What am I to them?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my classmates from my K12 schooling. I don’t know why, but every now and then I remember someone and I always wonder what is going on in their lives. Like today, I was thinking about a girl who was in quite a few of my classes in high school, disappeared for most of senior year, but came back and happened to walk with me at graduation.

It makes me wonder if any of my acquaintances ever randomly think about me. Or any of the people who used to be my friends for that matter. Do they ever just wonder, “What has she been up to?”?

In the past year, I have extensively narrowed down my “friends” on social media, so if you are one of the 70 or so friends I have, you must mean quite a bit to me.  It means that I still wonder about your life and how things are going for you. It means every now and then I wish you would randomly send me a message to let me know you are thinking about me. I would send you a message, but my fear of being annoying or a burden often stops me from reaching out to you.

To my readers, I ask of you this:

Reach out to someone you have lost contact with. If possible, ask if they want to meet up one day and just see how it goes. Even if it ends up that you have grown apart, you can still have polite conversation.

That is all for now.

~Star Crossed Daydreamer


Back to School

It’s back to school for me. Yesterday was the first day of the eleven weeks that will become my Fall Quarter. Now that the back-to-school anxiety has decreased, it is time to get back to work. My professors all seem nice, but this will definitely be a reading heavy quarter. I hope to keep updating this blog, hopefully on a more regular basis, but we will see how it goes.

I am starting to get used to getting up earlier in the morning and know that if I keep at it waking up early should become a habit. I am also trying to get back into the habit of get home, chill for a bit and then get down to work.  I hate working on schoolwork when everybody is home if I can help it, so I try to get as much done before dinner as I can. I also hope to get back into working on CBT because I could not commit to it over the summer easily, because it wants me to fill out my daily schedule and rank importance and enjoyment of what I have done. This was hard to do over the summer because I had no set schedule.

One thing I am excited about this quarter is that I get to be a part of “The Happiness Project”, which is a group on my campus that promotes self-care, mindfulness, meditation, and other mental health promoting things. I was a part of this group when it was an unofficial club for two quarters and definitely missed it over the summer. The group was originally based upon the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and I am excited to see where this new school year takes us.

That’s it for now.

~Star Crossed Daydreamer

Learning From Books: Esperanza Rising

So, I am an intern in a 5th grade classroom. The class is currently reading Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. I am not with the kids everyday, so sometimes I miss parts of the story, but I was fortunate enough to be in the class when they were discussing a very important quote.

“The rich take care of the rich and the poor take care of those who have less than they have.”

This quote really means a lot to me because my family falls somewhere in between. We struggled when I was little, and then we were better off for a while. Then the market crash happened and my dad was unemployed for the first time in my life and reality set in. It hit us hard and while we manage to make ends meet, we still have to be careful. I remember worrying about money while I was still in middle school and I think it has helped me to be more careful about spending money since then.

Something me, my sister, and my mom try to do when we can is to give to those who are even less fortunate than we are. One of our kinda rules is to try not to give people money, because who knows what they would spend it on. We would rather give them a meal or some other basic necessities. Sometimes this comes as a bag with snacks, water, and socks. Other times its a Lunchables and a cold Gatorade or a meal from a fast food place. We try to help whenever we can.

One thing that has been bugging me lately is that people are always saying how teachers don’t make a living wage. I want to be a teacher in a few years and it astonishes me that people, even some teachers I know, talk about how it’s a lot of work for not that great pay. I have seen an estimated wages chart for teachers in a district near me and the starting pay is about the same as what my mom is getting now.

The thing is, if my mom is making her salary work to support a family of four, then how is a teacher’s salary not enough to live off of? Teacher salaries increase the more time they spend in one district and can be around $60,000 a year if the teacher has stayed long enough. It astonishes me how that is not enough. Yes, money will be tight at times, but teachers can work nine to ten months out of the year, five days a week, with constant hours and make the same, if not more money than my mom. My mom works five days a week, with varying hours, 51 weeks a year and is barely making ends meet.

Maybe its because I’m still “young”, but I know that if my mom can support my family with her job, than a teachers salary would be plenty for me. Even when I start a family, I should be able to make it work.

I know that teaching is hard work because I’ve seen teachers that had been teaching for at least 20 years teach Transitional Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and now 5th grade. It’s hard work to teach one child, but to teach 20-32 students simultaneously is even harder. And then some kids struggle because of problems at home or learning problems or they’re just having a bad day and the teacher has to figure out ways to connect with these kids and help them to succeed in the classroom.

I want to help and teach and foster curiosity in the generations that are going to come after me. I want them to ask questions and learn how to find answers. I want them to find something that they just want to know more and more about. After all, that’s how I came to love school and learning.

I find it ironic and funny when I tell myself that “I love school so much that I am never going to leave”. It’s true though, for if my plan works out like it has been thus far, I’m going to graduate, get into the teaching credential program at the college I am currently attending, and go straight to being a teacher in the classroom.

Of course, this wasn’t always the plan. If you asked me four years ago what the plan would be, I would tell you I was going to go to college and get a degree that would allow me to do medical research. While I still have a love of science and medicine, I find child development and education and the learning process to be something that I am more passionate about. After all, my first real response to the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question was “a teacher”. Everything seems to be working itself out.

