What It Really Means To Be The Bigger Person

What It Really Means To Be The Bigger Person

A lesson on letting go and apologizing.
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No one ever denied that apologies can be incredibly difficult -- especially when you know you’re right, the other person is completely kidding themselves and at fault, and you just can’t get over your big ego. But the lesson of being “the bigger person,” though it is as old as time, still remains valid and deserves to be taught time and time again.

Can you think of a feud from years ago that might have ended a friendship? Can you think of someone you feel uncomfortable talking to because you still think they owe you an apology? Can you maybe even think of something you’ve done wrong but still haven’t apologized for because it doesn’t feel like it’s worth it?

Let’s just be really blunt with ourselves for a minute or two. No matter how many Facebook statuses you post about being “a princess,” or being a woman (which means you’re never wrong), or how stupid, lying and cheating everyone else in the world can be, the fact of the matter is you’re not always right. Sorry, sweetie.

Of course this doesn’t just go for women because in any argument between anyone, there is rarely someone who is completely right and someone who is completely wrong. As the saying goes, there are always three sides to every story: your side, my side and the truth.

That person that you aren’t talking to -- can you imagine what they might be saying about you right now? How you are at fault, or how rude you might have been to them? Do you think there might just be a shred of truth in all of that that you could apologize for? Because, more than likely, there is.

All sass aside, let’s get to the point. What does it really mean to be the bigger person? The answer is very simple. Being the bigger person means realizing that you actually aren’t always right, that you sometimes deserve to give an apology as much as you deserve to receive one and that being able to set aside your ego and take the five minutes to apologize to someone is worth much more than years of argument.

Really, that’s all it takes! If you set aside just a few minutes to swallow your pride and apologize, sincerely and truthfully, you can show yourself just how strong you are and how much you value that person’s friendship. It’s important to realize, first and foremost, that a mended relationship is worth being wrong for a minute and listening carefully and dutifully to the other side of the story.

Arguments happen, and they can be detrimental and hurtful: ending relationships, causing bitterness and defining scars in the history of that relationship. But it’s so vital to understand that if you let a relationship end because of an argument, you’re letting that argument win. However, if you choose to grow and learn from that argument, strengthening that relationship, then you’ve overcome that pettiness and turned an argument into something positive.

Never be afraid to apologize first. It will sting your ego, sure, but there is something so profoundly graceful about doing something you hate for someone you love.

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Not My Michigan

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

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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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To incoming college freshman

Things I wish someone would have told me about freshman year of college

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Freshman year, I remember it like it was yesterday. Well, it kinda was. The excitement and anticipation of finally being away from home and the feeling of a fresh start. I was beyond excited for freshman year and can honestly say it was the best year of my life. However, there are a few things I wish I would have known before starting college.

This first thing I wish I would have realized is how fast the year goes by. I felt like my senior year of high school went by fast, but nothing compared to freshman year. It's like I blinked and it was already winter break, then I blinked again and it was summer. I think this is because there is so much to do at school, between class, extracurriculars, meeting all new people, and exploring a new place. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming, the feeling as if you should always be doing something. It is important not to forget to relax and take time for yourself. The amount of work and time in which it is due is also a lot different than high school as well, which can be a stressful adjustment as time management plays such a big role in being successful in college. A good way to avoid this stress is to plan out when you will do your work for each of your classes and don't procrastinate (we all do it, but if you can break the habit your freshman-year-old college, you will thank yourself at the end of the year). One thing I wish I would have done was taken more time for myself and not have had the constant feeling like I had to be doing something. So take in all the new experiences, but also don't be afraid to take time for yourself because although freshman year doesn't last forever, you will still have three more years.

That leads me to my next point - which is to get involved. This was a such a big factor in how I made friends my freshman year. College offers so many unique opportunities and it is such a good way to find your passions and people that share those passions. One thing I wish someone would have told me was that there are certain clubs for your major. I am a film major and I joined Delta Kappa Alpha, which is a film fraternity and being a part of this organization has helped me meet some of the greatest people and even better I have made friends who have the same major as me. Making friends in the dorms was one thing I regret not doing my freshman year. So many people talk about how they met their closest friends through their dorms, so don't miss the opportunity of meeting people that are living with you for a year like I did.

Overall freshman year is pretty great. A new beginning. Don't forget about your past though. Keep in touch with your high school friends, answer your mom when she calls you, and text your siblings saying you miss them even if you really don't! Have fun and enjoy because it is most likely going to be the easiest year of school.

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