There’s a lot we have to worry about nowadays. Bad movies. Climate change. Our moms.
So we could embrace the happy things out there. Loud personalities. Colorful shoes. Good people.
There are little things that make us happy and really big things that make us happy. People spend too much time focusing on the “bad” things about themselves. If they already have so much to worry about, why spend more time worrying about yourself?
Love the best parts about yourself, the parts that make you, what I call, fashionable.
In the last, I don’t know, ten years, our society has supposedly made strides when it comes to self acceptance and neutrality about appearance. High-fashion brands pat themselves on the back every time there’s a plus-size model in their show, Instagram influencers are now making money off of BOTH diet culture products and messages of self love and celebrities are now being asked, “Did you gain weight? Not trying to be mean” online instead of in person. See? We’ve made tremendous progress.
I’m not trying to be a Debbie-downer. I’d much rather be 20 years old today than when my mom was, trust me. But I’m not so sure everyone’s feeling as great about themselves as the world collectively pretends we are. We just hide it differently now.
I don’t know that I’ve ever met a truly, through-and-through confident person. But is that surprising? A lot of people who love their personality got that way because they’ve been told their looks wouldn’t get them anywhere. There’s always a chance that someone who loves how they look has been told their personality is dull. And then there’s people who are insecure about both. It’s possible this is just from my point of view and you’re reading this thinking, “What a fucking cynic.” It’s also possible this applies strictly to my generation. But we all know what it’s like to be in middle school. And we’ve all heard our parents or older siblings criticize themselves one time or another. So, that’s pretty hard to believe.
I don’t know that I view myself as being an unconfident person, but I do know I don’t have the highest self-esteem. You know when you’re like offended if someone says you should be more confident because you’re like, “I’m confident!” but then you think, “Mmm, actually no.” That’s where I’m at.
It’s pretty easy for confidence to drop when school feels like a competition show. It’s pretty easy for it to drop when you view all of your friends as prettier than you but even they don’t like how they look (and then you’re thinking “okay then wtf am I?!). Breakups don’t help either. The expectation is that we hype up all our friends on social media and then degrade ourselves “as a joke.”
What’s not easy is pretending none of that exists. The body positivity/neutrality/whatever movement seems to expect us to flip a switch and just, what, love ourselves all of a sudden? It’s like they (idk who “they” is either) are saying, “Hey, this girl wears a size 14 and she’s a model, shouldn’t that make you feel good about yourself?” But the point is that her size actually shouldn’t matter at all and we shouldn’t have to be thinking about our limbs and skin bags to feel good about anything.
I’m sure a lot of people do feel like we’ve made progress. And maybe we have, at least publicly. But I preach sustainable fashion to my friends and family, knowing full well sustainable brands have some of the worst size inclusivity out there. I tout body neutrality and going easy on yourself and then go back to my room and tear apart my appearance to my roommates while they do the same.
If you’re someone who’s reading this and thinking, “I don’t deal with this at all,” then I’m happy for you. But I have a strong suspicion most of us do. So if you do, and you’re ever having a super I’m-about-to-pick-apart-everything-about-myself moment, just think: nobody cares, and in the best way possible. Nobody cares because they are all too busy feeling the exact same way to think about whatever you’re freaking out about. You don’t have to be great. You don’t even have to be good. You just have to be enough for you!
I love talking about this stuff with other people, so if you have any ideas about where the heck we’re going wrong, let me know:)
It’s been almost two years now in the bustling big city of Columbia, Missouri and I guess you could say I’m starting to get the hang of things. And by that I mean I’m getting used to sitting in my room until the sun goes down, making a mug cake at 7:00 and then heading for bed at a ripe 10:30. Receiving cat pictures from my mom has made its way into the “thrill” category of my brain.
But as time goes on at Journalist Factory, and I think it’s this way for most people, you start to think, “Well I’m just different.” I know that sounds a bit pick-me energy, but I’ll explain myself. In every class, we meet new people who seem to have their sights set on a specific dream. Or we meet people who are really, really good at something. Then there’s people who have confidence flowing out of them with every breath. You can’t help but feel inadequate around all of these people, so you try to justify it with, Well I’m just not like them. I’ll figure it out in a few years and really, you know, blossom.
