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What Students Really Need to Hear

Carrie Grace:

Thoughts of an ECE/Education Major…

Originally posted on affectiveliving:

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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It’s okay to show weakness

Sometimes, I get so set in being the “strong” one, that I forget its okay to be weak. I have a hard time showing weakness around others, but it gets to the point sometimes where I break down. I have a panic attack for a good 10 minutes, and then I’m ready to move on. Fake it for another day. I’m good at faking it to get by. I did it for a number of years in high school, so whenever I need to do it now, it comes automatically. I don’t even recognize “bad days” anymore. Being sad is a fleeting feeling. It lasts for a moment, and then its on to doing something else. 

In some cases its a good thing. It helps me keep my head on straight at work and lets me work well under pressure. 

The thing about sadness though is that it builds. Sadness is not a fleeting feeling. It hides in the darkest parts of yourself, until it runs out of places to hide. Then it rears its ugly head, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. 

There is a balance between strength and weakness. It is a fine line that we walk from day to day, sometimes its so thin that strength and weakness become one in the same. It is a war we fight within our selves throughout our entire lives. In an instant, we can go from having the times of our lives, to feeling like the world is at its end. 

It happened last night. One minute I was having a blast with friends, and the next I just couldn’t keep it together. I ran off into a bathroom, curled up on the floor and cried my eyes out – PS. crying during allergy season is the worst! 

And of course it was over a stupid boy. I hate crying over boys. I’m quite frankly very done with it. With them as a species in general as well.

For the first time since Nick ended things, I had time to think on everything. I found some of his stuff under my bed, but I threw a blanket over it and moved on. Then Blake came up for the usual Friday night, and I got to be the wonderful 3rd wheel I’ve come accustomed to being. We went to a movie at a theater, then were just staying in for the night and watching more movies. This overwhelming feeling of missing Nick just kind of washed over me. It just felt like he was supposed to be there, and he wasn’t. I didn’t want to look like an idiot whining over a break-up of a relationship that was never really a relationship, so I sucked it up and made it through the night. 

Then Saturday night, a few friends came in to town. One has a habit of hitting on me frequently. We kissed once and he’s been hooked since. So he tried, as usual; being an officially single man only making him put in all the more effort. For the first time ever, I couldn’t handle being hit on. All I wanted to do was run. (Odd, because the weekend after the breakup I was totally fine hooking up with my friend that was in town… oops. But I think that was more out of anger than anything else.) To make things worse, of the two guys that hit on me that night, both of them didn’t seem all that upset with me not flirting back. They moved right on to the next girl and both of them ended up kissing and/or going home with other girls. I hated that I was back to being treated like an object, a pawn in the game of sex. On top of that, one of our visiting friends wouldn’t stop asking if I was okay even after I said I was fine and didn’t feel like talking. Then my roommate kept asking if I was okay, if I wanted to just go home. 

I didn’t want to go home. I was determined to go out and have a normal college night. I got a little nasty and snapped at her, I’ve never snapped at her before. I didn’t like it.

Then as we were walking someplace else, one of the guys that had hit on me and I had witnessed making out with another girl decided to try and hit on me again. Then he brought up Nick. And then I lost it. I made it in to the sushi place just fine, but then people kept asking if I was okay, and I couldn’t keep up the charade. 

The fact was, I was not okay. I was not okay at all. 24 hours, 10 episodes of FRIENDS and a quart of ice cream later I still don’t think I am. I get so focused on all other things that I tend to forget that sometimes, I’m not okay. Plowing through life and filling up your schedule so you don’t have to face the bad stuff isn’t a solution. Saying “I’m fine” does nothing. It plays in to all of the lies you tell yourself to make it through the day. You’re allowed to say, “I’m not fine, but I don’t want to talk about it; I promise I will be okay though.” Because you will be okay. You’ve gotten through ever single day of your life up until right now, and you’ll continue to do it for as long as this universe will allow you to live. You don’t always need to be “fine”. What you do need is the will to keep working and moving forward. Remember that you’re not alone in your pain, everyone suffers; some are just better at covering it up than others. 

The Intern

I know, I know. I’ve been Horrible with a capital H about making any kind of posts. I’ve been doing a lot of freelance writing lately and it has left me with very little time to do much of anything of my own accord. BUT! I’m changing things up a bit. There are actually quite a few changes coming up on the horizon that I am very excited about. Starting today most especially.

