How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

My therapist changed my life using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to retrain my thoughts in order to deal with my anxiety.

I saw my anxiety as unacceptable and belittled myself constantly.  My therapist taught me that listening to my inner dialogue was crucial, and explained how self-talk played an important part in enabling anxiety and panic.

What we tell ourselves affects our anxiety and panic severely.  Through cognitive therapy, I learned my horrible self-talk, is also known as A-talk.  It’s an abusive and dehumanizing way of managing life.

A-talk simply doesn’t accept imperfection, and a common feeling amongst those of us with anxiety disorder is that we must be perfect.

Learning to train my thoughts to focus on B-talk rather than A-talk was imperative for me to cope with my anxiety in a positive and constructive way.

B-talk doesn’t insist on perfectionism.  It’s a softening inner voice that accepts us as we are.  B-talk is a nurturing inner voice.

A-talk derives from the common fear-of-fear that those of us that suffer from anxiety can relate to intimately.

They are the “What if?” thoughts that are so common amongst anyone dealing with anxiety.

We say to ourselves, “What if I make a fool of myself at this party?” and “What if I can’t stop shaking?” These thoughts fuel our fear.

By incorporating positive B-talk, we deal with this thinking in a positive way.

We are hard on ourselves, and we feel a deep sense of urgency telling ourselves, “What is wrong with Me?”

Self-talk speaks a common theme for those of us that deal with anxiety.  Most of the time we feel an overwhelming amount of shame.

If we don’t manage our anxiety and thoughts properly, we continue this spiral of shame.

After experiencing my panic attack in the cafeteria, I avoided it like the plague. My shame paired with negative thinking taught me to avoid anything I was fearful of.

When we experience a panic attack we avoid similar situations.  I was afraid of driving, flying, and taking the bus.  Avoidance of these activities, made my world continue to grow smaller.

My mind was filled with “What ifs?” When I started to replace these thoughts with assuring B-talk, I slowly regained control of my life.

At one time, I was always afraid of having a severe panic attack on the bus.  I would constantly think to myself, “What if I lose control and make a fool of myself?”

An example of B-talk that has helped me to ride the bus is, “I’m only having a thought that I will lose control.  Chances are that it probably won’t happen.” I’ve had to learn countless types of replacement thoughts to ride the bus.

As you learn to feel good about yourself and allow your B-talk to gain in strength, your anxiety does become more manageable.  This has all been what I consider a slow process.  With anything, recovery takes time and patience.

Through cognitive coping skills, I’ve learned how to deal with my feelings of shame and overcome these my greatest fears.  I’ve conquered anxiety and panic attacks.

The greatest aspect of life that I had to learn was that I was not alone.  I attended workshops weekly with others that suffered from anxiety disorder as well at a local clinic.

Talking to a therapist, helping others with anxiety, and learning cognitive behavioral therapy tools, has made me see life as beautiful instead of fearful.

Inspirational Song About Anxiety

The Doez Way


If your body feels better so does your mind! Doez is active in both Krav Maga and boxing, great ways to protect against anxious thoughts and feelings. Exercise is vital for mental fitness.

It’s a natural way to produce endorphins and combat anxiety.

Five minutes of exercise each day is essential. Find something that you enjoy. If you make your regular exercise routine a grueling marathon, it won’t last.

If you enjoy boxing like Doez, then you are 100 percent apt to continue your “natural medication” every day-Exercise!

If you can, it’s far better to exercise than pop pills-if you don’t need meds.

Don’t depend on short-acting addictive meds like Xanax, versus short-acting exercise for five minutes to relieve anxiety.

Doez is a great example to fellow anxiety sufferers. The fact that he trains, shows consistency, and enjoys it, helps the continuation of his natural remedy.

Help People

Doez enjoys helping other people. As he says, “I love to help others.”

Helping others through anxiety is a great way to help yourself. Belong to a support group, or follow in the footsteps of this brave artist. Doez connects to those who suffer through music.

