Making The Most Of College

Making The Most Of College

Always focus on the good vibes - and in Charleston, that's easy.
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If you know me personally, you’ve probably heard me say this a million times — my life is crazy and so much has changed all at once. I feel like the theme of everything I write is: it’ll be fine, things get better and life is crazy. I believe in trying to make the best of where you are. Whether “where you are” is referring to your state of mind or the actual state or city you’re living in, either one applies.

During my first semester at the College of Charleston, I learned not everyone tries to make the best of their situation. I’m so fortunate to live in a happy city which I love. I'm thankful that the college I chose was the perfect place for me. Some people don’t like The College. It’s either that the south is not for them, they want to transfer to a larger school, they’re too far from home or they just don’t want to live in the city. I understand the college someone chooses might not always be the place they need to be or the place they’ll be the happiest. During freshmen year, everyone is trying to find the right group of friends, pass the first semester of classes and figure all this “adulting” sh*t out. I don’t blame people who do not like the place they’re in right now, but I do believe your attitude about the situation makes all the difference.

I felt such a warm welcome from The College when I first arrived— I felt like my professors genuinely cared about me, my classes weren’t in giant lecture halls full of 200 students (all my first semester classes had around 30 people) and all of my advisers, RAs and peers were always there for me when I needed someone to talk to or someone to listen to me while I was adjusting to my first semester. I sincerely felt like everyone cared about me when I was having a hard time, and I felt personal connections to most people I met whether they were faculty or students. Before college, I always heard horrible stories about professors being really rude to students or not caring about getting to know their students on a personal level. My experience has been completely different, and I have never felt so much love from teachers who hardly know me. I believe people really care here and when people hate on The College it makes me really sad because this is the place for me. It makes me upset because I didn’t have a perfect first semester, but I wanted to make the best out of my time.

Sh*t happens — people are mean, you fail a test or miss an assignment, you stay out too late or just don’t do what you’re supposed to do all the time. In the grand scheme of things, life is very short so enjoy your time right now even when everything doesn’t go the way you thought it would. I think Charleston is a good-vibes-city in general — whether you’re going out at night or taking a stroll to the Battery after classes. I’m really happy here, and when things don’t go my way, I’m still going to be right here in Charleston living it up and making the best of where I am.

Cover Image Credit: College of Charleston School of Business MBA

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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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Getting Healthy Is Way More Than Just Losing That Extra Weight

Creating healthy habits.

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So many of us have the idea in our head that being healthy is about reaching a "goal weight" and staying there. Understandable. However, it's much more complex than just shedding the weight. Health is not black and white. It looks different for everyone and has multiple dimensions. A big thing to consider when trying to get healthy again is to ask yourself why you're doing it. What are your goals? What is driving you to make this life change? How can you improve not only your physical health, but also your mental and social health?

These are all factors to put into perspective in order to get the most out of a new lifestyle change.

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Starting this new chapter of college has made it clear to me how I want to feel in going about my day-to-day life. I want to make sure that I feel healthy and happy going into these next few years of my life. It's very important, to me, to engage in a healthy lifestyle to maximize my potential going into the future. The same is true for many people. You want to make the change, but don't understand that the weight isn't the only factor of health. Don't get me wrong, it is great to get back to a weight that you are comfortable with. Getting to that place requires a lot of hard work and determination. Try not to neglect the areas of your life that don't have a tie to your body image. It's equally as important to maintain healthy relationships, healthy values, healthy thoughts, and healthy boundaries.

It's not an easy thing to do, to be healthy in all areas of your life. As a matter of fact, I don't feel like that's really possible to ensure health in every single part of your life. Try not to make perfection a goal. It's not something that you'll ever reach. If you're striving for perfection, you've already lost the battle. Instead, try to strive for progress and positivity. Most importantly, love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle.

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