It's Okay To Not Be Okay

It's Okay To Not Be Okay

Transition is hard for everyone.
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As prepared as I thought I was, I wasn’t. I knew I would miss people and places, but I also knew how deeply I desired to be challenged and to step out of my comfort zone. I’m still not really sure if I took a step or a leap, but I know I am far from comfort. I am actually 1,649 miles from comfort.

I left home feeling strong and confident and sure of who I was. I got here and realized just how little strength I actually have, and how little I really know about myself. I found myself wondering why we have to have dreams so much bigger than our hometowns.

It’s the constant in between. It’s having my head being so invested here. So invested in learning and trying new things and planning out all of the adventures to take over the next four years. Meanwhile, my heart is yearning for home. The comfort of my room. My kitchen. My couch. My city. My people. It’s this battle between head and heart that I wasn’t prepared for. I think I expected my heart to move with my body, that it would be easy to invest myself whole heartedly here, but it’s not. It’s feeling lonely when you’re surrounded by people. It’s being surrounded by people who all have completely different experiences from you, and then all of a sudden you’re all in the same place, living the same life, experiencing the same trials and failures and successes, all with very different perspectives.

No one talked about it. For a really long time, no one talked about it. But now it’s starting to come up. In coffee shops and lunch dates and nights of lying on each other’s floors. Every time it comes up, every time someone says that this is kind of a little bit hard, everyone else agrees. And then that leads into hours of conversation about just how hard this is. This transition. This head and heart thing. And all of a sudden you realize that you’re not alone. That there’s nothing wrong with you. That you do have something in common with all of these different people you’re surrounded by – you’re all feeling just as overwhelmed and lonely and adventurous and excited. But the novelty is beginning to wear off. The butterflies from the first couple of weeks have flown away. Routine is setting in. Friendships are solidifying. And even though we’re supposed to be adjusted by now and the transition is supposed to be over, it’s not.

My week has been a string of conversations of admitting that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay that some nights this is the last place I want to be and then the next morning I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I’ve figured out that it’s okay, because everyone is feeling the same way. Everyone is feeling just as lost and conflicted as I am.

I am thankful that my true comfort is found in something much more reliable than my emotions and my thoughts. I am thankful for friends who remind me of that and who are embracing the ups and downs of this adventure with me. I am thankful for friends who are holding me from a distance, and friends who are holding me from a few dorms down. I am thankful that I’m not supposed to have anything figured out, and that it’s really not even mine to figure out. I am thankful that it’s okay, to simply admit that sometimes this is hard, and that sometimes I’m not as okay as I would like to think I am.
Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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The Springfield City Ordinance You Need To Know About

Do you live in Springfield? Do you love hammocking? Boy, have I got news for you.

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For many residents of Springfield, the nice weather has brought lifted spirits and high hopes for what the season will bring. Many students in the surrounding colleges have used the weather as an opportunity to study outside and take a break from stuffy classrooms and noisy hallways.

Families have been able to return to regularly visiting parks, and parents have been getting a chance to let their children blow off some steam once they get out of class. For many, this weather feels like the breath of fresh air people need in order to finish all of the things they need to do before the summer starts.

If you're like me, the first thing you want to do when the weather is nice is go hammocking. Students at Missouri State University are lucky; our school has put up stands to hang hammocks on, so there is more room to spread out and study. Once their school day is over, some students will head to the park and hang up their hammocks, hoping to finish up some leftover assignments while they relax.

This could be an issue, considering that hammocking is illegal in Springfield parks.

In Chapter 82 of the Code of the City of Springfield, the park rules are outlined. One of the rules focuses on hanging things from park trees. The rule states: "it is unlawful to attach wires, ropes, placards, notices or other contrivances to any structure, tree, shrub, plant, or utility lines without prior written permission of the park board."

Unfortunately, this includes hammocks.

So, what are the consequences of breaking this law? You won't get arrested for trying to relax in your hammock, but you might get fined. Breaking a city ordinance typically leads to receiving a ticket from someone on the park board.

Now, while this ordinance may seem absurd, it's actually for a pretty solid reason. The park board is trying to protect their trees and other greenery from being accidentally damaged. Each tree in the Springfield parks are cataloged and looked after by the park board, who cares very much about their trees.

So, before you get frustrated at not being able to hammock in a Springfield park, pretend it's Leslie Knope who signed that ordinance into action. Who could be mad at her for trying to save some trees?

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