Week 4: January 22-28 (Avery)

Saturday, January 28th, 11:02 a.m.

Ok so if freshman year has been anything it has been a complete eyeopener in terms of how i definitely did not know enough about the world prior to coming to college

like i am convinced that i really just lived in a cocoon my entire life and finally broke free from it when it was time to move into my dorm and go to college

like really what was i thinking all those years????

the following is a list in no particular order of things that i’ve realized i was doing/thinking about in the wrong way (i’m sure more items will be added to this list as the year progresses, and these are all my own personal opinions of course)

Disclaimer: You guys have probably already realized most of this stuff, so I do know that I’m preaching to the choir here lol! 

1) Volunteer Work
Alright. This is a big one, especially since almost all the organizations I’ve joined this year so far are service based. And omg I love it, I really do. I can’t believe I went so long without being involved in stuff like this! But I definitely was not looking at service in the right way.
Prior to coming to college (and prior to actually having any information in my brain LOL), I probably would have said that the reason I like service is because it is an incredibly uplifting feeling to see the effect you have in a person’s life and to gain exposure to people of different backgrounds and circumstances. And that, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. It’s incredibly important to pay attention to issues that don’t directly affect you. But that mindset isn’t enough. This is kind of hard to explain, so I’ll go into an example.
A few times throughout high school (and Ashley, you can relate to this experience), I went on mission trips with Catholic Heart Work Camp. CHWC was great because it allowed its campers to witness the poverty, homelessness, and general aid needed in our own backyards here in the United States. But it largely focused on educating the teenagers (i.e., me + others) and how we grew from that experience, how we gained perspective, how we applied these experiences to our life. Unfortunately, however, at least at almost all the service sites I went to, we didn’t do a good job. We used the wrong kinds of paint, or we left the families with an unfinished project. We were too focused on what we got out of it, and we failed to realize that although we were growing as individuals, our work wasn’t truly having an impact, and we weren’t really helping as a result. We certainly got a lot out of it, but the people we were trying to help did not.
This is really long winded, so I guess what I’m trying to say is that service is a good thing, but only when it’s mutually benefitting. It’s important to gain perspective on the world, to witness other cultures, to be aware of the problems that surround you in everyday life. But that alone isn’t enough, and it’s only half the battle. We as people need to partner that awareness with service work that actually helps people and truly listens to what they need from us. Otherwise, what’s the point? You’re learning about a community’s hardships and attempting to help in a way that benefits you but doesn’t actually address their needs, which seems like a crime to me (perhaps that’s dramatic, but I’m feeling very fired up about this).  Honestly, you guys probably already had a good perspective on service before, but I didn’t, and I feel like it’s an area I need to continually approve upon. I really do love it, and I really want to be better at it.

I realize I just made this entire post about service about myself, which is definitely not what I’m trying to do lol, but I hope you guys get the main point: I was pretty dumb before, and now I’m a little less dumb, but probably still at like a C- level. So much to learn!!!

This guy in his Ted Talk explains it much better than I can:

tl;dr- I was way too focused on what I got out of service, which isn’t a bad thing, but it certainly isn’t enough, and it certainly isn’t the primary focus of doing community work.

2) Abortion

Oh wow. Another big one.

As you can tell, I’ve been having quite the week lol.

I used to be super pro-life, and deep down, I still get a very twisty feeling in my stomach whenever I think about abortions.

The thing is that (and this is all my opinion, so PLEASE correct me if I’m misinformed, and please also share your opinions on this as well, I really want to hear what you guys have to say!) the pro-life movement isn’t doing a good job. Like I get it, I really do. I used to be super pro-life. I thought as long as you were saving babies from dying, that was enough. (What a simplistic view, I know). But that’s not true. It isn’t enough. It’s hardly even a crumb.

