The Greatest Gift

Inspiration hit hard today ladies and gentlemen (and who else would I want to share it with?!)

I recently came into contact with an amazing individual through a mutual friend. He had a passion for photography and experience which triggered the creation of his project Monochromatic Stories **A project that wasn’t necessary for college, but simply for the message and interest.** The project included a black and white portrait and an excerpt about a story or experience the participant has had. The project centered around the idea of defying stereotypes and breaking stigmas. I decided to participate. My story was as follows:

Throughout senior year of high school everyone’s favorite piece of advice was “you’ll love college, best 4 years of your life,” but what happens when it doesn’t turn out that way?
I made the decision to attend St. John Fisher College in Rochester. It was 3 hours away from home, but I felt confident in my choice. The semester began and I had high hopes even after a devastating goodbye with my family and boyfriend. As time went on, I realized how unhappy I was. Academically everything was great, but my roommate situation was not great and everyone seemed to have their own clique. I stayed in my dorm room a good majority of the time and many weekends I sat in my room crying because I missed the people who truly cared and loved me. However, I was determined to make it through the year and was still hopeful for second semester.
Although things did get better during the second half of the year, I felt the best choice for me was to transfer closer to home. This decision brought a lot of emotion along with it. I felt like a failure; like there was more I could have done to make it work away from home. I was filled with doubt and questioned myself as a person. I watched as my friends posted on social media about how much they loved their schools and listened to them on break tell me about the interesting people and experiences they’ve had while being at college. Why did this not work out for me? I felt as though I had failed everyone who told me that I was going to have the best four years of my life, but more importantly, I felt like I failed myself.
I now commute to Siena College and live at home while working 24 hours a week. I continue to have a great relationship with my parents, siblings, and boyfriend. I have met some great people there and feel way more at home when I’m at school. But I don’t regret moving away for a year. I needed that experience of heartache and struggle to build myself and my relationships with those around me. I have a new respect and love for my family. I hadn’t realized how large a role they played in my life. I learned that I’m a goal driven individual and very independent, but I still want to be accepted. Most importantly, I learned that I don’t need to go out every weekend to enjoy my college experience and that is more than okay! I don’t have to be like everyone else as long as I’m happy and secure where I am.

It’s truly inspiring what some of the other participants had to say. Stories about racism or religious affiliation, mental illness or family members. I didn’t think mine was as profound as the others. However, the response I got was more than I anticipated or imagined. I received this message from someone I’ve had little to no contact with ever in my life:

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(I covered the profile picture and name to withhold the identity of the person)

This is the greatest gift humans have. The ability to help and assist people, sometimes without necessarily realizing it. The act of communication and reaching out to people is something that is constantly taken for granted. After my story was posted, I figured I’d get feed back from my family saying the classic, “We love you” or “We’re so proud of you and the young woman you’ve become.” And of course, I got those too ~and no matter how many times you hear it, it still makes you feel special!~

But receiving that message made my participation in the project incredibly worthwhile. I did it with the hope that it might help someone else, but I honestly never thought I’d know if it truly did or not. The person who reached out to me stated that I made her feel less alone, but in reality, she did the same to me. Although I had become more secure and appreciative of my decision and actions, I had yet to find someone who had that experience. There was still a small part of me that felt like a failure. This young person going through a similar experienced decided to reach out to me and tell me they were thankful for my story. That is something I will hold dear to my heart for years to come.  I appreciated her comments so much and I was overcome with warmth to have someone say I was able to help them through my words and real life experience. It’s also given me the courage to speak out more often, especially to people I may not know so well, in order to give someone that same feeling of encouragement and understanding.

I have hopes and dreams of becoming a child’s advocate through social work counseling. I want to become a safety net and outlet for children who are undergoing hard times. I want to be the voice they need because theirs is so commonly overlooked. I strongly believe that being a genuine person and helping where you can is the most rewarding experiences one can receive for themselves and the one’s on the receiving end.

As I explore my own writing abilities, I hope to continue this kind of helping, advice giving, and advocacy where I can. This blog is another way I can do that, for myself and for others. I’m beyond grateful for this experience. I feel it’s made me a better person and has only strengthened my desire for my future profession. SO, thank you to my new friend for your amazing creative abilities and drive to break the mold. Thank you to my friends and family who’ve supported me through everything within this past year. And thank you to this particular person for livening up my day, but more importantly, acknowledging your own feelings: it’s incredibly tough to do and you should not at all feel discouraged. We’re all finding our way through life!

Sincerely,

Erin

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What Everyone Needs to Hear About Relationships

First, I would like to apologize for my inconsistency and lack of posting. I’m a busy little bee and I can’t force inspiration.

I feel like the most common misunderstanding about relationships is… THEY DO IN FACT TAKE WORK! Fights will break out and sometimes they’ll be ridiculous. But every fight or argument leads to a better understanding about yourself, the other person, or about what you want in a partner.

