It's Okay To Walk Away

It's Okay To Walk Away

It's important to know when to put yourself first

When I fell in love for the first time, I thought that that was it. I thought I had lucked out and found the one right away. For a long time, everything seemed perfect, until some friends pointed out that I wasn't being treated the way I deserved. I clung onto the idea that that was what love was, it was struggling for the bigger picture.

Suddenly, one day, he decided we should "just be friends". Just like that, I was left in the dark. After screaming and crying and fighting to get back what I thought was a huge loss, I finally understood that it wasn't love. Someone who loves you should not make you question your worth on a day to day basis or worry that every action you make could tip him over the edge.

I decided it was time to walk away.

I thought that the childhood friend I had grown so close to through all the years would be a friend for life. I was always the pushover friend that would never fight back for long, simply because of how much I valued the relationship. Knowing that, she took advantage of my tendencies to be a push over and would often see how far I could be pushed. It wasn't until I was sitting up at 3:30 am one autumn night begging my best friend to stay after she had friend dumped me that I realized that she was not worth my efforts.

I deleted my reply and went to sleep. It took a few days for her to realize that I was serious and she tried to bring me back, but I knew I couldn't get sucked back in. I had already walked away.

My first roommate was the closest thing that I had to a sister at that point in my life. Meeting by chance on a Facebook group for incoming freshmen, we quickly hit it off and requested each other on the housing hub. We did everything together for the first year and decided to live together again the next year.

It wasn't until the fall started up again that I noticed a big change in her. She no longer had the adventurous gleam in her eye when I invited her out to do things, or the smile on her face when I would send her funny things I found online. She preferred to stay inside and talk with her new love, one that went to school hours away. When I voiced my concern about how frequently he was visiting and how sad I was that we never hung out anymore, I received nothing in return but silence. Silence, followed by notes, followed by screaming, more silence, more notes, down to texts, down to one piece of paper. The last letter I received from her was what made me pack all my things after she had stormed off for the weekend and leave for good. I couldn't stand the thought of just sitting around for her to come back so that the silence could start up again.

The hardest things to walk away from are the ones that will lead you into the unknown.

If I had stuck around for any of these, been the pushover I was, and just let things happen, I would never have thought to be where I am today.

IT'S OKAY TO LEAVE. A sad event, a job you don't like, if your major isn't what you want any more, any unhappy relationship (friend, significant other, roommate, etc.) or uncomfortable situation is okay to walk away from or leave in the past.

Take care of yourself, and the rest will follow.

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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Public Health May Be The Most Important Area To Focus On As A Society

I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua.


Medical exploration and healthcare management has thrived throughout the 21st century, with major developments in epidemiology allowing organizations such as the World Health Organization of the United Nations to track the spread of preventable diseases such as malaria and influenza across impoverished countries worldwide. I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua when I traveled there as a Brigadier with Stony Brook's Public Health Brigade, a coalition organized by Global Brigades during the Summers of 2016 and 2017.

Working alongside other university collaborations such as Boston University, I was mesmerized by the impact that improvements such as clean water through mountain pipelines and sustainable housing could do in reducing the severity of Zika virus outbreaks in the region, as accentuated by the near 8,400 villagers with access to clean water as a result of our efforts.

These experiences demonstrated to me the value of preventative measures highlighted by the public health approach — by attacking the origin of a disease and the medium through which it spreads instead of merely treating the manifestation of its symptoms, a holistic approach would allow for the eradication of a malady throughout an entire region whilst educating the local populations about the importance of proper hygiene practices and fortified infrastructure to prevent its re-eminence. It is for this reason that I feel inspired to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health as a professional, so that I can help contribute to the eradication of preventable illnesses across the globe.

A specific area of interest that I wish to target as a field of study would be the impact of sustainable housing in the eradication of illnesses such as lead poisoning through contaminated water sources. My own experience in this particular aspect of Public Health Administration as a Brigadier with Stony Brook Public Health Brigade showed me the importance of secure infrastructure in the reduction of preventable diseases as an especially pertinent area of community health in the United States, highlighted by the water toxicity crisis in Flint, Michigan.

A recent study released by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Hurley Medical Center noted an uptick in the blood-lead concentration of Flint Children from 2.4% to 4.9% after changing their water source, with spikes as high as 10.6% in correlation with elevated levels of lead in Flint water. These elevated blood-lead concentrations put these children at higher risk for lead poisoning, characterized by reduced growth rate and learning difficulties. Purification of the available water sources throughout the region would be a comprehensive long-term solution to reducing elevated blood-lead levels amongst Flint residents.

My goals after my master's degree in public health would be to pursue a medical education and become a doctor, or go into Healthcare Administration and eventually work with the WHO of the UN to establish a more easily accessible Healthcare system across various countries to increase the number of people in impoverished areas that can be reached by doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners. I feel that a proper understanding of public health would, therefore, be essential to establishing my career in service to humanity.

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