When a Flaw Becomes a Risk…

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I saw this article in the New York Times earlier this week, one that we all should be talking about. So today, let’s talk.

Take a look here at the article, the one that showcases a class-action lawsuit against Stanford regarding ill-addressed mental health and its students.

The title reads Feeling Suicidal, Students Turned to Their College. They Were Told to Go Home. Like many colleges nationwide, Stanford struggles to support its students with their mental health as conditions ranging from eating disorders to anxiety are on the rise in the college-age generation.

The Lawsuit

Yet, according to several reports from groups like Top Class Actions or the Stanford Daily, one University is not doing enough to support students but rather ask them to leave in accordance with their Dean’s Leave of Absence policy.

Including this article from the Disability Rights Advocates Corporation, most state that “Stanford routinely bars students from campus and on-campus housing when Stanford perceives that they may be at risk of self-harm or experiencing suicidal ideation.”

The Problem

Now I understand that many schools face the issue of caring for more students that they can truly handle efficiently or appropriately. Yes, at a certain point it is beyond the scope of a university to provide certain kinds of help, and in some cases it is best to point a student towards facilities and resources that can properly suit their needs.

But cutting students off from their current resources or even schooling when they are in need of help does not seem like a solution. It seems like rather a diversion.

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Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

One that may help for some students who take a leave of absence and find proper treatment from home before returning to school with a better mindset and overall wellbeing.

That does not mean it is a solution for all.

For some students, turning them away only hurts them more. Not only this, but the alternative options of medication or counseling outside the school may not be affordable– even more so, the trial and error approach along with the side-effects that come with medication may leave the student worse off before they get better, especially without a proper support system in place.

Not only does this say something about how college’s value a student’s overall wellbeing, but also about the flaw in an educational system to provide a productive environment for students as a whole. Just like professional companies often offer services, sick leave, and other options for their employees, it seems student’s don’t quite have that luxury.

Not unless they’re willing to pay, more than their tuition, but also the loss of that tuition in order to leave school and find the help that they need.

This is a broken system.
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Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

When I say “system,” I am talking about both our mental healthcare and collegiate educational systems. First of all, the amount of people who cannot graduate high school or get to higher education at all– due to family obligation, school-to-prison pipeline, money, complication, etc.– is astounding and largely unequal.

If so much of the professional world depends on a degree and proper education these days, how can we hope for a diverse and productive work environment when there is no equity in getting to that education?

From ages 25-34, we see about 37% earning at least a bachelor’s degree while only 23% of African Americans and 16.4% of Hispanic Americans earning college degrees. I understand that some people do not desire/need college degrees for what they want to do and that is fine.

These numbers are a problem for those who do hope to attain degrees out of their reach.

So within our education systems, there is a flaw of gross inequity. And within the mental healthcare systems, it seems proper care is not always being offered.

When you combine these two issues with the academic, financial, social, and professional pressure of college, it becomes dangerous. This puts the future of a generation’s professional and personal wellbeing at risk for failure.

No matter where this class-action lawsuit goes, I know we can do better as a people. There needs to be a higher value on mental health as well as equity within education as a whole.

Students have to get to a point of being suicidal; it doesn’t just happen out of the blue. And children need to be educated properly from the very beginning– all children from all backgrounds, with some way for them to reach higher education if they would like to.

We Need Change
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Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

Think of the world we are about to live in, the one we want our kids and grandkids to thrive in. We shouldn’t have to live within these broken systems that foster inequity and improper treatment. And they shouldn’t either, not when we can start making a change for better now.

Those students are using the law to make a difference. As of today, I have my voice for change so I am using it.

*Cue Allstate guy “are you in good hands?” voice…

So what are you going to do about it?

The Truth About Forever– A Book Review

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Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

Another Bookworms post for your Tuesday and I’m bringing you one of the books that I come back to every summer. Each year, I always have this list of books to read, to finally get my hands on with the hope that I can use the plethora of time I like think summers hold.

