Another Letter To Mr. Kreinbring

Another Letter To Mr. Kreinbring

Don't post pictures of the eng wing if you don't want sappy letters in response.
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Dear Rick,

(Am I allowed to call you Rick to your face yet? Sorry, sorry.)

Dear Mr. Kreinbring,

I think I've written you too many letters already, and I'm sure you're tired of reading them. But I saw the picture of you and the eng wing dressed up for Halloween (minus a few faces) and I just couldn't help getting nostalgic. Like Tanya said, the eng wing never fails to disappoint. Never.

God, I miss you guys. I miss your class. I miss our discussions and our design thinking. I miss talking about feminism and religion and language. I miss the way you would teach us and essentially blow up our minds and then send us on our way.

Mostly though, I miss the way you grounded us. Since being here on campus, I've somehow forgotten the most important lesson you ever taught me: to give up the race for grades and follow the pursuit of knowledge.

College is insane, needless to say. The competition here is fierce. Every kid is the brightest, smartest, most talented kid. Everyone looks like they have their shit together, even if they don't. And classes are tough. (By the way, thanks for teaching me how to research so I'm not entirely lost with these 12,912,839 research papers I have to write by the end of the week. Also, thanks for teaching me how to write; that's a skill I've capitalized on beyond reasonable measure.) But yeah, college is intense. And somehow, I managed to slip back into 11th grade mentality, back into the Cave. You know, with the insistent push for GOOD GRADES and DON'T MESS ANYTHING UP EVER!!!!!!!! I started looking, no, obsessing over my GPA again. Oops. I know, I know, I'm sorry.

Seeing your face in the Addam's Family costume reminded me to take a step back and gain some perspective. Today I realized that I am literally at a place where I am surrounded on all four sides by information. For the next few years, any question I have, ANY question at all, I can get an answer to if I just look hard enough. That's what amazing resources I have at my finger tips. I'm here to learn, not to race. I remember that now. You've reminded me of that.

Sure, GPA matters and all, but oh my god, no it doesn't! What matters is that I'm learning things, things I'm probably not going to have such easy access to ever again. I can learn anything I want to. I don't need to be scared.

I remember you once agreeing with Mrs. Allan that you hated the whole concept of open letters, because they're just irritating and not ever well-written and are just an excuse for people to sound self-important. Yikes. I'm sorry I chose to make this an open letter, but I think that more people need to hear the things that you're teaching at Avondale, especially a lot of my peers.

Ben Zaremba, just a few days ago, said something like, "We don't even realize the impact that Avondale had on us. We had diversity and Rick's class," and those two things taught us more than any number of AP or IB courses ever could have.

Damn, I wish I could bring you and Eng Wing with me wherever I go. I wish you could always be there to spread your wisdom (yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes). But I'll just keep your lessons in mind. I'll remember the things you've taught me. I'll be grateful for where I come from and the memories I'm taking with me.

Even so many miles away and so many months later, you still continue to inspire. That's powerful.

Thank you for everything, again, because I'll never stop saying thank you.

Riya

Cover Image Credit: Vipul Gupta

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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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5 Truths About Being An Ag-Comms Major, And None Of Them Involve Talking To Animals

"You're an ag major? That must be easy."

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Being that this is my second year at Kansas State University, I've started to notice some misconceptions about the major I love and know. After introducing myself as an agricultural communications and journalism major, I always receive comments such as "that must be easy" and the famous comment of "so what... you, like, talk to animals?" After being at Kansas State University for a year, along with being an ag major, I comprised a list of the most common misconceptions we as agriculturalist, deal with DAILY.

1. We Didn't All Grow Up In The Boondocks

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We all don't go straight off the farm and into the "big city" to go to college. There are TONS of ag majors who grew up in large cities that have a burning passion for agriculture. People need to understand agriculture is EVERYWHERE! Meaning, there is all walks of life on campus...even in the college of agriculture.

2. It's A Lot Harder Than It Looks

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There's an unspoken stigma that people not involved in the industry often assume ag majors simply aren't smart and that our majors are easy. Have you ever taken Reproduction? I didn't think so. If you did, you would tip your hat at every person who made it out alive. We don't just study how to farm and talk to farmers. We learn the structure of crops, every inch of the reproduction tract and how to properly communicate with producers and design their image to their brand.

I invite anyone who thinks agricultural majors are easy to spend a week taking our classes and then see what they have to say. People not involved in the industry may have some pretty off-the-wall misconceptions about what it's like to study agriculture in college. But those of us that live it and breath it know the truth. And most importantly, we know that our passion for the American agriculture industry will only grow as we continue our educations.

3. We Don't All Wear Boots & Cowboy Hats

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Whenever you mention you're an ag major, people picture ripped blue jeans, rugged old co-op shirt and filthy boots. Believe it or not, we too enjoy Nike shorts and tennis shoes. Agriculture has such a bad stigma of being grungy and dirty. As an agricultural communications and journalism major, I personally know appearance is EVERYTHING. How people perceive you can make OR break relationships in the agricultural world.

4. We're Not All Going To Be Vets

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No grandma, I'm not going to school to be a vet. Sorry.

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when people assume you're going to be a vet since you're an ag major... annnnnd if you aren't you're going to be a poor farmer. In reality, jobs in the agricultural field are thriving (and not just vet ones). There are multiple jobs that pay as much as, or more than what vets makes (and should we mention less school?).

5. It's A Small World After All

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The agricultural world is CRAZY small. Everybody knows everybody. Ask anyone in the major, you always find a link to back home. Here's a tip to future ag majors — sit down in class and ask a simple question to the person next to you, "where are you from." I absolutely guarantee you'll find a connection with that person... or through somebody... and the next thing you know you're roommates and best of friends. By saying that, you have to be VERY careful not to burn bridges... because after all, the agricultural industry is a small world after all.

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