Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Thoughts on Connecticut...

This weekend has been an emotional weekend for our country. We have been faced with one of the saddest tragedies that has hit home in a very long time. 20 children were murdered, as well as 6 adults in an elementary school. I'm not going to lie, when I was watching CNN the other day and Anderson Cooper was stating the names and ages of the victims, I found myself crying.

It's true. As he stated the names of those 6 year old's who wouldn't go home to their parents that night. It is sad, even though I didn't know any of the victims at all. I found myself crying because it is just one of those times in our lives that makes us cherish every single thing that we have...and remind us that it can be gone so quickly.

There has been a huge debate over the last few days about gun violence and how a ban on weapons would make a big difference. But this is how I see it, no matter if you ban all guns or just some from being legal...this is still not going to stop those who commit these crimes from using them. See, this is how I see it, schools are gun-free zones, but this didn't stop the array of school shooters we have seen in the past few years from bringing them on campus. Banning guns in general may make it a little harder to get the guns into the hands of those who will use them for evil...but it won't stop them. Criminals don't follow laws, that is just plain an simple.

As for arming teachers, that is good and all...but I know many who would never touch a firearm. Then there is always the worry about having them within reach of the children. Either way, yes that could help in the cases that teachers feel up to using them, but it still won't stop the violence.

I totally agree on the mental health argument. Yes, mental health services are under funded and not seen as important as they are. But they are very important. As someone who has studied mental health in my last 4 1/2 years in college, mental health is important to an individual. Sometimes its something as much as a chemical imbalance that can be remedied with drugs, that could be the difference between someone being suicidal and a normal functioning member of society. But even with the expansion of mental health services and more knowledge of the signs of someone who could cause great harm to others, this still won't stop some of these from happening.

I am sorry to say this, but there is no sure fire way to stop these individuals from walking into our halls of learning and causing great harm. This is because no matter if we get rid of guns, we allow teachers to carry, we expand mental health knowledge; there will still be those out there who will fall through the cracks. There will be those who will still break the law. Even amping school security won't stop all of these kind of attacks.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't try what we can. Don't get me wrong. Adding additional security to schools could help in so many other aspects of daily life. Making guns harder to obtain could help stem them getting into the wrong hands...though some will always find ways around that. Will it stop outright? No. But we don't need to spend our days living in fear. Though school shootings have been more prevalent in the past decade than ever before, they are still few and far between. Send your kids to school.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


This weighed heavy on my mind last night. As I was trying to bust out a term paper for my Crisis Intervention class, I sat there and remembered why I was staying up until 4am to finish it for.

Because in under 6 months time, I'll be a college graduate. I'll have culminated the last 5 years of my life in a ceremony where I can finally say, "I did it!"

But last night, I found myself laughing because I have spent the last 5 years of my life...for a piece of paper. This paper shows that I paid out the nose to get education. But I laughed, because I have spent the last five years for a paper.

But what does this paper mean to me? It's interesting, looking back, at the changes that I have gone through in the past 5 years. I am 100% not the same Amelia who graduated from Lapeer East High School on June 6, 2008.

This was on my last of high school, I'm with my friends Katrina, Courtney and Sarah.
In the past 5 years, I have moved 6 times. By the time I graduate in May, I'll be working on my 7th move (and hopefully the last one for a little while). When I turned 18, I moved out of home and into an apartment in Charter Oaks. That year was a year of big change. Some of my friends left me, others stayed and I even met some new ones.

Fall 2008 brought about new experiences in life. For once, I had control over what I wanted to do for most of the day. I drove myself to and from school and could do what I want when I was there. I could go out to eat where I wanted to. I could try new things. But I didn't try too much because I was well...scared! Everything was so big to me then. I had the ability try many things. But I didn't.

Fall 2009
Zach, Shannon and I in fall 2009.
Staying in Charter Oaks for another year, this was the year I also lost someone that I loved dearly. This was the year that I realized that Music Education was just not for me. I didn't go back for performance classes but changed last minute to nursing classes. I remember struggling through Anatomy and Physiology among other classes. Life was difficult.

But this was the year that I really got close to a couple of the friends that I spend so much time with not, Abijah and Tanisha. These two lovely ladies came into my life at the beginning of Freshman year, but it wasn't until my 2nd year at the university that I actually got to know them. I am so glad I did, as I love these two dearly!
Tanisha and Abijah in 2010

The summer after this year was the summer I began working at The Fowler Center for Outdoor Education. This eye opening summer brought new experiences with campers that I would have never met anywhere else. Cabin 4, the pirate cabin, was the best of course, and it was just an amazing summer. I made some amazing friends that summer.

Fall 2010
Fall 2010, from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 premiere

This was when a change needed to happen. Charter Oaks was always rough for me. For one, it had many memories. I lost some good friends while living there, and I spent a lot of time to myself in that apartment. It was time to move out of the walls that held so many memories. So, I moved to campus. Okay, maybe not on campus but close to it. In Fall 2010, I moved to Riverfront Residence Hall, my current residence. Who knew that living here would open up so many opportunities for me and shape me into a better person? Tanisha also joined me as we moved into 1104, our first apartment. It was a 3 bedroom and we didn't meet the last roommate until a few days after we moved in. Mindu would come to be one of our favorite people!

Mindu and Abijah :)
1104 will always hold wonderful memories of amazing nights with friends and laughter. That was also the year that I decided that I just wasn't going to make it in Nursing and officially switched my major to Psychology, my final major. I learned that if I took one class, I would have a minor in medicine...so I took it, but that was the last "science" class I would step into. (I have the ""'s because some would argue, like me, that psychology is a science, just in a different way.) I was finding my niche in the world and it felt amazing. 

2011 began with a bang, while I joined some friends in Luna's basement for some fun times. Earlier in that year, I learned about the death of my father, a week of my life that would show me just how strong I was dealing with certain situations. I also got my first tattoo (and currently only one) with my cousin that year. In summer 2011, I went back to TFC for almost the whole entire summer, but ended it with some time with friends in Saginaw.

Fall 2011
Welcome Back Picnic 2011
Fall 2011, and my 4th year at UM-Flint came and I was excited to be moving back to Riverfront and to see my "Flint friends" again. In August, I began work at Riverfront at the front desk. I got to meet so many more people who live in the building through my work at the desk. Some would stop by and have a chat every so often and it was a lot of fun.

Tanisha, Mindu and I were now living in 512 which was exciting because it was a much larger apartment. In October, I turned 21 and held a wonderful party full of friends (and family because Molly was there). THAT was a fun night! This was really the year that I stretched the bounds of my freedom. Sometimes you have the ability to do things, but you don't really do them. In my 4th year, I finally realized just how much I could do and how much I could really enjoy life. So I would take trips out to see Molly in Lansing almost once a month, I went out on the town on Thursday nights, I met new people, I tried new things. I embraced the life that I was given and learned to enjoy every second of it.

And it was an enlightening experience. Because of my new lease on life in 2011, I got to know one special guy that I had known for awhile, but never really got to know. Kevin. Kevin and I met in fall 2010. We had a Nursing class together...back when I WAS a nursing major. We were actually in the same group for our big project because our last names were close (and the teacher assigned them by last name). Through that time, I never really got to know him, but he was there. Abijah knew him through ITS so we invited him to parties and he always made me laugh. He was invited to my birthday party and came to bring some major entertainment. Later in 2011 for my Christmas party, we finally sealed the deal and began dating. This upcoming Monday will be our one year of being together. I ended my 2011 with a new relationship and some amazing memories.

Fun times with friends old and new :)
I started 2012 with new ideas with how I wanted to run my life. I faced some demons that I had been haunting me for years. I basically pushed some people out of my life that I sometimes regret pushing, but it happened. But I also welcomed the renewing of relationships some old and some that I never thought would be possible. I added another set of people to my friend group through the addition of Zac Sanborn, someone who opened my eyes up to many new things. 

The summer after this year, I gained a new job experience that I have had much enjoyment out of these past few months. I became an RA! Sara was in need of someone, and I had applied before, so after the interview process, I was hired. In June, I began my work as a mentor and friend to many different students all over the building.

Fall 2012
Molly and I on Shopping day!
Fall 2012 has been an interesting experience, one that has dealt with the balance of life. At the beginning of my college experience, I felt like I did nothing. Because I didn't do anything. I spent a lot of time at home, just sitting. Looking back on that time now, it was so much easier. These past few months I have had to schedule anything. There have been days that I would have loved to actually just sit at home and be lazy, but I just don't have the time! Between working 2 jobs, as an RA and front desk worker, full time at school (which has been difficult because I am taking harder classes in order to graduate) and time with friends, my life has been chaotic lately. But I love it, all of it.

As I look forward, in the next week I will finish exams for fall 2012 and begin another year here in a couple weeks. This next year brings graduation in May, a date that I am anticipating and scared of at the same time. May 5th, 2013 will release me from the chapter of my life that I have been safely in for 5 years. I will be out there to the world and well...all of it's unknown ways. That piece of paper they hand me on this day will include all that I have talked about and remembered. It will show that I have worked my butt off for a small slip of paper that will take me farther than I could ever imagine.

It's interesting what life does to people. It's interesting how my journey to get to May 5th has had many twists and turns along the way and how much work it would take to get there. The journey of life is a beautiful thing, and has so many lessons ans triumphs along the way. But it's here...and that is just crazy to me.

Enjoy some of my favorite moments from the past few years: