Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Tips for Your College Student to be Aware of Their Surroundings Parents, your college or high school student is probably looking down at her smartphone most of the time (if not all of the time). Which is fine, except she needs to look up, look around, and be aware of her surroundings - especially away at school. Before she goes away to school, whether it’s for the first time or returning, please share these tips with your student to keep her safe. Look behind you. Look to the side, both ways. Look in front of you. Are there people around you? Did it suddenly go quiet? And if so, why? If you get a funny feeling in your gut, get up and move away from where you are. Trust your gut. Trust your intuition. If you are walking, put your phone down and look where you are going. Nothing is that important. If a reply is something that must happen immediately, then stop walking and reply, or better yet, call the person old school, like we used to do. WALKING AROUND… 1. Get in the habit of noticing your surroundings. When you walk into a new environment, look around. Notice where the other exits are. Wake up. Look. Put your phone down, by your side and look around. 2. Walk with purpose. If you are lost, walk with purpose to find someone who can help you. Make it a habit to look up from your phone, tablet or computer often. This takes practice, but it’s important. Your safety is more important than any social media happening, text message, or...
Celebrate Being Single

Celebrate Being Single

This is for all the single people out there I must admit, I hate those kind of radio stations…the lovey smarmy ones. I really hope I don’t come across like one of those disc jockeys. It’s especially tough if you’re single. You may already know that I talk about the tough topics that no one wants to talk about: shame, addiction, eating disorders, sexual assault, drugs, alcohol. You know, the fun stuff. Plus, I bring humor into it because I have to. Comedy helped me heal. Musical comedy helped me stay alive growing up, seriously. When I fell into stand up comedy, it helped me tremendously with my recovery on many levels. Today, in the “love” month of February, I want to talk about how our culture shames single people. That’s why I believe we should use Valentine’s Day to celebrate any kind of love: friendships, health, teachers, pets, causes, charities, communities. Valentine’s Day can be about more than just romantic love and so often the “love” that is portrayed in the media is not real. It’s made up, and pretty dysfunctional. Have you listened to love songs…to the actual words? It’s kind of funny and also frightening that as a girl growing up and singing the lyrics, I was setting myself up for a lot of therapy about my relationships with men. Celebrate Being Single So I’ve never been married and I am a straight woman. I’ve been engaged twice and I’ve been asked a few times, but, for many reasons, I’ve never actually gone down the aisle. And I cannot tell you how many people have freaked...
My View on ‘The Hunting Ground’

My View on ‘The Hunting Ground’

I recently watched the CNN documentary, The Hunting Ground, which is about sexual assault on college campuses. I have mixed emotions about the film. I am committed to raising awareness about this issue, which is the main topic that I speak about on campuses all over North America. So I was relieved that sexual assault on campuses is in the spotlight and continues to get press coverage. I was moved by the courage of the victims and the former deans, staff, and faculty who risked their jobs and their reputations in order to stand up for the assault survivors. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to an institution and it takes guts to put yourself on film. I lost my innocence when I was 12, so I can’t relate to being a virgin in college. But I respect that some men and women are, and that many come to college with very innocent and naive views of the world. To hear one young woman’s story of how she was tricked by a male friend into coming over to a “party” that turned out to just be a set up, was devastating. As she told her story, I kept thinking: how can we set these young women up better? And men, because it happens to men too, they just report it even less. Why isn’t personal safety a required course in high school? Why aren’t we hosting numerous trainings and self-defense sessions throughout orientations and the first semester or year? Sexual assault is like addiction. No one wants to talk about it, but it affects most of...
The Path to Sobriety in College

The Path to Sobriety in College

The Importance of Early Awareness, Support and Education One of my best friends, “Mike”, has a son who is in college. I’ve changed their names in order to protect their privacy, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll call his son, “James”. Actually, James used to be in college, but is not currently enrolled anywhere. James was a good student in a rural high school. He’d been psyched to have the “college experience” in the big city of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU is considered one of the top party schools in Virginia, and it has plenty of press to prove those bragging rights. James started out strong with 5 As and 1 B during his first semester. Then he wanted more social opportunities, so he pledged and got involved with a fraternity. He spearheaded their big charity event and eventually became President of his fraternity. They even won National Chapter of the Year. James was taking on a full load doing extra service projects, leadership seminars, volunteering, and leading his fraternity. He felt the pressure to do it all. He started mis-using Adderall, which took over his life. This led to him taking more and sleeping less and less. He was drinking on top of using the Adderall, and had two alcohol related offenses. James had fallen in with the party crowd. He drove while intoxicated and got busted. Luckily he did not hurt anyone else or himself. James’ dad was supportive through it all. They had many conversations about judgment, choices and risky behavior versus his future. After the second offense, James had to choose...
Joe Biden Stands Up and Speaks Out About Assault

Joe Biden Stands Up and Speaks Out About Assault

I love Joe Biden. And I am not really political. He has been a huge part of the “End Sexual Assaults on Campuses” revolution. I admire him for his stand and for what he’s been through personally while serving his country for most of his life. He lost his wife and nearly his children from a car accident before he was sworn into office years ago. And he recently lost one of his sons to brain cancer. And still he trudges on, speaking passionately about making college campuses safer and transforming the rape culture that influences our society. And I applaud the investigation teams for releasing the colleges who are on the list for violating Title 9 issues and for not handling sexual assault cases correctly.   These are all huge steps forward for sexual assault awareness I hope and pray that these steps are making a difference. The average assault victim is severely affected for at least a few years and usually for the rest of their lives in some capacity. Not to mention the family and friends who are also affected. It is painful to watch someone you love go through being violated, feeling the shame, depression, anxiety, lack of confidence and the post traumatic stress syndrome. I read an article discussing how one school was very slow to move, for fear that their reputation would be damaged. That is a huge disconnect. The point of higher education is to help students reach their highest potential and go out and help change the world. Ok, and for many students, they just want to graduate and be able...

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