anxiety, mental health

I Am Not My Anxiety: Sermon Delivered At Luther House Yale

The following is the transcript from a sermon I delivered at Luther House Yale on Nov. 28, 2016. A special thank you to Rev. Kari Henkelmann Keyl for allowing me to come and speak about my experiences, as well as the advice to make it the best as I can. Also, thank you Paul for the feedback and advice to compose it, as well as my friends who came to support me and listen to me share my experiences. 

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L to R: My friends Thanh and Elisia came to support me last night.
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A picture with Pastor Kari!

A fun fact about me is I am a huge Elton John fan. What makes his music so legendary is the combination of beautiful piano accompaniment, along with poetic lyrics written by songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.

While I think all of the lyrics he pens have the power to stay with you, there is one lyric in particular that has always stayed with me, which are “I won’t break, I won’t bend, but someday soon we’ll sail away from innocence and the bitter end.”

The lyrics are from the song “Simple Life,” a song from 1992’s The One, and something that I always found to be inspiring and comforting while dealing with my anxiety symptoms.

I have dealt with anxiety for over a year now. While I was always the slight bit more anxious than the average person throughout my life, it had skyrocketed throughout my last two years at college. Between taking upper level classes and working two or three jobs along with online internships, I suddenly felt a crushing weight of anxiety, a reminder that I was stuck forever in a state of unhappiness.

Suddenly, my personality changed. I was crying constantly, just because I felt like I could not breathe from the weight of my ‘to-do’ lists. I had lost a ton of weight, just because my stomach was constantly tied up in nervous knots for me to eat. I was constantly on edge, and something as so small as a friend not calling me back at a certain time would lead to an argument.

I was heading down an unhealthy road, and I felt like I was powerless to stop it.

Of course, I tried to change things. I cut down my hours at one of my jobs. I became a slave to using a day by day planner in the attempts to stay organized. However, when those things didn’t work, I went to the counseling center on my campus. It was then I was formally diagnosed with anxiety.

Therapy, at first anyways, was never something that I made a priority. I would skip out on therapy as much as I could, because I was afraid that the people on my campus would judge me for seeking the help that I desperately needed. I would have a hard time scheduling a therapist appointment because I constantly had other things that needed to be done, so therapy ended up on the back of the list.

And, whenever I was in the therapist’s office, I often felt that I was on the road to failure. You see, my therapist had a specific game plan. If this did not work, try this, etc. And when all else failed, I would be given anxiety medications, something that scared me.

During this time of turmoil, my relationships had suffered as you can imagine.  

However, the biggest relationship that suffered was the one that I share with God. I constantly questioned whether or not God loved me.

If he did, then why was I so anxious? Why was I constantly crying in a corner? Why couldn’t I gain control of my life? So, instead of turning to God, I turned against God.

Whenever something would go wrong in my life, I would blame God instead of asking for the strength that I needed to get through it.

Little did I know, in a strange way, God had actually given me the strength to get through it.

He gave me the strength to try a new therapist, who approached therapy in a different way, one that was more effective.

God gave me the desire to change my thoughts, to face things that I never wanted to face.

God had given me the motivation to get better, which was a year long process of self reflection, of changing how I would talk to myself, and finally learning how to say goodbye to things that were toxic to me.

God had given me the strength to figure out that writing in a journal, or listening to music is one way that I could stop a panic attack in its tracks.

So, in some way, shape or form, I guess you can say that I in fact got the strength that I desperately craved from God.

It just needed to start with me.

I wish I could sit here and tell you that I’m cured from all of my anxiety symptoms. I wish I could tell you that I beat anxiety, kicked its butt and never have to worry about it effecting it again.

That is not how anxiety works. Somedays, I have good days. Somedays, I have bad ones. And, at the end of the day, as long as I learn how to take care of myself when I need to, I think that is pretty good progress.

Anxiety will always be a part of me, although I would like to point out that it not the whole part of me.

I am a lot of things-a journalist, a classic rock affenicado, a friend, a daughter, a student, and a woman. However, I am not the panic attacks that I suffer from. I am not the anxious tears that I cry. I am not the anxious thoughts that I radiate from.

And, as I sit here tonight, I have a lot of things to thank God for.

I thank God for giving me the courage to deliver this sermon, because public speaking is something that scares the living crap out of me.

I thank God for all of my support systems cheering me on, such as my friends, my dog and family.

