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This Holiday Season

In just two weeks time, I will celebrate Christmas along with the one year anniversary of my first ‘career’ job. Rushing from the marbled pillars of higher education, I jumped into the workforce anxious to make a difference and be paid for it. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I had spent too many hours daydreaming in lecture halls and contemplating the ‘what ifs’ of social progress. But this first year of work was nothing like I had imagined. It was terrifying.

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 (image via drafthouse.com)

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A sad day for America

Last night Congress failed to agree on a spending plan, resulting in a nationwide government shutdown. Early this morning, federal employees around the country deemed “nonessential” were forced to take an indefinite holiday. For those unfamiliar with the situation, it goes something like this: the Republican-dominated House wants to repeal paralyze the Affordable Care Act while the Democrat-dominated Senate wants to implement it. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is popularly known, was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Despite severe resistance, the law was deemed constitutional at the federal level by the US Supreme Court in 2012. Since then, the Obama administration has faced an uphill battle to implement the law and last night proved to be the culmination of this bitter battle between Congressional leaders. Having declared Obamacare as a hard line in the sand, both sides were unable to reach an agreement on federal spending. And so, this morning the nation awoke to a brave new world.

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(image via angrycritter.com)

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It is back to school season and many students will be heading to college for the first time. As a recent college grad, I feel compelled to impart a very important piece of advice that will guide you through college and well into your adult life: Know that you are brilliant and that you deserve to be here.

For much of college, I secretly felt like an impostor. Everyone seemed smarter than me, more involved than me, more social than me. I felt so unprepared  that I literally thought my IQ was too low to learn the material. But the truth of the matter is that everyone feels this way when they enter college. As a student of science, I have always believed that we all have same hardware, the same amount of RAM. It is just that some people partition a larger portion to academic smarts while others dedicate more to social, relationship, or practical smarts. In the end we are all smart. It is just that some smarts can be quantified while others cannot. So don’t worry about how you rank compared to the student sitting next to you. Trust your RAM and remember that you would not have been accepted if you didn’t have the ability to be successful. You just need to find your niche. Explore your academic interests and mingle with your peers. There is no other place in life with as much intellectual and social freedom as the college environment. So jump in and have fun! But don’t forget to go to class. Know that there are bleachers of people rooting for you to succeed: your family, your friends, your professors, and even this lowly blogger.

And in case you are like me and suffer from impostor syndrome, chin up and sit straight! You have the proper hardware to be successful. You just need the right software to make it happen.

It is a hot afternoon in July, and I’ve just come back from a run—in the humid and stagnant heat of summer. It was physically exhausting to be outside, but something was eating away at my heart, and I needed to get the frustration out of my system.

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(Image via tumbler)

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Embracing Diversity

This morning was a rough morning. I am generally not a morning person, but today was particularly troubling. On my drive into work, it seemed like every radio station had decided to run ads instead of playing music. Pulling into the office, I finally found a music station. As the bass hit the final eight counts, the DJs started their morning jabber.

“We’re here with the newest member of our morning show. Why don’t you introduce yourself?”

“Hi. I’m Tim.”

“Tim?” asked the second DJ.

“Yeah, Tim.”

“What’s wrong with the name Tim?” asked the primary DJ.

“It’s just weird. I would have expected his name to be something else.”

“Like what? George?”

“Yeah, George or Jorge. Aren’t you guys usually named something like that?”

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Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved before?

My mother has been visiting me for the past two weeks. Out of the sweetness of her heart she offered to cook for me, clean for me, and even do my laundry so that I could focus on passing my professional certification exam. At first I was hesitant. I had become accustomed to a certain solitary rhythm that would be disturbed by her presence. And yet, I felt guilty for being so selfish. It had been far too long since I last saw my mother, and what right did I have to prevent her from visiting her own daughter?

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Have a little faith

ImageThis week, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world when he announced his retirement from papal service. Although I am a Catholic born and raised, I could not help feeling smug when I heard the news. The only Pope I ever really knew was Pope John Paul II. And while I may not have agreed with all of his political views, he definitely was a spiritual leader. As the global leader for the Catholic Church, he checked all of the boxes. He worked for peace in the Middle East. He emphasized the Universal Call to Holiness. He travelled to countries that heretofore had never been visited by a Pope. He apologized on behalf of the Church to those it had hurt. He survived two assassination attempts. And to top it all off, he served to his death despite his battle with Parkinson’s.  To me, Pope John Paul II was a leader by example. He showed us that when you take pride out of the picture, we can live together in harmony despite our faith, gender, age, or political views. So when Pope Benedict XVI was announced as Pope John Paul II’s successor, I was skeptical.

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