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To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before...
NASA is a boo.
One of the things that I love most is space. I am a HUGE space nerd. Literally ask any of my friends. I was first introduced to space when my dad dragged me to see Star Trek. Since walking out of that movie theater in 6th grade, becoming an astronaut hasn't been just some wild dream that could come true.
This is going to seem weird coming from a girl, but I have become a huge space nerd. On my ceiling- glow in the dark stars. On my walls- posters of the stars and planets. Next to my window- a cardboard cutout of Captain Kirk. My love for space started out as any secret obsession would, so I never truly voiced it to anybody. My whole perspective had been changed by this movie because I realized that I wanted to see the world, not just traveling to Europe or another country, but really seeing it-from above.
While reading about Scott Kelly and the International Space Station, the light bulb turned on: I knew nothing about the space program, so I typed into the Google search bar "women in space." What I found was that there have been 58 women out of 536 astronauts in space. 58 out of 536. While reading this, I realized why voicing my desire to become an astronaut had never happened. Women don't become astronauts; it's not a field that they thrive in. No wonder I never told anyone.
When I did begin to tell people about my dream, I felt afraid as if I were stuck in a horror movie. What if they think this is odd or weird? What if people wouldn't believe in me? What if I begin to think I don't belong in space? When I finally gained enough courage to tell my friends, they laughed it off thinking that I was joking. My parents ignored it and told me to focus on becoming a doctor, expressing that becoming an astronaut is a childish dream and I won't be able to do anything with my life. Their judgments and criticisms stayed with me all through middle school.
But in high school, everything changed. Shaking off the criticisms, I became more interested in space, touring the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Walking through the centers, it was easy to picture me there, testing the zero gravity simulators or riding around in a rover in the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility.
My dream started coming true when I actually applied to an internship at NASA. Filling out the application felt like my astronaut career taking flight. The questions were not foreign to me- they were all about space. 10, 9, 8, 7… I counted down the days until NASA would respond back to my application. Unfortunately, my career was like a failed NASA mission, discovering that the internship was only for college students. However, this did not discourage me. I continued to find more ways to express my interest in space and will continue to, counting down the days until I become an astronaut.
It is said that it is natural human nature to want to explore, which is why we have traveled to space. For me, my curiosity compels me to know what is up in space. We have no clue about anything in space except for our solar system. Space is the biggest mystery and we need to know more. I need to know more. There are trillions of stars, billions of galaxies, millions of solar systems, and thousands of planets that are yet to be discovered, and I want to discover them. I want to know if there are other life forms. I want to know what is beyond Dallas, beyond the Americas, beyond Earth, and beyond the Milky Way. Space is infinite and I want to explore it. To loosely quote the movie that started it all, I want to go boldly where few women have gone before.
The Stories Behind Scars
Some tales of tribulation with permanent impressions.
Everybody has scars. Usually these marks carry a negative connotation because they mark up skin that was once smooth.
When I see a scar, I see something else. I think about how much it probably hurt, of course, but I also think about why it's there in the first place.
Some scars are lessons-- learning when you're five that the iron is really really hot. Some are from a traumatic experience or surgery-- a mark of courage. And the rest are most usually attached to some wild story.
The great thing about scars, is no matter how small, it seems you don't forget why they're there. Each scar has it's own story behind it, and those seem to stick around remarkably well, sometimes more so than the scar itself.
I decided to ask around for the best 'stories behind the scar.' Here are some of the tales I was told:
Marks of Bravery
"When I was a freshman in high school I was at soccer practice and passed out mid warm up run. Come to find out I had a hole in my heart where 90 percent of the wall between my upper chambers were gone mixing the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood causing my heart to work harder and enlarge ten times its normal size. So I had to get open heart surgery to fix the hole or else I would have died before 18 years old-- my doctor said my heart and hole was the largest he'd ever seen. So now I have a nice scar in the middle of my chest." -Brittany M.
"I had a calcium buildup on my arm, and decided to have removal surgery to get rid of the pain, knowing there would be a huge scar after. A surgery intern was the one who closed the incision, and they didn't do a very good job. The scar didn't heal right, so it was much bigger than they expected. A few years later, I watched them cut out the entire scar to fix the damage, which left me with a new one. It's still pretty big, but I used to be very self-conscious about it. Now I have accepted it as part of me. So sometimes when people ask me what happened I like to make up stories (i.e. shark attack, stabbed, car accident), because I get a kick out of it, and who cares anyway?" -Ashley J.
"I saw two guys ganging up on my friend, so I stepped in. Three more guys decided to jump on me. I was fighting those three guys which resulted in a split from my nose to my lip. I remember the shot of novocaine directly in the cut (before the stiches) hurt a lot more than the punch." -Anthony V. (Dad)
'I Don't Remember ALL the Details...' Scars
As I have come to find, many scars happen to be result of a bit too much to drink, and bad decisions (for example, someone I know deciding that burning yourself with a lit cigarette would be hilarious). Sometimes the exact details are fuzzy, but here is a small collection of those tipsy triumphs.
