Do Walls Work?

Do Walls Work?

A historical analysis


If this shutdown had proven anything it has proved that Trump has a grasp of time longer than he's been alive which he frequently displays with his informative lectures on the 'medieval' technology of walls and his amazement at their ability to best the ancient technology of wheels. Now we've heard from nearly every corner of educated American society ranging from artists to politicians to even architects just how wrong this wall is and the various ways it isn't going to work. However in this discussion there is one important group that has not yet weighed in on the wall issue and that group is the historians who can give us an answer supported by the weight of history on whether walls work. Let us take a journey through time and examine some of the most famous walls ever built.

We'll start with Hadrian's Wall in what is now England as it is the oldest wall on this list. Roman emperor Hadrian built the wall partly to defend the Roman province of Britain from marauding bands of Picts and other barbarians coming out of the north and partly to serve as an expression of roman power. At both of these purposes the wall ultimately proved futile as upon the next emperors ascension the wall was abandoned for a new one further north. Additionally the wall proved difficult to maintain and garrison and was eventually abandoned as Roman control over Britain gradually declined.

We move on nest to what are probably the most successful set of walls in history the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople in what is now the European part of Turkey. The walls were built by the Byzantine emperors to protect their capitol and for over 900 years they managed to successfully repeal attacking armies from dozens of rival nations. Now before you go off thinking that this proves that walls indeed can work consider for a moment the current name of the city as a hint to their ultimate fate. The fact that the city is Istanbul and not Constantinople shows just how well walls can keep out an enemy, especially when that enemy has such modern technology as cannon. Good thing nobody else knows the secrets of gunpowder else the rest of the world's wall should tremble in fear, right?

Our next wall is probably the most famous wall in the world and the wall that Trump most commonly cites as his inspiration, the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall is not one single wall but a series of walls and other fortification built by various Chinese dynasties to keep out invaders particularly from the Mongol Steppes. The Great Wall however was ultimately unsuccessful in this goal as more than one Chinese dynasty originated from invaders who manages to breach the great wall, not the least of witch were the Mongols themselves.

Now you might be thinking that in this modern era of science where we possess such technologies as airplanes and high explosives that walls would be obsolete and vanish from the world and you would be partly correct. The walls of today are less solid stone edifices towering above you but rather a metaphor for an elaborate system of defensive works typically made of concrete. Take for example the Nazi's Atlantic Wall built to defend their conquests in Western Europe from Allied invasion. The wall stretched from the Spanish border up to the Arctic Circle and consisted of thousands of pillboxes, bunkers, gun emplacements, minefields, and various other nasty surprises for an invasion. The Wall was probably one of the largest and most sophisticated defensive systems ever created by human hands and it took only a day to breach it. Once the Allies secured a foothold on D-Day the Wall was rendered useless and became little more that a sideshow in the liberation of Europe and a crumbling monument to Nazi vanity after that.

Our final wall is the most recent wall on this list and the one I think that most captures the spirit of what Trump is trying to do, the Berlin Wall. The Berlin wall was built in 1961 by the East German government to prevent citizens from fleeing to the west trough the Allied occupied section of Berlin. The wall was a collection of concrete barriers, guard towers, and open spaces that became know as the 'death strip'. Over 150 people died trying to make it over the wall and yet despite its lethality over 5,000 people still manages to defect with tens of thousands more still making the attempt anyway.

From reviewing this collection of notable walls there are a few things we can learn. The first is that no wall is impenetrable. If a group of people is determined enough and resourceful enough they will find a way through the wall no matter how big or deadly you make it. The second is that when walls do work it is because they are one part of a much larger system rather than a thing unto themselves. The Theodosian Walls succeeded for as long as they did because they were part of a much larger imperial defense system supported by various armies, navies, and civil servants. This is something that I fear Trump does not realize, a southern boarder wall is not going to be just a wall but an entire system in itself with a veritable army needed to patrol it and maintain it. Frankly it is entirely possible that more people will be needed to garrison the thing than it will ever stop crossing the boarder.

The wall is likely to be a money pit to rival all other money pits, as it will require an ever-greater quantity of resources to maintain for almost non-existent returns. What's more it is very likely that whoever the president after Trump is will simply order the thing halted and put the money into other more productive projects either destroying what's already been built or leaving it to crumble as another monument to oppression and authoritarian vanity. No matter what way you look at it the wall flies in the face of nearly every historical lesson about successful wall usage at to be used as a cheap propaganda tool by an oafish president.

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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.

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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Body Image Lessons That I Didn't Learn From A Professor

What I realized about body image my freshman year of college


Girls usually struggle with self image in general. But the game changes when it's time to go to college. When you are constantly surrounded by your peers, you begin to compare all of the little things they do to you. You compare their bodies to yours. You try to figure out what they are doing that you're not. Or vice versa, why they don't have to do anything to look the way they do. But by the end of my first year, I realized that I would never be happy with myself if I kept thinking this way. So I recorded some realizations I had throughout the year that helped me to improve my body image.

My body is, and never will be the same as any other girl... and that's okay

Different sized and shaped strawberries

It can be so easy in college to compare your body to the girls that surround you. Like the one's live with and you see on a daily basis. There is no point in comparing apples to oranges, so why would you compare your body to a girl who was made completely different? So what you can't fit into her party pants, you can rock another pair just as well.

What works for her, might not work for me

Daily Planner

With different body types, comes different food and exercise needs. Some girls don't need to work out or eat healthy to keep a slim frame. Some girls are naturally muscular. Your routine needs to be catered to you, and there is no need to analyze what someone else eats or does to try to attain their stature. You have to do what feels right for YOUR body to have a good self image.

Don't spend too much time on istagram

Obviously social media effects our body image because of how easily and frequently photos are edited and then presented for the most likes. So if there is a certain account that always makes you feel bad when you see their content, unfollow, and take that aspect out of your life. However, because social media is unavoidable you can't completely escape all the provoking images. So when scrolling, think positively about those who's pictures you see, don't compare, and be aware of the previous lessons.

It's okay for your body to fluctuate

The weight and look of your body can easily fluctuate, It's just natural. And in the same way your life fluctuates, your body may follow along and thats not a big deal! In exam season, there might not be enough time to go to the gym everyday. Or during the holidays there might be an increase of indulgence in treats. But its all okay as long as your getting things done or enjoying life. The only time it becomes an issue if the fluctuations turn unhealthy.

Cut out the negativity

If a friend is constantly complaining to you about their body, it can trigger distress in you, and set you back. So if someone else's body image issues are interfering with you mentally, you need to call them out on their B.S. or stop allowing them say those things in front of you.

Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in

If you wear things that you feel comfortable in, then you wont constantly be thinking about how your stomach, legs, or arms look throughout the day. Wear something that you are confident in, even if it means wearing leggings every day of the week!

I'm not a little kid anymore, therefore my body is not going to look like one

Curves and changes that come after high school can take anyone by surprise, but it's supposed to happen. You can't really be mad at can only find the beauty in it.

Everyone has their own insecurities

Even if someone has your ideal body, odds are they still despise theirs. I have met friends in college that are stick skinny, yet are self conscious about it. I know curvy girls that are very insecure. And even an "average" body type has a thousand things that they nit-pick about themselves. No one has their dream body and never will, which is why I had to learn to love the little things about mine.

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