I'm Choosing To Transfer To Take Care Of My Mental Health

I'm Choosing To Transfer Not Because I Hate My School, But Because I Need To Take Care Of Myself

I always will be thankful for my time spent at Temple University, but I am definitely excited about my next chapter at Pitt.

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For my entire life, I've always been a Western Pennsylvania kid at heart. Weekends were dedicated to the Steelers, summers for the Pirates, and practically every other day for the Penguins. We have Christmas ornaments of black and yellow, and a few blue and gold for the University of Pittsburgh. It's no lie that every room in my childhood house has something relating to the University of Pittsburgh since my dad is an alum. And I thought I would always go there straight after high school.

During my senior, I applied to the university like so many other people but ended up getting waitlisted. I won't lie. It completely crushed me. I thought I had failed at life because I was so in love with the idea of being a Pitt Panther.

However, then I got accepted to Temple University a month later. My mom and I drove out to Philadelphia to check out to school and I fell in love again. I loved being able to call somewhere my own and loved the diversity of the campus. I figured then getting waitlisted from Pitt was a sign I was supposed to go to Temple, so I committed.

I've always been a believer that things in life happen for a reason.

Of course, in the beginning, I faced being homesick which didn't help with my anxiety. I missed being around what was familiar to me but eventually began to really embrace being a Temple Owl as I gained more friends and began to explore Philadelphia more on the weekends. I was beginning to think this was my home away from home.

And yes, getting into a sorority helped ease some of the sadness away.

However, that happiness I felt last semester didn't stick around from when I returned after summer break. I had to go home last summer, and all I can remember doing was counting down the days until I would be back in North Philadelphia and all my friends there. I thought this is where I was my happiest.

When I came back this semester, I felt maybe three weeks where I was truly happy. I was extremely motivated to get work done but also do stuff with my friends and my sorority. Something shifted in mid-September when I began feeling a bit more anxious. It only escalated from there. I felt alone and miserable 90% of the time, and 100% unmotivated to get work done. I tried so hard to get work done but just ended up getting half and rushing to do most of it before class. I wasn't myself. October and November are just a blur where I felt numb. I felt attacked and anxious. I called my mom crying so much, I knew something was wrong.

It got so bad that I impulsively submitted a transfer application to Pitt out of frustration. I figured I wouldn't get in anyways.

Thanksgiving break was when I took a step back and talked with my doctor what has been going on. Part of my problem why I've let my emotions built up is struggling to find a therapist who I trust and who accepts my insurance, so there was a huge period where I wasn't going to therapy like I probably should have. My doctor prescribed me anxiety meds and explained she wanted me to go see a therapist more. Since I lived on the other side of the state, she suggested potentially doing sessions over the phone but that wasn't something I really wanted. The last thing I wanted though was also to take a semester off from college to come back home and be behind on my academics.

On Thanksgiving, I received an email from Pitt's Office of Admissions with a video. It was my acceptance video as they mailed my acceptance letter a day before but because of the holiday, it would be delayed. I was over the moon, more excited than I thought I was going to be!

I decided the day before I left, when I was begging my mom if I could come back home the following weekend, I was going to transfer.

Even though I am sad to be leaving Temple and all my friends here, I know I am doing what is best for me. I am so excited to call myself now a Pitt Panther and what the next chapter of my life might have for me.

Hail to Pitt.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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11 Things I Definitely Will NOT Miss About Living In A Dorm

ResLife was lit, but it's time to say goodbye.

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As most college students do, I have spent the first two years living in a dorm. This has definitely come with its ups and downs, but for so many reasons, I am so excited to live in an apartment. Granted, I was lucky enough to get a spot in a suite-style dorm and missed the nightmare that is communal bathrooms, but nevertheless, there are some unique challenges that come with living in a residence hall.

1. Community laundry

There are so many things that I won't miss about the community laundry room. While I appreciate that I don't have to pay for it, I hate that other people have no concept of how to responsibly use a washer and dryer. I hate people who leave their stuff in them until the dawn of the age. I hate people who take your things out before they're done and throw them somewhere (or keep them). I hate people who throw entirely filthy things into the washer and dank it up for the rest of the world. I hate when you have a specific time you planned to do laundry and everyone and their brother turns up to do their laundry at the same time so you have to stalk washers and dryers with Black Friday shopping intensity. Community laundry is the actual worst and you can't disagree.

2. Other people's use of community spaces

I would like to issue a special thank you to those that are incredibly loud in places that people go to work on things. Lounges, computer labs, working areas... y'all can really be the worst. People really have no regard for anyone else when they're using common spaces and it shows.

3. Midnight fire drills

The other night I was up late studying and went to bed at 1:30 a.m. to be awoken 15 minutes later by a fire drill. Whoever was blazing it at 2 a.m., I just wanna talk...

4. Paper-thin walls

Forget any semblance of privacy. All of your roommates can hear all of everything you say and so can everyone passing your room in the hall. Better not talk badly about anyone because they'll probably hear you from a floor away. This also leads to some other, uh, situations that can be painstakingly heard through the walls. Rest in pieces, residents with rowdy neighbors.

5. Broken elevators

Inevitably, one of the building's elevators is always down or taking forever. In addition to the people that ride the elevator up to the second floor, this is a real pain in the butt.

6. Messy people going out

While I can't say I've never been part of a group that got messy after a night out, they always respect community spaces. I can't say the same for the person who puked in the drinking fountain. Or the person who puked in the elevator so that I had to walk up five flights of stairs. Y'all are real ones.

7. Checking in guests and checking in late

While I appreciate the concern for the building's safety, it is so inconvenient to have to check into the building after midnight. A lot of nights it's cold and I'm coming back from a long day of work and it's really frustrating to have to go into one of two doors that are nowhere near my room and interact with people. All I want is to go to bed at that point.

8. Fire safety rules

Again, I appreciate the concern for the building's safety. I really do. However, why in the world would they sell extension cords or outlet splitters or toasters if they were so hazardous to the public? With a grand total of maybe 4 outlets per room, it's quite bold of them to assume that everything can be plugged in at those strange various points around the room without a little help.

9. Parking

I have yet to find a dorm with parking that's reasonably close to their building without having to get to the building at a very specific moment on a very specific day to try and fight for a parking space. I can't wait to be able to use my car without having to make the trip to get it an entire event.

10. Faraway mail

Package pick up is a whole trip away. I can't wait to be able to receive mail in a reasonable place. I really thought I was going to get arrested one time because I received a jury duty questionnaire in the mail and had no idea when it actually got there because my mailbox is nowhere near where I walk.

11. So. Many. People. All. The. Time. 

It can be entirely frustrating to have to deal with so many people all the time. If I go to fill my water bottle, I might be subjected to a conversation and on some days, all I want is to be alone. There is nowhere you can go in a residence hall where you are Truly Alone.

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