Then I got older and realized that time wasn’t always a guarantee. First it was AP class homework, then an internship along with the homework, and now I’m in college spending my summer with class, work weeks, and not enough time for reading.

And yet, that hasn’t stopped me from going back to old favorites. For young adult books, author Sarah Dessen does pretty well from books like Just Listen to Lock and Key, each telling different stories that somehow connect to one another in some way. So without further ado, here is my book review for one of my favorites from her.

The Truth About Forever— Sarah Dessen

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Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash

It’s your classic YA novel, you’ve got your main girl who has a boy and decides to let go of that boy, while finding a new one in the process when she wasn’t really looking for him. At least that’s what it sounds like from the back cover.

But once you go a little deeper, you’ll realize that this book is about grief just as much as it is about love— two things that undoubtedly go together. For each character in the book, it seems they are all trying to figure out how to reconcile the people they used to be with who they are becoming. Take the moms or the sons or the daughters or the friends, every single one of them is working through their past to get to their future.

Maybe that’s one reason I like this book so much, because it’s relatable no matter the circumstances your life has put you in. This book makes sense.

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Photo by Milan Popovic on Unsplash

Macy is the kind of main character that holds a whole lot of genuine comedy and sarcasm underneath her practicality and need for control. Combine her with the character of Wes, whose spontaneity and creativity makes him so endearing in the process, and it’s hard not to be drawn into their stories.

As their lives collide with one another, we watch them get pulled far outside their comfort zones and into a different way of living. Past the grief and the love, this book is also about family and relationships as a whole. The way Macy interacts with her mother and sister parallels with the way Wes and his brother interact— they both invite you into these relationships within the pages.

Not only does this book offer a feel for the families, but it also offers an inside look into Macy’s head and her need for perfection, combating the guilt and inadequacy she so constantly feels with people like her mother or old flame Jason even. This novel is a slice of life, with a heartthrob thrown into the middle of it for a little comedic and romantic relief throughout.

One thing I will say took away from this book a little bit is its slow start. Sticking with the book was easy for me simply because I like Dessen’s work and knew it would be worth the wait. But for some, things only get interesting when Wes comes into the storyline and gives us someone to get attached to.

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Once that happens, the pages turn from there and if you’re anything like me, it’ll be one of those books that you just keep reading so you finish it before you put it down even once.


If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think! And if you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll take a chance on this one. I don’t think you will regret it.

Living out of Obligation

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Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

Do you ever do something not because you truly want to, but because you feel like you should? I could easily be talking about work or writing or love or smiling… I could be talking about living.

In a way, I kind of am.

Let’s make this personal shall we: throughout middle school and high school, 7 years of my life, I was a runner. Here’s a concept— I hate running. Give me a 4×1, I loved it. But only if I didn’t start. Give me a triple jump or long jump, loved that too (probably more). But don’t make me run, not in a competition with a start gun and a timer.

I loved the people and the jumping. Not so much the running.

So why did I do it and keep doing it, running varsity all four years of high school and taking on team co-captain senior year?

Because I was good at it. What a shame it would have been to waste my talent right, to let my team down?

It was an obligation. Not one that I regret for the physical shape and amount of connections I made through the sport, but still an obligation.

Now think about yourself, why do we smile at strangers even when there’s nothing funny or amusing or remotely smile inducing about them? I don’t even know if it’s considered polite, we were simply always told to be kind and smile at other people. It’s an obligation of sorts.

Like the black person nod— no, I do not know every black person I see out around Folsom or Cal Poly, but that doesn’t stop me from nodding at them when I pass by. I never really questioned it, it’s just what we do.

