As the election approaches, I find myself stressing out more and more about what is going to happen afterwards. So this is my open letter to voters in general.
I am not one to judge others for their political leanings, no matter what they might be, as long as they are founded in logic and intelligently taken. If you want to vote for Donald Trump for sound and logical reasons that have a basis in reality and logic, then by all rights that’s your choice. Just because it isn’t mine doesn’t give me the right to tell you what to do. If, however, you’re voting for him (or anyone for that matter) on the basis of a slogan and some vaguely put ideals, then I reserve the right to judge you, at least a little bit.
My own personal opinion is that while Hillary Clinton might not be my absolute favorite person on this earth, I do believe that she is the most qualified candidate in this race, and that while irresponsibility is never something we should support in a president, she would never do anything to deliberately put Americans or national security at risk. Politics is a hard job, and there are risks and decisions involved that people who are not in politics could probably never imagine. I also believe that Donald Trump is ideologically the worst candidate for America, and his character and prejudices are the most dangerous part about his campaign. That isn’t to say there are some things that are good–at least in theory–about his platform; while he wants to repeal ‘Obamacare’, he does at least want to replace it with another national healthcare system (although he won’t put forward any details), and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
But regardless of your views on the subject, I have to ask that all of us who are of age to vote actually go out and do it. This is my first presidential election as a voter, and I can see now how vitally important it is for my generation to exercise their right to vote. It might sound clichéd, but we really are the future of this country. Most of us are in our last stage before we go out into the real world and become fully fledged American and global citizens, a part of the workforce in this country and a part of global events whether we like it or not. The future of the country and the world belongs to us, and we have to take control of what it looks like. America’s leader is often dubbed the leader of the free world, and at this point the world is so globalized that it is true in more ways than one. So as voters we have to think about not just who would be best for our country, but who would be best for the world.
So don’t just sit back, relax, and watch the entertainment that is the debates. Get up, get out, and take control of the future.
Every time I tell someone that I’m a transfer student (it doesn’t happen often anymore, I know my way around campus and the city in general) they act surprised, because while it does happen often, transfers make up a pretty small population at any school. Those who do transfer, normally do so in their junior year or after they have earned their Associate’s Degree from a community college, neither of which describe me. I transferred from one four-year university to another after my freshman year, and here’s why.
I’m the oldest child in my family, and so when I was applying to colleges none of us really knew what it was all about. I applied to a relatively small number of rather elite schools, didn’t spend enough time on my admissions essays, and while my SAT I and II scores were more than acceptable, it wasn’t enough. I was accepted into my backup school, and that was it. So that was where I went, without ever having toured the campus or known anyone there. I also hadn’t really researched their programs relevant to my field of study, and all of these things became reasons I was unhappy.
It was hard to make friends at first, and that’s when thoughts of transferring entered my head. Later, when I made a close group of friends, I stopped considering it seriously, although it stayed at the back of my mind. It was only later, after a few unfortunate experiences and a feeling of displacedness set in that I really started to consider transferring again. A small school didn’t suit me, and although I was never one for Greek life I considered rushing a sorority just for something to do. I started to become depressed, slipping slowly into a relatively dark place that came to a head when I had a breakdown shortly after winter break ended. I applied to two schools to transfer to, both of which were closer to home (my family is my support system, and while I didn’t feel devastatingly homesick, it manifested in different ways) and got accepted into my current school. I knew I would be happy there, since I had visited in the past and fallen in love with the city. I knew I would be challenged, because their psychology program was miles better than my previous one; the program was and is the highest funded in the entire university. I knew that this was a place where I could grow, find myself, and succeed.
And here I am, halfway through my first semester. I’ve had countless new experiences, my GPA is the highest it’s ever been in college. And I’ve never been happier.
It’s hard to make friends in college. Everything you knew about being social in high school changed, and being a shy extrovert–meaning that I thrive on being social but have trouble actually approaching people and connecting with them–I had some trouble initially. Once I made friends though, it was relatively easy to be social.
But then I transferred. And once again, I faced the same struggle. In all honesty, I’m still facing it, more than a month into my fall semester. Last year, living in a dorm made it easier; to see my friends, all I had to do was open the door and walk ten steps to one of their rooms. This year, it takes more effort to meet people, and while I thrive on social interaction, approaching new people has always been hard for me. I’ve had to learn some lessons the hard way, and I thought I’d list a few for the shy extroverts out there who might be facing something similar.
- ALWAYS put yourself out there. Whatever you might think, the person next to you probably wants to make friends just as much as you do.
- You never look as silly as you think you do. Especially freshman year: you’re all in the same boat. And honestly? That goes for most of college. We’re all stressed, we’re all broke, and we’re all sleep deprived. Say hello.
- You don’t have to have everything–or anything really, in common. Liking different things is a conversation starter, especially if you enjoy being challenged like I do.
- A cute outfit is the perfect way to break the ice. Dress in whatever you like the way you look in; it says something about who you are and will boost your confidence at the same time.
- Conversely, compliment people! If you like something about them (i.g. their smile, their sweater, their thoughts on neoliberalism, etc.) tell them! And I don’t mean yell at them like catcallers are inclined to do, this is more like if you’re in a similar situation, like standing in line together or something. Be genuine.
- Smile! When you’re having a conversation, provided it’s a light and non-serious conversation, a smile can go a long way.
Of course this is all just my advice. No one has to take it, and some might think it’s bad advice. But we’re all human, and we’re all worthy of the pursuit of happiness.
These days my life is filled with realizations of reasons I’m following the right track for my life. This week I submitted my first paper of the semester, and I had so much fun analyzing the reliability/validity of a particular psychological assessment that I could barely keep to the page limit.
Writing the paper got me thinking a lot about what it means to be a unique individual, both from a psychological as well as a philosophical perspective. Everyone has their own story, and they make us who we are. Psychology tends to group people into different traits and categories, but the stories we write with our decisions are what brings those traits to life within each of us. Tons of people around the world think of themselves as extraverted or introverted, but all for unique and different reasons.
For years, I thought of myself as extraverted because I always had lots of friends, and socializing came easily to me because we had lots of game nights that created enjoyable memories. Now, at almost-19 years of age, I consider myself more of an ambivert; I still enjoy socializing, but now many of my most enjoyable memories are evenings spent with my roommate, studying and singing along to early 2000s pop songs rather than the large and loud games of twister and water balloon fights of my high school self. I think that’s my favorite part about psychology though; exploring how and why these changes happen, and the people behind the categories. It’s okay to change, and I’m now discovering the fact that it’s not actually all that uncommon either. Humans are changeable through experiences, and sometimes we look upon it as something bad, but frankly if I met someone who had never changed in their whole life I would be absolutely shocked.
P.S enjoy this picture of a door from a palace in India. I thought it might be symbolic, but really I just like how it looks.
There are a lot of really enjoyable things about being a young woman in a big city, even if your city only seems big compared to 18 previous years of suburbia hell. One of my favorite things about living here is that everything feels so alive all the time, even when I don’t (i.e. on a Monday morning heading into my first class).
But life is not all sunshine and daisies, for me or anyone. Today, for the first time in my adult life, I was catcalled. Well, sort of. I was driving to class, still half asleep, when a young-ish man in another Mercedes pulled up beside me and honked for me to roll down my window. Thinking he needed directions, I did. He then said something to me, which–given my state of exhaustion–I didn’t hear. When I replied with, “Sorry?”, asking him to repeat himself, he yelled “I SAID you looked good in your Benz. It’s a compliment, relax. Damn.”
Maybe I’m lucky to have gotten through almost 19 years of life never having been harassed on the street, and maybe it affected me more than it would have if I hadn’t already had a rough weekend, but it shook me. I had done nothing to deserve being yelled at, but then no woman (or man, or anyone) deserves to be harassed. As I continued through my day, I let this ridiculous human get me down, but the more I thought about it I realized that it’s really not worth it. Which is kind of the point of this long, rambling post: there’s going to be something that might get you down every single day of your life, but before you let it affect your day, consider whether or not it’s worth it to waste your energy on it. In some cases, it might be, and that’s okay! But if it isn’t, just let it go and keep living your best life, because there’s no better revenge than success.
Well, I’m new to this, so I figure I’ll start with an introduction. My name is Meera. I’m a second year psychology student at a school in central Virginia (although I recently transferred here from a school further south). For the most part, I am your average college student. I go to class every day, drink coffee in the library, and stay up way too late watching Netflix. Why should you listen to me? Firstly because everyone deserves to feel a part of something. No one should feel alone in their lives, and sometimes it’s hard to find people who share your daily struggles; so we look elsewhere from our everyday life. If my experiences and struggles can help even one person to feel more connected and less alone, then I’ll feel like I’ve achieved my goal with starting this blog. Secondly because I simply enjoy sharing my opinions, jokes, and random facts. I think I’m funny; you may just think I’m a huge nerd (which is also true). Either way, happy reading!