Good Day

Today, I received the biggest news since finding out we were pregnant over two years ago. I know many of the LEO wives out there will understand this one.

My husband is moving to day shift.

Having a one-year-old and a husband on nights has been miserable for the last year and some change. For me, but mostly for our son. He has been to young to understand, and he spends most of his time alone with me frustrated, pointing at pictures of his Dad, and trying to run up and hug every police officer we pass. My husband and I saw each other an average of one hour a day, and for my son, sometimes less when he goes to bed early. While I have dealt with the night shift thing (sometimes not as well as I could have), I have been praying for the longest time for God–if it was in His will–to bring my husband to days, somehow. Night shift has grown on me in that I’ve learned to handle the chaos and have found some pros that day shift doesn’t have, but ultimately, our family was suffering.

I can’t imagine how hard of a decision it was for my husband to request days. Coming out of a deployment, he craves the action of nights. He has awesome stats–some of the best in the department, and he’s only been there 13 months. He’s also so close to most of the officers on his shift. I know that my husband will be a little less enthused with day shift calls versus the crazy night shift ones. Ultimately, though, we have to put family first, and I guess that finally clicked. I’m so very thankful that he made this sacrifice for our family. Though the action may be less, the love and joy of our family will be more, and I hope that makes this all worth it for him.

I’m sure I’ll post about the being a night shift wife versus day shift wife come switch time (which isn’t until January), so look out for that!

Two Week Whirlwind of…Happiness

I haven’t written in 2 weeks. So many times, I’ve told myself, “You haven’t blogged in too long” or “You need to blog today” or “You have time to blog today.” But do I ever end up having time? Nope. The last two weeks have been some of the craziest times, but in some weird way, I feel all too sane. Like, it’s kind of eerie how calm I am. In the last two weeks, I purchased a home with my husband. We took two days to paint, one day to move, and one day to unpack. We unpacked on Monday (Labor Day), and my first day back to school with kids was Tuesday. On my first day of school, I was pulling my work clothes out of plastic trash bags to put them on. I was digging through boxes to try to find my school ID badge. Pure mayhem. On top of that, I’m teaching collaborative this year, so I’m working with students whom I’ve never worked with before, and I also have another teacher in my room. A whole new environment. And any working mother (especially teachers) know that having a long vacation with your little one taken away and having to go back to real life is never enjoyable. I think there were tears on both ends.

But, almost at the end of the second week of school, it’s time to take a breather. Looking back, I handled it all too well. I may sound like I’m bragging…well, maybe I am. In the past year, my life has been mayhem, and while I survived it, I did it barely holding on. Barely above water. I always felt crazy, hectic, chaotic, about to lose it. I still carried the lingering effects of postpartum anxiety with me. I carried the weight of my husband’s PTSD, which flared in some horrible way last school year. At the end of last school year, and even early summer, I found myself unpleasant to be around. Negative. Maybe even a little depressed.

But I told myself: THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT. (And I’m a teacher, so anytime I refer to year, it means school year). I told myself I would be positive. I told myself that I would carry a smile on my face, with the intent of it being contagious. And I never looked back.

In the last two weeks, I have been happier with my career than I did at all last year. I can feel with friendly vibes with my co-workers, vibes I didn’t get last year. Students have been making a point to come visit my room or talk with me in the halls. I just feel really good about work. We are getting settled into our new home, minus area rugs and pictures on the walls. Our new home–even though it’s a tri-level–has this open and airy quality where I feel relaxed. My marriage has been making strides. My husband has learned to hold back explosive anger and replace it with calm conversation (most of the time), and that’s huge for him. I am starting to feel like I don’t have to walk on egg shells, and if I feel something is wrong or needs improvement, that I can actually bring it up.

It’s good to just stop and take a look at life and be proud of where you are. Even if it’s not exactly where you want to be, you’re on your way. All it took for me was an attitude change. A true change. Not one that I exhibit some days but not others. There is the quote,

“Happiness is a choice,”

and I have found it to be completely true.

Our Experience Buying Our First Home using VA

Below, you’ll find many “dairy entries” describing our process of buying our very first home and using the VA home loan. Hopefully this will help any service members, vets, or their spouses!