And I know what I really want to do, I guess. It’s not that. I think there’s a bit of imposter syndrome in that even though some of us do have dreams like the confident ones, we don’t really believe we’ll be the ones to achieve them.
A little while ago I was in an interview for an internship and about halfway through, one of the editors stopped and told me they were actually really impressed with where I was for just being a sophomore. And to tell you I almost cried right there in an interview would be an understatement. To hear a stranger say they were impressed by me?! That was out of the ballpark for my expectations. I’m sure it’s this way for just about everyone my age nowadays, but there’s no way we’ll ever feel we are doing enough. It doesn’t matter how many magazines I contribute to or how many clubs I join, there’s someone in my class who has published more or is in more. Quality over quantity has been drilled into our heads since 2nd grade, and yet it hasn’t ever really made sense. You aren’t rewarded for putting everything you have into one thing you really love, so why would you do that?
In a few years, I imagine most people my age will be applying for our first real jobs. Some will have already been working for a while but those of us privileged enough to just be starting out in our careers will be trying to find places okay with the fact that we went to school during a pandemic. By that I mean a lot of the experiences we are expected to have and gain through education have been severely altered, even if just for a year and a half. A lot of companies might not be able to look past that lack of experience. And that’s … uh … kinda crazy lol. This is what I think about every time an adult tells me, “You have to have fun in college, too!” When they were in college, I’m *assuming* there wasn’t this insane culture of competition literally everywhere you go (like literally everywhere) and a pressure to still have an overflowing resume when it isn’t as possible to do so.
So this was really just me ranting about being overwhelmed in college, but it’s just something I feel like pretty much every single person in the Gen Z territory goes through at one time or another. I don’t want to act like I’m great at this, but I think we should have a little more understanding for everyone no matter their level of involvement in their school, their job or anything. As I like to say, we’re doing enough.
I’ve never really been one to make resolutions. I’m not good at coming up with them and, truthfully, I’m not good at keeping them. Around January 1st, I do like to jot down a few small goals for the year, though. They might not be resolutions exactly, but it at least helps me take what I’ve learned from the previous year and materialize it somewhat. And, well, I think we all learned a lot last year. At least I hope we did.
There was one thing I thought to write down that I felt like sharing. It’s not a new idea of any sort, but one of my goals was to not take it too hard if I didn’t reach or keep up with the rest of them. It’s pretty easy for me to abandon a “resolution” once I’ve forgotten about it, but it’s not as easy to accept that as okay once I remember again. But, I want to work on that. Sure, a little discipline is good, but you can also set a goal any day of the year. Resolutions are kind of just an excuse to say “I guess … next year?” when we stop drinking three glasses of water every day. If right now, your goal is getting to tomorrow, that’s enough. You don’t need to create a list of things to accomplish every year just to feel bad about yourself a month later. ESPECIALLY when Cynthia from down the hall has somehow made this year her bitch and continues to rub it in your face. On the other hand, if a list of things to check off at the end of the day eases your mind, you’re a different breed and thank you for the inspiration. There’s no perfect way to tackle a new year. You can treat it like any other day, a whole new attempt at life or anything in between. But if you discover a month in that you regret your approach, don’t beat yourself up over it. It truly is just another day.
Something you could do instead of resolutions, or in addition to, is make a list of things you know are going to happen this year that you are excited about. Take your mind off all the things you wish you could change about yourself in the coming year and focus on the excitement of a year of things to look forward to. A new school year, a new job, a project…maybe…a vaccine???
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from making resolutions. If that’s your thing, go for it. However, I think it’s important to keep in mind that hanging them on a specific day might impact you more than you think. You can set a goal any day of the year for any amount of time. Making them specifically for the New Year can make you feel like a failure if you don’t pull through. Mark Adams has an interesting Ted Talk about productivity that you’re welcome to look up but I won’t link here because the second half is … curious. The point is, we can’t change ourselves. We can only better who we are already. So, don’t be too hard on yourself because of a simple goal you set while hungover on New Year’s Day.
Stay home and stay safe! You are enough!