You get what I’m saying.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When it comes to these things, from the smiling to the nodding, maybe it helps us in the long run. I know with track, I met a handful of incredible people and learned a lot about myself in the process. Even with the smiling thing, it’s paid off working in customer service and retail for the past few years. We do a lot of things out of obligatory feelings of needing to do it. Whether we’re good at it, it’s polite, it’s “the right thing to do”…

Maybe sometimes that’s a good thing. And maybe other times it’s not.

Because what happens when we do something out of obligation that in turn compromises our own intentions or integrity? Now I’m not talking about doing something out of your comfort zone, those things are important for growth and experience in the long run.

I am talking about priority.

There are a lot of things that we may do because we feel like we should and it ends up helping us too. But if we take someone else’s needs and put them above ourselves, that obligation can turn around and hurt us in the process. Think about it, I’m sure you’ve been there.

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Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Have you ever had a deadline coming up but a friend needed your help, so you put the work aside and helped them out leaving very little time for that deadline?

Or maybe you offered to help tutor a classmate or walk a coworker through something every day, only to watch your performance and time slip due to your time spent on them.

Whether they’re friends, family, coworkers… Anyone really, I understand the want to help people or to support them as best you can. Sometimes that will in turn take away from your own time or sleep, maybe even your own well-being.

There simply needs to be a line somewhere.

There is this grey area between being kind or helpful, and being a pushover. I know it’s something I’ve always struggled to find a balance in. Always putting other people’s needs in front of your own may not help them in the long run, and it definitely doesn’t help you. But never supporting others or letting yourself not be the center of your own life every once in a while doesn’t help anyone either.

The older we get, the more important our relationships become— that includes our relationships with ourselves. So find a balance in there, between obligation versus self-prioritization or self-neglect versus love and support.

sean-stratton-744839-unsplashI know it’s hard to find the line that balances the two sides out, I’ve been looking for it for years and still haven’t found it. But a life out of obligation isn’t a good one, not when you’re doing it for the wrong reasons or the wrong people. So find a balance and make sure it’s a good one…

I’ll be looking for one too.


See you Tuesday for a new Bookworms post. Happy weekend!

Taking On a New Beginning

simon-matzinger-603033-unsplashWhether you’re starting off at a new school, taking on another year of your journey, tackling a new job, or finding your feet, this post is for you.

Beginnings are terrifying, no matter what it looks like. Going into college, I was excited but also scared. Starting my job at Target this summer, it was a lot to adjust to. Even starting a new novel that I’m ready to take on still holds a lot of uncertainty.

Because each of them has a starting point, somewhere to begin. But not a single one of them has a plan once that beginning is over.

There is no roadmap for what happens next.

And that part terrifies me. If the concept of not knowing what can happen next doesn’t scare you, at least a little, first of all I need to know how you conquered the epitome of adulting. And second of all, I need to know if a beginning can possible still hold all the possibility it does without a little fear mixed in. Because it seems like every new step has something uncertain to go with it.

And personally, that’s how I know it’s okay.

I’ve been out of high school for two years now and I’m about to be a junior in college. A junior. I know people say this a lot, but time really does pass you by whether those times were easy or not. I’m at the point in my life where I’m supposed to have things figured out now, at least have some idea of where I’m going. And I have that.

But I don’t know how to get there. There isn’t a list of to-do’s that I need to check off or a step-by-step layout of how to succeed, sometimes we have to take on new things even when we don’t know how it’s going to work out. I’ve been told that in this scenario, you can be one of three people:

Some people just wing it constantly and end up right where they need to be.

Meanwhile, other people have things all planned out— t’s crossed and i’s dotted— before they end up where they need to be.

And of course, you can’t forget the people who haven’t quite gotten to where they want to be yet. Does that mean they should settle with where they are or should they go all in?

What about person #4, those whos don’t fit into any of these three people— you might have a bit of person one mixed with person three, etc. There has to be some way to find a balance and find your path in the process.

Having only three options is never this simple.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

When it comes to new beginnings, the only thing that can hold you back is yourself. If your scared, that’s okay. You’re starting off on something new and it’s supposed to be fun and exciting, plus a little bit crazy. It’s supposed to scare you.