You are reading a piece by the 2014 William Morrow marketing intern. Yep, I got myself an internship. I honestly don’t know how it all came together. I mean they say when you know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, it’s easy and everything falls into place. Not necessarily true. I’ve had to work pretty hard for this. There has been a lot of preparing, a lot of going back and forth between people, and a little bit of groveling. 

At one point, I thought the company I had been introduced to was going to drop me and say they had no place for me at all. A phone conversation with the person I was talking to in HR ended with her saying, if you are thinking about any other internships, or if you are offered other positions, just let us know. I was crushed. I took it as, we probably can’t take you here, so if you want to give me an easy way to say no to you, that’ll be awesome. 

I’m thankful for that sentence though. I don’t think I realized how much I wanted this internship until that phone call. When I got off that phone, I saw all of my hopes of entering the publishing world fall apart before my eyes. I had chosen the wrong major. I would have to go back to school, pick up an appropriate degree, and then start this whole stressful process all over again. 

This internship search had been one mess of me being passed off from one person to another. I talked to at least three other people before my interview date was even established. My resume was sent to 5 different departments before someone decided to give me a chance. The number of times I had to say how much I wanted to be here, and that I wanted to do absolutely anything to get my foot in the door, and I swear I am a fast learner and won’t be dragging the entire company down by being there – not in those words exactly, but a more professional version of that sense. 
After I thought no one in the company wanted to even speak to me, someone decided to give me an interview. Hallelujah let the choir sing! 
Then it sunk in. I had to do a formal interview… In real people clothes… In New York City… 
Now, I grew up about 2 hours away from the city. I had been to the city plenty of times, but I was never the navigator. I was very much a let someone take the lead and get me from point A to point B. I had to hop on a train, hop on a subway and get myself from 34th St to 53rd. Surprisingly, it didn’t end up being that hard. I was proud of my city slicker skills even though I grew up on the bubble of an island and attended school out in the boonies. 
I thought the interview had gone well. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I’ve only interviewed two other times and they were extremely informal. This was so different than anything I had ever done. My uncle and one of his colleagues had prepped me well though, and I was confident in everything that I had to say. I didn’t stumble. I gave good evidence that even though I had never worked in publishing, I had past experiences essential to the intern position. I made a solid argument. But I couldn’t read my interviewer for the life of me. 
I went home with butterflies flying rampant in my stomach. I had no idea what to expect. The next morning I sent my thank you follow up e-mail. Tried my best to include information specific to the interview, and went about the million things I needed to do as best I could. I was expecting to go through weeks of agony, waiting for a decision. 
I came in from walking my dog to find a missed call from a 212 area code. New York City. Oh. My. God. 
There was a voicemail and I listened quickly. I had gotten the position! I called back immediately. “The position is yours if you’re still interested.” No duh I’m still interested! “Of course! I look forward to the summer, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” Click, phone off. OH MY GOD I GOT THE INTERNSHIP! THE SUN IS SHINING THE BIRDS ARE SINGING! I DON’T HAVE TO START COLLEGE ALL OVER AGAIN! HALLELUJAH! 
So, I was kind of excited. Kidding. I was thrilled. I told everyone I knew. So in preparation for my internship, I will be reading a lot of books from the division I will be working for and writing about it, because thats kind of what I’ll be doing all summer, so I might as well get a head start now! 

So theres this boy…

Yesterday I told my mom about Nick. It’s kind of good timing because I think we’re both pretty serious about us. 

For one, she took it well. I think she was at the point where she was getting worried I’d be single forever. I’m second in line for next to be married on both sides of my family, so that’s cool I guess… No pressure. My mom has literally asked me if I was a lesbian before because I have only had one boyfriend in my 20 years of living. Unfortunately that one boy kind of messed me up for all the other boys that entered my life for a while, but I think I finally got over it all. I don’t know what it was, but last weekend, I think I realized just how different he is. 

He bought dinner. We were out, the four of us and I thought it was just as friends. But I guess since he asked me out, that prompts him purchasing food for me – something I’m quite okay with. The last time a guy paid for my meal, I was still in high school. So that was really friggin nice. 

