1/2

So I guess I’m a junior in college. I definitely still feel like I’m 12, but apparently I’m halfway done with college. Which is weird. When you go to school, people keep telling you that it is the best four years of your life. I only have 17 other years (some of which I don’t remember) to compare the past 2 to, but I will say that college is shaping up to be absolutely life changing. BUT IT’S SO HARD. Not just emotinally, duh it’s hard to move and make new friends and find things to do, but it’s so hard to adjust to harder classes and to having to do your homework and actually studying for tests. The social part of school is really fun, but the academic part is something no one really warns you about.

Emotionally, I kicked anxiety’s butt this year. I haven’t really had any panic attacks since September of 2016, so I consider that a win. But I was always under so much stress. It sucks to think you aren’t smart anymore because you go from all As in high school to then getting a B on a paper and you immediately decide that you’re dumb. But you aren’t- it’s just different standards. That is what no one tells you, and what I really wish I had been warned. I thought I was too stupid to be at such a competitive school because everyone seemed to be doing better than me. I was discouraged when classmates would talk about their grades and they were better than mine, and I hated feeling great about an assignment and getting it back covered in words in red pen.

But then, you figure out the professor and what they like to hear. Here are some real life examples. The religion professor likes it when you quote her ridiculous sayings and she will take off points if you finish a test early. The sociology professor will take off 10 points if you are a sentence over the page limit. Don’t put uneccessary words in that history paper because they are not appreciated. Writing in a foreign language? They might just stop grading and call it “incoherent” if you leave out a couple verbs you need.

It isn’t unusual to not do well for a while, and that is what I wish I’d known. We have grown up in such a competitive world that we don’t think it’s okay to make a mistake and not do well in a class. As you adjust, you improve. You start taking classes for your major because you’re interested and you start doing better. You doubt yourself less.

I think that what I’m trying to say here is not just to reassure myself before my grades come out, but also just as a reminder that you are not your grades. My parents always tell me that they want me to be healthy and happy- they don’t care if my grade is an A- and not an A. So yeah. Do your best, because that’s all anyone can ask. Noli timere! You’re smart!

~ Addie

 

This Is My Rant

Hello everyone! I have returned after another hiatus. I started this blog as a way to cope with anxiety and stress, so I guess it’s a good thing when I don’t use it. But, after the recent political events, things aren’t so hot and I feel the need to vent so here we are.

Most of you know where I stand. If you don’t… I am pro-choice. I believe in equal pay for everyone, regardless of gender. I think people should be able to love whoever they want. I think it’s wrong to discriminate against people because of where they are from or what they believe in.  I know that climate change is real. I think that public schools are great.

Words cannot explain how angry and hurt I am about the past few weeks. I am watching everything I stand for get attacked by people who don’t know what they are doing. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 6. and for those of you who know my dad, you know that he is a major advocate for public schools. I completely agree. I went through public schools in Athens and I don’t think that I would be the person I am if I hadn’t. I honestly feel that I could be a better Secretary of Education than the woman that was chosen today. I have some more damn experience.

The current administration threatens the career that I have wanted for a majority of my life. It threatens the lives of my friends and their families. It affects millions of people that I don’t know and it is so infuriating to read ignorant Facebook posts and angry comments left under articles. America is losing its mind and I have literally no clue what to do about it. But, there are things I do know.

I know what I want to do with my life. I don’t know if it will be quite the way I planned, but I know that I want to be a public school teacher. I know that I’m incredibly fortunate in so many ways. I know that I want people to feel as lucky and happy as I do, and I know that I have to do whatever I can for my friends, peers, and neighbors that feel unsafe and scared. I know that I am not going to change my beliefs just to make life easier.

So, that’s my piece. If you read this far, thank you. I just needed to get it off my chest. I think people can do incredible things when they come together, and I think the anger and sadness we feel makes us a force to be reckoned with. Pushing people away because of beliefs, background, religion or whatever is not the answer. We are stronger together.

Noli timere, readers. It’s so hard right now, but we will figure it out.

~ Addie

 

Finally

Well, after a two month hiatus I have returned. I’m sorry I was inactive for a while, but things got kind of crazy over here. I meant to post something after the election about the state of my campus and what my thoughts were, but by the time I started to decompress I was tired of seeing election posts everywhere and I figured everyone else would feel the same way. Then Thanksgiving happened and I went home and promptly got bronchitis and then came back and got swept up in finals mode which is currently eating my soul. So here I am. Right off schedule, but here nonetheless.

This semester was really hard. Emotionally speaking, I was fine. Despite normal freak-outs over exams being harder than the study guide, there weren’t really any issues. I got normally anxious, which is a big step for me. When I say it was hard, I mean that it was hard. I have doubted frequently whether or not I’m actually smart or if I deserve to be at Dickinson. I know exactly what I want to do with my life, but at several points these last few months and honestly right now as I’m trying to figure out a final essay prompt, I seriously doubted if I can actually get there. The obsessive part of my mind thinks about grad school and actually having to do well here to get there and that’s extremely daunting because I feel like I’m 12 half of the time. BUT finals will end and I’ll go home and pet my dogs and it will be okay again. It’s a matter of just finishing the race, and we’re almost there.

Another thing I noticed was that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. It seemed that all of my friends from home and at school were all really struggling. We’re overwhelmed and questioning our majors while also trying to stay sane, and it’s taking its toll. I’m not sure how many of my friends actually read this, but regardless I want them to know that I adore them and it’ll be worth it one day when we are exactly where we want to be. Before college started, everyone said, “I’m so jealous, you’re going to have so much fun! I wish I could go back!” They definitely were overworked and exhausted and anxious but it still is a positive memory for them. There are really hard parts about college, but there are always the moments that make you glad you were around to see it.

So. Chin up. Take breaks and eat some pizza. Follow a stranger until they let you pet their dog. The little things sometimes make you the happiest.

Noli timere, friends. We’re almost there!

~ Addie

Update

Hello, everyone! I’ve been asked several times about when I’m posting a new thing on here. My dad kept saying to write about how good I’m doing because my last one was sad and kind of a downer. It has definitely been a while and I am doing better, but I’m not going to lie.

Let me start by saying that I am by no means miserable. I am frustrated. I have gone one month with the weird feeling in my chest and the inability to call my mom. I have gone one month with trying to stop myself from freaking out every Sunday because I have nothing to do except think about the papers I have no idea how to start. I have gone one month dreading the next month because there is no way of knowing if it is going to be any better than this month. It’s always been gone after a few days or a week. It hasn’t been more than that since I was in 8th grade.

College is really freaking stressful. Every adult says, “oh, you’re so lucky! I wish I could go back!” It’s so hard! I spend every day going to class and work and then I come back to my room and read article after article and textbook chapters and do online French labs. It all results in grades that are fine but they aren’t good enough because I’m a perfectionist and tests give me so much anxiety it’s ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I love school, and I am aware of what a priveledge it is to get to go to college. I know that I’m lucky and I’m really grateful that I can be here, but it’s just so much harder than anyone tells you it’s going to be.

I love my job and I love my friends and I am completely obsessed with the dogs that I walk, but I’m tired. I just want it to go away. But it being around means that I’m alive. I wouldn’t be me without it. I care, which is why homework makes me so anxious, and I know that. It sucks, but I think in the end it’s worth it. In May of 2019 I’ll look back on it all and definitely want to repeat it because this is way easier than the real world.

So there’s my update. Noli timere.

~ Addie

 

Back

I moved in! Our room is colorful and bright and cozy, and my roommates and I are already insanely busy with classes and clubs and music. When you have to introduce yourself during the awkward ice breakers at the beginning of class, it’s really weird to say “I’m a sophomore!” It still feels like I’m 14 and like I have no excuse to get lost on campus even though I absolutely did. I’m happy to be back and I’m excited about what I’m doing this semester. But the feeling came back.

I’ve done therapy thing. I know the confidentiality agreements and when they’re broken and I’m a pro at telling them my medicines and how much I take and when I take them and how long I’ve been on them. I know to tell them my history and family problems and they all get kind of stunned that I go through it so fast. I knew on Wednesday when I walked into intake at the Wellness Center that it would be hard. I feel like I’ve done what I need to do in therapy, but in order to get my medicine from the school I have to go to therapy.

I cried on the new therapist’s couch because I remembered exactly what last semester felt like. I’m always anxious about being anxious but when that little ping in my chest came back, I got too overwhelmed. That night I had a panic attack- the first one since November. I had to take my medicine again. It felt like I had taken one step forward and then basically had to start my life over again. It’s discouraging and scary and I’m angry, but it’s out of my control. I know the coping techniques and I have the medicine, but it’s something I just have to deal with. I know I’ll be fine, but IT SUCKS. I’m over it, but I’ve done it before and I apparently have to do it again.