"It was November, and in my town high schoolers go to this place called the "Crater" in the woods to drink. One night I was there and my best friend, Meredith, who was holding my hand, tripped and brought me down with her. My hand was gushing blood so I was holding toilet paper on it that some random kid had in his back pack. A few minutes later I heard from my ex boyfriend say, "where the f*** is Meredith?" Then I heard "what?" I turned and she was on the ground, he was gone, and her nose was bleeding and broken. So we walked together, my hand gushing, her nose gushing. I was worried about her that night, so I didn't get stitches. Now we both have scars from that night." -M.
"I went sailing black-out-drunk and ended up tipping the entire sail boat over. In the process I cut my foot on a broken bottle." -C.
"Well New Year's Eve I went to a party and there was a ton of people. The clock turned midnight and the cops kicked open the door and threw in pepper spray bombs. There was like 100 kids in the room and they barricaded the front door so everyone had to squeeze out the back. It was a normal sized door during a stampede, so my hand got stuck and cut open. Turns out I got it for nothing, we all got trapped by the cops in the back yard anyway." -K.
"I was peeing in the dark, I didn't have much balance at the time. I ended up falling, rolling down a hill, and my hand found a glass bottle at the bottom. I'm just glad it was my hand." -M.
Some scars have stories attached that are just plain funny. (Though, at the time, probably not so funny.)Like, when my brother decided to make french fries while shirtless, resulting in a straight scar across his stomach from the pan.
"I have a scar on my head. Hit it on a moving ceiling fan. It was great." -Ally P
"Me and my brother got into a pillow fight. I saw the pillow coming right for my face, so I put my hand up, punching myself in the face. I started bleeding everywhere and had to get stitches up there. Nobody can really see the scar, but I'll never forget it. My brother sure won that pillow fight." -Katie O.
"I have one on my tongue-- cause I bit through it. And had to get it stitched back on. Because my brother threw a baseball at my face." -Katrina B.
"So I'm four years old and laying on the ground in my brother’s room while he is vacuuming. He took the vacuum and vacuumed my head. I had a bald spot for five years." -Molly K.
"I don't have too many of my own, but Dana I sure as hell remember watching you somersault down the cement bowl of the skate park when I was trying to teach you how to roller blade. Your elbow was bleeding the whole day." -Alexandra N.(Yes, I do have a huge scar from that lovely day.)
"For Dana’s birthday every year we went to walk the rock coast in Rockport MA. Her mom only had one rule for this birthday weekend: no flip flops. I wore flip flops. Now I have a nice big scar in the middle of my shin" -Katie O.
"I was at the first fireworks that I remember, and a falling firework ash fell into my Wellington boot and burned me. I was only three when it happened." -Kate G.
"While riding my dirt bike in 8th grade, I slid out in the mud. My Suzuki landed on top of my leg, I was pinned on my back like a turtle. I calmly turned the engine off, then turned to panic as I felt the burning on my leg. As I was in the mud, I couldn’t get any traction to lift the bike. I yelled, I cried, I blacked out, I awoke…to see my younger brother ride down a hill to me, he jumped off his bike while it was still moving, and he pulled the bike off of me, using all of his 6th grade 80 lbs! My dad, who was riding ahead, estimated it was 10 minutes or so. It felt like a lifetime. My little brother grew up to be a firefighter, still saving people from burning! The result: 3rd degree burns, two large ovals on my calf that perfectly reflected the exhaust shield. They look like bite marks, so I used to tell people I was bitten by a shark. Over the years, I've told the story so many times that it's become convincing enough to fool just about anyone." -Anthony V. (Dad)
"I grabbed a hot tail pipe as a child because it was shiny-- I got second degree burns on my hands." -Shane N.
My last scar story isn't too wild, but I have a tiny, tiny scar on my arm. It's from when I was in the hospital senior year -- as a result of a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter). Basically, it goes from your arm to your heart to give you nutrients, medications, and take blood from. I got it in the ICU at Massachusetts General Hospital -- it was one of the lowest parts of my life for sure, and I was very weak. But I love that scar, it's right in the middle of my bicep, so I see it and think how strong I've become since I got it.
Scars teach lessons -- be proud of your life marks. If you're ever worried about showing your scars, take a lesson from my dad:
"I needed surgery to fix a shoulder that dislocated four times in two years. Before I went “out”, my doctor told me he’d try to keep the scar small. Under the anesthesia, I told him, “for all the pain I’ve endured, make it big, I want a good story to tell”. So I have a 6 inch long, half inch wide scar on my right shoulder."
Top 3 Response Articles of This Week
Summer has officially begun!