You can connect on a personal level through poetry, writing, or simply listening.

Download his inspirational song today!

Don’t Suffer in Silence

While attending Journalism school at UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I began dating my best friend my first semester of college.  I was happy and excited to be a part of a college.

Making friends was somewhat easy for me, but I was very hard on myself.

I was my own worst enemy, my self-talk was horrible.  Self-talk is what we tell ourselves.

Starting my second semester, my boyfriend and I went to the cafeteria for breakfast.  I began to have what I call the first panic attack of my adult life.

This panic attack changed the course of my entire second semester.  After feeling dizzy, shaky, and like I had “nowhere to run,” I never went to the cafeteria again.

This was the worst mistake I could have made, but at the time I was terrified to tell anyone.

You need to eat to live, and I knew this of course, but I figured that I would use the microwave and make myself macaroni and cheese-the disgusting microwavable mac and cheese that I ate every single night for over three months because of my unrealistic fear of the cafeteria.

At the time, I thought that I was running from my panic. If I could simply ignore the cafeteria, my anxiety would go away. This fear only made my world smaller.

I grew hungry and tired. My mind began to suffer, and so did my body.

Everything began to scare me; boarding the bus, going to the store, and even walking to classes.  My stomach would literally ache and churn each morning that I woke up to face yet another day of horror.

The reason that I told no one was simple, and the reason why most of us don’t tell people-We fear so intensely what others will think.

Anxiety should never be stigmatized, and those of us who suffer shouldn’t do so in silence.

Throughout the years, I have learned that my panic attacks are a false alarm to what is perceived in your body as real danger.

Doctors and therapists describe this feeling as fight or flight.

Medical problems like cancer or diabetes are not any different than mental disorders. Wouldn’t you tell your friend if you had a broken arm?

There is absolutely no reason to be afraid of something that you can’t control.

Hiding your anxiety is dangerous.  It can lead to extreme isolation as well as alcohol and drug abuse.

In fact, those that suffer from panic disorder have a four to fourteen times greater chance of substance abuse, and the suicide rate is much higher as well.

I hid my anxiety from my best friends, my boyfriend, and everyone that I was afraid of losing in my life.  Little did I know that had I told them I was suffering in fear alone, I wouldn’t have suffered so intensely.

I know first-hand how incredibly hard it is to tell anyone that you suffer from anxiety. These are easy tips to start the conversation:

  • Make a list of the friends that have supported you in the past.
  • Tell the people that you spend the most time with about your anxiety.
  • Share with a co-worker for support and understanding.
  • There are tremendous resources to share with your friends to help them understand anxiety.  It’s easy to send a link about panic to a best friend or spouse.

Your counselor should have some great resources to share with friends.

Once your loved ones understand what you’re going through, state the kind of help that you want from them.  Be specific with the type of understanding you need.

You may need your co-worker to understand that if you’re experiencing an anxiety attack at work it can affect your mood.

Isolation is another feeling that I experienced.  Let your good friends know to call you if they haven’t heard from you in a few days.

Friends are people that care about you! You’re not bothering them by sharing.  They come to you with their problems as well.

After having lived with anxiety for over seventeen years, the best source of support you can find to help you manage your disorder are truly the people that care about you.

Sharing with others will prevent you from isolation, substance abuse, and suffering in unnecessary silence.

Conquer Anticipatory Anxiety

Control is something that those with anxiety struggle to maintain to ease feelings of fear. If you’re like me, you want to know who is going to be at an event, how many people, and where the exit or in my case, the escape route is.

Dealing with social anxiety is very real and scary for those of us who have it. The fear of no control, forced interaction with others, and judgement from others is overwhelming.

For me any perceived loss of control can bring on extreme anxiety for me. I have missed countless weddings and family events due to my anxiety.
Common “self-talk” I would engage in:

• What if I say something stupid?
• What if they can see me shaking?
• What if I fall?
• What if people know I’m anxious?