The pro-life movement, in my opinion, isn’t bad. They have good intentions. Wanting to end abortion is not a bad thing, and I feel like it would actually be a very good thing if possible. But they’re going about it in the wrong way. They don’t provide enough support to the mother and her child after the baby is born. Think about it (I’m really speaking to my younger self here)– can you think of any huge Catholic or religious organizations that focus more on providing aid to the mother and her child than merely ending abortion all together? I feel like the fact of the matter (still speaking to little Avery here) is that completely outlawing abortion doesn’t work. It doesn’t. You can’t just rally to change a law and then expect all abortions to end thereafter. Women will put themselves in more danger in an attempt to get an illegal abortion, which is even more heartbreaking. And the most frustrating thing is that abortion is such a polarizing factor in American politics that you can’t even talk about with anyone!!!!!! And it had such a huge effect in this election!!!! I know people who wouldn’t have vote for Trump if it wasn’t for the abortion issue!!!! You can’t even begin to discuss possible solutions, like slowly trying to phase out abortion while trying to increase the amount of organizations that provide aid to single moms (much easier said than done of course, I totally acknowledge that), without someone freaking the fuck out!!!!!!!

And my goodness, if you want to end abortion in my opinion you can’t be against providing protection like condoms, birth control, etc. That’s what helps in controlling unwanted pregnancies to begin with!!! @lawmakers- I’m thinking if you really want to end abortion, you’re going to have to take religious views out of it and view it from a more holistic standpoint. Religion (although I love religion, I think it’s a great thing, and kids should be more informed about the different types of faith and lack there of (not having a religion is cool too!)) is preventing women and children from getting the support they need.

And defunding organizations like Planned Parenthood also defunds the organizations they support abroad, who really do make an effort and in my opinion a real impact in trying to solve problems faced in developing countries.

I’ve been feeling really passionate about women’s health (it’s what keeps me going when the pre-med workload gets hard) and issues concerning women in general after reading this book called Half the Sky over winter break that my cousin gave me. I highly, highly suggest to anyone at all to read it. There’s a documentary as well, which I haven’t seen, but you can find clips on youtube!!!! This particular clip isn’t about abortion in particular, and if I remember correctly it’s more about microfinancing, but if you have the time, I would 10/10 watch it. Super eyeopening and informative.

I will be the first person to admit that I have SO, SO much to learn about this issue. I have so much to learn about all issues!!!!!! I feel like I really don’t even know anything!!!!! But I do know this- man, I was just seeing everything in the wrong way. Funny how growing up a little really changes the way you see things. I think on the exterior I’m still an optimistic and hopeful person, but man, I really think I was just straight-up naive before, and deep down, I think I liked living in my bubble. Which is very shameful to admit. It’s so easy to turn yourself off to issues that don’t affect you. I really don’t want to be that way anymore.

So please inform me about more issues, correct me when I’m wrong, and educate me when I’m ignorant. That is a real, genuine request. I think we would all benefit from it.

I’m almost choking up here guys!!!! This stuff is so important, especially in the world right now!!!! The world is currently a shitstorm, but it doesn’t have to be that way. More importantly, we as people don’t have be that way either.

this is very long i am sorry just a few more general updates LOL

1) i’m going on a spring break service trip and the guys in my group are very cute (definitely not the focus of the trip HAHA) and the only other first year (i’ve met him before) is this really nice, cute guy and i gave him a ride back to his dorm last night and we had a great conversation in the car and a seemingly good amount of things in common and i think we will be very good friends i am excited i think we’re going to hang out more before the trip starts. i have learned i’m good at making conversations with guys when i first meet them but bad at keeping up with it. more on that in another post that isn’t 10,000 pages long

2) I finished my first story for my creative writing class! I applaud you all for making it all the way through this post, so please move on with your lives, but if you would like to read my piece (and I actually would really like it if you did, I’m pretty proud of it!) let me know and I can email it to you.

ok this was really long but i really miss you guys and i hope you are having a great week with much less inner turmoil but i also hope college is expanding your horizons and challenging your viewpoints and yeah!

i miss you guys a lot!!!!





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