Some highlights from 2020 (some “pre-pandemic” and some post):
I’ve always been someone who wants my friends to feel confident in their bodies and in their skin. I’m not an overly nice person — that’s not what I’m saying. But, I know who I am when it comes to jokes about someone’s body or looks, etc. What I want to write about today is feeling good about yourself when you are that person.
I often feel hypocritical when I tell my friends not to talk bad about themselves when I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. There’s no way my friends can feel that I’m being honest and truthful when they know I’m saying the same things about myself, right?
But I think expecting yourself to be truly self-loving and confident all the time is another unrealistic standard that people cannot meet easily at all. If you picture the perfect person in your head, they usually don’t have confidence issues, do they? It’s just another layer of expected perfection added on to the long list of things we feel the need to do. Self love is something that is slowly achieved and grown over time and it doesn’t come easily. So you can’t turn around from hyping up your friends and always expect to feel like a boss bitch.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit to yourself that you might not have incredible confidence, and I think that’s why. Because we’re expected to, right? We don’t want to admit failure in yet another category. Anytime I think something negative about myself, my next thought is usually along the lines of “lmao wtf Chloe shut up” because it’s so hard to accept that I might actually need to improve my confidence.
Something we hear a lot is “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.” I think it’s probably true that it’s hard to give love to someone when you don’t have a lot for yourself, but that doesn’t mean that no one else can love you. I’m no expert, but I feel like people with confidence issues tend to think they don’t deserve love. If that’s you, how do you expect to learn how to love yourself if you’re not allowing it from anywhere else?
I just want everyone to keep in mind that they’re doing great and you are enough. Luv u<3
We’re entering week 4 here at Mizzou, almost a quarter of the way done with the semester. So far, I’ve gone to one of my in-person classes (just once), quarantined for two weeks, found out I never even got Coronavirus from three different exposures and hallucinated that my cat was in my trash closet.
So it’s been hectic. But I’d like to tell you more about how the COVID-19 pandemic is being handled at an SEC school from a personal standpoint. This is Mizzou — we’re in Missouri. It’s already a red state, being occasionally challenged by godsends like Cori Bush. But other than that, the state is filled with people like our governor, Mike Parson, who thinks college students will be fine because, ya know, they aren’t going to hospitals. Our Chancellor happens to agree.
Mun Choi, the UM System President and University of Missouri Chancellor said recently in an article by the Kansas City Star Editorial Board, “Students and young people in that age group do recover at a very high rate,” referring to people aged 18-22. That might explain why he and the rest of the Mizzou administration are so hot on bumping up the “recovered” numbers on our COVID-19 dashboard literally as fast as possible.
I know I’m jumping around a lot here, but let’s just run through a few of Choi’s top hits so far as Chancellor (many of these are general administration actions but would most likely require his approval):
was initially instated as interim chancellor while administration looked for a new permanent replacement, then established himself chancellor
refused to remove Thomas Jefferson statue that students and faculty openly expressed disliking towards and started a petition against, even after presenting evidence of TJ’s racist history and extremely minor connection to the University (seriously … there’s like no reason for that statue to be here)
brought Mizzou students back to campus during a global pandemic and did not lower tuition
approved a Mizzou COVID-19 dashboard that would update “every two days”
excluded COVID-positive students that went back home to quarantine from the “Active Student Cases” number
blocked students who were criticizing him on Twitter
unblocked them when threatened with a lawsuit
The thing is, I’ve been sitting here for so long hating Mun Choi and acting like what he’s doing affects me at all … when it doesn’t. It affects Black students, minority students, low-income students and high-risk students so much more. Big politicians and billionaires are not very personal problems. They affect everyone in the universe. Mun Choi is close to home, though. While I’ve had all these beliefs before, I think these Mizzou-specific issues are reminding me, and others of so much privilege, why it is so important that we raise the voices of our fellow students and citizens because we actually see Mun Choi’s impact every day.
COVID-19 has not been handled well so far here in Columbia on an administrative front. A friend of mine is involved in the Missouri Students Association, Mizzou’s student government, and often gives me the low-down on how admin has f*cked up each week. Usually, they claim case investigators and contact tracers are completely caught up, but one of my roommates literally never got called by a case investigator once they tested positive (and yes, they reported the positive case). I was called twice by two different contact tracers more than a week and a half after my initial exposure and one of them told me to get tested a third time because I was still negative, while the other told me to just wait out the rest of the quarantine.
I’m sure it’s difficult to be managing a school of tens of thousands of students, but the lack of consideration for students’ well-being is really astounding. My dad has worked at a midwestern university for almost my entire life, so sometimes I can see it both ways when students are upset about the way administration has handled something. But this I just can’t understand.
After my three roommates tested positive, I knew I had to get tested again. So, a few days later, I drove to the testing site only to get turned away and was told to call a number to get a referral. When I called that number, I was told I couldn’t get one because I had already been tested and then was transferred to a different number. This person told me I had to have a Telehealth appointment the next day with a doctor in order to get a referral for a test. If I didn’t have insurance, that appointment would have cost up to $59.
This is not only Mizzou though. Pretty much every college across the country is struggling with spikes because of some combination of lack of testing, transparency, leadership and responsibility. And we can’t put all the blame on Mizzou when our governmental leadership looks like … well, what it looks like.
We’re just looking for some transparency, and quite honestly, some decency, Choi. Is 1,300 cases not enough?
I’m an 18-year-old white girl and I’ve lived among more white people my whole life than some could probably even imagine. Like so many white people. If there are tiers of privilege, I’m way up there, just under the fan favorite, white male.
For a long time, I had the belief that it’s not my place to really speak on things like racism and Black Lives Matter, other than presenting myself as an “ally” and arguing against people who do and say insensitive things. I do still think it isn’t a white person’s place to be the loudest voice in the room on these topics. But the truth is, it is necessary right now for everyone, especially those with the most privilege, to do everything they can to help. I’m writing now because at this point, what the f*ck?!
When I was in grade school (meaning all the way through high school), every time a black person was killed by the police, we’d go to school the next day and our teachers would speak with a different tone of voice, we’d maybe talk about what happened for around five minutes and then we’d continue with our regularly scheduled activities. I know my teachers were good people, but they were working for an institution. An institution that was probably telling them we’d most likely benefit from going about our day as if it was normal. As if seeing a black man killed on the news the night before was normal.
So now, it is May 2020, and we have finally had enough of it being normal. The thing is, it’s hard to look at who’s in charge and what is going on and think something might actually change. There is a literal racist man probably swiveling around in the Oval Office right now with a phone between his thumbs getting ready to tweet something about how the “thugs” outside his house are just bait for Secret Service dogs.
Look, I don’t know how to change anyone’s mind. I don’t know what will flip the switch in someone else’s head. But some people just have a faulty switch. It’s not off, you just need to fix it. So if you are reading this and can think of someone who cringes at the videos but then changes the channel or says “Yeah, that’s terrible” but then changes the topic, it has become your responsibility to get them to continue the conversation.
I don’t know how bad the media is. There are a lot of good journalists out there and a lot of people who really are trying to get the truth. What I do know is that when I turn on the news, there’s an 80% chance I’m about to see coverage of looting and rioting. But, if I open Twitter, I will see it all. Yesterday I watched a video of a car full of white people drive past and then a swarm of police officers tase, beat and drag a black couple in a car behind them. As you’ve heard, you don’t need to share traumatic videos. But, you need to talk about what is happening. If your parents are only seeing the videos of Nike get looted on the news, you need to inform them. There’s a lot going on and it can’t all fit in the few minutes these people watch on the news before they change the channel.
Social media is f*cking amazing. I love it. It’s horrible how addicted I am to it. But for real though, it is NOT going to solve racism. Congrats! You tagged ten friends! ……. Feel that? It’s nothing. Nothing happened. Because an instagram tag chain, believe it or not, is probably the worst possible way to get the message across. Continue to share what you learn, continue to call people out for their mistakes, but STOP acting like people who haven’t Instagrammed their anti-racismness are failing. You have no idea if that person hasn’t donated to and signed the same things as you. The last time I checked, there are millions more people who are not on Instagram who ALSO need to learn the same lessons we do. I don’t want people to stop being silent just to save face on Instagram. Black people want them to actually mean something. Black people need them to actually do something.
This blog is called fashionableenough. It’s lighthearted. It’s supposed to be funny. But until black people are viewed as human enough, something as trivial as fashionable is off the table.
You are enough!
In this blog, I addressed things I’ve learned in the past month. If you feel something came across the wrong way or it is too me-centric, please call me out on it.
We go to school to learn — that’s pretty obvious. And once we get to college, how hard we want to try becomes more of an option than ever before. When you get home from a long day of school in college, it looks a lot different. There’s no parental figure asking how you did that day. You get to decide.
Freshman year isn’t a death trap. A lot of “What You Need to Know About Freshman Year” books will make it sound like that. But it is something that, as unbearably cheesy as it is, reveals to you what is really important in your own life. For me, it pointed out the moments in my past that shaped me and the ones that were more or less irrelevant. It created new memories and add-ons to my personality that I never would have guessed would be there.
This year, I learned the basics of how to be a decent journalist. I learned about Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll in a class called Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll. I learned how much I hate god-like figures in old Greek and Roman texts (I’m sorry … when you show me an ancient text where a female is actually portrayed in a positive light, I’ll talk). I learned Econ. And no, I don’t want to talk about it.
All of this is going to help me get a good GPA, graduate, get a job, etc. But today, right now, I want to talk about the most important lessons I took away from my freshman year in college:
I learned to be the one girl who always had her room key.
I learned how to be incredibly dramatic when retelling a story.
I learned that a deep sleeper and a light sleeper can get along.
I learned how to go the wrong way on the subway.
I learned that nothing is worse than realizing the second half of your project that was narrated under a blanket actually doesn’t sound the same as the part with a mic.
I learned that I’m so f*cking happy I went to school in a town with two (soon to be three) Andy’s Frozen Custard locations.
I learned that hitting a baseball is hard.
I learned beating a baseball player in a swimming race is easy.
I learned I will never ever be able to do a handstand.
I learned I like snow more than the average person.
I learned I hate competitiveness but I like to win. Figure that one out.
I LEARNED I MISSED MY CATS. And my dog.
I learned that I brought a shit ton of stuff I didn’t use but I’m definitely going to bring it all again next year.
I learned I’m definitely not as confident as I thought I was.
I learned that the guys really don’t give a shit if you dress for the theme.
I learned who will eat dessert with me every night and who WON’T.
I learned that gift cards are some of the most valuable things on Earth.
I learned that Professor Markie is the definition of a good soul.
I learned what it looks like when a passionate socialist attends a school in a republican state.
I learned that girls have a lot more compassion for strangers than I thought they did.
I learned that tigers are my favorite animal.
I learned Tostitos Hint of Lime chips are what I would save in a fire.
I learned that even though I will never acknowledge the SEC, there’s only one good school in the conference (I’m so sorry it felt weird if I didn’t end it on a cute note).
So we’re all at home now, if we can be. Instagram has become a disease in itself and every app you open will flood you with ideas that somehow, in a time like this, you aren’t doing enough.
At first it was cute. People shared their daily schedules and a few others commented, “Love!” or “I’m gonna try this!” But the past week or so, these “schedules” have really gotten out of hand.
Social media is riddled with statistics, real or fake, that are meant to stress you out about our current situation. Thousands of possible deaths turned into millions in just a few days. Every day, we are showered with graphs and diagrams showing us what we’re doing wrong and how quickly things are deteriorating.
So, in hopes of easing their stress, people started scheduling their days spent stuck at home. Where I think they went wrong is when they told everyone else to do it, too.
Scheduling and listing is a proven way to ease your mind and make a stressful day a lot simpler. People have done it for a long time. My high school yearbook advisor swore by listing, and let me tell you—she got a lot done. My problem is not with the activity itself. I don’t even care if you post it. Do whatever the hell you want. It becomes an issue when people who are already under immense levels of stress, in the midst of a global nightmare, start comparing themselves to others based on what? Their daily routine?
In today’s world, we have so much to compare ourselves with. We want to look like that, sound like this, be better at that…the list goes on. And now, now is when we decided we should also feel bad that we didn’t start our day off with a 15-minute meditation session like Karen did.
I’m all for doing what you need to do to stay sane right now. If adding crafting, enriching learning activities and running to your daily schedule falls into that category, I’m happy for you. I’m glad you rediscovered all those “old hobbies you forgot you loved.” To the rest of us, who feel like shit because we lounged around for most of the day and ate dry Lucky Charms at 2:30 as our cardio, don’t feel bad.
Now clearly I don’t have any authority on this subject whatsoever. But I’m hoping you’ll listen to me when I tell you it’s okay to fat-ass it on the couch for a straight 13-hours.
Students—if you only watch one lecture today because you just couldn’t bring yourself to sit in silence, staring at the rest of your class, waiting for you teacher to join Zoom one more time, it’s okay. Take a nap.
Parents—the family down the street isn’t going to know if you didn’t force little Jimmy to participate in three different “Fun Home Learning Activities!” today. Just flash some math cards when they walk by on their power walk.
If you are actually following a schedule every day, I’d love to be you. That’s hard stuff. We need disciplined people like you in the world. What we don’t need is people who are worried about a virus hurting their family members to also worry about whether or not they are doing as well in quarantine as the people they follow on social media. I think we can all agree on what’s really important: the health of those around us. Let’s use social media to support each other getting through this, not make others feel like they should be thriving like you are. No one is thriving right now.
In closing, everyone keep doing what you’re doing—but only if it works for you. Don’t let anyone influence your happiness, that is, unless they’re making you happier:)
Go math. Woo-hoo for you if you can do math. I can’t. I’ll please the math major and algebra teachers everywhere by saying yes, it is important. But this is not about math.
Numbers are everywhere. Anywhere you look there’s some kind of number affecting your life. You really couldn’t escape them if you tried. And you shouldn’t, honestly. Numbers do bring an effective order to life. But to some extent, they are extremely harmful. That’s why I hate ’em. Numbers are stupid.
Obviously, numbers are incredibly relevant when it comes to health. Food boxes are riddled with numbers and people measure themselves daily. But I’m just gonna come out and say it. Both of those things infuriate me. I understand the need for a Nutrition Facts label, but is there not a better way to inform people of something’s contents than to enforce a feeling that they have to count everything they put in their body? If you are trying to lose weight and have been told counting calories is the best option for you, I’ll back off. The majority of the population shouldn’t be trying to lose weight, though. There are also cases in which people must watch what they eat because of rare conditions. I’ll reiterate, I’m an 18-year-old working on self-confidence and not a health professional. So don’t take anything I say to heart if that’s you. But for the rest of us, one phrase rules our lives: “diet and exercise.” It’s important to understand that this does not mean “go on a diet and exercise hard every day.” It means have a healthy, balanced diet and remember to stay active.
It’s okay to wince once in awhile when you turn your afternoon snack over and look at the label. I’d suggest not even looking. Not everything is going to be as healthy as that kale smoothie you get on your “good days” before work. Counting fat cals, sodium, sugars and everything in between is just adding another layer of stress onto an already over-stressed population.
When talking about this stuff with my friends, it’s sometimes hard for me. I want them to understand I’m coming from a place of love. So, I guess, one way to look at it is to think about why food exists in the first place. It’s here to nourish us. If you are hungry, eat what you’re hungry for. A lot of times, you end up eating a lot more than you planned because you went for the “healthier” option upfront and your body regrets it later. I’m not saying go ham on McDonald’s every single night, but if you’re debating between a salad that’s going to leave you wanting more and a sandwich with a cookie on the side, think about what is honestly going to make your tummy happier. Let’s add another layer. The food industry expanded because we are meant to enjoy it. If we’re not enjoying it, then what are we wasting all this damn money on?! This is where the real choices come in. If you are a salad person, go for it. If you’re not, that’s fine too.
What I want my friends to know, and what I want everyone to know, is that you should be able to enjoy eating. It sucks to have to eat and think about how many calories every bite is worth. So don’t do that! Eat what you want and until you’re full, please. Ignore the numbers every once and awhile.
It sucks that our sizes are numbers. I don’t have quite the same kind of solution to this one, but I more so want to talk about the problem. People today talk so much about not comparing ourselves to others and not looking at a model’s size as something we should be working towards. Body positivity has gotten a lot better recently and some fearless individuals do really own who they are. But how are the rest of us supposed to stop comparing when it’s so easy to do so? When it’s so concrete? You can google what size most models are today. Their heights, waist sizes, probably their weights, too. Ladies, we even compare boob sizes with each other and that’s like the last thing we can control.
It literally pains me when a friend of mine talks about weighing themselves. It’s not that I’m judging them–that’s not it at all. I just don’t want someone to have to look in a mirror and think of a number. Words are so much better. EX: ‘Petite and fun-sized’ is so much better than 5’1″. There are millions and millions of beautiful words we could use to describe people that are so much more descriptive than ‘137 pounds.’ Leave that to the doctor.
And finally, the grade. For some, there’s no number that can make you feel more worthless than your grade. You could have the highest grade in the class and sometimes…it still isn’t enough. 98 percent? I f*cked up on that two percent didn’t I. 65 percent? I might as well drop out at this point.
Obviously, grades help us learn. I don’t think anyone can disagree that feedback is a good tool for learning. HOWEVER…how are we supposed to learn when some systems are set up for grades just to be thrown at us and then move on?
I had a physics teacher in high school who hated grades. We got along very well. We had “quizzes” every once in awhile and received a letter for each one that was not reflective of an amount of points we got off. Instead, the letter represented the level of understanding he thought we had on that small topic based on the small quiz. We had multiple chances to learn each topic on these small quizzes before we were actually tested for a grade (the school required these tests, they weren’t his choice).
Most of the time, teachers will tell you that grades are there so they can see what they need to work on. Honestly, um, I think there’s a few better ways we could do that. I’m sure most teachers would agree, too. Teachers are awesome–I don’t think they honestly believe grades that make their students feel like maybe an education wasn’t for them are they best way to gauge a group’s success.
Numbers make some people happy. I’m not trying to take that away. All I’m saying is I don’t love what they’ve done to us as a people. If a no carb diet is the only thing that makes your stomach happy, please continue eating this way. The same goes for no sugar diets, meat and dairy free diets and everything in between. You don’t have to take anything out of your diet to be a “healthy” person. As we’ve been told from the beginning of time, the key is balance. Your stomach should be on the same corner as Walgreens–happy and healthy.
I know it’ll be awhile until there’s major change to the American grading system. Until then, it’s up to us to try not to compare ourselves to others and to appreciate learning for what it is. Numbers are numbers! You can’t sum up knowledge in a percent.
If someone tells you they didn’t struggle with the college selection process, they’re lying. A year ago this week, I visited the University of Missouri (feels weird calling it that) for the first time with my dad. I couldn’t tell you much about how I felt now–college visits tend to go by in a blur. It stood out, for sure, but I’m not gonna sit here and act like I was blown away the second I laid eyes on the campus.
I know I wanted to not like it. At the time, I was dead-set on going to Tulane. I hadn’t even visited yet, but the name had so much more weight to it. I went to what I’d consider a very competitive high school. All of my friends, especially my closest ones, were incredibly intelligent in all ways and people were always finding ways to make you feel like you hadn’t done enough. People were going to Duke, USC, Parsons, any one of the Ivies (or as some would call, the Pomonas of the East. You’re welcome), the Claremont Colleges, you name it. I had spent my whole high school career trying to live up to people like this, and my parents wanted me to go to Mizzou? No way.
By March, I had visited Tulane, and I was literally convinced I was going there. It didn’t matter what anyone said to me. For every negative, three false positives popped into my head (doesn’t help to see snapchat stories of the Mardi Gras celebration this weekend).
Let me key you in on some very important information. I am a journalism student. I knew very well going into school that I wanted to be a journalism student. Mizzou is consistently ranked one of the best J-schools in the country. Tulane doesn’t even have one.
