An Open Letter To Jaheim President And Darius Smith

To Jaheim Prezident and Darius Smith, Future Black Educators At College Of Charleston

We need more black, male educators, and we need them now.

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As a future educator also getting my degree at the College of Charleston, I would like to say congratulations on getting in The College. We are so happy to have you!

College of Charleston is not only in beautiful, downtown Charleston, but it is also surrounded by the finest beaches, delicious food, and was voted most beautiful city in Travel and Leisure for the sixth year in a row. I guarantee you will never get bored unless you're not trying hard enough to entertain yourself.

The school itself is not only centered in a great location, but it has all the resources you will need to help you embark on your 4-year journey here. From student tutoring to some of the best professors, the college does everything possible to help you get that degree. It's only a bonus for y'all that the college is mainly female.

For education majors, in particular, the college gets your toes wet and helps you put a foot in the door by your junior year. Not only will you still be learning at The College, but you will also begin teaching in the schools.

As an education major, I am constantly learning about all the problems within the education system. They are so much greater than teachers getting higher pay or schools getting more funding. Internally citizens, particularly in South Carolina, are unable to see what is going on inside the schools themselves. Growing up where a public-school teaching job was competitive, I never realized in some areas, there are unqualified teachers and unsafe learning environments.

In a recent presentation, Minimally Adequate, presented at The College, educators and intern spoke of these problems within the education system in South Carolina. A colleague and former RA of mine, Rodrick, spoke and posed a question to the audience in which the results shocked me.

He asked, "how many of you have had a black, male teacher?" Maybe 10 out of 150 people raised their hand. This is a problem many are blind to, and it's safe to say, I would've questioned why it was such a big issue before listening to Roderick's presentation.

Becoming a teacher is so much greater than making lesson plans and forcing information into our student's heads. Being a teacher is being someone for children to not only learn from but to grow from, both intellectually and socially. Children look up to their role models and want to eventually grow into their role models.

With that being said, we need more black, male educators, and we need them now. Where do we see black males besides in TV shows and movies? And that is great, but what if they don't want to be a movie star or a singer? The more minority educators we have, the more they will influence young black students, to be confident enough to grow into educators themselves. And that is where you are making a greater impact than the average teacher.

So, thank you. Thank you both for being so passionate to educate future students so we can better the lives of all Americans. "Teaching is so rewarding" is a common phrase everyone says, but no one truly believes until they teach.

Yes, teaching is rewarding. We don't do it for the money, clearly, or for the benefits. We solely teach because of our love for children. No one is going to spend 4 years of lesson planning and student teaching if they don't truly want to pursue a career in teaching.

Your excitement on the show, without a doubt, made me cry- happy tears of course. Your enthusiasm showed what kind of teachers you are going to be, and excitement is contagious. Your excitement is what will encourage the students to want to learn. Your smiles beamed all because you got into the school of your choice, to pursue your dream career, which shows your passion for teaching. Smiles in the classroom create a safe learning environment, also making students electrified to learn.

You will be a father figure to those without, and you will make as a great an impact as Victoria Merritt made on you. We are so grateful for you and I am so excited to work with you.

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To The Defeated Nursing Major, You'll Rise

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

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You will have weeks when you are defeated. Some mornings you won't be able to get out of bed and some days you won't be able to stop crying enough to go to class. You'll feel like nobody understands the stress that you are under, and you have absolutely nobody to talk to because they either don't get it or are dealing with their own meltdowns. There will be weeks that you want to change your major and give up on the whole thing. But, you'll rise.
You will miss football games, concerts, and nights out with the girls. There will be stretches of two or more weeks you'll go without seeing your mom, and months where you have to cancel on your best friend 4+ times because you have too much studying to do. There will be times where no amount of "I'm sorry" can make it up to your little brother when you miss his big football game or your grandparents when you haven't seen them in months. But, you'll rise.

You will have patients who tell you how little they respect nurses and that you won't be able to please no matter how hard you try. You will have professors who seem like their goal is to break you, especially on your bad days. You will encounter doctors who make you feel like the most insignificant person on the planet. You will leave class some days, put your head against your steering wheel and cry until it seems like there's nothing left to cry out. But, you'll rise.

You will fail tests that you studied so hard for, and you will wing some tests because you worked too late the night before. You will watch some of the smartest people you've ever known fail out because they simply aren't good test-takers. You will watch helplessly as your best friend falls apart because of a bad test grade and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do for her. There will be weeks that you just can't crack a smile no matter how hard you try. But, you'll rise.

You'll rise because you have to — because you've spent entirely too much money and effort to give up that easily. You'll rise because you don't want to let your family down. You'll rise because you're too far in to stop now. You'll rise because the only other option is failing, and we all know that nurses do not give up.

You'll rise because you remember how badly you wanted this, just three years ago as you were graduating high school, with your whole world ahead of you. You'll rise because you know there are people that would do anything to be in your position.

You'll rise because you'll have one patient during your darkest week that'll change everything — that'll hug you and remind you exactly why you're doing this, why this is the only thing you can picture yourself doing for the rest of your life.

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

You'll rise because you have compassion, you are selfless, and you are strong. You'll rise because even during the darkest weeks, you have the constant reminder that you will be changing the world someday.

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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