College Admissions Scandal

The College Cheating Scandal Proves That Our Culture of College Admissions NEEDS To Change

It's time that we start doing what's right for us.

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Recent news broke out of one of the biggest college admissions scandals in history, where over fifty people were charged with a variety of crimes in order to help their children get into several prestigious colleges across the country. The story has followed the allegations made against Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives," who was accused of paying $15,000 towards an organization that helped her daughter cheat and receive better SAT scores. And even more importantly publicized was the story of Lori Loughlin, star of "Full House," and her husband, indicted for supposedly paying over $500,000 to get their daughters as athletic recruits for the University of Southern California's crew team though neither of the girls played the sport.

The news of these offenses greatly struck a chord with me. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have been watching Full House ever since I was a little girl and have always looked up to a woman like Lori Loughlin, more commonly referred to as "Aunt Becky." Or maybe it's because I have recently been following the life of one of her daughters' Olivia Jade, who has taken the YouTube community by storm and showcasing her love for fashion, makeup, and lifestyle. Although Olivia's intentions and feelings about school have been put into question in the past, I also really admired her and loved watching her videos.

However, I think what really hit home about this story is that I was just in this position not too long ago. The anticipation of standardized testing and applying to colleges is marked as one of the most stressful periods for any teenager, and going to a large, reputable high school like mine only exacerbated this pressure. Taking endless amounts of APs, faking symptoms of disorders such as ADHD to get extra time on tests, and spending thousands of dollars on tutors and essay coaches were the norm. The pressure to do well and get into the best colleges was enormous, and people went to drastic measures to make that happen. My graduating class alone not only had representation to every single Ivy league, but over thirty students receive a perfect score on their ACT...just take a moment to think about that.

Unlike many of my peers, I was not fortunate enough to have tutors or essay coaches—I studied and completed endless practice tests for the ACT and wrote and edited every essay myself, without even the help from my parents. Even though this frustrated me, it was the hard work that I put in myself that made getting into four well-known and highly-ranked universities an even greater accomplishment. I got into college on my own merit, and no one can take that away with me.

I do believe, though, that there is nothing wrong with getting a little extra help and finding the necessary resources to make sure that you are doing the best you can, especially those who truly need it. But it is those people, the Laughlin's included, who have gone beyond the extra mile and resorted to extreme measures that I find unnecessary and rather ridiculous. I spent a lot of time the other day reading the indictments of the various cases themselves, and I am just appalled at the results. I'm not sure exactly what the intentions were, but it does make me question the idea that these parents didn't believe in their children enough. Because honestly, if they were meant to get into those schools and go there, they would have on their own accord.

You don't want to set someone up for a situation where a school is too challenging and they aren't prepared enough just because it is so-called "better." What people often forget sometimes is that college is not about the name or the brand, it's about finding the place where you belong and will succeed the best. The truth of the matter is, whether Olivia Jade went to USC or community college, she would be fine no matter where she went because she would be doing what is best for her.

I'm sure that each of these parents thought that what they were doing was in the best interest of their children, but the drastic measures they went to were not only wrong (and illegal) but are sending the wrong message.

In all honesty, this is surely not the first time that someone has cheated or bribed their way into college, and certainly won't be the last. With college commitment day just shy of a month away, I really hope that stories like these are not showing students that it is okay to lie and cheat to get what you want, but rather that the gratification of hard work and self-reliance is most important. Every single college in this country is great in their own ways, and a teacher, a friend, a parent, or a ranking number does not change that. Just because a school is "better" does not mean that it is better for YOU.

Do I wish that my ACT score went up a few points? Yes. Would I have liked to get into my so-called "reach" schools because of their prestige and reputation? Absolutely. But I know that I am at the right school for me, and one extra point on a test or acceptance isn't going to change that. I hope that a scandal as controversial as this one will hopefully help shed light onto the problems with the college admissions process and the wrong messages it may be sending. Instead, we should be teaching students to become their own advocates and strive for academic excellence that is right for them.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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Body Image Lessons That I Didn't Learn From A Professor

What I realized about body image my freshman year of college

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Girls usually struggle with self image in general. But the game changes when it's time to go to college. When you are constantly surrounded by your peers, you begin to compare all of the little things they do to you. You compare their bodies to yours. You try to figure out what they are doing that you're not. Or vice versa, why they don't have to do anything to look the way they do. But by the end of my first year, I realized that I would never be happy with myself if I kept thinking this way. So I recorded some realizations I had throughout the year that helped me to improve my body image.

My body is, and never will be the same as any other girl... and that's okay

Different sized and shaped strawberries

https://picjumbo.com/strawberries-with-yellow-background/

It can be so easy in college to compare your body to the girls that surround you. Like the one's live with and you see on a daily basis. There is no point in comparing apples to oranges, so why would you compare your body to a girl who was made completely different? So what you can't fit into her party pants, you can rock another pair just as well.

What works for her, might not work for me

Daily Planner

https://kaboompics.com/photo/9447/planners-organizers-in-bed-women-s-home-office

With different body types, comes different food and exercise needs. Some girls don't need to work out or eat healthy to keep a slim frame. Some girls are naturally muscular. Your routine needs to be catered to you, and there is no need to analyze what someone else eats or does to try to attain their stature. You have to do what feels right for YOUR body to have a good self image.

Don't spend too much time on istagram

https://stocksnap.io/photo/JUC6R3PPLE

Obviously social media effects our body image because of how easily and frequently photos are edited and then presented for the most likes. So if there is a certain account that always makes you feel bad when you see their content, unfollow, and take that aspect out of your life. However, because social media is unavoidable you can't completely escape all the provoking images. So when scrolling, think positively about those who's pictures you see, don't compare, and be aware of the previous lessons.

It's okay for your body to fluctuate

https://pixabay.com/photos/scale-diet-fat-health-tape-weight-403585/

The weight and look of your body can easily fluctuate, It's just natural. And in the same way your life fluctuates, your body may follow along and thats not a big deal! In exam season, there might not be enough time to go to the gym everyday. Or during the holidays there might be an increase of indulgence in treats. But its all okay as long as your getting things done or enjoying life. The only time it becomes an issue if the fluctuations turn unhealthy.

Cut out the negativity

https://snap-photos.s3.amazonaws.com/img-thumbs/960w/4JS6X4XCW1.jpg

If a friend is constantly complaining to you about their body, it can trigger distress in you, and set you back. So if someone else's body image issues are interfering with you mentally, you need to call them out on their B.S. or stop allowing them say those things in front of you.

Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in

https://cdn.cliqueinc.com/cache/posts/216319/-2084176-1487185433.700x0c.jpg

If you wear things that you feel comfortable in, then you wont constantly be thinking about how your stomach, legs, or arms look throughout the day. Wear something that you are confident in, even if it means wearing leggings every day of the week!

I'm not a little kid anymore, therefore my body is not going to look like one

https://unsplash.com/photos/sGSBkfK1hJU

Curves and changes that come after high school can take anyone by surprise, but it's supposed to happen. You can't really be mad at biology...you can only find the beauty in it.

Everyone has their own insecurities

https://jimsomerville.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/girl-looking-in-mirror.jpg?w=640

Even if someone has your ideal body, odds are they still despise theirs. I have met friends in college that are stick skinny, yet are self conscious about it. I know curvy girls that are very insecure. And even an "average" body type has a thousand things that they nit-pick about themselves. No one has their dream body and never will, which is why I had to learn to love the little things about mine.

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