Leaving For Winter Break Is Hard When You're In School

Leaving For Winter Break Is Hard When You're In School

Having friends that make going back to school so exciting is such a special thing.
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Finals are finally over and the serenity that is winter break is finally upon us. No more classes, no more homework, no more papers, and the best of all, no more stress of school in general. Fall semester is finally over and you are now able to go home, relax, and reunite with your family and friends from home. The holidays are also coming up which is exciting enough in itself. Everything just seems to be absolutely perfect at the moment.

Reality sets in as you realize that you have said goodbye to your school friends and won’t see them again for about a month. Everyone that you’ve grown to know and love throughout the fall semester will go back to their old lives for a while. Many of your friends could be traveling hours away to get back home, leaving them at a large distance from you. Everyone will be on different schedules and the struggle to stay in touch will begin. Unfortunately, the many group chats, FaceTimes, texts, phone calls, and snapchats cannot fill the emptiness that you feel until you are able to reunite with your friends. While definitely not impossible, it will certainly be difficult to stay in touch as much as you may like.

While a month may not seem like that it’s that long, being away from your closest friends can make it seem longer than ever. The most important thing to remember is that you’ll be reunited soon enough. Attempt to distract yourself in order to make the time fly by faster. Take some time to enjoy your family and home because before you know it, you’ll be back at school surrounded by stress and you’ll be wishing that you had better cherished your time at home.

Your old friends may have known you for years but they may not have met the person that you’ve become since leaving for college. They won’t understand all of the inside jokes that you’ve made with your new friends. You’ll have to tell all of the stories and memories that you’ve experienced since the last time you were home. This may seem like a hassle but having friends that make going back to school exciting is such a special thing. Cherish the fact that you have these friends while still appreciating your home friends. When you finally get back to school for the spring semester, you’ll be reunited with your friends and everything will go back to the way it was. Until summer break, that is.


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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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Morning Workouts Are the Best Workouts

Prove me wrong.

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When I was a senior in high school, busy filling out all of the college applications and essays that came along with them, I received one prompt whose response has stuck with me to this day. It asked me to describe my most ideal day, and my immediate answer was one that began with an early morning workout.

Three years later, a junior in college, I'm trying to reinsert my early morning workouts into my life. It's definitely not easy, and there are plenty of mornings where I wake up and "accidentally" fall back asleep until well past the beginning of my CrossFit class. Each morning that I do this, I wake up (for the second time) with a regretful feeling in the pit of my stomach. To most people, this makes no sense. Even when I don't work out in the morning, I wake up at 7:30 a.m. and am usually very productive with my morning. This productivity is what drives my day; immediately getting up and getting going. However, there is no productivity that compares to a morning workout, especially with the intensity and community that CrossFit can often bring.

This little ode to workouts at dawn goes out to my original 5 a.m. workout crew, because they are still some of the most inspirational people I've ever met. Now that I'm down at school, if I work out early in the morning it's usually at 6:30 a.m. The similarity, however, between this 6:30 a.m. class and my original morning class at 5 a.m., is that it is dark when I arrive, and by the time I leave, the sun is beginning to rise or it has already risen.

This is one of the most special aspects of working out so early in the morning; you get to rise with the day itself. It is so easy to be tired and feel like you should be sleeping when it is still dark outside; that is how our bodies are wired. However, when you wake up while it is still dark, and work hard for an hour as the sun re-emerges from its slumber, it also ignites the start of your day.

I always say that the toughest part of working out at 5 a.m., or 6:30 a.m., or whenever it may be, is actually waking up and getting up. I set my alarms five minutes prior to when I need to get up and get ready for this exact reason. I need some buffer time to wrestle with myself over whether to actually begin preparing for the gym, and the best outcome is always when the gym wins over. I'm able to offset the battle a little bit by laying out my clothes ahead of time, so I just roll out of bed and jump into my clothes and get on my way. Once that first roll is complete, the rest is just continuing with what you know and letting muscle memory take over.

The best part of working out dark and early, comes afterward. Most people are not even awake, especially in college, and I've already completed one of the most important parts of my day. It is ticking a major box off for me, and it immediately gets me rolling into the rest of my day. There is no slowness or grogginess because I am able to jump right in, already having achieved so much. That's the thing about morning workouts; no matter how well or poorly you perform, you still did it. Right away, and you have already set the tone for an amazing day.

I was hesitant when I first began working out so early in the morning, whether it was before long days in high school and now long days in college. However, what truly kept me coming back every morning, and what still makes me get up at 4:18 a.m. even when I'm home during winter break, is the people I get to workout with at 5 a.m. These individuals are truly amazing people. Being a student is difficult, but ultimately if I need to nap or do a little less homework that day, then I have that option. However, the individuals in my morning workouts, especially those who are mothers and business owners, and doctors, and lawyers do not quite have that option. They work out early because that is their time to take and to make their own, and kickstart their day. It's amazing and it's something that is replicated through early morning workout classes everywhere. The go-getters get up and start their day with a win, every day.

Working out before dawn is not for everyone. Some people just can't be functional at that time, and for some individuals (and for me sometimes), it doesn't make sense because we go to bed too late and need proper sleep to function during the day. However, I think working out so early in the morning is something that everyone should try at least once in their lives. There is truly no better way to start the day than with a workout, than with grasping the potential of that day and of working toward goals first thing in the morning. You have the opportunity to start your day at the same time that the sun is starting its day, and only bright things are on the horizon.

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