To My College A Cappella Group, Thank You For Believing In Me

To My College A Cappella Group, Thank You For Believing In Me

GW a cappella is just like Pitch Perfect minus the drama and competition, all taking place in our nation's capital.


Two years ago around this time, I thought I was going to attend a four-year conservatory for musical theatre.

Boy was I wrong.

If someone had told me that I would be attending one of the top 10 schools of journalism in the country, I would have laughed in their face. I always had a love for the creative things in life, and for the most part, I always envisioned my career surrounding that. I could never picture myself being like all of my classmates, being pumped out of the machine of college admissions only to spend the rest of my life in a cubicle crunching numbers.

Over the summer I read a book, recommended by one of the professors I met at Colonial Inauguration (GW's version of freshman orientation). It's called Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz. Throughout the book, Deresiewicz discusses the corrupt system that young adults are forced to enter immediately after high school. Not only do guidance counselors put pressure on students to follow a "reliable career path" like being a doctor or lawyer, but the same pressure exists among peers. If I had a penny for every ivy-league-admit at my high school who talked about their "pre-med" track before even getting to college, I'd be a millionaire.

Also in the book, Deresiewicz talks about how to escape this process that quite literally treats students like numbers. He emphasizes creativity and the importance of having hobbies in college. Not only does this make you unique and fulfilled as a human being, but also probably more employable.

So, yes, music did not work out for me professionally. But that doesn't mean I can't keep it as a passion. Within the first week of college, I auditioned for every a cappella group and honestly did not think much of it. I didn't think I'd get into any and didn't care that much because freshman year was already a huge adjustment.

That night, I heard knocking at my dorm room door just after midnight. Slightly annoyed, I opened the door and to my surprise, a huge group of girls started singing to me a welcome song, holding a sign that said, "Welcome to the Sirens Izzy!" I just about died right then and there. We woke up everyone in the hallway and I didn't even care. We all did a group hug and from that moment on, I knew these girls would be so special to me.

The GW Sirens are an all female a cappella group that emphasizes values of feminism and overall support for every woman. Having performed on the Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and MILCK for the original #icantkeepquiet project, I am truly honored to be part of such an amazing group. We sing songs by Janelle Monáe, SZA, Travis Scott, Beyonce, and HAIM— just to name a few.

I seriously have never laughed harder than with this group of girls. They are always there for me whenever I need them, for any reason whatsoever. They are the most caring, understanding, beautiful, and downright hilarious people I've ever met. Each member is majoring in something different— from cognitive neuroscience to human services.

So, thank you GW Sirens for welcoming me with open arms and believing in me. Thank you for teaching me to hold standards— for myself and everyone who comes into my life. Thank you for validating my thoughts. Thank you for teaching me not to be ashamed of who I am.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.

College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

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


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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