Turning 18 Doesn't Mean It's All Downhill From Here

Turning 18 Doesn't Mean It's All Downhill From Here

Have to start "adulting" sometime, huh?


As I've just turned 18 (happy late birthday to me!), so many people have talked to me about how I'm a real adult now and I've even gotten the, "It all goes downhill from here."

Though, personally, when I think about turning 18, I really only think about how I can now vote, go to jail, and buy lottery tickets (that's what happens when you work at a pharmacy with a lottery machine). Don't worry, mom and dad, I won't be doing anything that will land me in jail.

I don't think that much is going to change now that I'm 18. Yeah, I'm technically an adult, but what does that really mean? I'm still living at home and am still pretty dependent on my parents.

On the other hand, turning 18 is still a big milestone. I've graduated high school and am about to leave for college, which is a pretty big deal. I'm excited to gain that independence and to be able to make more decisions for myself, though I know that I'll still be calling my mom whenever I don't know what to do.

This freedom that I've gained is something that so many people can't wait for. However, I'm going to miss not having to make those big decisions and being able to rely on my parents to do it for me.

It's so funny how young people wish to be older and have full independence, while older people wish to be back in their younger days.

I know I'm ready to be on the brink of adulthood. I can't wait to see what this year brings for me.

Cover Image Credit:

Ally O'Rourke

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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.


It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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The Recession Shaped Our Generation Into Hard Workers, Not Spoiled Brats

Stop calling Millennials spoiled brats, because we are far from it.


We hear so often that Millennials are entitled, that we are brats who have had everything handed to us and do not feel the need to work for what we want. But what I think those Millennial critics seem to forget is that we grew up in a time where nothing was certain. A time when some families did not know where their next meal was going to come from. A time when families had to consider what their plan of action was going to be if someone was laid off the next day. A time of uncertainty and fear.

Specifically, I'm talking about the 2000's recession. Remember her? Yeah, she was quite the bitch. It's shocking to think that this period is almost 10 years in the past, and what is even more shocking is that the children of this recession are now adults, or close to it.

My father's career in real estate, unfortunately, was hit very hard by this recession because, as you would expect, not many people look to purchase or sell their homes in such a climate. My dad, being a person of integrity, actually advocated that people not sell, so they didn't lock in a loss. Despite everything, he always remained optimistic about his business and correctly predicted that things would get better for everyone if they could just hold on for a while. Being only about 8 years old when things started going downhill, I couldn't fully grasp what was going on, but my intuition told me that something wasn't right. My parents were having many hushed conversations behind closed doors, probably to protect my brothers and me from hearing the ugly truth.

I very vividly remember my mom and dad sitting us down and telling us that we were not to ask for anything for the next couple of years unless it was a necessity.

My brothers and I wholeheartedly understood this and behaved accordingly. We would not ask to eat out at restaurants. We would not ask for that new video game. We would not ask for a candy bar at the grocery store. Nothing.

Granted, we probably took that warning a little too far (I'm sure a candy bar could have fit in the budget), but it paid off. Luckily, our family came out of this recession not only stronger, but a hell of a lot more grateful, and that quality stuck with us. When we needed something, we did not demand it or assume that we would receive it, but instead asked for it in the most respectful way possible, stating that we would be fine without it. My brothers and I knew that we could not rely on mommy and daddy for the rest of our lives, so we started working as soon as we could. Honestly, I have to thank the recession for some of the values it taught us.

I know there are other Millenials who walked away from this difficult period learning gratitude as well, and it shows.

Most of the people I have met from my generation are not spoiled brats who expect to have everything handed to them.

They are strong, hard-working people who never take anything for granted because they know that status and money are fragile. They know that we have to appreciate those everyday blessings around us because others are not as fortunate.

So please, stop saying that our generation is ungrateful, because those few entitled assholes do not represent the greater whole, and honestly, we would kick them out if we could.

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