None of us are perfect and even when there is a plan for everything you plan to do, you can’t plan for what someone else might do. All you need to get going is a starting point.

If i’m being honest, that’s the only thing you can count on. The rest will let the pieces fall where they may.

Don’t use a plan or a roadmap as a crutch rather than another starting point.

Something I’m beginning to understand as I take on more beginnings in my life is that you only get out of them as much as you put in; if you hold on too tightly to what you think it should look like, it will never be as good as it could be.

So be person #4. Find your own balance between winging it and planning things out— don’t settle until you’re happy enough to be okay with it. If it’s a new year or a new school with new people, figure out who you want to be and be that person, let yourself fail at a few things until you find your feet. If it’s a new job or the beginning of a

journey you haven’t quite defined yet, trust yourself. Trust that you can handle whatever comes your way.

Make this next beginning everything you want it to be, even if it’s not on your first try. Just keep going. Because beginnings are kind of beautiful and they’re the only guaranteed part of the process. So make the most of it. And good luck to all of us.

Here’s to whatever comes next.

Two Poem Tuesday

Another Tuesday, another poem– and I’ve got two for you today. I was playing with a little imagery along with the last style I tried out, let me know what you think!


One

With every step this world

winds me up.

Twist and twist

and twist

the dial;

one more time

until it stops.

Now

let go.

Watch me walk,

watch me work,

watch me live my

life like it’s my job.

I will keep going

until that dial

untwists me

all the way back.

For then I will stop,

I will freeze,

I will be stuck

in my own ways,

until the next person

decides

to wind me up

again.

Two

My life has become a play

with missing pieces

and empty parts

of actors

who can no longer fill

their roles.

Must the show go on,

as the cogs

in the machine

always do,

or does a new one

begin,

not so fresh faced

but ready

in good time

nonetheless?

Is it possible

to be

both?


I hope you all are having a great week, see you Friday.

Risk vs. Reward– Defining Worth

There are nights when your friends ask you to go out for dinner or a movie and you answer without hesitating: Absolutely. Then of course, there are the nights when someone asks what you’re up to and you tell them something along the lines of this Harry Potter gif: giphy

So what do you do about the times when you really have no idea what you want… Say yes and miss out on this. Or say no and miss out on that. Whether it’s your grades or a fun night or even just good company, it’s a bit of a toss up right?

For the last week, I have been trying to find a balance within that toss up, between working almost forty hours and cramming for two finals and an essay, among other things. Did I hesitate to say yes in going out with my old team last night, while staying up with them till three am in the process, knowing I had another full shift today? 

No I did not.

But should I have?

I’m not sure. Because between my grades, very little sleep, a long shift, and one final still to go, I have to figure out what is more worth it to me and make that a priority. As I think most of us understand, figuring out priorities isn’t the easiest thing.

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Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

Take spending money for example— sometimes when you’re really just craving Thai food or you see an outfit that you cannot pass up, you decide that you want to spend the money and go for it. But even as I tend to do that on occasion, I still hesitate and think, at least for a moment, that maybe I should save my money.

What if I need it tomorrow and that’s the exact amount I needed?

What if I get home to realize someone else already bought the food and wants to share.

What if I wear the outfit out and actually hate it, so I never wear it again?

What if I should use my money to put into my retirement fund instead? Unlikely, but still a possible thought.

It’s a risk and reward type of situation, and it comes down to the decision of what’s best. The difference is whether or not what you consider “for the best” is in the moment or in the long run.

Maybe it can be both.

Because we can bring this back to my work schedule, catching up with friends last night, and knowing I worked today, while still deciding to… Go for it. Was it worth it?

Absolutely. As much as people and sometimes I like to say “GPA is forever,” my GPA isn’t always the best company. Especially if it’s so low that it can’t even pick me up if I needed it to. In the long run, my grades probably won’t be what I remember, nor will the amount of hours I worked or the time I spent studying.