So, shout out to my family and my friends for putting up with my moments. I repeat the mantra multiple times a day, but having you by my side makes the little pang in my heart a little bit better every day.

Noli timere, loves. This too shall pass.

~ Addie

Teach

While we are growing up, we are told we are “the future” and that we should make a difference. I know that in theory and I want to do that, but I know that it’s not as easy as movies or books portray it to be. As a child, you believe in things ideas like, “I’m going to end world hunger,” or “I’m going to cure cancer!” and that’s great. That’s ambition and it is beautiful and it isn’t harmful or regrettable to think like this. I remember watching documentaries and reading marine biology books about saving endangered fish and thinking, “I want to do that.” I remember watching Presidents speak about bringing peace to Iraq and thinking, “I want to do that, too.” But then, when I began to get older I realized that I was just one person and those ideas are sometimes just too big. As you get older, you realize how daunting it is to create real change. The world is a huge place, and there are so many people and causes that need help. Our parents may tell us that we can do anything we put our minds to, and that nothing can stop us. 

Pressure comes from many places like parents, school, peers and even society. There is so much pressure to do great things, but everyone’s “great” might not be my “great.”  I am proud to have received my education from the Clarke County public school system. I have had many teachers who continue to inspire me, years after I’ve left their classrooms. They have made a lasting impression on me.  I’ve known since I was 7 years old that I wanted to be a teacher, and I want to have that lasting impact on someone too. That’s my “great.”

As of yesterday, I finished my internship at the Sandwich Children’s Center in Sandwich, NH. I have spent every summer in this beautiful town and I wasn’t ready to stop and I also know I want to work with kids, so I emailed the director. I spent 8 weeks changing toddler diapers, making cakes made of sand with preschoolers, weeding little gardens and watching K-6 kids sing a song called “Squirelly Wood.” I learned more about teaching and kids than I thought I could, and I had a wonderful supervisor and incredible colleagues to help me. I feel strong and competent and more professional and I’ve never been more sure that I want to teach. I feel like I’m on the right track, and that’s all I ever really needed. I hate feeling out of control or clueless, and I don’t feel that way anymore.

To my friends at SCC… if you read this, I hope you know that you really changed me. I will be forever grateful to y’all for letting me in and teaching me how to be “great.” Thank you.

Noli timere, and I love y’all!

~ Addie

60

FullSizeRenderAbout a year ago my dad started brainstorming what he wanted to do for his 60th birthday, which is today. As his present to himself, we invited really close family friends from home in Athens to the lake house in New Hampshire back in June. Eliza and I basically did dishes for four days straight, but it was so fun. We got to share our most sacred place on Earth with our dearest friends. Now, we are at La Colombe D’or Hotel in St. Paul de Vence with some more very special friends. I say he planned very well.

My father has many amazing qualities. He is generous and determined and loving and will always drop what he’s doing to help someone. And his hair. It’s gorgeous.

Dad, I know that we give you a hard time. We get frustrated that you don’t wear deodorant and that you get really sassy during Scrabble, but I hope you know that we all adore you. You are incredible beyond belief and your passion for things that matter is truly inspiring. I’m so glad your birthday brought this group of exceptional people together. This trip is one for the books, and I hope you know how grateful we all are.

I’m proud to be your daughter. I’m fully aware that my life would be drastically different if Eliza and I were not part of your family, and I thank who ever is in charge every day that we are. Thank you for the adventures and the love and the encouragement. Thank you for talking me down from countless panic attacks and for being supportive and understanding when I couldn’t be anything for myself. I’m proud to call you my dad.

So. Happy birthday, freak. I love you!

Valuable

I’ve spent the last few days thinking about us. Not in an “oh someone I can’t name broke my heart” way, but as in people. As in Americans. I think that was has happened over the last couple of days is extremely troubling. I am angry and so so sad. But I’m also completely aware that the only thing I can do is write this. I can’t run for president or change anything alone, but I can write it out and maybe someone will change their position.

About a week ago, I found a YouTube video called “A Petition For Stronger Gun Laws.” It can be found here. It is worth 30 seconds of your time. The Second Amendment was written at a time that is shown in that YouTube video. I find it absurd that nothing has been changed at this point.