Welcome to June on Odyssey! Our creators have a fresh batch of articles to inspire you as you take a break from campus life. Here are the top three response articles of last week:
Astrology in the Age of Doubt by Giana ScafideAstrology in the Age of Doubt
“Astrology is a language. If you understand this language, the sky speaks to you.” — Dane Rudhyar
This is a response to One Good Reason Why Astrology Isn't A Total Waste of Your Time.
You Should Read Paris Hilton's Memoir, Too by Milica JovanovicYou Should Read Paris Hilton's Memoir, Too
“You’re a woman who lived eight lives at once,” said Elliot to Paris. During the 1960s and ’70s, Elliot Mintz was a popular TV host who interviewed more than 2,000 people. How did he cross paths with Paris? What advice does this memoir carry within its pages?
This is a response to 3 New Releases To Add To Your 2021 Reading List.
How Can Schools Do Better? by Akansha SinghHow Can Schools Do Better?
K-12 Schools Don’t Teach their Students Everything they Need for the Real World.
This is a response to Schools Should Require Students To Take Cooking Classes.
Congratulations to all the writers! We'll continue to spotlight top response articles every week on our homepage and in our Overheard on Odyssey newsletter. Click here to subscribe!
Want to get paid to write for us this summer? Join our summer writing program! Your work will be shared across Odyssey's website, newsletter, and social media platforms. Plus, you'll be compensated by HQ at $10/response for your first 10 articles.
To sign up, write to email@example.com. We're excited to hear from you!
No Boyfriend, No Problem
Why it is okay to not be in a relationship when you are 19
I think that as a 19 year old girl that is in college, we often get caught up in the idea of being in a relationship.
I mean, it is hard not to.
In today's society, we are surrounded by relationships, good or bad, and we tend to get caught up in the idea of the "perfect relationship". When in reality, I do not think that is actually something that exists at this age.
At this age, we have SO many other things that we could focus on. Things like school, family, friends, dogs, or even ourselves.
Everyone deserves the right to focus on themselves. Sometimes we need to focus on ourselves, in order to better ourselves. I think that if we are not the best version of ourselves alone, how could we be the best version of ourselves in a relationship. Yes there is that saying about something about pushing each other to be the best versions of yourself in a relationship, blah blah blah. But if you can not be the best version of you alone, what is going to happen when (if) that "perfect relationship" does not work out?
In my life, I have been blessed with a good family and a good group of friends, that have made me realize that I do not need a boyfriend in my life to be genuinely happy. I truly hope every girl can feel that way because, if they can not, I can not imagine how much they may suffer, or how much stress or anxiety they feel due to the need of being in a relationship.
Yes, being in a relationship is fun, but yes every relationship has it's own personal struggles.
I think it is important as girls in today's society to realize that we can be our person and be okay.
Summer isn't alway just fun in the sun.
Summer is a time for fun in the sun, hanging out with friends, and living it up, but for some people, that's not the case. Summer is a nightmare for idle minds. Let me explain what I mean by that. For people with mental illness having the extra time to think and relax can be devastating for their mental health. Now, this isn't a problem for everyone but for some people who suffer from mental illness, this is a reality.
Unfortunately, I am one of those people who keeps my schedule busy enough that I don't have time to think, let alone deal with my mental illnesses. I know this is unhealthy and I am working on it, but this summer especially has been an extremely tough situation for me and I know that I'm not the only one going through this. When this summer started I decided that I would allow myself a "dead" week. Basically, I was giving myself a week to relax, indulge in self-love and take care of myself and not doing anything outwardly productive. 3 weeks later I find myself still stuck in that cycle. I keep telling myself tomorrow will be the day where I'll jumpstart all my summer plans. Meanwhile, tomorrow comes, passes, and the list of things I have to do this summer never shrinks and the days I have to do them dwindle.
An important thought to remember is that just because you aren't doing the best mentally doesn't mean that you can't change that at any given time. Changing your mental habits are the hardest task I have ever set out to do. Every day is a constant struggle to remind myself that I am worth it, that I do belong here on earth, that I'm not a freak, that I am allowed to be who I am without being "perfect". The process of recovery isn't an overnight accomplishment, it takes months, years, sometimes even decades, to get to a point where a thing that was bothering you doesn't bother you anymore. You shouldn't let that discourage you though. With each day that you were towards your mental health goals, you are making yourself a better person and you should be incredibly proud of yourself.
With the summer months in front of us, I want to take this time to remind everyone that's struggling that not every day is going to go as you hope, you're going to have good and bad mental health days. There may be days when you feel nothing, there may be days you don't feel you have a purpose, but you do. Give yourself small tasks if you're having a bad day, they can be as simple as getting out of bed and open a curtain, or drinking a glass of water. The best advice I have ever gotten is to just be kind to yourself. You're not a bad person for needing extra time to heal and process things. You are worth it and you will get through the summer. You are never alone.
Songs About Being 17
Grey's Anatomy Quotes
4 Leaf Clover
1. Brittany Morgan,National Writer's Society
2. Radhi,SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign