Finals; Im done with stress consuming me.

It’s that time again. The time of the semester that every student just loves… not. Finals, oh how I hate the week and weeks following up to finals. It’s a love-hate relationship; students love that the semester is almost over and a well-deserved break is on the horizon at the expense of an unhealthy amount of stress lingering from the scary final exam. For me, my finals are not cumulative but based on the most recent chapters; others are not that lucky. I pray for those that have to review every objective/key concept from the first week. I also want to send good vibes to the students that are slaying over a final paper. Here is a tip: laminate your paper next time so the tears from crying are not so noticeable on the paper.

 

Some of the things I have said, or will say, may sound cliche but college students that are struggling, like me, hopefully, can relate. I am not where I want to be in college. I wish I had better grades, I wish I went somewhere else, I wish I knew how to study better. I wish I wouldn’t doubt myself every day in the classroom. I wish I didn’t have to quit my homework because I get so frustrated with not understanding whats going on in the class. I hope every time that I can get through an online homework assignment without having to google the answer. So I have my issues and the only way of dealing with my issues is doing something. So to tried a study schedule; didn’t work because my schedule is so inconsistent. I tried to only study at libraries; nope because I do homework at night and most places close early. Using the tutoring center at school worked well for a few times; it’s mainly used for concepts and not teaching the whole material over again.

Sometimes I think college is all about trying new things and making us feel like we are failing at them but also succeeding at the same time. For every class that I thought I was drowning in, I ended up passing the class. For every paper I stayed up all night writing, I was proud I persevered through and finished it. At the moment I feel like I cant take more, but then i look back at that rough task and think: wow, I did that? wow, I got that good grade? wow, I passed?

My focus in on the long-term goal and how my life now is affecting my end goal. I won’t give up on what I see for myself in the future. I try not to get caught up in the additional stress I put on myself due to college. The cliche phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Its true, I thought that pulling all-nighters writing a paper was going to kill me, now I do them monthly, thanks, professor. When I get frustrated, I need to remind myself that this too shall pass, and it will. The class will end sometime, and something else will begin. This rough patch in life we call “college” will end sometime and we will be in the workforce. This time of our life can go fast, and I want to enjoy it before I am stuck in a career.

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Even on my bad days, my life is pretty great.

Dealing with ups and downs, I have realized that even on my bad or dark days I have a pretty great life. I am not writing to brag about my life, but to remind myself that the sun will rise even on my darkest days. Everybody’s dark days are different and my experience doesn’t speak for everybody’s, but maybe it’s relatable.

This semester I have already missed several classes because of not being able to get out of bed. It sounds silly; like how can you physically not be able to move and go attend something for two hours. That is the smallest issue I am dealing with that morning. My alarm goes off, the beeping reminds me that its time to get up and be productive. The thought of having to interact with people makes me regret setting the alarm the night before. The friendly faces that pass me on the way to class, they are happy for another day; why? I barely have the strength to pull my lips back to form a manufactured smile in response to their “good morning” and they pass.  All the fake plans I will have to make up over the weekend to tell my classmates who ask how my weekend went; all the fake questions I have to ask about their weekend. If I don’t respond to them, they will think I am antisocial and don’t like them. Which is true for today, but I hope will not be the case tomorrow.

The professor writes out questions on the board for us to answer, but I don’t volunteer to solve them. The problems are completed in my notebook, but I can’t bear the thought of standing up in front of the classroom; what if my answer is wrong? Halfway through the semester, sitting in a small community college classroom of about 15, I shouldn’t be afraid of the judgment from my classmates; but I am. I know I am not stupid, I know the material, but I don’t want them to see my flaws. I don’t want anybody to see my flaws.

Class comes to an end and before I am out the door, my headphones are in and I am heading home. On my way home, is one of the highlights of this dark day. Home; where my bed is. My bed, the one spot I feel comfortable. The soft mattress helps the blankets engulf me and make me feel safe. The lights are off and the fan is on me, dark and cold places relax me. Trying to balance my anxiety with the environment, I play music. Majority of the music has no upbeat drums, no guitar solos, and nothing but calm slow music. One artist I prefer is James Arthur. His low voice with the slow pace helps to ease my mind.

My biggest mountain I have yet to climb is the thought of why I feel this way on my bad days. I can blame the unbalanced chemicals in my brain, or scarier, try to figure out what is making me so depressed and anxious. My life is pretty good, compared to what It could be. I could still be running around with my group in high school; the parties, drugs, alcohol and created a life of just those things. I’m glad to have parents that support me while trying to get my life started. I have great friends who go beyond to help me. It helps that my friends also want to better their futures and keep pushing me to keep going. My amazing boyfriend is always there for me when I need him. I can’t explain how thankful I am for him. Without going into detail about my life, I have more to be thankful for then to be worried or depressed about. The ideas of what I want my future to be, keep me going and trying to overcome my bad days. I keep telling myself that its worth it in the end; like everybody does. It’s about time I believe what I’m telling myself. The dark days make me forget all about these beautiful aspects of my life. I am blessed to be alive even though it may not seem like it today, but tomorrow is a new day. 