Now I know what you’re thinking. And I don’t know. I honestly don’t know how I could have gone like four straight months ignoring some of the most important information that would literally end up defining my future. I was aware of it, but I didn’t care. I think it was about a week or two before decision day that I finally caved. My mom printed out what felt like a 3,000-page document with information about why Mizzou’s journalism school is the best (Spoiler Alert: It is). I spent probably three hours crying way too much on my mom’s bed that night, and then I told her, “Fine. I’ll go there.”
The next few weeks I wanted as few people to ask me about college as possible. I dreaded May-Day, when I would finally have to show the “entire” school that I was going to Mizzou. I wore a shirt that said “Mizzou Journalism” and “World’s First & Finest J School.” I remember crossing my arms as much as I could, but still putting on a smile every time someone said “Congrats!” There’s only one moment I remember without fail from that day: I had study hall, and when I was checking in, the hall monitor noticed my shirt. She said, “You’re going to Mizzou? You’re going to love it! My two daughters are both in the J School.” She looked so proud to say that. “Are you a direct admit?” she asked. I told her that I was, and her face glowed. She told me how happy I should be. I remember feeling like bursting into tears. I don’t know why, but that day and that moment were the most overwhelming sequence of events. I was so embarrassed for not feeling as grateful as I should have, and I was still embarrassed that I wasn’t going to a school with a 10 percent acceptance rate.
Those feelings didn’t go away the entire summer. I graduated high school, still avoiding the topic of college. Every time it was brought up, I tried to “make up” for it by riddling the conversation with achievements from my high school career, something I already hated talking about. At the beginning of the summer, I went to orientation at Mizzou, and felt literally as neutral as one can about a school. The weekend was supposed to be about building school spirit, but I had zero emotional connection to the school. I loved the people and I was so glad to have met some of them, but I think my fear shielded me from starting a relationship with the school earlier on.
Along came August, and I was one of the first of my friends to leave. Scared out of my mind, I packed up way too many clothes and my roommate will probably tell you a few too many string lights as well. But I did it. I left.
There were multiple girls in my hallway that had already moved in because of sorority recruitment and seemed like they were pretty good friends by then. Obviously, that worried me. I mean, my first thoughts were along the lines of, “I could try” and “I could just not have any friends.” You don’t need to know the whole story, but let me tell you, those “It Gets Better” campaigns are scary accurate.
That roommate I mentioned earlier is now my best friend, one of a few (you know who you are:) ). There were multiple times in the first few months of being here where I looked at my friends and thought, “I’ve known this person for like two months. WTF.” This is not about my friends, but they deserve a shout-out, because they are just god-tier.
In high school, I was embarrassed for not feeling grateful. Now, I don’t go a single day without feeling appreciative of the things available to me here. This isn’t a scholarship essay, and I’m not trying to pitch Mizzou to you, but I’m telling you that if you trust those who know you best and you trust yourself, you will end up in the right place for you.
Thanks to Mizzou, I’ve been able to publish almost ten articles in a student-run publication focused in my interest area already. Next week, I’m going to New York to visit some of the biggest magazine publications in the country. I’m taking journalism classes that don’t put me in a big lecture hall and make me feel like a number, but instead I’m trying new things everyday and participating in discussions about journalism. I’ve started my own blog! Thank you, Brian Brooks!
My friends are student government senators, Tour Teamers, video editors, podcast creators, bilinguals, sorority leaders and all around top students. All of us will graduate from the journalism school with at least two years of actual work experience that we can put on our resumés–not in student publications, but real, accredited publications and studios.
I’ve had the best year so far, Mizzou. I’m sorry I didn’t believe in you at first. To those of you making your decisions for where you’ll be next year, whether it’s community college, a four-year university or no college at all, know that it will work out. I was so upset for a lot of senior year because I felt like I couldn’t be proud of going to one of the best journalism schools. I should have embraced it. I think my experience would have started off even better if I had. The phenomenon of not feeling “enough” has been made too important to the college search. It doesn’t matter where you go, because you can make it what you want it to be. This is especially true when you’re given the right tools (M-I-Z ;))
Happy college decision time! Trust yourself friends, it will work out. It did for me! And that’s pretty telling.