Why Attending Youngstown University Was One Of My Smartest Decisions

Why Attending Youngstown University Was One Of My Smartest Decisions

You didn't screw up.
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When I was a senior in high school, I ran into a classmate’s dad at the grocery store. We talked for a few minutes before he asked the typical “Where are you heading for school?” question that plagues a person’s senior year. After telling him I was going to YSU, he smirked and said, “Ah, yes, the old ‘You Screwed Up,’ of course.” I felt my eyebrows furrow and my smile fade from my face as I hurried to end the encounter. As I look back on that situation, I again feel a twinge of anger; sure, it would’ve been nice to go away to school and “see the world,” but I have never felt dissatisfied with my decision to attend YSU.

I was born in Youngstown and grew up on the outskirts of the city, so I’ve always been familiar with the area. Throughout my high school career, I applied to a couple of colleges, but I always knew that I’d end up going to Youngstown State. Originally, when people asked me where I planned to go to school, I’d shrug and say “Just YSU,” but someone pointed out to me once that I always said “just YSU,” and I suddenly become conscious of the fact that I took having a wonderful institution within minutes of my home for granted.

Youngstown State has one of the highest acceptance rates in the state, which a lot of people see as a bad thing. I don’t. I think it’s great that those who don’t necessarily test well or who have had a rough past can come to college and earn a degree to better themselves. Nursing and criminal justice are two of the most popular programs at the university, which means that some of the most caring and brave people are earning their degrees at YSU and then going on to literally save people’s lives. In addition to that, the school of business is booming, the liberal arts are as dominant as ever, and even general studies students are going on to make a huge difference in our community and others.

Having a close relationship with my educators has always been super important to me, and that is something that YSU encourages. My advisor is an angel and has helped me so much, and my professors have gone out of their way to make sure that I succeed, no matter what it takes. Some of the classes that I’ve been in have had a lot of students, but for the most part, the student to teacher ratio is roughly 17:1, which is wonderful for the students who take advantage of what their professors have to offer. I owe a lot of my professors. Everything, and it’s because of them that I’ve fallen more in love with my field of study.

Not only have I had the chance to learn from some of the most wonderful professors, I get to sleep in my bed every night. Sometimes, commuting is hard. If the roads are bad or if traffic is horrendous, I get a little snippy. But I’ve been able to live at home and still attend all of my classes without too much difficulty. I get to eat at the restaurants that I’ve grown up with, I often see people I went to school with, and I didn’t have any awkward homesick stages to fight through (which was a huge relief.) I’m in a familiar setting, and that has made all the difference for myself when it comes to learning.

Most importantly (in the long run, I guess), I’ve been able to save so much money by attending YSU. Since I live at home, I don’t pay room and board. Since I live at home, my grandma can still cook me dinner or I can find something for lunch in the fridge without having to spend all of my money on groceries. And my tuition isn’t outrageously priced. At the end of my college career, I will owe approximately $30,000 in debt. To me, that sounds like a lot, but I know people who pay that much money for one year of tuition at other schools.

When it comes down to it, attending Youngstown State has been one of the best decisions of my life.

P.S. The classmate whose dad I mentioned at the beginning of the story? He failed out of a big name school because he partied too much. So, excuse me, sir, who’s the one who screwed up?

Cover Image Credit: Marriott

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5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.
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If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.


Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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I Dropped A Class My First Semester Of College, But That Doesn't Make Me Any Less Of A Student

Seriously, course loads in college are intense.

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It's October, midterms are rolling around, and so is the stress of keeping up your grades. In some classes, you may have an insane number of extra credit opportunities, or you may be taking classes that are meant to be GPA boosters. Unlike these scenarios, I am not.

I am a science major, biochemistry to be more specific, and my course load is intense. Recommended courses to take during your first semester in order to stay on track are Biology 1201, Chemistry 1201, and Math 1550 (calculus), as well as other courses such as biology lab, possibly a foreign language or general education course, or another class that takes a large amount of your time and dedication such as a band course or anything extracurricular.

All that being said, I am a first-year undergraduate student trying to juggle 17-course hours, as well as obstacles outside of the classroom. Now realize, to be considered a full-time student, you only have to schedule 12 hours. Yes, you read that correctly, 12, and I am attempting 17.

Initially, I did not think this was a horrible idea being that I was not a bad student in high school. I came into college thinking 17 hours wasn't going to be insanely difficult, just an adjustment that I would have to get used to.

Boy, was I wrong...

I am the first person to admit when I am struggling in something but to also admit I hate bothering someone for help. I will sit and struggle trying to teach myself before even remotely thinking about talking to someone else for help.

Because of this, I began to fall behind in multiple classes because I really could not handle taking 17 hours in my first semester. Luckily, withdrawing from a course is an option and also is not frowned upon at my university, nor did my parents have an issue with me dropping a class and deciding to take it at a later time.

So, the week of midterms, I decided Calculus was just too much for me to juggle on top of all of my other courses too. After dropping this course I will go from taking 17 hours to 12 hours. Yes, I will have gone from taking the max number of hours a first-semester freshman can take, to taking the minimum number of hours for anyone to be a full-time student at Louisiana State University.

In doing this, I have gotten a lot of questions as to why I am choosing to withdraw from the course. Why not just push through it and keep going?

Let's be real. In the long scheme of things, I cannot allow a course that I admittedly struggle in to take my attention away from other courses in which I will ultimately fall behind in all of them. Also, ANY medical school (my goal) would much rather see a W on a transcript and then the course is taken again and passed, rather than it being failed and taken again along with a GPA below their liking.

So, before you go off judging people for taking a W in a course or thinking you are just that much better than them because you never have, think of the possibilities as to WHY they may have needed to withdraw. Why ruin your GPA over one course? I didn't.

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