students

PSU: Mediocrity at it's Finest (Worst)

Hundreds of  students at Penn State took to the streets to protest the ousting of legendary football coach Joe Paterno. I've read numerous comments on Facebook and news articles where people are crying foul and saying he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat for the crimes of others.

Having been born in San Antonio, and having lived in a state where football is God, coaches are Jesus, and players & staff are a host of heavenly angels who are worshiped by a culture that fuels the adoration, I understand how something like this can be devastating to a college community like Penn State.

But what I don't understand and refuse to be okay with is the fact that students took to the streets to defend a man who felt his only obligation to 10 year old children was to report it to campus officials-those in his chain of command.  I don't understand the urge to tip over news vans and weep with sorrow for someone who thought that doing what was "legally right" according to the state of Pennsylvania, was enough. I don't understand the comments of "this is so unfair to his legacy" . What good is a legacy of wins, if you fail to stand up and fight for others who cannot? You can win all the football games you want, but if you lack the fortitude and values to do what is MORALLY right, then you are nothing but a loser in my eyes, legacy or no legacy.

This whole thing sickens me. The response to it sickens me. Frightens me. Triggers me almost. What kind of society have we become when we DEFEND those who choose to do what they feel is only "legally" right. Would he have done the same had it been his 10 year old grandchild? Would his morals be spurred into action then? If it were your sister, friend, relative, brother....would you still say that doing what's "legally" right is enough?

I've served in the USAF, so I know all about chain of command.  It was drilled into me. But what was also drilled into me was to notify the POLICE if I knew a crime had been committed. POLICE first-THEN notify my chain of command. "Integrity in all we do" didn't just mean I should stop at going to my chain of command.

Out of all the students protesting and boohooing, I can tell you who isn't out there up in arms over this: students who have experienced sexual abuse and molestation.  I can guarantee you they aren't out there tipping over news vans. I can give this guarantee because I am a victim of sexual abuse and molestation and there is NO WAY I would be standing behind this kind of neglect. I know what it's like for someone to not fully acknowledge what's being done to you and how you wish someone would have the courage to speak up and say what you can't. I know what it's like to want those who are supposed to protect you, fight the battle you can't and either refuse to, or only go but so far.

Everyone who failed to fully report what they knew should be held accountable for their actions, period. To support a man who failed his position as head coach, a leader in the  PSU community, and as a member of our society as a whole, I find completely reprehensible and disrespectful to the victims who suffered because of his gross neglect.

I hope all of you who are up in arms over his dismissal never witness or learn of a crime committed to me or anyone I know....because you've made it quite obvious that you wouldn't go all the way or do all that you could to protect me.....or anyone else for that matter.

Only doing what is "legally right" is mediocrity at it's finest.

How proud are you now?

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, abused, and or molested, please do what is morally right and call  the  National Sexual Assault Hotline @ 1-800-656-4673. Have the courage and decency to speak up. 

Jana from "Jana's Thinking Place" wrote an excellent piece about the PSU student riots. You can read it here: Open Letter To PSU Students - jana's thinking place | jana's thinking place.

The View from Up Here

I've been a quiet wreck the past 3-4 weeks. Quiet, meaning I haven't said much about it and have kept the emotions exploding within me to myself.

A wreck, meaning that at any given moment during the said time frame, I've had tears streaming down my face, physical evidence of the flood of emotions consuming my heart and mind....

Any given moment meaning while I'm driving my car....huffing, puffing, & heaving my 30lb overweight body through a 3 mile run...washing my hair in the shower....eating a peanut butter/banana/honey sandwich and wasting time on Twitter (@addyeB-follow me! I follow back-unless you're a spammer...or creepy)...changing my 13mo old's diaper, you get the picture-completely random and quite unexpectedly, I'd find myself crying and clenching my fists....

But not because of stress, although I've had PLENTY of it recently....or because of sweat-inducing anxiety (which is NOT fun and tends to happen way too often in my opinion)...or due to a complete, overwhelming lack of motivation or depressing thoughts (you know, the kind where just the THOUGHT of moving wears you out)...No I've been a wreck for a GOOD reason-let me explain:

It started at Camden County College's "Spring Fling" a few weeks ago. Well actually, it started that morning as I was in the shower feeling the excitement over picking up my cap & gown spreading like warm sunshine on my skin. The more I thought about it, the more I thought about the journey it took to reach that point-and that's when the levee broke, emotions charging through my mind like a rushing current...

4  1/2years ago, I was a single mother living off of a $506 bi-weekly unemployment stipend, and had been separated from the Air Force for about six months. I'd spent those six months fighting for said unemployment benefits, navigating the social services system for healthcare, living with friends, living with strangers, trying to recover from (another) failed relationship (my judgement really SUCKED back then), trying to get my son's father to indeed acknowledge that he WAS the father, searching for a job, and learning how to adjust to this new role I found myself in: MOTHER.

When I look back over the time since then I see snapshots of myself:  going hungry so I could spend the money I had on groceries/diapers/necessities for my son...being homeless and trying to find a shelter for us to live in....endless job searches....working the overnight shift at Target stocking shelves, wondering if I'd ever get back on my feet....having to move back in with my parents and share a room with my sister (I used to feel so guilty about that)....waiting for a year to FINALLY get disability compensation from the VA and another 6 months to FINALLY get into a VA education program so I could go back to school....The agonizing "should I go to school for what I really want, or should I just go for something guaranteed, like medical coding" decision process.(I chose the first option)...having another child and realizing I'd have to put school on hold for awhile....struggling with depression and anxiety the past two years....sitting out in my car in the college parking lot a mere 10 weeks ago, hopes crushed because of a small glitch in the computer system, wanting to give up because I thought graduating just wasn't in the cards for me-I wanted to give up-badly....

