. Remember when things are at their bleakest, you must look forward to the day when you are back on top with warm socks and clear sinuses.

Cover Image Credit: Robert Breuer

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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I Never Thought I'd Have To Attend A Classmate's Funeral Two Weeks Before He Was Supposed To Graduate

Teen suicide is a taboo topic where I'm from, even if we have lost two members of the community to it in the past two years.


One of the hardest experiences of my life happened just this week, at the funeral of a boy I barely even knew. I had gone to school with him since kindergarten but hadn't had a class with him since fifth grade, and I don't think we had talked since then. All I had ever thought of doing with my classmates two weeks before graduation was complaining about finals and maybe going to a few graduation parties.

Instead, we all left school midday to head to the largest Baptist church in town. I sat in the middle of a row of pews, surrounded by two hundred or more people that I had either gone to school with my whole life or had gone to school with at some point in the past thirteen years.

There was not a single one of them that did not have tears in their eyes. We listened to the pastor share memories of our classmate that had been shared online, and some of us even got up to share our own and to thank his parents for raising such a kind and caring, young man.

He was the type of guy to invite you to go out to eat, even if he knew you had to work, just because he didn't want you to feel forgotten about. Every single person who spoke said, "There wasn't a single thing I didn't like about this kid." They spoke those words in full truth.

The senior class was named in the obituary as honorary pallbearers. We followed the eight football players and the rest of the football team and our classmate's closest friends to a hearse waiting outside. I watched as the hearse pulled away, and I believe that is when it truly hit everyone.

He was gone, and he wasn't coming back. As the hearse pulled away, all I could see on the other side were tears streaming down the faces of some of the toughest guys I know.

We called the football team the Thunder House. The phrase "Thunder House" went from something normally said with a smile or a chuckle to something said with a melancholy tone. No one cheered when it was said anymore, they only gave sad nods and tight, depressing smiles.

Teen suicide is a taboo topic where I'm from, even if we have lost two members of the community to it in the past two years. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article stating that Americans in rural areas are more likely to die by suicide, also stating that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

The week before we lost our classmate, there was a walk at the school on a Saturday to raise awareness for teen suicide and depression. I only heard one teacher say anything about it beforehand. There were no signs around the school. There was no mention of it on the morning announcements. There was not a post on the school's website inviting members of the community to join us.

I truly believe that more could have been done that could have possibly prevented the heartache that has impacted a school, a family, and a community. Reach out to those you feel may be in need, and even those that you do not feel may be in need because you never know what someone is going through.

Articles on suicide prevention or recount stories of suicide or suicidal thoughts should end with the following message, written in regular weight font, styled in italics:

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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