Monthly Archives: January 2017

Colleges That Change Lives | Agnes Scott

agnes scott college

Both women and education have been under fire quite a bit lately. I want to bring some light to one of the most incredible institutions in higher education. A women’s college. My college. Agnes Scott College.

More than once, we’ve been featured in the book and on the website Colleges that Change Lives. I absolutely stand behind this naming. Agnes Scott absolutely changed my life. I’ve said time and time again that my college experience was the best thing that could have happened to me. Let me tell you a little more about the college that changed my life for the absolute better.

Agnes Scott and the scholarship I am forever grateful to have earned put my life on a trajectory that I never could have imagined for myself. It took a small-town girl from Idaho and plucked her out of the middle of a wheat field, setting her down in Atlanta. That alone allowed me to be pulled and grow into a different woman. I learned so much from living in a diverse city and neighborhood full of wonderful people that showed me how much I still have to learn.

The experiences I had and the people I met supported and drew out of me the strength and skills that were in me. They helped me become a leader, a caretaker, a lover, and a fierce fighter.

Even now, I am using what I learned.

My college made me capable of doing what I’m determined to. Agnes Scott encouraged in me a work ethic that stays with me still. Now, working 6 days a week during the school year (most of the time). But I get to work at a job I find so much joy and fulfillment in because I learned how to work hard and keep moving. I became even more convicted that every person deserves the very best in life and that I need to do my part to bring more love and learning to one of the most poverty and violence stricken neighborhoods in  Chicago. The mindset I gained also allows me to see it as so much more. Just as Atlanta became my home and my community, Chicago has become my home and community. My students have become my kids.

This is home, and my life is forever changed because of a college that took a chance on that girl from small-town Idaho.

On Body Image and Feeling Good

body image weight loss

This is a post that I’ve debated writing as it touches on some personal things and I generally try to keep a positive vibe going on this here blog. I heard a segment on the radio the other day talking about body image and how girls in Elementary school are already counting calories and thinking about their bodies in a negative way. I’ve seen first hand as the middle school girls I work with panic and worry about “getting fat” and awful it would be. As I try to be a good role model to them, I’m working on improving myself to a point where I can be a good role model of health as well. With that, this year I’m working on wellness and feeling good in my body. If weight is lost- ok. If weight is gained in this process- that’s ok too.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

Since I was little, I have always been a big girl. Through high school, I felt like I stood out and was so different because I didn’t fit into the norm there. When I moved to Georgia for college, my whole view changed. I realized that despite what my small-town Idaho beliefs may have been, people see outer beauty very differently! Who knew that not everyone saw tall and thin as the standard of beauty! This opened my eyes to a whole new world of support and a new sort of confidence. I began believing more in myself and my own beauty as my body image became more healthy

A few years ago, I had tonsil surgery that helped me keep from getting sick so much. It helped me feel physically well again. Going back into my last semester of college, doing my research for my senior seminar project, and the stress that I went through dealing with personal issues took a whole different toll on my body.

Moving into summer, despite working out daily and eating healthily, I was gaining the weight I was working on losing! Talk about frustration! Because of all that, my body image suffered and I felt like everything I wore looked bad. Which led to me thinking my whole life was bad. I know it seems like an overreaction but I just couldn’t see past what was going on with my body that I couldn’t control with diet and exercise. Going into the next years I’ve felt more stable and in control, so we’ll see what this new start in this new year has in store for me. I will continue to do my part in keeping healthy and am working on accepting my body the way that it is now.

My Body Has Done So Much for Me!

Knowing that I am SO much more than just my body helps because I can look past the parts that I see as imperfections and know that this body is what allows me to help people daily at work. This body has healed sick children and soothed panicking hearts. This body is the vessel through which I am able to do so much. These legs have walked along dirt roads in Uganda, the house of Gandhi in India, shopped along the Champs-Élysées in Paris, run through wheat fields and bursts of color, and walked through Castles and banana forests alike. This body is what allows me to teach and love on the sweet children I work with on a daily basis. My body has taken me to beautiful places and allowed my brain to learn from all sorts of people and allowed my heart to be filled with love.

My body is just that- the body which contains everything that I am as a person. And I am so much more. I love this body for everything that it is and everything that it lets me be. In seeing my body for what it can do, my body image has been skyrocketing and it makes me want to see everything else my body can do!

What are you most grateful for your body helping you do?

Living Alone, Not Lonely

alone not lonely

I live alone now, but before living in Chicago for some time I’ve always lived with people. A roommate my first year here in Chicago. Roommates (and soulmates) in college and after. And family in between all of that. There are so many benefits to living with people (I’ve written about it, actually!) and I absolutely loved the time I spent with various roommates throughout the years. Coming home to someone else who knows and understands you can be so beneficial.

Now, however, I’ve been living on my own for over a year. I wake up in my apartment by myself, I come home to myself (well, and my cat), and I hang out by myself on many weeknights and weekends. Lonely, yet? Don’t feel bad for me too quickly. There are a lot of benefits to living on my own and learning the difference between being alone and being lonely.

The first couple nights on my own, I’ll admit that I was a bit lonely and woke up to just about every little creak and bump in the night. I triple checked my door and window locks and kept a weapon of sorts under my bed (still do, don’t mess with me). After about the first week, however, I settled into a rhythm. I still make sure to check my locks (don’t worry Mom!) and take precautions as most people do to stay safe, but I don’t get startled by every floorboard settling or horn honking outside. I’ve become more comfortable in my apartment and feel secure, but I’ve grown to feel better about life alone in so many more ways than physical safety.

I enjoy my own company. Yep, I said it. I enjoy reading on my couch in my sweats or watching Netflix by myself. I’m pretty cool with hanging out by with myself. I like that if I don’t want to do the dishes for a couple nights because I’m sick/tired/feeling plain lazy, no one else is going to judge or think less of me. I like that if it’s 11pm and that’s the time I feel like getting up and working out or cleaning the house top to bottom, I’m not going to disturb anyone by turning on my music or the vacuum cleaner. I also like that if I want to watch 4 episodes of Fuller House in a row, I can do just that, whenever I want, without considering what someone else may want to watch or do. Selfish? Maybe. In my world, though, this is a form of self-care. I spend a lot of time with other people so my time alone is treasured and needed so that I can recover and recharge and feel calm, relaxed, focused, and happy.

I teach small children with disabilities all day. I love my job. Goodness knows if you know me you know I love my job and all my kids. It gives me life and fills me with so much joy. After a full day of it, however, I still have a couple hours of paperwork to do every day. Thankfully I’m done with grad school now, but my free hours are still few and far between. I love this busy lifestyle and I enjoy what I do, but when I come home, it is time to focus on myself for a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a full social life and friends I love dearly. Weekends are full of outings and relaxing after a long week and time spent with other people both in and outside of my apartment. Home, though, when everyone has left for their own houses and I’m left by myself, is a peaceful sanctuary just for me.

I live alone, but I am anything but lonely.