Tag Archives: relief

Addiction: Tattoo addition

Are tattoos an addiction? Well my friends, in my opinion, yes they are. The second I received my first tattoo, I knew it was downhill from there. I don’t know if it’s something about biology, or mentality, that the pain of getting tattoos is addicting or if it’s the process of getting new things, but, for me, getting a new tattoo is something that I always want, no matter how recent my last tattoo was.

I got my first tattoo when I was 16. My mom signed for it and ended up getting a matching one. It’s on my ribs and says “let it be” with birds flying up my ribcage. I still remember the feeling I had before I got it, while I was being tattooed, and after I was done. It’s truly nothing like I’ve ever experienced. It hurts, of course, but it’s almost like a good hurt, like a feeling that it’s kind of uncomfortable but also enjoyable. It only took about 30 minutes but I remember looking at it, after it was finished, and feeling so happy. My body felt somewhat relieved, while also in a state of shock I think, but I immediately wanted another one.

About three months later, I got my next tattoo. It’s script on my right bicep that says “the mirror often lies.” That one hurt a bit more than the first one, but I loved it so much and I felt a rush of adrenaline afterwards, like I could do anything I wanted to and I would never get hurt. I felt invincible.

getting a tattoo
“Are tattoos an addiction? Well my friends, in my opinion, yes they are.”

My next tattoo was three months after that and it was much bigger than the first two. I remember thinking that this tattoo had to be epic, it had to be large and beautiful enough to last me for a longer period of time without dying to get another tattoo. I got a colored rose on my left shoulder. It took about three hours to do, and I almost passed out from the pain. It was pretty horrendous. Even still, I remember, when it was all said and done, that I was immediately thinking about my next tattoo, what it would be and where I would get it. After every tattoo, my mom would say “no more okay? At least not for a while,” and every time I would say “yeah mom, I agree. I should probably wait.” I genuinely meant it at the time, but the tattoo hook is so far in me that I can’t stop wanting more.

My next tattoo was even bigger than the rest. It’s on my left arm and it’s a sugar skull girl. She’s almost the length of my upper arm and covers the entire front of my arm. That tattoo took about nine hours, including the prep time. The weird thing is, this tattoo didn’t hurt as badly as I thought it would and think it was because I had waiting so long between tattoos, that my body was craving the feeling.

My most recent tattoo is on my left bicep and wraps all the way around. It completed my half sleeve and I feel very badass. At the moment, however, I’m dying to get another one. It’s been about two months since my last one and I can’t wait any longer. I need it and I will make it happen, for my body’s sake and for the mental health of everyone around me.

Just breathe

The middle of the semester is in full swing. The stress of exams and grades is rolling in. We all need to take a step back and just breathe. We tend to get caught up in the stress during this time. It may fall on us like an avalanche, or trickle in like drops. Regardless, stress affects everyone in one way or another, and that is okay. Here are some reasons not to stress as we get over the hump of the semester.

stress ball
“Is your lack of sleep catching up to you and stressing you out? Taking care of your body is more important than any amount of work will be.”

You are here for a reason, and you have earned your place! Don’t forget that, because you DO belong without a doubt. You may feel out of place, and that may stress you out, but finding friends and groups that you connect with is easier than it may seem. We have so many clubs, organizations, and students, and finding your niche may take a few tries, but you will find your campus family with a little searching. So don’t stress, because it will come! And if it’s missing your family and home that’s stressing you out, maybe you will head home during an upcoming weekend. Remember that Thanksgiving break is just around the corner! You can keep a countdown to build the excitement, call or text to stay caught up, and don’t worry!

Is your lack of sleep catching up to you and stressing you out? Taking care of your body is more important than any amount of work will be. Sleep is essential to guarantee the well-being of your mental and physical health. Staying up late, consuming large amounts of caffeine, and trying to study or work are bad combinations and will actually raise the chance of performing poorly on tasks. According to Harvard studies, sleep deprivation can lead to many health problems, and can actually cause you to have a feeling of stress. A well-rested mind works more efficiently, and will actually help you manage and deal with stress. So for tonight, set aside your books, and get a good night’s sleep (6-8 hours preferably). Your mind and body will thank you for it in the morning, and it may alleviate some of your stress.

Did you get your midterm back, and not receive the stellar grade you were hoping for? Or did you walk out of an exam full of dread that you bombed it? This may be the most important time to step back and breathe.  You may feel like the world is crashing down and that this is going to affect you terribly, but please trust that it is okay. If it does turn out poorly, it isn’t the end of the world, and if it truly is going to negatively affect you, you could look into using one of your withdrawals if needed. Grades aren’t everything, they don’t define you. They don’t make or break you.

So breathe. Don’t stress. You’ve got this.


Obama’s plan to relieve student debt

Student debt reached an-all time high this past year, with the average college student attending a four year university owing an average of $25,000 after graduation day.

Virginia falls just below the average national student debt. Graphic by Anna Sacks.

According to a report by The Institute for College Access & Success, the average debt at graduation from four year colleges ranged from $15,500 to over $31,000 in 2010, and the average was $25,000. The unemployment rate for new graduates rose from 8.7% in 2009 to 9.1% in 2010. This is the highest annual rate on record.

“College graduates are entering one of the toughest job markets in recent memory,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press release about Obama’s plan to relieve student debt published in October.

President Barack Obama is working to relieve student debt and make college more affordable in his new legislation. He is working to create more Pell Grants and tax relief programs like the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The Obama administration has also proposed a “Pay As You Earn” program. This program will reduce monthly loan payments for more than 1.5 million college students and borrowers.

Then, beginning in 2014, students with loans will have the ability to abate their loan payments to 10% of their taxable income every month.

But what about the students in school now? The proposed “Pay As You Earn” program will allow about 1.6 million students to “cap” their payments at 10% starting in 2012. The plan allows for the forgiveness of any debt balance a student has after making payments on that debt for 20 years. The Obama administration will give about 6 million students the ability to consolidate their loans and reduce loan interest beginning in January 2012. This will reduce the monthly payments of each individual by hundreds of dollars every month.

“We have a way to help them [college graduates] save money by consolidating their debt and capping their loan payments. And we can do it at no cost to the taxpayer,” Duncan said.

There are debt relief laws in place, but many students are unaware of them. These laws say borrowers can cap their payments at 15% of their taxable income and all remaining debt will be forgiven after payments are made for 25 years. The IBR website has information about eligibility.

The Obama administration will also offer students the opportunity to better manage their debt by consolidating their federal student loans. There are currently 5.8 million students and graduates with both a Direct Loan and a Federal Family Education Loan. These separate loans require separate payments, and because borrowers have to make separate payments they are more likely to default on their loans. Beginning in January, the administration will give borrowers the option to make one payment to a one lender for both loans monthly. They will also receive as much as 0.5% taken off of the interest rates on some of their loans, lowering monthly payments marginally.

Students can further research and give feedback on this program to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by visiting the CFPB website. Also, the US Small Business Administration has launched a website to help new entrepreneurs begin the course of reducing their monthly student loan payments as a part of the Startup America Initiative.