Philando Castile was stopped because he had a light out on his car. He reached for his license and the officer shot him. Alton Sterling was pinned down and then shot. They found the weapon later. He wasn’t going to do anything. If anyone feels that they can justify these killings or any form of racism or discrimination then I personally think you need to reevaluate your values. Fear and anger and aggression are not what America stands for. I think that being a cop is one of the bravest things a person can do, but it also gives someone immense power. As we’ve seen, some people do not know how to manage their power.

However, it is also horrible that policemen in Dallas were killed while doing their job at a peaceful protest. More killing of more innocent people will never be the answer. Now people will be afraid to even show up to protests, which is one of the few ways we have to show solidarity across racial and class lines. I am white and therefore pretty privileged in society, but I can try to understand and empathize with everyone and I can work toward and advocate for a society where this discrimination against people of color do not exist. (see here for a really good article called “I Dread What’s Coming. Truly, I do.)

Owning a gun does not connect to your pride. What defines you and your pride is how you treat people and how you act in situations of stress and injustice. Your values define you. Whether or not you keep a pistol in your purse or a shotgun in your truck is up to you, but you are judged by how you use them. Don’t use it if you’re going to abuse it.

Secondly, if you think that Trump is the one to change these laws, I am begging you to look up his position on public education or gun laws or Planned Parenthood. Try to understand why I, and many others, fear that man. For crying out loud, he made fun of a man with a disability and can’t make a coherent sentence to save his life. He speaks in superlatives. I’m sorry if I’m offending people, and Hillary isn’t my first choice either, but she’s a lot safer. Think about what he can do with that much power.

It is really hard to not be afraid. Not for myself, but for my friends and my peers and the guy next to me in the grocery store. It’s time to change something, and yeah I have absolutely no idea how to do that and I don’t know a lot about politics, but I do know voting is up to us. So do it.

Hug your families. Because I can think of many people tonight who wish that they could. Everyone matters. Noli timere.

~ Addie

Peach

IMG_0481On this day 13 years ago, I wore my sparkly ladybug shirt and matching pants to a hospital in California and stood on my tippy toes and peered into the hospital nursery. I saw my baby sister for the first time. I may have wanted a brother (kidding) but I was beaming.

My little tiny baby sister turns 13 today. She’s taller than me and wears a size 9 in shoes and her hair is longer than mine, but she’s my baby. When you’re 6 years older than a sibling, it’s kind of hard to find things in common. You have different friends, different hobbies, etc. But now that we’re older, it is so fun to spend time with her. She’s funny, dorky, clumsy, smart and sooo weird. And I feel so old.

Eliza, you are such a blessing. We give each other a hard time and we definitely bite each other, but I hope you know that I adore you. My life would not be the same with out you. I’m honored to be your big sister. Happy birthday, Peach.

Also, Happy Father’s Day to Bertis! Your name is weird, but you’re pretty cool. I love you!

Class of 2016

To all of my friends/family/etc who graduated this past weekend, there was a lot wanted to tell you, but at ceremonies I get a little too excited. I pull a Bertis and get oddly emotional and wave my hands a lot and I start to bounce a little.

Graduating is extremely exciting. For starters, you don’t have to go to high school anymore. Depending on the school, you also don’t have to ride the bus. When you graduate college, you get to adult. Personally I’m not ready for that, but I admire everyone who is. It’s also fun because your parents are feeling nostalgic and so they will let you get away with some stuff, like not cleaning your room or forgetting that you have to babysit your sister…

Most importantly, you get to start over. This seems a little terrifying but it’s the most exciting part. You can forget the people that were mean or the bad grade on a math test that ultimately didn’t matter. When you move away it will seem daunting and impossible and also thrilling and kind of like you’re vibrating. In other words, it’s a lot to feel. But they are good things to feel, and you can work through them. It’s not easy but it is doable. You can make new friends and do exciting things and maybe get a puppy.

That was a pretty vague way of saying what I wanted, but when it comes to graduating, everything has pretty much been said at least once. Except that I am so proud to know all of you. Y’all are going to do wonderful things and I can’t wait to hear about them. Although it’s going to be hard at times, you won’t believe how much you grow.

Noli timere, graduates. Everything is going to be wonderful.

~ Addie