You Will Always Remember A Teacher Who Impacted Your Life

To My English Teacher, Thank You For Teaching Me To Be The Best Version Of Me

A teacher's words will always give you the confidence and dignity.

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Someone once said, "Good teachers are the reasons why ordinary students dream to do extraordinary things." If there is anything, I learned through years of high school torture, there was one person who has made my high school time, a reason for hope. The reason why I would never forget this woman is that she has shaped me into someone I can become without the boundaries. Her name is Jessica Torrence.

Going into high school, I've heard plenty of rumors about her. I heard she was mean, I heard she was nice, and if there is one thing I hear, it was that she did not like underclassmen! When I first heard about her, I was a sophomore Automatically, I was not on her good side. Throughout my sophomore year, we never spoke.

Then it was my junior year, and we've officially met. I remember I was volunteering in the cafeteria, and I was reading a book of poems, by Langston Hughes. She looked at the book, and she knew it was mine because my ID was right next to it. "Hey. Is this yours?" she asked. I shook my head in agreeance. She asked me was this my favorite writer, and it was and still is. I told her about the project I was doing based on the book in my intensive reading class. She told me to bring my project when it was finished. When I finished, she was in awe. However, when I told her I got a "B," she was a little disappointed because she thought I deserved a better grade. I have to say, if it wasn't for Langston Hughes, I probably wouldn't have a connection with Ms. Torrence.

Let's fast forward to senior year. I was in her class, where we were doing an experiment in a student-led classroom. One of the lessons was the Harlem Renaissance, which is history based on African-Americans, leading the way in an artistic manner. At first, I thought I could never do that in my life. I wanted to lead the way, but during this time, I was scared. We kind of got into a heated argument, then she bolted out, "The reason why you're so scared of the world and making a change, is because you're black." At first, I was offended, then I thought about it, and she was right. Why couldn't I make a change? Also, because I am black, I have the right to make change through my art, just like the Harlem Renaissance.

Then there was graduation. Where you say goodbye and thank you to everyone who has impacted your life. I remember when I graduated, she told me "Good job! I'm so proud of you!" However, just because my diploma said I was done, doesn't mean she was done with my life. Throughout my life, she has taken me places I thought I would never go to. Ms. Torrence took me to an African American Read-In, where poetry was based on African Americans. She also took me to see "Black Panther," which was an unforgettable experience!

You ask, whatever happened to her? Well, we keep in contact, and she's a student at Florida A&M; University as a law major. I could never be prouder of who she is, and what she's accomplished in my life, and other students' lives. Ms. Torrence is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. I could never tell her the gratitude I have for her impacting my life. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have my goals to be a writer in New York City. To Ms. Torrence, I hope you impact someone else's life, just as you impact mine!

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Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Because most other majors can't kill someone accidentally by adding wrong.
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College is hard. Between studying for numerous amounts of tests and balancing eating, working out, maintaining a social life, and somehow not breaking your bank account, it’s no wonder a common conversation among students is “how many mental breakdowns did you have this week?” Every major will pose its own challenges; that’s truth. Nursing school, however, is a special kind of tough that only other nursing majors can understand.

SEE ALSO: Quit Bashing Radford University

Nurses are the backbone and unsung hero of healthcare. Their job is to advocate for the patient, collaborate care among all other healthcare team members, carry out physician orders, recognize and report patient progress (or lack thereof), run interference for the patient with any unwanted visitors, research and validate evidence based practice, all while maintaining a certain aurora of confidence for patients and their loved ones that “everything will be okay” and “I’ve got this under control”. If that sounds like a lot; that’s because it is. The majority of skills that we learn that make good nurses cannot actually be taught in theory classes. It’s the hours of actual practice and a certain knack for caring for people- all people- that makes a good nurse great. The countless, unrelenting hours that are spent on the floor in clinical humble us, we know that we’re not great yet, but we’re trying.

Our professors expect us to be humble as well. Nurses do not seek gold stars for their actions, instead the precedence that is set for us to that we “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”. Most nursing programs grading scales are different. To us, a failing grade isn’t actually getting a 69 or lower, it’s an 80. And that makes sense; no one would want a nurse who only understand 70% of what is happening in the body. We have to understand the normal body response, what happens when things go wrong, why it happens the way it does, and how to properly intervene. We want to learn, it interests us, and we know that the long theory classes and the hard days on the floor are just to make us better. However, any triumph, anytime you do well, whatever small victory that may feel like for you, it just what is supposed to happen- it’s what is expected, and we still have much to learn.