Hope Saved Me From Being a Statistic

zayla dogs

**This piece is a dramatic monologue and is read as a playwright piece. **


Fourteen-year-old girl, Zayla enters wearing jeans and her favorite blue shirt with the words “Science Olympiad” on the front and had clip art images of a microscope, an atom, and a ruler. Zayla stands in the middle of a dark stage with one spot light on her.  She carries a stuffed dog in her arms.

            In the U.S. there are over 18 million alcoholics. Those 18 million alcoholics are affecting about 26.8 million children. I am one of those children. Just because my father is an alcoholic that makes me more likely to follow his footsteps and develop a drug abuse problem when compared to other children without alcoholic parents.

[Zayla starts moving her hands when talking. Keeping motions light and within her body frame.]

Also, I am more likely to develop depression or anxiety, antisocial and behavioral problems, just because my dad decided that this liquid is more important than his own family. All the times he yelled at us because he ran out of beer. All the times that I stayed in my room crying because my mom was at work, and Dad was too wasted to drive for a beer run. But, you see, I won’t be another statistic.

[Zayla starts evenly pacing while looking focused, almost thinking out loud. The hand motions continue]

My mother words too hard to support my father, his habit, and myself. She always makes my education a priority. She always loves to hear the nerdy things I learn in class every day or how I am preparing for the Science Olympiad competition coming up.

[Zayla lets out a small chuckle, followed by a brief pause.] We both have seen the effects of what alcoholism can do. [Zayla adds emphasis to the words ‘refuse/refuses’ every time] My mom refuses my future to become dependent on alcohol. She refuses to let this monster consume me and even consume herself. I refuse to let myself fall into that hole. I refuse to be consumed by this nasty disease. I refuse to be another statistic.

[Zayla holds up her stuffed dog at chest level. Admiring the dog’s short brown fuzz and floppy dark brown ears. She lifts one front paw and lets it fall back down]

This dog; is just not a stuffed dog that a fourteen-year-old girl is attached to for materialistic reasons. This dog represents hope and strength. When I was five, my dad was on a drinking binge all day. He consumed more than usual and he also became madder than usual. Mother just got home, she was late because work made her stay over. My dad had been out of beer for about two hours too long. [Zayla’s hand motions become larger and more frequent. The motions extending outside her body frame.] The yelling… the cussing… made our living room seem like a battle field. I covered my ears behind my closed bedroom door. Mother came to my room and told me with a sob in her voice… [Zayla stands still in the middle of the stage, her tone is depressed. Both of her hands grasp the dog and lowered to her waist.] “We’re going on a beer run.” I remember looking in her eyes and it looked like an ocean was going to pour out.

[Pause, and starts with a calm tone]

We walked up to the gas station that was down the street from our house. There I found this dog [Zayla brings the dog up to eye level, then lowering the dog and hands to a more relaxed position at chest level.] I named it hope. My mother bought a six pack for my dad instead of a twelve pack so she could buy me this stuffed dog. She got down on one knee in that gas station and told me that if she buys me this dog, the dog will protect me from dad’s actions. She told me the dog will keep me safe and always be there when I need someone to talk to. My mom told me that Hope, the dog, will always be there for me when she’s not there.

Since the age of five, Hope has been there for me. Hope has never left me nor I left it. Hope is there making sure I do not become like my father. [Pause] Hope makes sure I do not become another statistic.

[Zayla hugs the dog and exits the stage.]

The Last Game

It’s game day,

The last softball game of my high school career.

Taking one last glance at the field,

Nothing has changed over 4 years.

The same old beaten up scoreboard,

Standing tall over the high fence that I’ve hit my share of balls over.

The outfield with that large indent in center field I always hated

Will continue to be there when I leave.

My four years were spent in the infield,

I know it like the back of my hand.

The dried groves in the dirt made it harder to field a ball,

But they taught me how to react better on defense.

The place that I truly loved,

Was the most important place on the field; home plate.

What seemed to be two ditches were only the batter’s boxes,

Where everybody had their own chance to do something big for their team.

Home plate was covered with scratch marks

From the player’s cleats that reached home plate to score.

I thought I would never miss a field of rock solid dirt,

I even happened to take a piece of the field with me when I left.

The Heartbreak that Made Me Realize I Don’t Want To Grow Up Yet.

Whether you were the dumper or the dump-ie, doing through a break up is tough. I was recently dumped by someone who I was dating for about a year. Within one year, we had our own rental house, phone contracts, a dog, and a bank account. We did move fast, and I see that now, but it felt so real. He was supposed to be the one or at least I thought he was. Looking back at the relationship I saw a lot of problems that I ignored. This breakup did not destroy me, it made things in my life more clear.

I still am in college and have about 2 more years till I finish my bachelor’s degree. I decided to just go to local community colleges for my associate’s degree, but growing up that is not what I wanted. I had dreams of going to a good sized college and experiencing the college life. I envisioned myself living on campus and going to college parties while getting a degree in something I love. You know what happened to that? Being to consumed with guys and what I thought “love” was, I disregarded my dreams about college. Thinking about it now, I don’t know how I could let someone else keep me from something I wanted so bad.

I took a trip up to see my uncle’s family in the twin cities for a few days. I discovered that I have still so much to do in my life before I settle down. I mean, I’m only in my 20’s and I don’t want to settle down yet. I thought I wanted to get a house with my boyfriend and start our life together, but now I see that I still have things to do.

Things I feel like I need to do before I settle down are personal and adventurous. Personally, I need to find myself. Finding myself has always been tough for me. Growing up, my self-confidence was always a struggle to have and always a challenge to be happy with myself. I also need to focus on what I want to do as a career. I have a great idea of what I want to do but need to really think about the future. I have always loved traveling, even if it is a short road trip to Chicago. I love getting out there and seeing new things. I want to travel more and see more of the world. I’m from a small midwest town and love that big-city feel and feel as if I haven’t seen the beauty of the country.

I get that these feelings are because of the breakup and usually a part of going through the emotions after said breakup, but I don’t think so. I am done putting my emotions and dreams on the side for others. I’m still young and want to experience as much as I can before it is time to settle down.

 

 

To My Brother Who Let a Girl Get Inbetween Us.

Growing up we had our difficulties as any normal sibling duo has. We fought over what cartoon to watch, what radio station to listen to, and even where to sit on the couch. At that time, I would of rather of had a pet then a brother. Things changed for the better once we grew up.

I matured and realized that your pretty cool once you had a car and could take me to Taco Bell. We really started becoming close right before it was time for you to head off to college. I remember the months leading to you moving about 3 hours away; I didn’t want you to leave. With other issues going on at home, we both you wouldn’t be there to keep the peace. It felt like it was them against me without you there, but I got through it.

A few years later, you start talking about your new girlfriend. With you schooling based in Chicago, we didn’t see each other most of the time other than special trips there or you came home. The frequency of your trips home declined due to her and spending most of the time in her company. Less than a year and plans to propose to her arise, and it’s a shock to the family. It’s a shock due to use not knowing her other than what you tell us. With you being in love with her, what we hear from you is bias in every way. The family believed every word of your biased opinion and made her out to be this beautiful and intelligent women. The family met her twice before the wedding with this biased made opinion of her.

Without knowing who she really is or spending a lot of time with her to get to know her, legally she joined our family. People in our family had their hesitant thoughts about it being too soon for you two to get together: but you should know that our family makes this facade of happiness and reassurance. The wedding was beautiful, but the start of a whirlwind of problems that would hurt all of us later on.

The problems that occurred at the wedding are not significant in anyone else’s eyes. It was miscommunication between you, her, our parents, and her parents; and somehow it’s only our parents that you blame. From that day, there have been sides and I’m tired of it.

By no means am I saying this is her fault or anybody’s fault; that’s beside the fact. I am writing this to show how our relationship, as brother and sister, has gone astray due to all of these issues and problems. I wish that who we choose as our significant other would not affect the relationship I have with my sibling. I know the world isn’t perfect. Growing up it seemed like you were the only person that I could go to and be there for me, and now your not there anymore. I looked up to you, you were the peacekeeper in the house, and now your starting fights. It seems like you left us for her.

When I say you left us for her, I literally mean it. Think about it. When you lived in Chicago and not dating her yet, you came home for holidays and family events, and to see me, mom, and dad. When you started dating her you barely ever came home, period. When you came home without her you were constantly on the phone talking to her that it was rude to us, honestly.  Your excuse sometimes was that she has plans and you both can’t make it home to see us, and it seemed like you HAVE to be with her every weekend and can’t go without her even to see me. Another example, do you know how hard it is to realize that mom and dad have to go through another family member to just hear what you are up to?  Our parents are not meaning to be nosey, but they genuinely care about you. I still don’t know much about her and this is where she is beginning to move to my bad side. The whole family feels that she is keeping you away from us: and it’s obvious. I could go into more detail but I’d rather not because I’m sure you know what I mean.

I miss how close we used to be and hope one day that it can go back to the way it was. You are my older brother and I love you.