I thank God for getting me through four and a half years of undergraduate education, with three semesters on Dean’s List, being able to be in an English Honor society, and for the chance to take classes that helped shape me both as a journalist and a person.

I thank God for being able to have a therapist that truly cares about me, and points me to the right track.

I thank God for learning how to self care, and realizing that I am worth it.

I thank God for my ex-boyfriend, who despite all that went wrong between us, supported me through every panic attack I had, and helped encourage me to become stronger and to branch out to new experiences.

I thank God for my mother, for her countless sacrifices as a single parent, both personal and economical. Thank you God for teaching me to be strong like her. Thank you Mom for paying for my undergraduate education, so I can graduate debt free, for reading every mediocre article I have ever written, and being a pillar of support throughout my life.

But, most of all, I thank God for being able to say that it has been over four months since my last panic attack, and to be able to quote my favorite singer in saying “I’m still standing, better than I ever did, feeling like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid.”

Thank you.

Uncategorized

8 Things I Am Thankful For This Year

It is Thanksgiving, and this year’s holiday brings the anxiety of the fact that I am graduating college in exactly 22 days without any idea of what is next. However, despite the anxiety of what is next, I still have a lot to be thankful for this year, from the little things to the larger ones.

  1. Friends (old and new): During the course of my anxiety, I am so lucky to say that I have a support group of friends that are always there for me, from my best friend Gabu who is across the world, my friend Griffin for hearing me cry when my ex boyfriend broke up with me, my friend Paige who has helped me figure out the craziness of dating, and the many others who have been there for me for my ups and downs. I also am lucky to have met so many cool new people in 2016, such as my friend Sydney (thanks mom for introducing us!), my friend Thanh from my time at the Odyssey and my friend Thomas from my involvement in the Yale Luther House. To all of my friends, I want to quote Elton John by saying “how wonderful life is when you’re in the world.”

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    Top Left: Gabu and I. Top Right: Paige and I, Bottom Right: Griffin and I. 
  2. My dog: I am so lucky to have a dog in my life who brings such joy and comfort in my life when I need it. Maggie has been my best friend for the past 11 years, ever since we bought her home with her broken leg. I am grateful for her sassiness, even though it can be annoying.

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    My dog, as she sits on top of a stack of CDs.
  3. My mom: My mom and I sometimes do not get along. However, at the end of the day, I am lucky to have a mom like her. My mom is a single mom, and struggled to make ends meet. However, she always made sure that she was there for me as a kid, and always made sure that I was never without. Now, she was read nearly everything published that I wrote, and is constantly my biggest supporter. Thanks to my mother, I am graduating debt free, due to her encouragement to go to a state school rather than a private one.

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    My mom and I circa late 1990s.
  4. Having the opportunities to work in my field before graduating: I would have three and a half years of journalistic experience before I even put on a cap and gown and got my Bachelor’s Degree. Thanks to those opportunities, I was able to grow as a writer, and be able to get the education only experience can get, which is something that I am grateful for.
  5. Having the opportunity to get an education: It is sad to say that not many women, or even people, in this world still do not have the chance to get an education. Yes, I complain about college a lot. But, I am lucky to be able to go to school, to learn, and to be molded as a person. Whether they may be writing classes, literature classes or even a class in a social science, with every class I learned something that I did not know.
  6. Books: Reading has always been my favorite pastime. When I was little, my mom would never refuse buying me a book. That fueled my love for reading. As an adult, I read one to two books a week, depending on how much free time I have and how difficult the book is. Reading has always been something that has relaxed me, but also informed me. With a book in hand, I travelled with Hillary on the job, solved a mystery with Sherlock and Watson, and sat in on the trial with Atticus Finch. I also learned how to take the wheel on my own life, and was swept up in many chic-lit novels penned by Emily Giffin and Sophie Kinsella.

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    A book of coffee with a good book is my favorite way to start the morning. Oh how I love reading!
  7. Family: I have a crazy family, but I have a lovely one. I have a grandma, who may not know what she is saying, but she acts out of love. My grandfather is my guardian angel, who watches me from above. I also have a string of cousins, crazy but supportive who help me out during times of turmoil and support me in times of gratitude. Furthermore, I am also lucky to have a great second family: thank you Tim, Kari, Bethany, Manu and Gabu for welcoming me into your home and treating me as if I was your third child, as well as the delicious dinners I have sampled over the years (thanks Tim!)
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    My grandfather and I at my confirmation.