These are all negative things that our anxiety tells us. It’s “self-talk” that will doom you to failure if you think about any of them constantly.
After many events passed, I began to tell my doctor it was impossible for me to make plans with anyone. He told me that I suffer from anticipatory anxiety.

He gave me an unconventional technique that I practice in my mind when a large event or family function is near.

This may sound counterproductive, but to begin attending events you must act or trick your mind into thinking you’re not going. It sounds strange, but it works! This simple “mind trick” will take all pressure and perceived anxiety off your shoulders.

When my doctor first gave me this advice I was as happy as a lark. I figured I didn’t have to attend any events anymore. But the opposite effect happened. I haven’t missed an event in over a year!

The largest events like Christmas or Thanksgiving I completely put out of my mind. In your mind, you have complete control if you want to go.
If you place a large amount of pressure on yourself you are bound to be worried. If you feel like a failure or a loser, as I always have when I couldn’t attend an event, negative “self-talk” began before the event was even posted on my calendar.

If you have an event coming up and you’re freaking out this unconventional way to tell yourself to calm down and get through this overwhelming fear truly works. It tricks you into staying calm for the time leading up to your event, thus eliminating anticipatory anxiety.

The old me would have just worried for days until the day of the event and then been paralyzed by fear from my anxiety. Now I don’t worry because I act as though I’m not going.

When the day of the wedding or baby shower arrives, I am completely relaxed and truly excited to go. I have found myself checking the time of the event now instead of the opposite old Kristine who knew exactly what time I was supposed to arrive.

 Go to the profile of Kristine Barney

You Are What You Eat


It’s important to know the reasons why controlling blood sugar levels is vital in promoting a healthy lifestyle.  High blood sugar levels are linked to heart disease, cancer, and obesity.  One of the most important ways to control your blood sugar level is through monitoring your diet.

Research studies have shown that diet is an easy and vital way to lower blood sugar levels.  The American Heart Association has specific guidelines to follow for men and women.

Studies have shown that diet is a key factor in controlling your blood sugar levels.  Increasing your awareness of the correct foods to eat and to avoid help blood sugar sensitivity. sugar .jpg


Insulin is a hormone that is created by your pancreas.  Insulin helps control blood sugar levels.  Insulin and glucagon are hormones which are secreted by cells called islets.  These islet cells are contained within your pancreas.

They simply allow your body’s cells to take in sugar from your blood for energy.  It’s extremely dangerous when you have high blood sugar, which can lead to serious health conditions.

Decreasing sugar intake may help you to lose weight, especially undesirable love handles and excess belly fat.  Controlling high blood sugar levels through diet decreases the risk of disease while improving the quality of your life.

Carbs Kill Blood Sugar

Carbohydrates raise your blood sugar level the most significantly.  The most effective and easy way to decrease the amount of blood sugar in your body is to avoid refined carbohydrates. pasta courtesy of kaboom

Anyone that suffers from metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) needs to restrict carbs from their diet.

If you suffer from diabetes, or obesity, it’s equally essential to stay on a low carbohydrate diet to reduce blood sugar levels in an easy, effective, and healthy manner.

Carbs are a large portion of the menu at the holidays.  Your family may be amongst the thousands of loved ones that load carbs on the Thanksgiving table.

The fact is carbs are unavoidable at family events.  Unfortunately temptation may be hard to resist during the holidays.  Use restraint and choose options that are higher in protein.  Every Thanksgiving boasts a turkey, and your diet is completely manageable with self-control.

There are natural blood sugar enhancements. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help prevent spikes in glucose levels.  If you choose to sample your mother’s famous sour cream mashed potatoes, immediately follow your meal with apple cider vinegar.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Incorporating apple cider vinegar after meals helps to prevent a sudden spike in blood sugar levels.  Partaking in a “carb fest” is negligent for anyone who suffers from high blood sugar.  Consuming apple cider vinegar on a regular basis lowers your blood sugar.

Apple cider vinegar helps to absorb food in a safe and healthy way.  Taking only one or two tablespoons of this vinegar following meals provides for a greater feeling of fullness.

vinegar.pngVinegar has properties within it that allow for a delay in the stomach emptying, leading to a slow absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.

Dietary Substitutes

Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, and salmon lower blood sugar and provide the highest quality of protein.  These quality protein foods reduce blood sugar levels in individuals who have gestational diabetes, PCOS, and obesity.

grilled salmon

Cinnamon is a natural spice and remedy that can easily be incorporated into your diet as well.  This spice contains antioxidants as well as a natural remedy for healthy blood sugar levels.

Studies suggest adding this miracle spice for anyone with blood sugar issues is extremely effective. In one study a healthy individual shown to eat only one teaspoon of cinnamon with rice pudding, significantly lowered their insulin response compared to plain rice pudding. Adding cinnamon to any food or beverage that you ingest in your diet lowers your blood sugar.

Avoid Sugar

Next to carbohydrates, sugar is the worst form of dietary food an individual can ingest when keeping their blood sugar levels as low as possible.

If you crave sugar opt for peanuts instead.  Peanuts are a much better substitution than sugar.  Studies have shown that candy increases blood sugar levels by thirty-one percent. Peanuts increase blood sugar levels by twelve percent.

Green Tea Reduces Belly Fat

In stark contrast to sugar and carbohydrates, green tea is incredibly healthy and promotes wellness for those affected by high blood sugar.  Containing the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG,) this miracle tea helps fight insulin or blood sugar resistance.teapot

Several studies have concluded throughout the years, that green tea reduces blood sugar levels for people fighting the battles of gestational diabetes, PCOS, and obesity.

Fighting stubborn belly fat is vital.  Belly fat is linked to several health problems. When dealing with blood sugar, fighting the battle-of-the-bulge is essential.  Green tea naturally fights unruly belly fat.


Making simple changes in your diet will help you to achieve lower blood sugar levels.  Self-control is important for any diet, but when you have high blood sugar it’s imperative that you make the right choices regarding food.

There are several reasons that individuals fight blood sugar issues.  Metabolic syndrome, PCOS, diabetes, and obesity are all reasons for one to change their diet.  With these diseases and syndromes, what you eat is vital in controlling blood sugar levels.





















Make Her Proud

I’m a woman and I’m a writer.  When I die there won’t be any monuments erected in my name nor will there be any National Parks named after me.  But I will die with the knowledge that I made someone proud, that is my grandmother Lillian Norton.

Lillian Norton was beautiful.  She had stunning beautiful blue eyes.  They were so beautiful that you had to say something when you saw her each and every time.  She had such a tiny physique.  She was smaller than anyone I have ever met.

Lillian Norton, my beloved grandmother, was beautiful.  Ivory skin, strawberry blonde hair, and beautiful hands.  Somehow what we remember about the people we love is strange, but I remember her hands.  She always had beautifully polished nails, and she didn’t go to a salon.  She had them perfectly manicured herself.  I never saw my grandma without polish on her hands.

Yes Lillian was beautiful, and I wish I looked like her but I don’t.  On the inside, where God lives and breathes light into our souls, I am like her in many ways.  She was a woman and a writer.  The importance of that fact is the reason that I am writing this post.

Inward beauty exudes from the inside out as a light beaming through the clouds.  Her beauty that lay within came through her smile. Lillian Norton was stunning in every way a woman can be.  My grandmother had a smile that could stop traffic.  It was a Julia Roberts “Pretty Women” type of smile.

Most importantly and predominately, is the overwhelming love and admiration that I had for this petite German woman.   I can say that my grandma and I share the same positive outlook on life.  We both smile whether days are dreary and drugging or they are gorgeous and delightful.

She had lovely handwriting, and a beautiful pink signature pen.  When she passed away several years back, I kept her pink pen for myself.  It carried the weight of a thousand karats of gold in my eyes.

Now divorced, and having left my home for a very different world, I lost the pen.  I can’t express how much it hurts.  I don’t need a pen, as this amazing writer lives in my heart.  As I write about my grandma I make her sound like a saint.  I’ve lived in this world for nearly thirty-seven years and she was a saint.

She never complained, and she never stopped my overwhelming grandfather from talking. Oh how I loved that man, but he could talk the hind legs off of a mule.  I remember thinking this man is so lucky to have a woman who will listen to him nearly six hours a day.  I’m not exaggerating in this case,  he was an expressive man.  I have no recollection of quiet being synonymous with my grandfather.  He was a talkative fellow, and he loved my grandmother more than I have ever seen a man love a woman.  He adored her, we all did.

As journalism became a profession, women were restricted by custom from access to journalism occupations.  The extreme discrimination that women faced is heartbreaking.  My grandma faced these challenges.  Before the 1890s women were not journalists at all, very few were but the amount is so insignificant that it’s sad.

Many of us women that graduated from Journalism school have no idea how lucky we are.  It truly is heartbreaking to think we are lucky, but we truly are.  You see this wonderful, beautiful, little bit of a woman had so much more than outward appearance.

She was as smart as a whip.  She could write the most beautiful poem that it would send your heart souring toward the heavens, and at times the ones that made you cry out loud. What a talented writer.  What a wonderful graduate of UW-Madison, Wisconsin.

Surprised?  Well, women went to college in that day but it was rare. Had she not gone, maybe she wouldn’t have experienced any heartbreak. Maybe she could have been the wonderful mother and wife that she turned out to be, but she was destined for so much more.

I believe that inside of us lives the greatest part of everyone we love. I know that I carry her smile.  I as she does, smile through all of it.  The harsh, the hurtful, the painful.  But isn’t that what we should do.  After all what type of legacy do I want to leave behind?

What type of person do I want to be?  I have this light within my soul that beams from her.  When she was only 20-years-old she graduated from UW-Madison, Wisconsin.  Not only was she a woman living in a man’s world, but she graduated from one of the top ten schools in the nation.

She as I did, graduated with her Journalism degree. She began to write for a local paper in Madison.  As no one understands anymore, at that time you actually had to buy a printed copy of what was going on in the news.

Ladies, when you finish a story for a publication isn’t it wonderful to slap your name on it and call it a day, knowing that maybe someone will see it, maybe.  Either way it was  your hard work and a no-brainer.

My grandma would finish her articles for the newspaper she worked at and write her bosses name on the top.  Was she embarrassed or shy?  Absolutely not, my grandmother was anything but embarrassed of her work, as a matter of fact she is one of the best writer’s I’ve ever known.

I may seem partial, but I’m stating the truth. My grandmother collected no recognition for her hard-earned article.  In those times women weren’t allowed to have their names in print.  She had to type a man’s name who took credit for her writing.

I can feel the anger coming from all of the wonderful women I know that are writers, and most likely beautiful friends of mine. We are so free-spirited.  We are free.

My grandma had to swallow her pride and let the newsroom lead take the credit for her research, her interviews, her art.

Thinking of it truly breaks my heart, I love my grandmother.  I love her immensely, and can’t imagine the torment that this must have been for her.

Little did she know that in 1980 a big-green-eyed little girl would be born to her daughter that would have the same passion for writing that she had.

My grandma never thought anyone in her family wanted to be a writer.  Although my uncle is a marvelous author, my uncle was too preoccupied with the family business to pursue the career he dreamed of.

I followed in her beautiful footsteps.  Her graceful footsteps are the ones that paved my way.  The first writing contest I won was when I was in 6th grade.  I won first place in a writing contest nationwide. I won first place and I was just a tiny girl myself.

But I had brains and a love for the art of language. How to piece words together and come out with material that could make other people emote, or bring them knowledge.

My grandma was so happy.  What no one noticed was that when she picked up my prize-winning paper, her finger was placed right by my name.  She had tears welling in her eyes.

In  true grandma fashion, she made me a special cake for this momentous occasion.  Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  Every time she made it she knew how excited I would become, and it made her so happy.

My grandma had swallowed all of the tears of anger and frustration for so many years of her life as a writer and a Journalist.  Now she had tears of joy, and I can’t ever imagine how wonderful it felt to make her this happy.

She deserved so much more, but she was satisfied. My grandmother loved her family more than anything in the entire world.

As a woman writer I realize how lucky I am to be able to print my name on anything  I write.  As a woman, it’s important to be true to yourself.

It’s hard to realize the measure of one’s life, and what makes it important. Is it money, your career, or your family?

As a woman who has recently been divorced I feel like family is more important than anything in this world.  I have a small family composed of a mother, father, and sister.  My grandparents are gone and the people that we love leave us.

We hold onto the memories that are good and lasting in this life.  You can’t be angry or bitter.  You hold onto jealousy or anger and it eats every ounce of flesh that you can muster.  I was hurt and betrayed, but I forgive.  I know that my life has so many doors yet to open.  I know that the most exciting times are still ahead of me.  I know that in my heart, my grandma is proud of me.

I believe in heaven and in angels.  This belief keeps us grounded.  I don’t know who I am without having these angels, that lived to allow us to live even fuller and richer lives.  The measure of your life doesn’t amount to how many friends you have on Facebook.

I believe in angels, in sacrifice, and in forgiveness. I believe that writing saved my life a long time ago, and it still does.  We write to make a living, and we write to inform the public of daily news and happenings.

More often than not I look back and realize that the women in the past have helped shape the future.  We are blessed as women and writers that my grandmother lived to fight for us.

Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today and it always will be.  If  you find yourself, then you have found peace.  Writing is a gift that God gives us to use. If you choose to use your gift and to be true to it then you please God. My grandmother did this with grace and dignity.

All Women Writer’s should be graced with the dignity and blessings that our former ancestors didn’t have.

By conducting myself with integrity, class, and love, her memory lives on.

I know I make her proud.














Write From the Heart

The best writers I’ve met have lived such exciting and interesting lives. They’ve been through pain, and at times wise beyond their years.

I remember the fear that I felt the first time that “Professor friendly” forced us to read our what he called “awful” research papers aloud.

I didn’t understand why he didn’t like anything I wrote. I spent days, weekends, and often weeks on these papers. Every time he came back with the same grade for three weeks of senior seminar. He would give me a paper that I worked hard on with a big, red, and horrific B.

I was in accelerated classes for gosh sakes, far more extensive than this one. He argued with me on everything that I wrote. I never put any of my personality into it, but that’s what I learned as a Journalist. We are not supposed to be biased.

This class was about finding your own voice. I realized that when the somewhat chubby painfully shy girl next to me would read her grade A papers, that she hadn’t taken any time to research at all.

They were all about her own experiences, how could that be fair? I took an entire weekend to research and she wrote what she knew.  I began to take my cue from her, “Maybe I should follow suit and embarrass myself,” I thought.

I decided that the Professor just wants me to write from the depths of my soul, share it, and humiliate myself in front of the entire class.

I began to write about what was truly in my heart. My family, things that had bothered me years ago that I only wrote down in journals, never for classmates. I realized that the topics I was given somehow were relatable to my life.

As long as I was willing to write about my life, my teacher was willing to give me a grade A. I had taken three hours to write this first A, and it was fairly easy, almost therapeutic.

I realized that what the Professor was trying to do was to make us find our own voices in our writing and in our life. The strongest writer is not afraid to be themselves.

