Pearls Of Being A Wallflower

Pearls Of Being A Wallflower

Role models come in all different shapes and sizes.
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“Why don’t you go and sit there by G?” I suggest to one of my students.

“No I don’t want to, he’s weird.”

I looked over at the student he was referencing and couldn’t believe what he was saying. I looked at one of the timidest, kindest and most intelligent sixth graders with navy blue crocs and curly red hair. Every day, this student walks into the classroom and greets me with a big smile and tells me about his lack of sleep regardless of going to bed at 9 p.m. To me, he’s an ideal student. I thought to myself I would do anything to be like him when I was his age.

However, it has been eight years since I was in sixth grade.

Aeropostale t-shirts, colorful capris pants, and bobbed hair with a poof is the best way to describe my middle school appearance. At the time, I wanted to be the cool girl with the best “boyfriend” and the prettiest friends. My reputation mattered more to me than my grades, and my insecurity skyrocketed through the roof. I would’ve done anything to be the popular girl.

When I finally escaped middle school, it was never in the books for me to return. God works in mysterious ways, and now I’m back helping to teach fifth through eighth-grade intervention. Sadly, I traded in my graphic tees and dangling earrings for dress pants and blouses, but my idea of what was cool in middle school has changed significantly since working with some of the most remarkable students I’ve ever met.

Goth wasn’t cool when I was in middle school. The dark clothes, hair and makeup were too intimidating for me to comprehend. It seemed that the goth kids were always sitting alone at lunch and didn’t really want to socialize with anyone else. Now, however, I think the self-expression and honest outlook on life is beautiful and inspirational. I have met students dressed in black who have added more color to my life than I could have ever imagined. They are mysterious but observant and are proud to stand out, which is not something I would have ever been willing to do.

Cute, colorful clothes don’t make you cool; self-awareness and the desire to stand out do.

Trans wasn’t cool when I was in middle school. In fact, I don’t think I could name a single transgender person in my class at that time. I have met a student that has shown me more bravery and self-love than any other fifth grader I have ever met. It’s an honor to have been trusted with the story of self-transformation and being able to get an inside scoop on staying true to yourself and recognizing how you want to feel in your own skin.

Being the cute couple that everyone wants doesn’t make you cool; confidence in who you are and the ability to love yourself and acknowledge who you want to be does.

Nerds weren’t cool when I was in middle school. They seemed to always brag about their good grades and they always got the attention of the teachers. Now, their drive and motivation push me to do well in my own academics, regardless of the huge age gap between us. These students carrying around eight books in their backpacks and getting ahead in the class readings are going to be our future leaders.

Acting like you don’t care about school doesn’t make you cool; motivation and a drive to succeed does.

In retrospect, like many of that age, I didn't want to be like the out-of-the-ordinary kids. They were the ones I was unfamiliar with and wanted to avoid being similar to at all costs. Ironically, years later, I now view them as models for who I want to be. I’m inspired by their individuality and their bravery to stand out in a crowd. To me, they are the epitome of “cool” and should be seen as shining examples by everyone in our society.

I’d be more than happy to sit by G. I encourage everyone to open their minds and take that seat too.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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11 Thoughts Every UConn Husky Has When It Rains On Tuesdays

It's really quite odd how it happens honestly.

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There's a running theory around the University of Connecticut that it always rains on Tuesdays.

I didn't believe it either until I got here and it in fact, always rains on Tuesdays. Maybe not full blown like recently (thanks mother nature), but it does. And when it does... we all suffer. We're all on the same page with how miserable it is so let me just share with you what goes on in the head of a waterlogged husky.

1. I should use my umbrella

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It'll keep be nice and dry.

2. Nope. Forget the umbrella. 

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I didn't want to use it anyway...

3. I should have taken the bus. 

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At least that would mean I wouldn't have to walk.

4. Wait. Where is the bus? 

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Never where it's supposed to be. Thanks UConn transit services. Did you know we all hate the new bus routes? Well now you do.

5. Is my laptop getting wet?

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My backpack isn't waterproof... what's happening in there??? Should I run???

6. Should I sue the school if my laptop gets water damage? 

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Surely it's their fault right?

7. This rain jacket is doing nothing. 

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I guess it's still good I have one though.

8. Do I bother wearing my hood? 

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Doesn't matter. Your hair is already wet.

9. Do I bother showering later? 

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Might as well have brought my body wash and shampoo with me.

10. WHY ARE YOU WEARING MOCCASINS?????

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Good because it's R A I N I N G.

11. Rain boots are a gift from god. 

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Splash in those puddles like Peppa Pig. It's the only joy you'll get that day.

The only thing that benefits from the rain is the grass. Good for you grass because the rest of us HATE it.

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How I Escaped My Hoarding Tendencies

I was once a hoarder.

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Up until my third year of college, I kept everything. I had notes, homework, and tests from all of my classes starting in kindergarten, all the way until my college years. My walls were filled with photos, art, birthday and thank-you cards, plane and movie tickets, receipts, and even interesting shopping bags I'd collected over the years. Drawers were stuffed with random pieces of toys with which I felt strong emotional connections. I still kept clothes from elementary school that I certainly could not wear anymore, but for some reason felt that I needed to keep.

Despite being a hoarder, I was still quite organized. My room, usually messy, was relatively well-organized. However, during college, something for me changed. I was suddenly annoyed with all of the things I had kept over the years, and wanted a clean slate. I tore everything down from my walls, pulled out all the clothes in my closet, and decided to start over.

This whole adventure of me decluttering my room took three full days, dozens of trash bags full of items to donate, and so much excess emotional garbage. When I was finally finished, I felt so much emotional relief. While I really enjoyed sifting through every piece of paper that I had written, every exam I had taken, every toy and card that had been gifted to me, and all the clothes that no longer fit me, I was happy to finally be finished. My head hurt from the nostalgia, but I slept incredibly well that night.

Since then, I've learned how to live on a minimal amount of stuff. My room is usually tidy and I've found cleaning and organizing to be addicting and cathartic. I now keep only things with which I have strong emotional connections, like the bracelet my now-deceased grandmother gave me and the farewell letters written by my friends before I moved away for graduate school.

With fewer concrete memorabilia stowed away, I can cherish the memories that mean the most to me and focus on identifying the memories happening in the present that I want to remember forever.

Tidying up also helped me achieve a lot of my career goals in life. I don't think this success would have been possible if I had been disorganized and distracted by the past that cluttered my room.

With all of that said, I still have a long ways to go in terms of tidying my life. My work life is definitely not as organized as my home life. My desk and computer files are not organized in the best way, but I hope to implement my personal life philosophy into my work life in the future. My social and familial life are also quite disorganized. After moving to a new city, I found the initial socializing to be overwhelming and struggled to prioritize the people I wanted to spend time with. However, I am slowly working to improve this balance of my social and familial life.

While I am still on this journey, I wanted to share the impact that decluttering has had on my so far and hope that this would inspire you to identify things you can declutter in your own life.

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