July 25: Yesterday, we officially got pre-approved for the VA VHDA home loan! VHDA means first-time buyer (because that’s what we are!). The minimum credit score for this loan (as well as the standard VA loan) is a 620. If you read my post about his credit score experience, you know we worked long and hard to get here! My score was far past that, but because it’s VA, only his mattered. My score will only be used as a small push. It will not be factored into any rates or payments. The interest rate our lender gave us was 3.8%, which is pretty good. Tomorrow, we are officially going house hunting with our awesome Realtor.

July 26: Well, that was quick. Around 7pm tonight, we officially signed an offer on a home. In our area, there isn’t much to choose from. In the city and neighborhood we wanted to be in, most homes are owned by 80-year-olds–and they have the decor, walls, and bathrooms of an 80-year-old. Today, we found the rare gem that was owned by an 80-year-old with great test and reno skills. We knew we had to jump on it! Did I mention it’s 100 yards from the doors of my work? The seller has until 8pm tomorrow to answer our offer. Praying like nobody’s business! Also, today, we started squaring away the financial side of things–the side I know nothing about. I’m going to do a separate post on this. I had no idea what money we’d have to have going into this, and I didn’t find much luck on-line, so hopefully that post will help. Our set closing date, if approved by the seller, is August 27th. In other words, we’ll be moving in the week before the school year starts. Ouch.

July 27: The seller responded with a (crazy) counter-offer today. We asked full listing-price, closing costs, home warranty, and the fridge, washer, and dryer. Considering the housing market sucks and no one asks full price anymore, I figured that would be an easy yes. They came back with full asking price, less than half the closing costs, warranty, fridge, washer, dryer, and the real kicker: they want to stay in the house a month after closing without paying any rent to us. I’m laughing. Not really. I’m irritated. We countered back with our original offer, but asked $1,500 less in closing costs than originally and said they could stay for 7-10 days after closing–which still pisses me off–but not enough to let a house go. Heard back from our realtor and she said they want overnight to think about it. Ugh. We decided that if they come back with anything crazy again, we’re out.

August 1: Yesterday, the sellers officially signed the contract, so we’re all locked in and official. We ended up with a better deal than where we I left off. We upped the asking price by $1,500 and asked for that $1,500 in closing costs, and we finally won with an accepted offer. They even said they wouldn’t need to stay there anymore. Thankfully $1,500 only will cost us one fast food meal a month. Doable! Also yesterday, we signed FIFTY SEVEN pieces of paper with our loan officer, Chris Norwood of TowneBank Mortgage. He is freakin’ fantastic! He has jumped through so many hoops for us, and I’ve felt he’s actually invested in us and our home. We cut his company a $430 check to cover the appraisal fee and the credit report fee. So now, it’s just a waiting game. Waiting on (1) the lender appraisal, (2) the VA appraisal, (3) the home inspection on August 5th, and (4) the final loan approval. I’m so nervous about all of this. If things go wrong, this is where it’s going to happen. So I’m just praying that this is the right time and God has great plans for us and this house! If the house doesn’t appraise, we’d either have to (a) bring the difference in cash–yeah, no, (b) drop the asking price and hope the seller agrees, or (c) walk away. So while B is ideal, it’s probably the least plausible. And of course it’s scary having someone look at all of your finances and deciding whether you’re worthy of their money. Knowing they could knit-pick at one little thing and that could decide our entire future–it’s nauseating, actually. As the old Army motto goes,lets Hurry Up and Wait!

August 6: We had our home inspection yesterday. I was so nervous leading up to the 1 P.M. appointment time that I was sure I was going to hurl. I didn’t hurl. The home inspection went about as well as home inspections can. Mostly small things like “That vent under the house needs to be open in the summer” or “Those shingles need to be nailed down more” or “This valve is missing the knob.”  The homeowner is a retired Army officer turned DOD Civilian, so you can imagine that he kept up the house. Now we’re in the position where we have to decide what to ask them to fix or what to take on ourselves. These homeowners (while probably loaded due to above careers) are nearing 80, the wife has dementia, and he’s taking her to Florida to be with their children. It’s so hard for me to ask them to fix this stuff because I know, for them, it requires calling people in and paying them. Clearly they aren’t getting on a roof anytime soon. Nothing is urgent, and we’re leaning towards not asking them to fix anything. We’re young and we have time and the little bit of money it will cost to fix the minor things. But I reckon we’ll talk to our realtor and see what she thinks before we make any decisions. We have until the 10th to decide. Now it’s waiting on appraisals and the loan. The scariest parts.