Yes, you’re significant other is going to annoy you; this is nothing new considering you encounter a number of different people daily that may rub you the wrong way. Being close to another individual includes knowing what does or does not irritate the other. Naturally, people are going to press buttons especially when they know which buttons to press. When problems occur, say what you have to say and stick to your beliefs, but…

COMPROMISE! Not to be cliche, but put yourself in one another’s shoes. Think about things from their perspective and see if any part of their argument makes logical sense to you. I feel like it’s a key to a stable relationship that many people don’t take the time to do. If you can understand their view in the slightest bit, it will help make compromising and resolution come more naturally.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT THE END ALL BE ALL! Don’t get me wrong, I use social media frequently and I greatly enjoy when my boyfriend posts about me (I also have a “stalk sesh” from time to time when necessary). But I promise you, asking about something up front and honestly is a much better way to go. And don’t fight over texting. Messages can be easily misconstrued and misread. In more cases than not, text message arguing makes the situation worse (based on my own personal experience).

I’m not going to sit here and pretend like cheating doesn’t happen and trust me, I’m not condoning it. But love is a beautiful thing and just because someone makes a poor decision and wasn’t necessarily taught how to treat another human being, doesn’t mean you should give up. I’m a firm believer in love and the happiness it can bring (although you’re significant other should not be your only source of happiness). It’s worth fighting for when it’s right and it will find you when you least expect it (another cliche, I’m sorry).

One of my pet peeves is when girls and guys say they’re done with relationships because they’re worthless and too much effort. Things take effort and people will hurt you. But as I said before, you’ll learn more about yourself and what you need. Trial and error is apart of growing, experiencing, and loving. Don’t regret anything for a second because everything in life is a lesson. Have trust, be honest and loyal, and love with all your heart because each and every person is different- with different personalities, morals, views, and beliefs. Don’t compile people into groups because of past experiences. Give everything you have to any and all relationships (family relationships and friendships included) because you deserve it, even if it’s for a short time. People will cause the most happiness and the most pain in our lives, but everything worth having is worth fighting for (last cliche I promise).

Sincerely,

Erin

 

A Message We Wish We Could Share with Professors

Dear Professors,

The end of the semester is difficult on all students; As I’m positive you’re all aware of because you’ve stated it over and over again for multiple weeks leading up to the inevitable week of hell that we call “finals week.” For the most part, I appreciate the knowledge you’ve imprinted into my brain and I can even rationalize the idea of giving a final to demonstrate what we’ve learned (although still most definitely unwanted and not needed). However, I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable to grade the tests and papers and presentations within a short time frame and let me tell you why.

As previously stated, it’s not a pleasant time in the college world when finals week strolls around. Even the idea of finals week brings anxious nervousness to each and every student in some way. Because there is a plethora of things to prepare for, somewhere down the line one or more things on the to-do list get cut short. This is formerly known as “cramming.” Every student experiences this from time to time throughout each semester, so at the end it’s your turn to do the same. You have multiple things to grade (maybe because you’ve been a slow grader the entire semester and are backed up or maybe because you’ve bombarded your students at the end of the semester) and final marks to calculate. But taking your time and moseying through grading helps neither of us.

It creates a lot of panic, sweating, anxiousness, terror, crying, overthinking, irritable stomach aches, thoughts of quitting school, loss of limbs, and my favorite, death of students’ souls. Also, it wastes your time and you miss out on a week of your summer that could be spent perhaps enjoying your children or getting drunk. This, of course, is not a problem for students because even with the issues stated above regarding grade anticipation, it does not stop a college student from partying the second they’ve completed the semester.

In conclusion, I would recommend avoiding finals at all cost because they are detrimental to students’ physical, mental, and emotional health. “Cramming” for finals is more than okay and professors should utilize this method as well when it comes to grading. And even though you’re moving quickly, make sure the proper final grade is calculated because when the wrong grade is posted, it could cause a heart attack in a perfectly healthy 18-21 year old individual. This is true for the entire semester; please keep up with your grading for the sake of humanity. Lastly, please stop telling us how you understand how stressed we are because you’re equally as stressed with all the grading you have to do after the unnecessary final you’re about to give us.

Sincerely,

Erin (and the rest of the college student population)

Welcome!

Don’t worry, this is new to me too! I’m still learning the in’s and out’s of this website so bare with me!

The idea of a blog intrigues me and I’m so excited I’ve decided to go through with it. I feel free to say what I truly feel because it’s my creation. Not worrying about a professor’s opinion and ideals to receive the best grade is a great kind of different!

My goal is honestly a selfish one. This blog is a way for me to understand and share my thoughts and feelings, that may not be the most popular one. I invite anyone and everyone to disagree (POLITELY) with my views. Heated discussion is something I appreciate and thrive on (and yes, I am a millennial). I enjoy a good sense of humor so that will for sure be present within my posts.

I have no idea what I’ll have to say and I definitely will not have enough topics to post daily ( but click the follow button and you can receive emails when I post 😉 ). Whenever the inspiration hits I’ll take to the blog!

I appreciate everyone who decides to take the time to read this; I hope you get as much enjoyment out of reading it as I do writing it. I would love if my view could influence or change someone else’s for the better. Or better yet, make someone feel more comfortable with themselves or even with me. Please share with others if you feel they could find guidance or assistance with my words. That would mean the world to me!

Sincerely,

Erin

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