What I want to remember are the nights like last night, the people who are worth my time, the fun that I have to remind myself I deserve, and the moments that I get to slow down in for a little bit. Even when I don’t think there’s time.

That’s probably the best time to make some.

When it comes to risk and reward, only risk it if it’s for you and you alone— risk it for your success, your happiness, your youth, your love. Risk it for your life. Because your life is worth the good that comes next.

The reward of having lived fully, not holding yourself back, and remembering that you’re the real priority in this, that the good. And you deserve that.


See you all on Tuesday for another Poetry Place, here’s to another summer weekend.

5 Must-Do’s Before Summer Ends

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 Today, we’re going to talk a little about the average college student’s favorite season— summer.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot of your summer working or in class— maybe both— and summer is finally winding down to your last few free moments. Even on quarter system, my summer kind of ends when all my friends leave to go back to school and that’s coming up a little too soon.

So how do you make the most out of the time you’ve got left? I’ve got just a few ideas for you.


Take a Trip

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Photo by Kyle Loftus on Unsplash

If you shop around online and plan it out just right, there are a whole lot of trips cheap enough for the rest of us broke college students that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re trying to get across the country, get out of the country, or road trip down the coast of California (it’s the perfect season for beach bonfires), there are plenty of options.

Now of course, if you’re going out of the country just make sure you have a good way to get back in and a valid passport. Once you’ve got good company and a great destination, book that trip and you’re set to go. If you need something to start you off, check this out.

Take to the Pages

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Sometimes, traveling isn’t an option; at least not literally. There are cases when you really can’t get away, whether you want to be around family for a little longer or there are obligations holding you back. One of the best ways to still get out of town and your own head in the process is to read a book— I know, of course I would suggest such a thing.

But don’t doubt the power of settling down for maybe an hour or two every day, maybe even a half hour, and just reading about a life that doesn’t belong to you. It’s the cheapest form of travel in my opinion, all it takes is a good book and a little imagination.

Take to the Streets

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Photo by Anurag Arora on Unsplash

Now when I say streets, I mean exploring where you’re at. I’ve lived in my hometown for most of my life (at least what I remember) and there are still some hidden gems or lost relics that I haven’t been to.

Maybe the world looks different in the mornings, it could be the perfect night for a bonfire (controlled please, we don’t need any more fires), maybe there’s a watering hole right down the street that I’ve never ventured through. I find that in knowing some place or being familiar with it allows for ignorance, it allows us to take the beauty of a place for granted. Take a day and go explore a little, who knows what you’re going to find.

Take to Planning

If you don’t have the time or the money to do any of these things right now, one way you can still technically use your time is to plan for good times in the future. Look up concert listings or plan a trip to Disney, take a peek at your bucket list and plan something that lets you cross another thing out. Wherever you’re at now, plan something to look forward to— even if you can’t slow down now, you’ll have a reason to later.

Take your You Day

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Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Now after all of this, maybe you just don’t have space on your calendar for these things right now— I’ve got an option for that too. Whether you’re stuck in the house, have obligations, have no time to go anywhere, etc. The only thing you need for this one is yourself and a few minutes to spare.

Find something you love to do and relax, put your feet up, treat yourself to breakfast, or go for a run if that’s what floats your boat. Summer is an entirely different atmosphere, even for those of us still in school right now, so use this time while you’ve got it. Before the season really ends, take some time and invest it in yourself, whatever that may look like to you. Make it worth it.


August is a new month of both endings and new beginnings, and that’s kind of an exciting position to be in. But it only lasts a little while, so do yourself a favor and make the most of it. I know I plan to.

And In case you were wondering, like I said last week, my comment section is absolutely still open for any suggestions or requests of what you would like to hear about on my blog!

Happy August everyone. See you Friday.