August 11: We decided not to take any action on home inspection items. We got an email from the selling agent saying it was such a blessing because the couple was under so much stress. It really confirmed our decision. I also found in that email that the owners are planning on being out by the end of this week. Seeing as our current closing day is slam in the middle of my first week back to school, I just emailed our lender to see if it was possible that we close even earlier. Probably not, but it’s worth a shot to avoid the stress of school starting and moving! Crossing my fingers we can get into the house early, even if by just a few days. UPDATE: The lender said it all comes down to the appraisal; after that, things move pretty quickly. The appraisal is being done tomorrow, so [prayer hands], we may be able to get in this house a little early!

August 20: There’s a dead period after the home inspection that’s enough to drive Hilary Clinton nuts. We close in a week, and we still haven’t heard a word on our appraisal or our loan. Our realtor emailed our loan officer, but he hadn’t received the appraisal info (the appraisal was done exactly a week ago). I’m literally going crazy. Here I am packing up our entire house, and the two biggest things that could totally ruin our home-buying haven’t been cleared yet. It’s super terrifying to think about. So I’m just trying to have faith that if this is our house, I have nothing to worry about.

September 4:
Well, we have been in our new house for one week. We closed on August 29th (a Friday). Closing took thirty minutes. We cleaned and painted Fri/Sat, and moved in Sat evening and Sunday. Unpacked on Monday. Pure chaos seeing as the school year started on Tuesday. I have so much painting to do still, but I did get painted the ugly bright red kitchen and dining room, as well as M’s room. Obviously can’t paint that one during baby naps!! Look out for lots of house project posts.

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My Top 10 Mistakes as a First-Year Teacher

You are told over and over in college that reflection is one of the greatest attributes of a good teacher. It’s true. As I begin my second year with a whole new outlook on my career, it has been easy to spot the things that made my Year One a tough year. If you’re a (future) teacher, hopefully you can find yourself inspired or share advice!

1. Letting the negativity suck you in.
This is the #1 thing that ruined my first year…and almost made me quit the career I had dreamed about for so long. Teaching can suck. The pay sucks. The unpaid overtime hours suck. The inability to get a raise, bonus, or promotion sucks. Kids’ attitudes can suck. Teachers’ attitudes can suck even more. My first year, I listened to so much complaining and so many teachers looking for new jobs that I was scared. I thought, if these people hate it that much, what will happen to me? Should I get out while I’m ahead? I almost did. I almost let the negative vibes of public education get me, but I stuck it out, and now I’m approaching Year Two with the mantra “Good Vibes Only.” It’s a common saying in Hawaii, but you can see the result in the Hawaiian culture. Some people see rose-colored glasses as a bad thing, but in education, they’re the only thing you can have to shield yourself against the negative vibes.

2. Bringing work home.
I was listening to someone today say that there’s no way you can not bring work home. However, I did it towards the end of last year. Of course, there are exceptions, like when 110 essays are turned in 4 days before the end of the semester. But I promised myself to get my grading, project crafting, or whatever else done at school. This helped me keep my sanity and balance. When I was bringing work home, I stayed up way too late and neglected my house and time with family and with myself. After finally feeling relaxed in the evening, it motivated me to work diligently during planning and those rare moments when you can grade during class. Just try it.

3. Being a loner.
Of course, it’s hard during the first year to jump into groups, clubs, or sports. People thought I was crazy for coaching my first year, but I made it work and knew it would only get easier next season. Coaching put me on a whole new level of respect with my students, which really changed the dynamic of my classroom. But don’t just get involved with students; get involved with teachers. I joined our marathon training group at school. A group of us ran every day after school on a training schedule, and then we ran the Monument 10K together. I also joined yoga classes my school held for teachers each Wednesday. After joining these groups, I could say “Hey” to teachers in the hall and have conversation to make. You don’t have to be BFF’s with every teacher in the school, but the more teachers you can comfortably talk to, the better.

4.Succumbing to testing culture.
I didn’t do it my first semester, but I did my second semester, and that’s what almost pushed me over the edge. After I had great state test results from my kids first semester, I felt a lot of pressure to have my second semester kids perform. The truth is, they just weren’t as bright as the bunch before them. But I beat myself up and let test-prep take over my curriculum. Not only did I lose my curriculum, but I lost my passion somewhere in there. It does help that I am not teaching a tested grade this year, but even before that, I had promised myself that I was not going to teach to the test again, regardless of the pressure.

5. Letting parents run the show.
Okay, not totally. The goal is to not let parents run the show, but to let them think they’re running the show. It’s hard to find a balance. I teach Nine Honors, so I have parents who are reluctant to let their babies fly the coop to high school. And parents who watch their kids’ grades like a hawk because they want them to get into Harvard. This means lots of snotty emails. At first, I was snappy. Then, I was soft. I finally learned that I had to put my foot down and be real and frank with parents–but in the most polite way possible. When you find that balance, you will be able to please parents (enough) without sacrificing the way you run the classroom.

6. Not letting your personality show.

Even though you technically have to be professional and mature in the classroom, it doesn’t mean you have to be a robot. I think that’s one of the things my students prize the most about our class. When something is funny–even if at the wrong time–I laugh. I joke with the kids and we take playful jabs at each other. We get way off topic about sports, entertainment, and who knows what else, and I willingly let it happen. Kids need that. Some may think that getting off topic can totally ruin a lesson and lose kids, but in my opinion, it does the opposite. When you seem human and you talk about human things, kids focus in on you. They want to hear just how normal you are. They want to talk sports with you. Then, when you switch back to English, they stay focused. They have this new desire to listen to what you have to say. They have respect for what you say. Maybe this won’t work in every classroom, but it works in mine! 

7. Putting too much effort into the wrong things.

My first year, I dedicated way too much time to wall posters and color coding and labeling. By the end of my first year, the labels had peeled off, no one had even looked at the posters, and all of my color coded binders were out of order. I always felt swamped with work last year, but it’s because I wasted a lot of time trying to be the organized, aesthetic, prim and proper teacher. This year, I put up half the posters, I threw away a lot of my organizing stuff, and I didn’t do anything fancy with my desks or room. Kids don’t care about how many posters you have on the wall, and me having 15 color-coded folders doesn’t help me…not one bit. Focus all of your energy on creating awesome lessons with awesome materials. That’s where the hard work should go.

8. Talking badly about your job, your admin, parents, or students.

It’s so easy to do, and it has so many consequences outside of just pissing someone off. Last year, in a staff meeting, a guest speaker talked to us about the disconnect (and dislike) that exists between parents and teachers, teachers and admin, and parents and admin. We are all one giant cycle of hating each other. That cycle of hate screams to the public, “Don’t support us. We’re a wreck!” So then, you lose your general support from the public–donations, taxes, attendance at events. And then, there’s just the pissing people off part. Parents, especially. In the small town where I work, it would take .002 seconds for a rude Facebook post to end up before the parent or other teacher’s eyes. Don’t say it or post it. Just let it go.

9. Being “okay” or “content” with your instruction.

I hardly changed a single thing between first and second semester last year. Then, this summer, I got inspired again and have so many new, cool ideas (or at least I think they’re cool). My second semester kids felt it. They knew I was dragging my feet in the mud. Although new content or new instructional delivery methods take work, they make you excited to try something new, and the kids see that excitement. When you get into a pattern of doing the same exact thing for semesters or years in a row, the kids here the monotony. My favorite place for new teaching ideas (and everything in life): Pinterest.

10. Not reflecting.

It doesn’t take a blog to reflect on your past year, and you shouldn’t just be reflecting after a year. Reflection, especially as a first year teacher, should be a constant thing. An every-hour thing, an every-period thing. Knowing something didn’t work and not attempting to reflect and fix it is an awful idea. More than it hurts you, it hurts your kids. Maybe even think about having one notebook just for reflecting. My reflection is usually in the form of Post-It notes stuck on my desk. I might write “The plot elements lesson was awful. Change it up to be more of a visual representation versus lecture.” If I have time, I might even try to change it before the next class roles in. Constant improvement. That should be one of your lifetime goals as a teacher.

 

Teaching, for me, was nothing like what I thought it would be. My heart was broken after my first year. I realized how much testing and administration takes over your classroom, and I wasn’t okay with it. I was watching this awesome video by Rita Pierson called “Every Kid Needs a Champion” during a faculty meeting, and she said something that totally stuck with me. She said, “We teach anyway.” She made note of all of the testing, the adverse conditions, the people breathing down our back, the terrifying students, and she simply said, “We teach anyway.” That really hit home for me. In that moment, I remembered why I signed up to do this. It wasn’t to please admin, and it wasn’t to get good test scores. It was to teach, and that’s what I’m going to do.

Lonely LEOW

Well, summer is officially over as I lay here in an empty bed before my first day back to work tomorrow. As sucky as it feels, I am so thankful to have been able to spend all summer with my baby boy. I think what I dread most about going back to work is the loneliness that comes with it. Where I just go through the endless motions–hardly seeing my child–and seeing even less of my husband. It crushes me, really. I just always wanted that life where husband and wife rise together, get through the work day together, spend family time together around the dinner table talking about their days, and then melt into bed together at the end of the day, knowing they can breathe a sigh of relief that the day is over and they’re still there together. Realizing I’ll never have that–ever–it’s really been breaking my heart lately. I just want to feel like I have a family, but instead I feel like I have a bunch of puzzle pieces I’m constantly trying to fit together, but that never quite fit. I know there’s nothing I can say or do except grin and bear it for the sake of trying to give my boy a normal life, but I just pray God has different plans in store for us. I don’t know how I can do this forever without eventually breaking down for good. Sorry to be leaving you with a bummer post, but my heart is just heavy tonight.

Dinner Planning 101

I have found that a sure-fire way to get fat and be broke is to not plan weekly dinners (and lunch if you work in an office or home setting). I’m a teacher, so I don’t have a choice but to pack breakfast and lunch (which is typically leftovers). However, on weeks when I don’t plan and shop for set dinner meals, we end up eating out like 3 of the 7 nights, and eating random junk another 3 of the 4 nights left. Ouch on the abs and the wallet. My pretty fail-proof method is:

1. Pin realistic dinners on Pinterest.
I have a whole board dedicated to dinners, and I have another board called “Meals that Worked.” When one of those Pinterest recipes turns out successful, I move it there. One easy mistake to make is to pin gourmet chef meals that require a lot of time and strange or uncommon ingredients. Chances are, you’ll never actually make it.

2. Each Saturday (or whatever day you pick), access your Pins or your brain for a week’s worth of recipes.
Pick 7 and simply write them down or keep mental note. If you know there’s going to be a few days where you have to eat on the go, then just pick 5 or 6. I always shoot to eat in at least 5 days a week. On the weekends, we treat ourselves.

3. From those meals, make a grocery list.
Check out the Pinterest recipes, or the ones you’ve memorized, and make a grocery list for the meals. I usually make my list on Saturday and shop on Sunday (a.k.a. Sunday paper coupon day). I prefer a paper list over an app.

4. Look at your weekly schedule and place meals on certain days.
Something else to consider is how ling each meal takes to prep and cook. I save quick meals for hectic nights or days I have faculty meetings. This is where crockpot meals come into play, too!

To do step #4, I use the app MealSchedule. I searched through a billion apps that wanted me to enter in full recipes before I could drag and drop them to the weekly menu. This 0.99¢ app lets me JUST plan meals, nothing more, and that’s all I needed. My favorite part is that you can move meals (or just parts of a meal) to other days in an instant. Plans never work 100% when you have a 1-year-old, a demanding job, and a night-shifter husband. This app isn’t a mega popular one, so it’s a little primitive looking, but it functions perfectly! See my screen shot of this week’s meals below. (We are moving Thu/Fri, hence the takeout meals).

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Teaching High School English: Year 2

In two more weeks, I’ll be preparing to get my second year of 9th grade English students. Last year, I had a mixture of 9 Honors and 11 Academic (a.k.a average/standard). This year, I have my 9H group, but they threw me for a loop by trading my 11 for 9 Collaborative. I’m looking forward to having a co-teacher, but did I mention I am terrified of working with students with special needs? If I’m being honest, I’m pretty clueless. I was identified gifted in 2nd grade, and I was essentially isolated with a group of about 10 kids in my city from 2nd through 8th grade. Then, in high school, I took Honors/AP everything. I’ve never even shared a class with a student with any issue aside from a behavioral disorder. I’m worried I won’t be able to communicate effectively or meet all of their various needs. I know my co-teacher for those classes (who I like, thank goodness) will be a huge help, but I’m still so nervous. Not to mention, over the summer, I feel like I forgot how to even get ready for work, much more TEACH teenagers stuff. I’m freaking out a little. I’m going to guess that once I get back in my room and get going, I’ll chill out, but right now, I’m way more terrified for Year 2 than I was Year 1. I also have to revamp my discipline system. I haven’t had to deal with many behavior issues aside from some cheating and an occasional cuss word. I’m very much against calling kids out or going in the hall during class. I like to keep teaching and keep them from being embarrassed. I need a red-yellow-green light type system, but in a way that it fits high school. It’s harder than it seems. Even the teacher community on Pinterest gave me nothing. The only other tough thing is going to be differentiation between my Honors and Collab. We’ll be doing most of the same material, but the instructional delivery, practice, and assessment will have to be totally different. I’m just going to keep breathing and telling myself it will all come together.

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I Suck at Eating Healthy

Once again, I have taken two steps backward. Lost 5 pounds in two weeks, gained 5 pounds in the next two. I can work out all I want, but my problem: FOOD.

I am a foodie, but in the gourmet comfort food way. I like family-owned donut shop donuts, and bacon, and sweet tea, and fried chicken, and…and…JUNK. Ugh, and don’t get me started on baked goods. Mug brownies are my current weakness. It is so stinking hard to eat healthy when I love food that much. And honestly, I love a six-pack and smaller jeans more. But my will power blows. Like when my husband bakes me a heart-shaped cake, I eat it. When my aunt mentions Bo Berry Biscuits from Bo Jangles this evening, I will crave them until I eat them tomorrow for breakfast. Whhyyy?!?IMG_2112-0.JPG

I just want to proclaim that my will power sucks when it comes to comfort food. And I know it is the one and only reason I don’t make progress.

Do they have AA for comfort food lovers? Please sign me up.

 

I Hate Night Shift

It’s not easy to pretend otherwise. This morning, I lashed out at my husband for not cutting the grass on his two days off. While that did irritate me, it wasn’t about the grass. It was about the fact that he is about to be gone for three days (three more days the grass won’t get cut because I can’t cut the grass with a one-year-old alone in the house or running around a yard five feet from the road). The only time we’ll see him is the two hours or so that our waking/sleeping hours overlap.

I try really hard to be supportive of my husband’s job as a cop, but that involves a lot of pretending, and it eventually bubbles over. It’s so hard to pretend that it’s all good when I have to drag a crying one-year-old away from the door when his dad leaves for work. I have to pretend that it’s okay that I literally have to lock my son outside of our bedroom because he knows his dad is in there and wants in. I have to pretend that I enjoy tip-toeing around…and trying to make my one-year-old tip-toe. Ha. I have to pretend that I just love all the extra bed space to stretch out when I sleep alone. Really I still sleep on my side of the bed and feel every chill on my side where he would be. I have to pretend that I like going to functions without you and hear people ask, “David has to work tonight again?” Thanks for the reminder that my husband has been at 1 of the last 5 family parties or get-togethers. I have to pretend that I don’t mind taking on the entire house, our child, and everything else all on my own. Or at least 90% of the time. I have to pretend that I’m okay with the fact that I’m about to have to pack our entire house and move us on my own. I have to pretend that it’s okay every time I have to throw his dinner in the trash because he can’t stop by home and get it, and instead blows money on fast food all night. I have to pretend that I’m okay not being able to go to the gym or for a run when I want to because there’s no one to be home with M.

All that pretending is dangerous in a person. Lashing out over the grass is probably the best case scenario. The truth is, I don’t think a man with a young child should be working night shift. I think he should be there with his young family as much as possible during those hectic years, years when his child can’t understand why he’s gone. When M is 9…10…11, he’ll understand, and he’ll also be able to take care of himself, and night shift would be much easier on us. But right now, it just sucks.

Maybe the worst part of it is that my husband wants to work nights and has turned down day-shift offers. I’ll just keep pretending. Sigh.

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Gurl Power…No, Really.

After my first year of high school, I was fulfilled and broken all at the same time. I was blown away at the issues faced by high school girls. There were jailed mothers, missing mothers, eating disorders, abusive relationships, drug abuse. And that’s just a handful of girls out of an entire high school student body of girls. A few days ago, it clicked. I should start a big sister, little sister type club at school. One that meets monthly to go over a girl-empowering topic, whether it be how to change a flat tire or domestic violence or eating disorders. I was curious if there was a national club that had chapters in high schools already, but I didn’t find much of anything. I found organizations that focus on low-income areas–mostly minority populations. However, my school is the exact opposite. An affluent, mostly white area. The pressure of such a society is particularly hard on young girls. They’re expected to look perfect, be the perfect debutante, and not speak a word. This club would obviously cover many touchy topics, so I’m pretty nervous to propose the idea. But it’s worth a shot. Now I just need to come up with a name…