In 2018, Start Taking Responsibility For Your Education

In 2018, Start Taking Responsibility For Your Education

How millennials grapple with political identity reveals a larger truth about our country.
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In the current political climate of the United States, it seems that there is a great urgency for civilians to reflect upon historical patterns of systemic oppression, persuasion via dog-whistle rhetoric and methods of resistance. As students at an institution of higher education, we have the responsibility to value our privileges and pursue an education that does not terminate at the end of our classes.

In my writing on this platform, I have chosen to cover health-related subject matter such as self-love or content related to organization and goal setting to maximize productivity. However, in holistic health, it is not just the physical and emotional wellbeing that should be cared for.

Taking the time and interest in your own intellectual and cultural growth is a critical component to being a well-rounded and informed young person.

It seems to me that there is a culture in the United States at the vast majority of colleges that surrounds meaningless relationships, insufficient engagement and priorities that are out of sync with larger issues than where to buy beer for the day party. I recognize my diligent, passionate and dedicated peers who contribute to class dialogues and spend time outside of the classroom connecting to issues that go beyond our campus and I am grateful for these members of the Fairfield community.

It is my goal in my writing for Odyssey to create the space for my peers and I to consider healthy behaviors and to practice kindness to not only ourselves, but also the world around us. In the new year, I have decided to open up my content to explore not only the spiritual, emotional and physical elements of health, but to also address cultural happenings around campus and beyond.

I feel blessed to be attending an institution that allows me the opportunities to educate myself and continue to grow as a citizen of the world. We have access to brilliant professors, a comprehensive library of resources and the freedom to ask questions about not only the narratives we are told, but also why these narratives are told and what their implications are for our sense of purpose in the world around us.

I hope that in the new facet of my writing, we can ask questions together, share content that makes us think and consider how we want to build and nourish ourselves as young adults.

Chimamanda Adichie warns us of the danger in a single story. It seems that millennials are being increasingly portrayed as excessively sensitive and out of touch with reality by the baby boomer generation. However, I know that my peers and I are more than the misinformed single story and that there are nuances behind shifts in identity and action that deserve more than dismissal.

It seems to me that there was an opening up for conversations surrounding issues such as systemic oppression, LGBTQ identities and activism to be had. I am grateful to be a millennial because I know the digital age has allowed my peers and I to connect to people from a myriad of different backgrounds and experiences, which have allowed us to consider the effect of disparities in access and the limitations that socioeconomic status place on individuals.

Through online engagement with diverse populations, millennials at large are able to create a space for conversations to take place in which authority is questioned and ideas are exchanged.

While certain groups of people may perpetuate the single story of millennials as “snowflakes”, there are others who recognize that today's youth are attempting to dismantle the single stories that were passed down from generation to generation and have worked to keep certain groups oppressed.

It is not absurd for human beings to demand equality, agency and recognition according to how they choose to self-identify. It is not absurd that students at universities rally together in peaceful protest to identify issues of systemic racism and to identify the power in both policy and rhetoric in enforcing negative stereotypes.

I am not presenting an argument that denies the existence of apathetic or single-minded millennials. However, I am urging members of the prior generation to recognize the huge passion and hunger for justice had by today’s youth. Young people have come together in rallies surrounding police brutality targeting people of color, young people have come together in marches for freedom of sexual expression and young people have come together to stand up for the rights of immigrants and women’s rights as equals.

In the face of a highly divisive nation, millennials are carving out the space to express their concerns, raise their questions and practice compassion.

There is no single story of today’s millennials; we are varied in our identities and it is in that variation that we find our connection. Through our respect of the American Dream for equality and opportunity for all people, we wish to tell our vast stories, to encourage one another to feel safe in their own bodies and we understand the critical nature of speaking out against attempts to silent us or render a single derogatory story of who we are.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Because most other majors can't kill someone accidentally by adding wrong.
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College is hard. Between studying for numerous amounts of tests and balancing eating, working out, maintaining a social life, and somehow not breaking your bank account, it’s no wonder a common conversation among students is “how many mental breakdowns did you have this week?” Every major will pose its own challenges; that’s truth. Nursing school, however, is a special kind of tough that only other nursing majors can understand.

SEE ALSO: Quit Bashing Radford University

Nurses are the backbone and unsung hero of healthcare. Their job is to advocate for the patient, collaborate care among all other healthcare team members, carry out physician orders, recognize and report patient progress (or lack thereof), run interference for the patient with any unwanted visitors, research and validate evidence based practice, all while maintaining a certain aurora of confidence for patients and their loved ones that “everything will be okay” and “I’ve got this under control”. If that sounds like a lot; that’s because it is. The majority of skills that we learn that make good nurses cannot actually be taught in theory classes. It’s the hours of actual practice and a certain knack for caring for people- all people- that makes a good nurse great. The countless, unrelenting hours that are spent on the floor in clinical humble us, we know that we’re not great yet, but we’re trying.

Our professors expect us to be humble as well. Nurses do not seek gold stars for their actions, instead the precedence that is set for us to that we “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”. Most nursing programs grading scales are different. To us, a failing grade isn’t actually getting a 69 or lower, it’s an 80. And that makes sense; no one would want a nurse who only understand 70% of what is happening in the body. We have to understand the normal body response, what happens when things go wrong, why it happens the way it does, and how to properly intervene. We want to learn, it interests us, and we know that the long theory classes and the hard days on the floor are just to make us better. However, any triumph, anytime you do well, whatever small victory that may feel like for you, it just what is supposed to happen- it’s what is expected, and we still have much to learn.

I look back on my decision to take on nursing school, and I often find myself questioning: why? There are so many other majors out there that offer job security, or that help people, or would challenge me just as much. But, when I think of being a nurse- it’s what fulfills me. There’s something that the title holds that makes me feel complete (and that same fact is going to resonate with anyone who wants to love their job). I wouldn’t change the decision I made for anything, I love what I am learning to do and I feel that it’s part of what makes me who I am. The other students who I have met through nursing school are some of the most amazing people I have ever come into contact with, and the professors have helped me understand so much more about myself than I thought possible.

Nursing is treating and understanding the human response. Meaning that it’s not just the disease process, or the action of the medication, or the care that we provide, but that nurses treat the way in which people deal, react, feel, and cope with good news, bad news, terrible procedures, hospital stays and being completely dependent on other people. And the fact of the matter is that all people are different. There is no one magic treatment that will always work for every patient. In addition to course work, the clinical hours, the passion and drive to want to be a nurse, and the difficulty that comes with any medical profession, we have to understand each individual patient, as people and not their illness. And, in order to do that so much self discovery goes on each day to recognize where you are and how you are coping with everything coming your way.

What is taught in nursing school goes far beyond just textbook information or step by step procedures. We have to learn, and quickly, how to help and connect with people on a level which most struggle to accomplish in a lifetime. It's a different kind of instruction, and it either takes place quickly or not at all. The quality of nurse you become depends on it. Nursing school is different, not harder or better than any other school, just different.

SEE ALSO: Stop Putting Down Radford University



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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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