So many disappointments. Failures. Mistakes. Pain. Frustration. Anger....The rigors of discipline. Learning the nuances of time management. Stress. Not knowing how I was going to make it financially. Guilt. Shame....some of the valleys I've spent time in the past 4 years have been the darkest and driest ones I've found myself in yet....Some of which I never thought I'd make it out of...

BUT I've had triumphs and successes too. I've been stretched and have grown. Been broken and rebuilt. Refined and remade time and again throughout this journey....

And so when I walked up to the table where they were passing out caps and gowns to graduation candidates, I almost couldn't do it. There I was, standing in a crowd of people, afraid to step forward and claim the prize I've wanted most since I was in kindergarten.(Going to and graduating from college has been a dream/goal of mine since I started school. Yes, I love to learn-I'm a nerd) Afraid that when I gave the lady my name, she'd look over the list, look at me apologetically and say, "I'm sorry, but I don't see your name." When I finally got the nerve to approach the table, handed her my ID and received my cap & gown in my hands, I realized my hands were shaking and I had to blink back gallon sized tears....

The same tears that threatened to spill over as I sat in rehearsal yesterday, in awe that I was actually there. This was it...

All the worry about finals, all the pressure, all the fatigue, all the work it had taken to stand with the hundreds of others in the gym who had completed the same journey-It had paid off. I made it. Listening to the various details & instructions being given to us about where to sit, where to stand, who's hand to shake, feeling the buzz of eager anticipation and excitement made me realize that the journey had been worth it. Every. Single. Step.

And I was/am still in awe that I'm here. It feels surreal to be in the middle of a dream that's become a reality. I didn't think I'd make it. Some told me I'd make it, others....others said I wouldn't. My dad, growing up, he said I would never become anything, that even though I was smart I didn't have what it took to make something of myself, told me I didn't deserve to be where I am right now. But when I walk across the stage tomorrow to receive my degree, it will feel so good to know that he was wrong.

I think what has me the most overwhelmed and emotional is this feeling of humility that lays deep in my heart. When I think back and remember the past 4 years, I'm just humbled because I see that I haven't reached this point because I'm so great, or smart, or organized, or have it all together. When I look at the fact that I'm graduating tomorrow, and all that I went through, I just see God. I see His faithfulness. I see His love, His mercy, His compassion for me. I see Him holding me together when I was falling apart. In the midst of my mistakes, depression, struggles, anxiety, and pain, I see Him navigating me through it all. I see Him giving me favor with my teachers, working behind the scenes to help me get to this point...using people in my life to encourage me to keep going despite any mistakes I made or bad circumstances I found myself in. I just see God and His greatness, and I'm humbled by knowing that I'm here because He got me here, and that myself and my faith has grown leaps & bounds because of this experience.

I graduate tomorrow at 10am with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Communications. In the fall I'll start a new journey, pursuing my bachelor's & master'd degree in counseling. But before I start down that road, I'm just going to sit and soak in this moment, this victory at the top of the mountain and enjoy looking out at what's ahead of me.

It's a pretty awesome view.

Classroom Dialogue 101

A collection of random dialogues and happenings while attending college classes In Concepts of Math, my prof is introducing "sets": "Enumerate...now there's a word I love to say, it just has a nice way of roollling off the tongue, don't you think? Enumerate I could say it over and over again, it just does something for me!"

Come again? Yep, definitely a geek squared!

In my Psych 101 class last week, sitting in front of and overhearing a convo between two chicks who chain smoke and have pet snakes...

"OMG, so like when we got the snake we didn't know if it was like, you know, male or female...but my boyfriend was cleaning out the bedding one day and noticed all this stuff that looked like I dunno, shedding or something and he put it outside and we realized later on that the shedding stuff was actually EGGS and I was like 'OMG, you idiot, how could you freeze snake eggs?' "

*Note: I have a reptile phobia, especially when it comes to snakes* UMMMM 1) excuse me while I barf and 2) yea...I need to switch seats ASAP *scanning classroom for available seats-darn! The prof is starting to lecture, UGH, I'm officially grossed out and feel dirty all of a sudden-HELP!

Standing in the Madison Connector building, trying to warm up before moving to the next building where my class is, I notice two guys whistle at this girl who just entered the building. She stops immediately, whips her head around and says:

"Do I LOOK like a dog to you? Grow up!"

That's right, demand respect my fellow female! (Power fist in the air)

In my Psych 101 class today, 1) I'm sitting FAR away from smoking snake girls, but found myself next to two new guys who lean over and ask me:

"Hey, is that 'sexy chick' up there our teacher or what? Don't tell me that's her!" When I reply in the affirmative, they high-five each other and one goes: "Dude, its going to be a sexy semester-I bet she's single..." I stopped listening at that point, and

2)Meanwhile, 'sexy chick' prof is having technical issues with the projector. She leaves the room to call the tech dept...Immediately the black girl sitting to my left makes an announcement:

"Ok class, here you go (holding up a stack of typed up sheets) we've got all of chapter 1 notes WITH the chapter review and key terms all prepared and available for $5/ copy! Chapter 2 will be ready next class...I'm also available for tax preparation, and can hook up your cable through Comcast...what?! I got classes to pay for, so I gotta get in where I fit in!"

If you're wondering if she just gave knew meaning to the words "grindin" and "hustling" while reinforcing a few stereotypes, YES she just did.

I had to whip out my Crackberry and post that on Facebook-It was too good to resist :)