To My Former Middle School Self

To My Former Middle School Self

Trust me, it gets better.
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First, chill out. Struggling with science or math is not the end of the world. It may feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t get it, but you shouldn’t feel so ashamed of yourself. You’re doing the best you can with what you are given. Just accept the help that is offered to you and don’t feel embarrassed for needing it. Each and every one of the seemingly perfect people around you will one day find something that makes them feel just as confused and lost as you feel in pre-algebra. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to teach yourself things in the way that is best for you, which will be immeasurably helpful once high school and college come around.

Second, don’t care so much about people who judge you because you’re different. At some point in your life, it really is going to be a virtue to be different from everyone else. Middle school is a time when everyone is desperate to fit in, and you will have some trouble finding your “clique.” The way to solve this is not by trying to convince your parents to buy you the purses or shoes that the other girls have. Don't feel bad about the fact that you don't know what all trends are. The reason that you don't fit in well with those girls is not because you have crooked teeth or don't wear makeup to school. You'll hear people say this so many times on TV and in books and think that it's just a stupid cliché, but it really is true that physical appearance is not the most important part of a person.

Next, don't feel ashamed of your interests. People may say you're a nerd, but I am here to tell you that being a nerd is in no way a bad thing. Their approval is not what you should be striving for right now. Don’t try to change who you are just to make them like you. Keep watching your science fiction shows and classic movies, read in your spare time, and do as much art as you want. The world needs more people like you and, eventually, you will meet people who share your interests and connect with your personality. It feels like you're the only person in the entire school who enjoys the things that you enjoy, but don't let that stop you. SPOILER ALERT: it doesn't, and I am so immensely proud of you because of that.

Lastly, I want you to know that the best times of your life are ahead of you. Even though you may feel like an outcast now, you will come to realize that being surrounded by people who think they're better than you is not what friendship is supposed to be. You'll instead find people who accept you for who you are and who you can be completely yourself with. The times with them will be the best ones of your life. You'll be motivated to strive to do the best you can in school. Your confidence will grow. You will become more willing to put yourself out there, and you will be rewarded.

So here’s to you. Keep up the good work. And trust me, it gets better.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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A Recent Sports Bra Suspension At Rowan University Has Gotten Female Athletes Outraged

A recent ban was placed on the Men and Women's Cross Country Athletes from using their designated practice facility.

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UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, Rowan University administration has released a statement ending the sports bra ban and a statement regarding the usage of athletic facilities by the Cross Country team.

If you're running in a sports bra, then you must be asking for it, right? Well, according to a football player at Rowan University, this is true.

I'll have you know the real reason women run in sports bras, and it's not to show off our hard-earned abs. Women, whether they have a six-pack or not, run in sports bras because, quite frankly, it's hot outside. We run in sports bras because our workouts are demanding, challenging, and vigorous.

We run in sports bras because we are confident, hardworking student-athletes.

We do not run in a sports bra as a way to show off our bodies in attempts to distract men.

Out of the 15 Rowan University Women Cross Country athletes, all of them believe running in sports bras at practice should be allowed. Even the girls who don't partake in shirtless runs at practice still believe the other members of the team should be permitted to wear whatever they feel confident in.

The Cross Country team at Rowan is one of the only teams that is not provided with a daily uniform to practice in. With that being said, how is it expected for the women on this team to partake in an non-existing dress code?

A meeting was held with the Women's Cross Country Coach and the Athletic Director to address this issue resulting in the verdict of the women on the team no longer being able to run in sports bras. If that wasn't already enough of an outrage, it was also decided the women were no longer allowed to run on the track.

Women running around the track in sports bras at their own practice were claimed to be distracting to the football players on the field during the same time.

As if the women no longer being able to run in sports bras wasn't enough, now they're no longer allowed to run on the track, period. The girls are now mandated to run on the local high school track on workout days.

In 2015, Rowan University officially finished their new $4.6 million athletic practice facility. The practice facility includes two fields for football, soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse athletes. There is a dedicated practice area for each team. The men and women Cross Country teams have their track. Now they no longer have that privilege.

The problem here is not the women on the team. The problem is not the women wearing sports bras. The problem is not women's bodies.

Rape culture is the problem.

The fact that the Athletic Department supports the claim of this being distracting, or the women "asking for it," is disgusting. Mind you, the Athletic Department put together a video involving student-athletes addressing rape culture and how it is not tolerated here. Oh, is that so?

"As girls, we could look at the football team and say that their tight pants showing off everything is asking for it, but we don't. When we are on the track, we are doing a hard workout that requires all our focus, so we aren't looking at them and what they are doing. If they are distracted by us, then their practices clearly don't require their full attention, or they just aren't as committed to the sport." -Anonymous source

In the world of professional athletics, all female Elite runners are permitted to wear racing crop tops. Not only are they non-restricting, but they are a trendy, comfortable, and empowering part of the running culture.

As women, we are constantly reminded that we should be ashamed or embarrassed about our bodies. It's 2018, and yet women are still being objectified with their physical appearance.

As a nation, we are taking a step back into history, and as a University, we are teaching student-athletes that this is acceptable.

The women on this team not only represent the University but the growing community of female runners. It's time women are allowed to embrace their bodies and not live in constant fear of being degraded by men.

Women, athletes or not, deserve to use their voice and take a stance. The future generations are watching. Let's set a good example.


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The Honest Truth About Stress

This is exactly what you need to hear

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Stress is draining. It takes all of our energy, our focus, and just makes us feel almost useless.

When we are stressed we lose our focus on what we are stressed about and focus on how our stress is causing more stress. We take bubble baths, watch movies, put on face masks, we do whatever it takes to make our stress go away and often times it never does.

Lou Holtz says "it's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." Our stress is so draining because we don't know how to carry it. We look at all these tips and tricks on how to organize our lives, we have Pinterest boards devoted to relaxation and healthy living, but when we get stressed we honestly don't know what to do.

There is no cure for stress.

Or is there?

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Our trials, seen in the right way, can produce joy. Our trials bring us perseverance and the fact that we can face one and then face another, and another after that is truly magnificent. Yes, stress is draining, but how often do we look at a road filled with green lights and say "wow all of those green lights really helped strengthen my patience"? No, we learn patience through getting red lights or getting stuck behind slow drivers when we're in a rush.

Everyone knows that stress kills joy, but when we look at stress from the end rather than the beginning or being stuck right in the middle it changes everything. It makes us think, it forces us to be uncomfortable, and best of all once we're through it there is always joy.

Stress drains us, but it also challenges us. It grows us and allows us to see that we are capable of doing more and being more. As Thanksgiving comes, we can be thankful for the hard times because we know they bring goodness.

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