I Wrote A Letter To Our President

I Wrote A Letter To Our President

From a concerned student sitting in Starbucks

Sitting in the middle of Starbucks, the only thing that was louder than the music on the loudspeaker were the voices of college students, urging their peers to voice their opinions on the recent election results. While I've said my peace to those who are close to me, aka my thousands of friends on Facebook and my parents, I felt as if the one person who could actually make a difference in the matter should hear. So, that's when I pulled out my favorite pen and a piece of scrap paper, and wrote a letter to soon-to-be Mr. Obama.

"Dear Soon-To-Be Mr. Obama,

My name is Cassidy and I am a 19-year-old student studying journalism and communications at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. You must get thousands of letters every day from constituents, but I am here to just say one thing--thank you.

In 2008, when you came to the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, I had the pleasure of high-fifing you. I watched as I nearly wrecked my Nintendo DS by standing in the pouring rain with my mother. I watched as I could see tears of hope streaming down her face as you spoke, each tear a glimmer of hope. I was 11 years old at the time, and you probably don't remember that day, but I do.

Now, as you begin to leave the White House, I need you to promise me one thing. Just one thing. I need you to keep advocating for us college kids, us millennials, us children of immigrants, us women. I cannot believe I say this, that I'm terrified in living in a country that I grew up worshipping. I would pay millions of dollars to go back to 2008, as I looked at my home as a safe haven, not a zone for prejudice and racism. On a liberal campus, I've never questioned my safety, up until now. So, what I'm asking you to follow through on; be that glimmer of hope again, just like you were for my mother back in 2008.

You will always be one of the most prominent figures in my life, and I cannot thank you enough for that. It's too bad I was the runner-up for the American Legion Laurel Girl's Nation back in high school, it would have been a great opportunity to thank you in person.

Cassidy Kotyla

P.S. I voted for Hillary. Also say hi to your family from UMass Amherst!"

I've never felt like growing up in the United States should allow myself to be associated with fear, similar to countries that the government terrorizes their own citizens. However, as I sit in this cramped Starbucks, I hear just that. Mr. Donald Trump, I plead with you to be level-headed. I refuse to live in a country that promotes violence. I cannot justify throwing people into prison for a minimum of two years if they try to cross into a country in hopes of escaping the nightmare they currently live in. I cannot fathom a life where the environment is considered second to our material needs. Do not allow your own citizens to suffer because of your desires and actions. Most of all, I implore you to treat your peers with respect. When I came to college, it was my first taste of what diversity really was like. With taking the time to learn about people's differences, backgrounds, concerns, and worries about their own futures, it allowed me to see the world in a different light. Because I'm not the one who just won the presidency, I'm practically begging you, Donald. Make the right choices.

We just spend the last eight years with a president who not everybody liked, but was seen as a compassionate and devout human being. I can only hope that the next four years we can see the same amount of compassion in your actions, Mr. Trump. I want to be able to have my peers see the glimmer of hope in your eyes one day.

Cover Image Credit: Cassidy Kotyla

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Removing Toxic People From Your Life

You do not, and I repeat, do not, owe others an explanation for doing something for the betterment of your own well being.

Unfortunately, toxic people are always going to be present and coming into your life. There are many ways to deal with them and they can be represented by several characteristics. However, it is your personal choice when deciding what to do with them. Do you let them stay in your life and keep taking more than they give? Or, do you cut them out of your life?

Toxic people look just like any other person on the outside, but they are usually narcissistic and overbearing on the inside. They can appear to be friends, family, peers or even college roommates. Toxic people are typically greedy and manipulative. They make you think that they care about you when really, the fact is that they only care about themselves. They are not going to be there to congratulate you on your personal victories because inside they just want to see you fail to make themselves look better.

Toxic people never apologize for what they have done that was wrong, especially if it is something that hurt somebody else. Sometimes, they tell fibs about what happened and they are far from the truth. Finally, toxic people bring back irrelevant information to arguments and hold everything that you have ever said against you.

All of these characteristics are those of a toxic person or somebody that you hopefully do not want in your life. Now, the question remains, what do you do with them? My advice to you is to cut them out of your life and move on. Eventually, you realize when enough is enough with somebody and you cannot handle them mistreating you any longer.

Always remember that you are allowed to leave those who have hurt you. You are allowed to be selfish sometimes when it means taking care of yourself. You do not, and I repeat, do not, owe others an explanation for doing something for the betterment of your own well being. What some people have a hard time realizing is that it is okay to want to make yourself happy.

You should not have to quietly sit there and smile while other people are walking all over you. You are a human being, and you have a right to let someone know that they are hurting you and that they need to stop doing so. You are allowed to set boundaries when people are overstepping and making you feel uncomfortable.

Whether you take my advice or not, I am confident that you will make the right decision in regards to dealing with toxic individuals. However, just trust me when I say that once you can, and choose to recognize and erode the toxicity of these awful beings, you will see an array of positive changes in your life and overall well being.
Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The National School Walkout Day Is Important Because Staying Silent Is Not The Best Option

We must make our voices known.

Protests are usually controversial. There's really no way around it; that's kinda the whole point of protests. But the National School Walkout Day is important because we, as students, no longer feel safe in our classrooms. With all the armed robberies happening in Eugene currently, I don't even feel safe walking around NEAR campus. Even walking alone on campus has become slightly terrifying.

But I don't enjoy living in fear. Maybe it's my resilient spirit, but living in fear is one of the things I hate. I chose to participate in the walkout for that specific reason. I should feel safe sitting in a classroom while trying to learn new material. I shouldn't have an added layer of FEAR to the classroom environment.

How are we supposed to learn when we're worried about being the next victim in a list of school shooting victims that is already way too long? Even though I didn't have class at the time of the walkout, participating in it still was extremely powerful for me. Seeing so many fellow students united in our fear and resilience is incredibly powerful.

Many people disagree with this walkout, and argue that walking out of our classes for seventeen minutes won't change anything. My problem with this mindset is that these kinds of people don't think ANYTHING can make a change. However, most of our actions have the potential to majorly affect more than we realize. Staying silent about this issue won't create any positive change, so why not protest and show the country and government how unhappy we are about this current situation? We must make our voices known.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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