Have you ever met anyone who was successful that was afraid of their own shadow? Every week that I discussed my personal tragedies, rarely triumphs with my classmates, feeling as though I was betraying my own self, I began to feel better somehow.

He took me aside. I was terrified. What could this man that I believed couldn’t stand me possibly have to say to me?

“Kristine, do you realize how much passion you release when you write from your heart?” he shared.

“You have learned all there is to learn about research, communication law, and to write like a Journalist,” he said. “But remember, you are also a human being. If you can relate to the people you interview, that makes you human.”

“When you write from the heart, you get inside of someone else’s story. You get outside of yourself,” he said. “Never forget, to be fearless Kristine. You are fearless, you just didn’t see it until the fear of failure forced you to.”

I walked home that afternoon with a feeling of triumph.  I think I had pleased the handsome, still disheveled, now wonderful Professor.

What I learned in that class and throughout life was a valuable lesson. As a writer, research, sound bites, quotes, whatever it is you do, they are all vital to your career.

When you bring your heart to the table, you are a relatable Journalist. When you write from your heart you take a story and insert the best of who you are into it.

-Kristine Barney

Write From The Heart

I have never met an excellent writer who was shy. Most writers are incredibly intelligent and articulate individuals.

My last year in college at UW-Milwaukee, I entered the world of senior seminar. Most of the poor children in my class had one goal-to make our outrageously angry and terrible professor happy.

Rounding out the final year of Journalism school was exciting for all of us senior children. We had seen one another though four years of Journalism school and we were all ready to be finished and enter the world of adulthood.

At the ripe old age of 21-years-old we were adults after all. We had laughed, cried, and partied together. We were all excited to have the title of “senior seminar” included on our final schedules.

As we entered the big beautiful room reserved for namely Graduate students, the Dean, and teacher’s conferences, we felt relieved.

I recall looking out the small window at a beautiful birch with a small bird’s nest atop, as the sun beamed in to a grand new beginning. The light that we saw as the end of our Undergraduate writing careers.

When our professor came in, we looked at one another with smiles upon our excited young faces. He had to know that at this point in our college careers we were professional writers. There wasn’t anything else to learn of course. We were only here to reiterate how intelligent we were, and how the past four years we had learned everything we needed to know to make it in the real world.

Then the professor spoke. “Most of you probably think this will be an easy slacker class,” he said. “You hope to show off all of the knowledge you’ve learned and easy, right?”

“Not so fast,” said the disheveled-looking man. “In my class you will learn that I have the power to pass you or not.”

We were speechless. All of these wide-eyed freshman faces that I had remembered in freshman seminar began to appear once again, after what seemed like an entire decade.

One of my fellow classmates grinned, he knew everything, and would pass with flying colors in his mind. One of the girls cried, and I well, I looked at the tree and it suddenly seemed like the birch would fall to the ground if the teacher saw it fit.

I was a nervous wreck. I left the lecture that was our first class seemingly happy listening to my fellow classmates talk through what had just happened with each other.

“C’mon it can’t be that bad, he’s just a jerk,” said my hippy friend with a frog in his throat. “I’m going to fail!,” said the one girl I somehow could not stand the entirety of my education. “Just chill,” said my rational friend. I heard all of these different, but equally somewhat loveable personalities as I just felt frozen in this red brick building for all of time.

How was I to please this professor? What did next week have to offer my schedule? I decided I would be his best student. I would raise my hand for every question he asked, and be silent when he spoke. I would be a superstar in this class no matter what it took.

The following Monday, as senior seminar suggests, we turned in our first research papers with great excitement. We were all trained and educated writers, at least in our minds.

I raised my hand and sat quietly when he spoke just as I told myself I would. It seemed as if I was annoying this handsomely devilish jerk. What is a girl to do to please him?

The following week I decided I would do whatever it took and maybe be a little less eager to raise my hand.

What I learned from this man has stayed with me for the entirety of my life as a writer…..ErnestHemingway