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    A picture of my “second” family: (L to R) Gabu, Manu, Tim, Bethany, and Kari.
  8. My jobs: For the first time in over a year, I can honestly say that I am happy with where I am at work. I have worked in workplaces that are toxic, and have had some negative work experiences. As I am set to leave them upon graduating, I am so lucky to have something that is hard to say goodbye to. To my Accounts Payable and my Southern News coworkers, thank you for being an awesome place to work in, despite all of the struggles that occur.

This Thanksgiving I have a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for this year?

Relationships

5 Tips For Successful Tinder Dating

As a self proclaimed Tinderella, I had met both my ex boyfriend, as well as a string of guys since breaking up through apps such as Tinder, OkCupid and Bumble. However, with online dating, there is also a slight bit of danger associated with it. But, if you take the right precautions, dating online can be a great way to meet people and can even lead to love. Thinking about getting an online dating profile? Here are some tips to ensure that you have the best experience on Tinder, and not on an episode of “Catfish.”

  1. Do your homework. Before meeting with the guy, check him out a little through social media. One way I do this is whenever we switch over to texting, I add him to my contacts. Once in my contacts, I can look up his Facebook profile through the app. By viewing his profile, I can ensure that everything that he says matches up, and make sure that he seems normal, as you really do not know the person behind the screen. Furthermore, if you have mutual friends and feel comfortable with telling them about this person, ask your friend about the potential suitor for extra protection, and if they are someone that you can date without being concerned. By doing this, it gives you extra assurance that the person that you are talking to is exactly who they say they are.
  2. Make sure it is in public. You got a date with the guy that you like? Yay! Make sure that you are meeting your date in a public setting, for safety reasons. These settings include a coffee shop, a diner or a fro yo place. Also, make sure that each party has their own methods of transportation, because if you are meeting someone that you do not know, you also do not know where they can be taking you. If you do not have a car, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs, or try finding a place on a bus route.
  3. Share your location. One of the coolest (and perhaps creepy, depending on how you look at it) things about the iPhone is not only you can meet dates with it, you can also use it for safety reasons. One way you can do this is through the “share my location” feature that iPhones have. To do this in iOS 10, go to a message with a friend who has an iPhone, and press the little ‘i.’ Once you do that, hit “share my location.” Now, your friend will be able to see exactly where you are. Be sure to let your friend know that you are doing this. One thing that I do is share it with a bunch of friends, so in case one forgets, I have a couple of others looking out. But, what if you do not have an iPhone? Just be sure to tell all of your friends about your date, and text them whenever you are about to enter and about to leave your date.

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Sharing your location with a friend is a great way to ensure your date goes safely, because you have a friend looking out for you if you aren’t where you say you are.
4. Do not put that much pressure on the date. This applies to all dating, but it is especially be true when it comes to a Tinder date. You could have a great conversation with a person through text message, but when in person, it could be extremely awkward. And, that is okay. With dating, you often experience really good first dates, and really bad ones. The trick is to not put any pressure on the dates, and not go into the date thinking that they are going to be your next boyfriend, but rather someone to get to know better. That way, you can focus more on getting to know them, and not have to worry about disappointment if the date does not work out.

5. Listen to your gut. Finally, always listen to your guy whenever it comes to dating someone online, as I believe that your guy feeling can tell you much more than a guy’s biography ever could. If you have a good feeling about the guy, then go for him. If there is something that is just not right about that person, proceed with caution. Chances are, your gut instincts are never wrong, so be sure to follow it.

With these tips, Tinder dating can be a fun way to meet new potential dates. It is safe to say that if I did not get a Tinder profile, I would not have meet my ex boyfriend. I also have friends that have met their fiancees, and even husbands through the app. Therefore, I believe that if you are smart about, you too can potentially find someone that could be your next partner.

Relationships

I Don’t Owe You

As I mentioned in my last post, I am an avid user of several dating apps, such as Tinder and Ok Cupid. And, before I continue, these apps have put me in touch with some amazing people that I would not have met otherwise, something that I will forever be grateful for.

However, it has also put me in touch, as expected, with some pretty creepy ones as well.

Like recently.

A little while ago, I met (using the term loosely, as we never met in person) this guy named Harold (name has been changed to protect his privacy) on Ok Cupid. He seemed semi cute, so I figured I should at least talk to the guy. And, at first, he seemed halfway decent. I try to remain an optimist, and believe that there is good in everyone. Therefore, I give a lot of guys chances.

