Although I Spent Most Of My Time Trying To Get Out, My Hometown Was A Great Place To Grow Up

Although I Spent Most Of My Time Trying To Get Out, My Hometown Was A Great Place To Grow Up

It’s my favorite place in the world...well, at least when I’m not there.
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Recently, list of the “Most Dangerous Cities in Illinois” was circulated on social media and my town was number 13 on the list, even ahead of bigger cities like Champaign and Decatur. What I don’t understand is how it ranked more dangerously than Chicago. This isn’t the first list of “bad cities.” I’ve seen it in “Worst Cities in the Midwest” and “List of Cities to Not Raise a Family.” So, I'm guessing this isn’t a contained opinion.

Although I spent most of my life trying to find a way out of town, I still love my home.

Hoopeston although isn’t the most photogenic small town in all the Midwest it’s still my home and no matter where I go, it will always be home to me. It’s where I grew up and where I’ll always feel safest.

I love that I can’t go somewhere without running into someone that I know, or my parents know.I really used to hate this, but now I really miss it, because at school I can go by myself shopping for hours and just not have to speak, like, at all. I’ll go the grocery store and some of the cashiers are people I grew up with and others are friends of my parents. When I’m home I’ll run into my elementary school teachers by the milk and friends from high school that I haven’t seen since they graduated. It’s nice to see people I know and know me and talk to someone.

I love the memories I have of home. I remember the Sweetcorn Festival and riding rides there for what felt like days with my little brother and eating too much cotton candy because I insisted that needed the big bag. I remember dance classes after school in the fall and my mom picking me up afterward and getting ice cream from Dairy Queen before it closed until spring. I remember memories of walking to the library almost every day to hide from my chores. I have so many of these its hard to pick my favorite ones.

I love my family and friends that still call it home. My mom was born and raised in that just outside of town on a farm and my dad’s family moved from Chicago when he was little for my Grandpa’s new teaching job at the high school. My dad’s mom is the only grandparent I have left. My father’s sister and her kids are the only relatives still in town, besides my parents and my little brother.

Hoopeston is where I try not to go back to too often, but I just miss it even though I love college and Normal. Home may not be the safest place in the world by the standards of someone who didn’t grow-up in my hometown but to me, it’s my favorite place (at least when I’m not there.)

(I couldn't find the original articles that I remember seeing the past few years, but here are few that I could find that all conatin my hometown (Hoopeston) as one of the top worst cities in Illinois: 150 Worst Illinois Cities to Call Home, The Worst Towns in Illinois, and 10 Worst Towns in Illinois.

Cover Image Credit: Carlos Martinez

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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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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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