I look back on my decision to take on nursing school, and I often find myself questioning: why? There are so many other majors out there that offer job security, or that help people, or would challenge me just as much. But, when I think of being a nurse- it’s what fulfills me. There’s something that the title holds that makes me feel complete (and that same fact is going to resonate with anyone who wants to love their job). I wouldn’t change the decision I made for anything, I love what I am learning to do and I feel that it’s part of what makes me who I am. The other students who I have met through nursing school are some of the most amazing people I have ever come into contact with, and the professors have helped me understand so much more about myself than I thought possible.

Nursing is treating and understanding the human response. Meaning that it’s not just the disease process, or the action of the medication, or the care that we provide, but that nurses treat the way in which people deal, react, feel, and cope with good news, bad news, terrible procedures, hospital stays and being completely dependent on other people. And the fact of the matter is that all people are different. There is no one magic treatment that will always work for every patient. In addition to course work, the clinical hours, the passion and drive to want to be a nurse, and the difficulty that comes with any medical profession, we have to understand each individual patient, as people and not their illness. And, in order to do that so much self discovery goes on each day to recognize where you are and how you are coping with everything coming your way.

What is taught in nursing school goes far beyond just textbook information or step by step procedures. We have to learn, and quickly, how to help and connect with people on a level which most struggle to accomplish in a lifetime. It's a different kind of instruction, and it either takes place quickly or not at all. The quality of nurse you become depends on it. Nursing school is different, not harder or better than any other school, just different.

SEE ALSO: Stop Putting Down Radford University



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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 49

Language is a powerful tool.

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Welcome back! We made our way to a meeting with Dr. Shikaki, a Palestinian demographer--basically, that means he takes polls to see what the population's opinion is. It also means he can see how the opinion changes, as the polls started decades ago.

Again, as I talk about his message, keep in mind that this is his unique narrative, and it is different from other narratives out there--both on the Palestinian and Israeli side. He does give a very factual talk, though, due to the nature of his job. He essentially takes all the narratives of everyone else to craft a blanket-statement narrative; however, we should keep in mind that blanket-statements are almost never 100% accurate.

In addition, because he is able to write the questions being asked in his polls, there could be certain narratives left out. Of course, if you've taken any statistics class, you know about nonresponse bias and other biases that come out of censuses and samples. To my knowledge, Dr. Shikaki's polls are only in the West Bank, so Gazan Palestinians aren't even included here.

The first thing he tells us is that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are dissatisfied with their government, the Palestinian Authority. The approval rating for the PA is only about 20-25%, and 80% of Palestinians surveyed said that the government is corrupt in some way. A large group of secular Palestinians said that they support the liberal values that are associated with democracy, such as press freedom, gender equality, minority rights, and most importantly, regularly-held elections.

Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Palestinians who support a democratic political system (because they are dissatisfied with the current corruption, as the current system is not giving them a very high standard of living) rose to over 80%.

Some liberal social values are not as widely accepted because many of these liberal values are a very Westernized way of living, and Arab culture differs from Western culture in many ways; neither is better than the other. However, Palestinians do want the freedom of press and less corruption in political parties. Currently, they do not think they have an independent judiciary.

Dr. Shikaki explained that Palestinians can be split, for the most part, into "nationalists," who are mostly secular, and "Islamists," who are mostly religiously observant and non-secular. Nationalists believe in a separation of the church and state, and they are first and foremost Palestinians (compared to Islamists, who are first and foremost Muslims--and Palestinians second). Fatah is the largest political faction within the nationalists.

Within nationalism, there are mainstream nationalists and leftist nationalists. The overwhelming majority of nationalists are mainstream nationalists. They believe that though there is a separation of church and state, there should be cooperation between the state and religion; both can work together. It is not an antagonistic relationship. 55% of the entire Palestinian public would identify with mainstream nationalism (15% would identify with leftist nationalism, and 30% would identify with Islamism).

The smaller section of nationalism is leftist nationalism. They believe that the state can eradicate the importance placed on religion if need be. On the other end is Islamism, which believes that state and religion cannot be separated. Parliament cannot rule in a way that is opposed to Islamic rule and Muslim values. Again, they are first and foremost Muslims, and after that comes their identity of Palestinians and Arabs.

They show more support for a rule by Hamas in the West Bank because Hamas tends to have similar values as them. In the West Bank, about a third of the population supports Hamas over the PA. In Gaza, there is higher support for Hamas, and Hamas was actually democratically elected after the second intifada.

The public in the West Bank sometimes blames nationalists for corruption, and since nationalists are associated with the current government, Hamas could actually win a popular vote right now--which is why the PA has been holding off elections (which, to Palestinians, is another sign of corruption).

Now that we've seen how Palestinians view themselves, we need to see how Palestinians view their Israeli neighbors--and how they view the possibility of peace. It's a lot to unpack, so this concludes this chapter, and I will be talking about it in the next section!

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