A Testament To Myself In My Last Week Of Freshman Year

A Testament To Myself In My Last Week Of Freshman Year

I really grew up during my freshman year.
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If you had asked me if I was ready to come home from college on August 31st of 2017, I would have said absolutely. However, if you had asked me that same question on September 1st of 2017, not even 24 hours later, I would have happily told you that my mind had forever changed.

Coming to college was a very difficult obstacle for me, as I am sure it is for numerous freshman. I was scared to be leaving my family, my friends, and everything I had become familiar with growing up in the same house, the same school, and with the same people since childhood. The weeks leading up to move-in day were filled with tears, animosity, and fear.

To begin, I was convinced that the University I was attending was not right for me. While everyone else in my life told me that the University of Delaware was the school they thought I was meant to attend, I couldn't help but feel uneasy and lost because in my mind it was far from where I wanted to be. I had a specific image in my head that I should be attending James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. In my mind, I was a Duke, certainly not a Blue Hen.

I struggled a lot with the thought of not being able to attend my first choice college especially having had a particularly rough senior year of high school. After dealing with the death of a friend, a breakup, a friend group split, various mental health issues, and tremendously tough academic year, I felt that this was just the icing on the cake for me.

I felt trapped in a situation that I could not control and with no one around me who truly understood the feelings I had. However, it took me less than 24 hours after arriving on campus to realize that I needed to have an open mind and everything was going to turn out alright for me for the long haul.

I learned many things about myself upon attending the University of Delaware. For starters, I realized that I was, in fact, proud to be a Blue Hen. I realized that college is not about the university you attend, rather about the new friends you encounter, the numerous memories you will make, the opportunities you are given, and the actions you take to change the community around you.

I also learned that there is no better feeling than walking through campus, seeing the livelihood and camaraderie of fellow students, taking in the beauty and realizing the prosperity around you. It is truly amazing to understanding the genuine feeling of being happy in an environment where you though happiness would never exist.

It amazes me to see the new person I have become since attending the University of Delaware. I have grown as an individual, and benefitted from the multitude of opportunities the community around me offers. I have accomplished so many personal goals as well as academic goals that I set for myself in the beginning of the year.

I have found a career path that I am passionate for, I am an active leader in my residence hall, I have excelled academically and made the Dean's List, I am a member of the University of Delaware Swim Club, I have grown and become stronger in my faith, and most importantly I have found pure happiness that I did not foresee leading up to college. I am proud of who I have become, and I hold such pride in my school that I now understand that I do not want to be anywhere else but Delaware.

As the days are dwindling down, I cannot help but find myself reminiscing on the many wonders freshman year has thrown my way. I have overcome, explored, and accomplished many things I never thought possible. I have made countless memories and friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime.

I am surprised to see that I am deeply saddened at the thought of returning home for the summer. While I am more than thrilled to be back with my family and friends at home, I will miss the University of Delaware more than I can possibly explain. I will miss the late nights spent in the library studying for exams, the early morning coffee runs spent with my friends before classes, the constant laughter I have shared with my floor mates, the familial bond I have made with my roommate, and the never ending outpouring of love and adventure that is the University of Delaware.

When I look back on the feelings of uncertainty, fear, and heartbreak that I had after deciding to come to the University of Delaware, I happy and proud to see how much I have grown. It is funny to see how last August I was crying because I didn't want to be at the University of Delaware, and now I am crying because I can't picture myself anywhere else. It is almost scary how fast my freshman year passed by (in my head I am still convinced September was last week), but I am more than excited to take on the next three years as a proud Blue Hen and continue my many adventures at the best place on earth.

Cover Image Credit: Theresa Manganiello

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5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.
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If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.


Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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The Ultimate Fall-Themed Bucket List To Make The Most Of Your Autumn

Here's a list of my bucket list for the next couple months.

Saige
Saige
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Fall is my all time favorite time of the year! October through December are the best months because the weather is amazing and all of the holidays are full of family and fun. There is just something about the fall air that makes the world so enjoyable. Pumpkin spice and football games are just a few of the beautiful things autumn has to offer.

Here are the top places my friends and I have been talking about doing these next couple weeks (and I guess we will see if we end up making it to all these places and doing these things)...

1. 31 nights of Halloween

31 nights of Halloween is new this year to Freeform, and I could not be more excited! 31 days is so much better than the usual 13 days.

2. Haunted House

Who doesn't love being terrified? Haunted houses are always so fun and the time leading up to it is always fun as well. Haunted houses and scary corn mazes are the best part of October.

3. A pumpkin patch

You can't have fall without pumpkins, and the pumpkin patch is the best place for that.

4. Carve the perfect pumpkin and roast the seeds

I don't remember the last time I carved a pumpkin, I am sure my skills have gotten a little better. Growing up the best part about carving pumpkins was always roasting the seeds after and putting cinnamon and sugar on them.

5. Halloween party

Dressing up for Halloween is one of the best parts about October because for one night you can be whoever you want. The decorations at Halloween parties are always so cute and creative as well.

6. Try everything pumpkin spice

This time of the year is most famous for everything becoming pumpkin flavor from coffee to ice cream and everything in between.

7. Decorating 

I love decorating and seeing all the different decorations for fall and halloween everywhere.

8. K-State football game & tailgate

Nothing is better than a nice crisp day cheering on the Wildcats to a victory in the Bill.

9. Shopping

Shopping is my favorite thing to do no matter the season, but shopping for fall clothes is the most fun. Finding cute sweaters and scarves to layer your outfits is my favorite.

These are just a few of the many things I want to do before it is too late and hopefully this gave you and your friends some ideas on what to do this fall!

Saige
Saige

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