Any Advice?

So when I get anxious, I quickly move from anxious to depressed to wanting to cry. Does anyone have any advice as to how you stop this type of downward cycle?

I went through this same cycle often when I was on medications, so I am familiar with it, but I don’t like having my anxiety control me in this way.

To My Newest Guardian Angel

I still expect to see you there,

sitting in your favorite chair.

With the TV on way too loud,

what I’d give to hear that sound.
I didn’t think that would be our last goodbye,

I thought I’d see you one more time.

Sometimes I miss you awfully bad,

but you always told me, “Don’t be sad”.
There are so many things I’ve yet to do,

things I wanted to share with you.

I just wanted to make you proud,

but now I’ll never hear it said aloud.
From up in heaven you will see,

all the things I’ll come to be.

I just hope you hear it too,

when I say that I love you.

Thanks Dad

So I am not as close with my dad as I am with my mom. He worked a lot when I was little and I didn’t really know him until he became unemployed almost 9 years ago. I am sad to say I have told him that he doesn’t contribute to the family before, often when I was worried about our family financially. Since then, he tries to help the best he can and even though he can’t contribute much, he is trying.

Me and my mom believe that I got a lot of my mental illness from my dad. We both have depression and anxiety, and we tend to have “off” days around the same time. This can be hard on my mom because she is trying to help both of us when we get randomly depressed. I am not sure if me or my dad has worse anxiety/depression, but I do know that we have some of the same ways of dealing with it.

Anyways, this isn’t about who has worse mental illness.

This post is a big thank you to my dad. My dad is an amazing guy even though he can drive me crazy, and he tries to help me deal with my mental illness the best he can, even while dealing with his own. He knows how to help calm me down during panic attacks and reminds me that everything is going to be okay when it feels like my world is falling apart. He tries to help whenever he can and understands that sometimes I need space, while others times I need comfort.

Considering he was working all the time when I was first diagnosed, he has been a big part of my support system and his involvement in my mental health has grown the longer he has worked from home.

He drives me to school when he can and gives me his spare change and even if all he can do to help me sometimes is listen, he does that. I am thankful for having him in my life.

Having Hope

With all the uncontrollable things going on in the world around us, it makes sense that a lot of people are afraid of what might happen. If you have anxiety, you likely know that one of the worst things you can do is give into whatever is making you anxious and letting it take control of your thoughts. While I mostly ignore things in the world around me that make no direct impact to me, I have found that there is one thing that works to help me conquer my anxiety. Hope.

I tend to get very anxious about things related to school. Papers, projects, midterms, and finals have gotten the best of me in the past. I have learned to have faith in my abilities and find ways of studying that work for me.

For papers and projects, I feel less anxious if I give myself enough time that I can read over it one more time before I have to submit it. While this means I have to get ahead sometimes, that also means I am not procrastinating.

For midterms and finals, I have to study the night before and do little to no studying before the exam. I found that I almost always forget what I tried to cram in in the 10 minutes before the exam.

The worst anxiety is always for the bigger tests. I was a complete wreck before my first SAT, ACT, and CSET (Multiple Subjects 1, 2, and 3). The days before were torture and I often panic so much that I just want to not go to the exam, even though I know how important it is for me to go and just do my best. My SAT and ACT scores were good enough to get into my first choice college, and good enough that I do not have to take the CBEST (a general education test for those who want to be teachers) to apply for the teaching credential program I want to go into. I haven’t gotten my CSET results yet, they should be reported this week, but I know that if I didn’t pass the first time, then I have time to take them again and focus more on studying.

Maybe I am more afraid of these bigger tests because it feels like they are more important for my future. Even when I was really young though, I would be nervous about things like STAR testing (it’s called something different now). I started STAR testing in second grade and had to complete it every year after that except my senior year of high school. In 4th, 7th, and 10th grade, these exams were even more important because those were the years they were measuring our school performance on. I always passed these exams with either advanced or excellent results, but knowing that, or knowing that they were just seeing what I know never helped, I was often a little bit anxious, from when I got to school to when I actually opened the testing booklet. That’s another thing, I usually panicked a lot less once I saw the actual questions.

Anyways, I have always had a bit of anxiety, whether it be academic, testing, social or even separation anxiety. It was harder for me to deal with when I was younger and couldn’t verbalize or understand my anxiety. I now know that there are some things that I can do to help control my anxiety. Taking two Tylenol before exams or presentations helps me to calm down, as does listening to music (listening to music can backfire because I often get parts of one song stuck in my head and they repeat over and over as I take the exam, even if I don’t particularly like the song, instrumental music or movies scores helps with this but I don’t find them as relaxing).

The biggest thing though, I having hope. I have to tell myself that no matter what happens, I will be okay. If I get a lower grade than I wanted, it will be okay, I just have to work a little harder next time. It I don’t pass the CSET, I have time to take it again. I have to have hope that things will be okay, as long as I do my best. And I have to have faith in myself. I know that I am smart, and that worrying does not help me remember anything. I just have to believe in myself and remember that there are so many people on my side who believe in me too.