Soon, we switched to texting. And once we started to text, he would text me continuously, and I just was not feeling like I was attracted to him, which is my choice to make. Therefore, I stopped responding, and blocked his number because I did not want to talk to him.

And I had not heard from him, up until yesterday. I had woken up to a message saying “hey why haven’t you replied to my text?” While this is in fact a valid question to ask, I will give him that, I saw red. I want to hastily reply to him saying “well, I just didn’t want to.”

But, in the interest of being mature and all, I did not reply at all. Instead, I decided to express my feelings in a strongly worded blog post.

One thing that I really hate about the dating world is how some guys expect you to text them just because they texted you, just as some guys expect you to sleep with them just because they are nice to you. Uh, no thank you honey. If I am busy with school or writing a blog post, I am not going to drop what I am doing just to text you back the minute that you texted me. If do not want to continue a conversation with you, I am not going to waste my time buttering your ego to text you back. If I do not feel that I am ready to sleep with you, I am not going to just because you want that.

Yes, I am a bitch. But, I also request that I am treated like someone’s equal when I am dating someone. And guys, just because you are single and want to meet someone, does not mean that you should demand that a girl does whatever you want her to. I do not owe you anything, especially if we have not met or dated that long. I do not owe you a certain thing just because you want it.

I am tired of those expectations of the dating world. I am tired of guys thinking that they are God’s gift to women, and thus, think that they are entitled to anything that they desire. If I do not want to talk to you, date you, or sleep with you, it is my choice. And, you have to respect that. Do not demand things, that is not going to go over well with me. I don’t owe you anything. If I did, that would not be the type of relationship I want to be in, and the more you demand things from me, the less I am going to want to be with you.

Mindfulness, Relationships

Learning to Love

Fear comes from many aspects in life. One of those aspects is from past experiences, whether they may be from trauma, heartbreak or anything that causes anxiety or fear to rule over your body. One of those fears is learning to let someone in after heartbreak.

I have been broken up from my former boyfriend for almost three months now. I can safely say that I am over him, and hold no interest in ever dating him again. However, his ghost still lingers in my head and heart, a reminder every day of what happened between us and how hurt I still am.

We have only dated for a few months, and yes, I should not have this person cross my mind. However, I believe that there should not be a timeline of getting over someone, especially someone who was my first kiss, and my first real relationship. I am in no rush, as I want to feel everything before moving onto the next.

However, I am beginning to go out on dates and talking to new guys. And, for the first time, I am noticing that fear evident as I make dates and even consider entering a relationship with guys that I would otherwise go into with no qualms. I am scared of having to deal with the same problems that our relationship had, whether it may be you wanting too much or not having enough patience to deal with me. I am scared of opening myself up too much, only too get hurt again. That was a fear that I had when I was with my relationship with my former boyfriend, and is something I deal with today.

I think I need to re-learn to love. That love starts from within, which is something that I work on. As I work on becoming a person who loves herself, I am realizing what I will and will not stand for. Learning to love comes from learning to love you, and that is something that I am learning to do better on the daily.

In the efforts to learn to love, you also have to learn to trust. You have to be honest, when the time is right, when you are dating someone and are afraid. You have to trust that person, even though your trust is broken in the past. I also think in order to learn how to love, you need to put to bed the past before moving on.

Every day, I am getting better at learning how to love. I am allowing myself to feel every emotion that I am feeling, writing it down in a journal. I am getting out there by surrounding myself with supportive friends and meeting new people. I am learning to love, love me for my flaws, which will lead me to learning to love someone else when the time is right. I am a work in progress, however, one day, I will eventually be less cracked. Like Michael Bolton says, it takes time, love and tenderness, which is the tools needed for learning how to love. And, with those tools, I will get an A in learning to Love 101, leaving the anxieties of what happened in the past.

Relationships

What I Hate About Dating

Ever since I got a Tinder, OK Cupid and a Bumble a few months ago, I have met a smorgasbord of eligible guys, aged 20-26 who are looking for Mrs. Right, or in some cases, Mrs. Right Now. So far, I have met two guys offline, dating one of them for an extended period of time, and am aspiring to meet more of them as time goes on.

As a continue to use these apps to find a partner, I am beginning to notice the many pressures that come with dating. There is a certain expectation that at a certain point, you are going to date that person. There is the expectation that you are going into a relationship, knowing exactly what you want.

My question is why?

I understand that part of dating is to find a potential mate for life. However, what I do in fact hate is how much pressure comes with dating. You have to look a certain way, and try to come off as pleasing for your partner. It is almost like a job interview, which is not in the least bit fun, because you are interviewing to find a partner of some sort. You go into a date with one end result in mind-to find a partner. Not to have a good time, and to focus on getting to know the person. And, I think that is crazy.

I think the point of dating is to have lots of fun and meeting people that you may or may not be compatible with . And, that is what I want to have whenever I go out with someone right now. I want to get to know someone, without the pressure of needing to define the relationship. I want to do fun things with them, like go out on coffee dates or hockey games, without worrying about the future.

I think we need to stop thinking about tomorrow, and putting too much pressure on something to work out. The more that you do, the less you are focused on getting to know that person. I think we as a society are focused more on coupling up, and less on the quality of the person that you are coupling up with. And, that is okay. But, racing to get to that point, just because you are anxious to avoid spending time alone? That is not okay.

Let us slow down, and focus more on the ride, and less on the race to the aisle. Breathe. The less you focus on getting a boyfriend, the higher the chances will be that you will get one. So, on your next date, have fun and leave the pressures at home.

Uncategorized

Spread Love Not Hate

Ever since Donald Trump’s election on Tuesday, my social media newsfeed has become a combination of posts of friends who were either outraged about the election or friends that are happy about Donald Trump becoming president. On the news, I have seen so many protests around the country.

Before I continue, let me say this: I am not happy with the results of the election either. I expressed my frustrations in a post on Wednesday entitled “The Fear Of What’s Next.” However, it makes me so upset to watch the protests going on. It makes me so upset to see people tearing each other apart, and blaming each other for what the results were.

As Americans, we have all of the rights that come with the First Amendment. We have the the freedom of speech. We have the freedom to peacefully assemble. And, if you do it in a way that is geared towards spreading love, not hate, then I think that is perfectly fine. I have seen countless Facebook statuses about someone’s upset feelings towards Donald Trump’s win, about their fear of losing Obamacare, birth control, and even the rights of those who are a minority, such as women, latinos, LGBTQIAA and African Americans as they are in jeopardy currently. I have seen rallies of many people coming together as they struggle with the anxieties of what the Trump administration might bring as well. Seeing this outburst has not only helped me learn so much about my friends on social media, but also helped grow a strong, tight knit community. And that is amazing.

With that being said, I have also seen so many articles about people who are criticizing the choice voters made to vote for Trump. I have seen fights breaking out online, statuses stating ‘if you vote for Donald Trump, then unfriend me’ and videos of violent protests breaking out. And, this makes me upset.

As Americans, we have the right to vote for who we think is best to rule our country. That choice can differ from person to person. For example, I may think Hillary Clinton is the most fit to lead this country. However, a classmate may see things differently, and think that a third party candidate or even Donald Trump may be the best fit for the them. They have the same rights as you do to vote for the candidate that they think will shape our country better and mold it into a better tomorrow.

And, we should not yell at them for that choice. We should not make them feel like they have to defend their decision. We live in a democracy, a world where there is a melting pot of ideas melding together to create a more diverse front. Every American has that right, no matter who they voted for. Everyone has a different point of view, based on their roots, their education and their background. And, we need to respect that.

Let me just say this, I am disappointed about Hillary’s defeat. I am scared about what the Trump administration is going to lead. I am scared for the women who will no longer have access to the many health services Planned Parenthood offers when Trump defunds it. I am scared for the children, whose parents who came into this country without documentation, and may have to face being apart from them. I am scared for my genderqueer best friend, whose marriage may no longer be legal by Trump’s standards because it is not the standard American family. I am scared, because the new POTUS is someone who calls women “dogs.”

Without a doubt, this campaign has been ugly. Donald Trump has said so many awful things about Hillary, and vice versa. In the aftermath of the election, I have seen that same amount of ugliness. However, this was not from the candidates, or Mrs. Clinton. This was from us.

Currently, half of the country is divided. In this time of turbulence, instead of dividing, let us unite. Instead of yelling at each other, let us listen. Instead of coming with an approach of hatred, let us instead express our emotions in a way that lets everyone’s frustration be heard, instead of ignore. Let us help those who are different, or a victim of Trump’s insults, whether they may be a woman, a gay male or a Latino immigrant.  Let us love each other, no matter what candidate they voted for. Let us listen to why they thought that person was the best choice, rather then scream at them for picking the wrong one. Let us unite together, instead of divide apart.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan was “love trumps hate.” And, I believe that she was right.  Love trumps hate, no matter what side you are in, and we need to love each other now more then ever.

Please, spread love not hate.

Uncategorized

The Fear of What’s Next

As a journalist, I do not talk about politics often as I try to avoid speaking about what my views are on a regular basis in the effort to remain unbiased. When I do talk about politics, I try to be attentive and listen to the other side of the spectrum, as everyone has the right to their opinion. After all, this is America and we have right for the freedom of speech amendment to back us up, and I feel it is important to respect and listen to all points of view without trying to convert someone to your side of the argument.

With that being said, last night was the disastrous conclusion to a long and exhausting election. And, like many other Americans, I am unhappy with the results.

I consider myself to be a liberal, and yesterday, I proudly displayed my “I voted” sticker in a selfie, proudly proclaiming that I was “with her.” When I posted that selfie, I was fairly certain that she was going to be the commander in chief.

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Me with my “I voted” sticker, as I displayed it proudly with a selfie!

That certainty lasted until about 8 p.m. Tuesday night when the election results came in, and I was shocked to discover that Donald Trump was in the lead. But, still my hopes were with Hillary. They  shattered around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, when I woke up to find out that he would be the 45th president.

I could not sleep for the rest of the night. I was worried about our country, the progress that has been made during the Obama administration that would soon be lost and the rights of many minorities in our country, which Trump promised to shatter. Here was a man who once said that we should ban all Muslims from entering this country, and now he is going to be President? What kind of world do we live in?

To all of the Americans who voted for Trump, you do not need to defend your choice for President, nor should you have to. To all of the Americans who voted for Clinton, I want to offer my condolences, as I too am in mourning for her loss. For 40 years, Hillary worked her way to the top. She was certainly the most qualified in the race, as she has dealt with many different aspects of politics, whether it may be on a state or national level. It saddens me that Trump, someone who I feel does not have that much experience, is going to get the position that she so rightfully deserves.

However, to my fellow liberals, this is not the time to riot or react with violence. After all, Hillary said it best-love trumps hate. And that is the mentality that we all should have entering the Trump administration. Instead, we should stand united, and never give up. Even though the candidate that we picked did not get the office she deserved, it does not mean that we should stop voicing our opinions. All throughout the morning, I have seen many of the reactions of my peers on social media, all of which questioning the type of country that we live in.

As I write this, I do not understand how Donald Trump won this election. I am currently worried about what is next for our country, as he comes into office. And while I am saddened about the loss of Hillary Clinton, just like many of my 1,484 Facebook friends, I look to the Trump administration with optimism, hoping for the best in our country and in the world.

Hillary Clinton stated in her concession speech on Wednesday morning that “so now, our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek.” Hillary, you are absolutely right. Yesterday, many of us went out and voted. This election even prompted my mother, who hardly ever heads to the polls, to vote for the first time in years. This is the first Presidential election many of my peers were able to vote in, each vote coming with a mixture of optimism and passion for change so that tomorrow will be better than today.

Despite the results of this election, let us keep that same fire, even if the world seems dark and dismal right now. Keep on watching the news to learn about the issues, keep on discussing them in your daily interactions and keep on going into your polling places every year, as every vote does count. And, most importantly, keep together as we as a country can weather through whatever comes next.

Millennial Issues

Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst

For the past year, all I have been talking about and thinking about is my graduation. In my phone, there is a countdown to the big day, which is now only about a month away. Now, I am looking at that day with a sense of dread, because for the first time, I am realizing that I have no idea what I am doing next.

Every day, I send out countless applications to jobs. When I graduate, I lose both of my jobs that I hold on campus. My biggest fear, especially as of late, is that when I walk the stage on December 16, that there will be no job waiting for me on the other side. I have experience. I have a decent GPA, making Dean’s List three times in the last few semesters.  I’ve worked hard, and I have over 1,000 clips to prove it. I know I sound like a whiny two year old, when I ask: what gives?

The thing about the future is that we do not know what it holds, therefore it produces anxiety. We worry about the worst, such as when we bring our car to the mechanic for an oil leak, and worry that it may be the end for the car. The question of what if this happens is something that continues to cloud my mind: what if I can not find a job? What if I can not pay my bills?

We have no control in the future, although we can do everything in our power to create a positive outcome, and that starts with a positive attitude. While it is good to be practical, it is also important to remember to be optimistic. It is like when the weatherman tells you during a hurricane-hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

And, at the end of the day, it is about all you can do to get to the future that you crave.