Then this weekend, he had the option of staying home with Kelsey’s boyfriend and going out with his friends, and coming out to see me, he picked me. I think he was in a really good mood because he got his own apartment. He was so friggin happy about it. I know he loves his mom, but I think being around his dad really brings him down. For a while I could tell he was kind of slipping. Talking more about needing to get out and what not. I understand. If I had any opportunity to permanently not live at my own house, I would. Hence why I came back after Christmas to my lovely, peaceful apartment – the fact that Nick was here was just a nice bonus. 

But things got interesting with that apartment talk. Like, the idea of us living together at some point, or even just for weekends really doesn’t seem all that bad. He has no roommates so that is an incredibly wonderful bonus. And I think I’m really serious here… like I’m okay with commitment serious. 

It’s weird, but also not. I’m completely myself when we’re together. He puts up with me being loud and obnoxious. I think he actually finds it funny. We’re absolutely ridiculous together and play like we’re 5 years old – we actually fought today to the point where we fell off my bed – but we’ve had deeper conversations than I’ve ever had with any of my other friends. We’ve been through a lot of the same situations, in different time frames and ways, but still similar, so we kind of get each other in ways others don’t. 

Yeah he can be lazy as shit, and he smokes too much, but I really don’t care. I’ve always been fine being “with” guys, as in spending the time between sun down and sun up together doing things that really don’t take a ton of thought. But this… every time Nick talks about the past year, how hard it was for him, how he was in that place that I know all too well, all I want to do is make him not feel like that. Maybe it’s just because I know how it feels to be there. Or maybe its just because I know the happy, kind him that has so much damn potential that he just doesn’t see. I know part of that is the issue because that’s what his dad rips on him for, but I’m sure his dad does it in the same way my loving mother reminds me about my weight. The idea of him being around a lot really doesn’t bother me. He does that thing where I start to get all freaked out and tense, and then it suddenly stops, I don’t feel that way anymore. As someone who is constantly stressed, finding someone who can make you feel that kind of calm is something quite impressive. 

…I guess I really like him.

Helpless

I used to think that I could help people, make their situations better, help them get through the bad and remember how much they’re worth. But over time I realized we can’t help anyone other than ourselves. The only way we can help is by showing kindness, radiating inner peace, and proving that you can overcome. You cannot change someone else’s situation, you can only hope that yours can inspire to help others through their own hard times. 

Let me mush

I’m really sorry, but these make me swoon so hard…

 

See now look at you finding the silver lining

 

It’s one thing I’m usually good for

 

That makes one of us 

 

Hence why you keep me around

 

Its more you keeping me around

No my darling. You clearly don’t have a clue what you have done for me in such a short time. How you respect me, and put up with me, and for whatever reason chose me to show so much kindness to. You are someone who is so intensely independent but you share your time with me. You have opened up to me, and I haven’t a clue why. In my absolute worst, you saw me for my best. When there are so many things going wrong and confusing me, and in a situation where I normally run and hide, I have never been more confident. I never believed what anyone said about the positive side of relationships or any of those feelings things, and you told me you might prove to me that all men don’t suck. You kept your word and continue to do so over and over. 

No this has not been easy, nor has it been perfect, but I would not have it any other way. I am excited to see where this all goes. I have never been more excited about the future before. Normally the future scares me, but for once, I am positive about all that is to come. 

No fear for the future, but I’m terrified…

So Nick asked me out this weekend. There’s potential for dates in the future. Real dates. Not just weekend hanging out with friends. 

There was also an awkward slip in about me still tolerating him 30 years from now (Tolerating is what I use to say I like you). 30 years from now… Well thats a rather long time, and a statement that I probably would have freaked out an run from that kind of committal idea. But it was oddly comforting… Like I wasn’t weirded out at all. 

My ex used to mention being together a few months into the future and it made me baby barf. But this is 30 years into the future and it didn’t make me feel weird at all. The thoughts that make me want to puke? This summer. 3 months apart. My birthday being home away from him and my other friends here. When he gets his own place and doesn’t need to get away from home if he’ll stop coming to visit on a random week night. Saying or doing something that might scare him away. After graduation life. Those are the things that terrify me. 

The other morning was absolute perfection, and if I could wake up that way every day, I’d be extremely content with my life. 

You know when you’re life is like a movie you never want to stop watching. I think I’m there.