The Day My Bullying Victim Stood Up For Me

The Day My Bullying Victim Stood Up For Me

This world needs more kindness and love
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Yep, you read that right. It’s not the day she stood up to me but for me. Now that I’m older and really get the harmful effects of bullying, I completely stand against it. It wasn’t, however, always like that. When I was in middle school, there was this girl in my class. I’d known her since the 4th grade, and she’d always been a little different from everybody else.

She tended to keep to herself and her recess periods were always spent rereading the same book she constantly checked out from the library. She didn’t really have very many friends, and I wish now I would have tried to be her friend instead of pick on her like everyone else. Now, my bullying of her wasn’t as cruel as some of the others, but it was still mean.

Every day after school she used to stand by the busses by herself, just doing her own thing. Then one day my friend and I decided to go over to her and pick on her. I honestly can’t remember what we said, but I know it happened more than once. Then there was a day where I misplaced a brand new bracelet, and I’d seen her near my things, so I immediately accused her of stealing it. It turned out I’d left it at home or something, and she was completely innocent. My pride kept me from apologizing to her.

Fast forward a bit, and I started getting bullied by this one girl. Her and her crew would make faces every time I walked by and would call me a loser. It got to the point where one day she trapped me in a classroom. Me being extremely claustrophobic, I started to freak out and beg her to let me out. I eventually pushed my way out of the room, and by the time I made it back to the main hall, the girl I had bullied was telling the conduct director what had happened.

She stood up for me! I was in complete and absolute shock. I didn’t deserve that. She should’ve walked away and been happy that I got a taste of my own medicine, yet she didn’t. Afterwards she even made sure that I was okay, and I thanked her. I still carry that memory of her with me to remind me of how horrible bullying feels and how the people you least expect are the ones there for you in your time of need.

She was the bigger person that day, yet I never got the courage to apologize to her. From that day on I never bothered her again, but I also didn’t defend her when others picked on her. She ended up changing schools, and I never heard from her again. Her name is Rebecca, and I am so thankful to have had her in my life to teach me so many life lessons that I still carry with me. I don’t know if she remembers me or if she’ll ever read this, but if she does, I finally want to give her a long due apology.

I am so sorry that I thought it funny to pick on you. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything when others mocked you or when they pulled down your skirt. I’m sorry I never sat with you during recess or asked about that book you loved so much. I’m sorry I accused you of stealing. I’m sorry I never said sorry – that it took me this long to say it. I wish I could contact you somehow and really apologize. Thank you for having my back that day.

While I learned many lessons from being both a bully and a victim, I really want to spread the message that it’s time to be much kinder and empathetic to each other. Don’t pick on someone just because they’re different or because everyone else does. Embrace those differences and speak up when you see someone getting bullied. This world needs more kindness and love – it needs more people like Rebecca.

Cover Image Credit: Michelle Phan

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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