This Is My Cross To Bear

This Is My Cross To Bear

And has it been heavy.
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I carry it with me to the grocery store. School. Work. Bed. The Shower. Everywhere I go. It follows me like a cloud of rain. It whispers in my ear as I try to rent a book at the library for the first time. But the voice reminds me that this is a busy library and I've never rented here. What if the librarian thinks I'm weird? What if I go to the wrong desk? What if... What if... What if... So I put the book back and leave.

Driving down the highway on a sunny day and then remembering something from years ago. My laughter as the wind blows through my hair shifts to the gaze of a deer in the headlights. What if... What if... What if... So I roll my window back up and turn the music down.

"Why do you always worry about things?"

"Why do you always ask me if I'm mad?"

"You should get help."

I want to be free like a bird and fly over a desert but birds don't have flashbacks of dark nights and malicious words. Birds don't have flashbacks of people dying in their living room. Birds don't pull their hood up to walk across campus so that they won't be seen. Birds don't play the same record over and over again on their dorm room floor in a thunderstorm all alone.

Birds are free. Not me.

It's heavy, heavier than the weights I lift to get rid it. Last night's at the gym trying to clear it just to be back six hours later to lift again. And then once I'm home and sweaty, exhausted from the bar, it creeps back up on me. What if... What if... What if...

I want to run away to the mountains where the cool western wind can whip through my hair under a full moon. I want to be that full moon. Shining in the dark. Filled of life. But moons don't question their sanity. Moons don't wake up in the middle of the night and stare at the clock till the sun rises. Moons don't change their names while in hiding. Moons don't write angry letters to themselves and beg for salvation.

The full moon is bright. Not me.

"Have you tried (insert stereotypical remedy here) yet?"

"Just live your best life!"

"You should talk to someone."

I bear it as I sit in class, tapping my pen against a desk. Ordering coffee in a long line. Trying to make friends. Studying for an exam. Everything I do. It follows me like a parasite, slowly sucking the life out of me as it smiles and watches my body decay. The feeling that reminds me of the haunting tapping of a branch against my window at night.

What if... What if... What if...

Run away and be free, what else could a human being ask for? Was it wrote in stone before I was born?

It is my cross to bear as I walk into a room with all eyes on me, ravenous eyes ready to tear me a part; as I walk with the confidence of an outlaw, tired of running from the man, the final showdown.

They call it depression, OCD, anxiety. They say it is normal. That it affects everyone in life. It runs in families. You inherit it.

But normal people don't have crosses to bear. And this is mine.

Cover Image Credit: Flash Bros

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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How To Cope With Moving Away From Home

College can be daunting, but it's so worth it.

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Growing up is something we're all a little afraid to do whether we admit it or not. Moving away from the comfort of home to attend college brings a lot of anxiety, especially when pursuing a passion you don't even know if you'll be successful in. Whether it be losing touch with loved ones, changing majors and not having a backup plan, or even just doing your own laundry, we all have some form of doubt in our minds telling us that we shouldn't be moving away from everything we've ever known.

Moving to college may be a daunting task, but there are simple ways to keep yourself happy and healthy in preparation of being away from home.

1. Plan trips home

If you're like me and get homesick easily, planning trips home will minimize a lot of anxiety. Just knowing when you can come back allows you to focus on living your best life away from home while simultaneously being able to get excited about seeing friends and family in the future.

2. Focus on work

While it's easy to let your mind wander back to what you miss, focusing on homework and classes helps you concentrate on the tasks in front of you. If you're dedicated to getting good grades and keeping your mind occupied, your mindset will improve. Creating and accomplishing tasks will help you feel better about moving out of your house as your college will start to become your new home.

3. Be prepared

Make sure you have everything you need before moving into your dorm. It's important to have a cozy dorm to return to, so bring what is necessary to remind you of home. Not only this, but having less to worry about, like making trips to the store to get school supplies, will help you feel more prepared when entering new situations alone.

4. Take time to rest

School is important, but so is relaxing and taking care of yourself. If you're constantly working and not taking any time for yourself, you'll become overwhelmed. Being able to understand when you need time to rest is one of the most important parts of living away from home. Whether that looks like exercise, hanging out with friends, or literally resting, no one can function without giving themselves some free time.

5. Meet new people

As cheesy as it sounds, friends make the entire process of moving away from home so much easier. You don't have to find your best friends right away, but just meeting new people and finding groups you click with help to make your campus feel a little smaller, and make you feel more comfortable being there.

6. Create your own home

Your dorm is your new home, so making it feel like one shouldn't be too difficult considering you'll be spending a lot of time there. Bringing momentos from home can make you feel a lot better about leaving it. Having pictures of family, friends, and significant others can be comforting when far away from them.

Moving into a dorm can be scary, but it can also be seen as an opportunity to create a new life for yourself. While leaving family and friends behind may be a little sad, making connections, learning what you want to pursue and living on your own are just a few of the many things to look forward to when going to college.

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