Native Americans Explain What It’s Really Like Living On A Reservation
American Indians, Native Americans, Indigenous Americans, Aboriginal Americans, or First Nations are some of the evolving terms used to describe the people who made their home in the United States for tens of thousands of years before contact with European explorers like the Vikings.
To say life changed after the second wave of contact in the late 15th century is an understatement. Resettlement and forced removal reshaped Native cultures. They were altered again by the federal Assimilation Acts of the 19th century, including the establishment of Native American reservations.
Not all Natives live on reservations and life on a reservation for a Native is very different than off. There are both advantages, like community and cultural knowledge, and disadvantages, like geographic isolation and lack of jobs, to reservation life.
A Reddit user asked: "Native Americans/Indigenous Peoples of Reddit, what's it like to grow up on a Reservation in the USA?"
Here is some insight into Native American reservation life.
I'm Navajo, and from the Navajo Nation. The people were wonderful, for the most part. Being part of two of the tightest clans on the rez was pretty awesome. A lot of Navajo culture is basically just about enjoying life, and helping others do the same. That being said, the best part about being off the rez is having all the clean water I can drink. Seriously. Sometimes I just stand at the sink and run the tap to marvel at the clean water coming out of it. In large parts of the Navajo Nation, you can't dig wells because of the uranium in the top layer of the water table. So some people just have to drive out really far to deliver or pickup water in big barrels from areas that aren't contaminated. It took 40+ years for the US government to do anything about it. And just recently, the EPA agreed to cover half the cost of cleaning 94 (about 20% of the total) abandoned uranium mines on the reservation. The water table is still f'd, but it's a start, if nothing else. And people wonder why we don't trust the government.
When I was a kid I often visited my grandparents on the res in Montana. I was too young at the time to realize the crushing poverty and hopelessness. My grandpa was one of those self-sufficient mountain men who didn't ever complain so I didn't "know" they were super poor. He taught me survival skills and outback engineering. We ate venison and rabbit all the time which was a treat to me but a staple to them. Poverty and alcoholism/drug abuse was rampant but I was sort of blind to that (Uncle Bert is sort of crazy I guess).
They eventually moved to a small town and ended up dying in poverty. My dad joined the Army and that was his ticket out of there and into the lower middle class.
I loved it. My family was all within a 15-29 minute drive. I could run around in the woods and never felt like I was in danger. I could ride on the roads with my bike and felt safe. If I went to the store I was sure to see someone I knew. I was able to go to courts with my mother and watch our little courts do their stuff. I was able to call into out radio station and request a song and sometimes hear my voice on the radio. I was able to volunteer as a DJ and call out bingo numbers in my native language. I was able to become fluent in my native language. And that's something I could never do anywhere else. Growing up if I had a car issue someone I knew would stop and help me out. My grandfather was able to make a living off of the land. In the end we couldnt eat the food because of pollution from the manufacturing plants up river.
My family is here and that is the reason I love my reservation.
Growing up, my grandmother and her side of the family all lived in Cherokee, NC. My dad ended up down there too after my parents divorced. As a kiddo, I thought it was amazing, but as I got older, I realized most of what I saw was a tourist trap to try to bring in desperately needed income. Once Harrah's went in and the residents got stipends, I think some things improved but others got worse. Sudden cash doesn't look good on most people, on or off the res.
The best part of every visit was going to see the dramatization about the trail of tears...I haven't been to Cherokee in years, so I hope it's still going!! My grandmother always spoke of it with such reverence, and how lucky they were to still remain in NC. The loss of culture is the worst part of all of our native tribes. The language and traditions are slipping away.
I'm Cree First Nations. I never lived in the rez because my mom wanted my sister and I to get an education and you can't really get that in our rez. Actually, most of my family doesn't live on the rez just because living conditions used to be really bad. Luckily I am so thankful we elected a new chief! He's building better schools, distributing scholarship and college funds to the youth... I met him and was able to talk to him and I'm glad he's committed to make our rez a better place!
Native American here from Wolf Point, Montana. The unemployment, drug use, and sexually transmitted diseases percentage are above 80 percent on the Fort Peck Reservation. Wolf Point itself has a very bad meth problem, and currently the school system is being sued for racism.
The town is rampant with racism but there's a few good eggs here and there.
I was called an apple in high school (red on the outside, white on the inside) by all of the really cool guy gang members. Most of my graduating class still live in Wolf Point and are unemployed. Our high school had about 250 students total.
Currently typing this at my parents house on the Carson Colony in NV. It's pretty rough here. It used to be worse. Lots of drugs and lots of booze. There's lots of illiteracy and just poor quality of life.
We don't even have electricity. Running water or proper housing. We heat our homes with a wood stove.
Lots of youth from here don't graduate. Have kids at 14-18 years old.
It's a hard place to grow up. I left 3 years ago. Living in the city now going to college.
Life is better, don't really plan on going back. Only for special occasions or family gatherings.
I would spend entire summers at my paternal grandparents place (Navajo/Diné Reservation) during school break.
My grandparents place is very secluded and the nearest neighbor was 10 to 15 miles away. Nestled in a small valley of Juniper and Cedar trees; there was a simple creek about a quarter mile away. When I was younger they didn't have electricity hooked up (power lines); we used oil lamps for light. But they had a double wide trailer with lights, a TV, and faucets built in. To power lights and the TV (to watch movies on a VCR) we would run a gas powered generator (sometimes the electricity would cut out mid way through a movie when the generator ran out of gas).
Then my grandfather got a hold of two large tanks. One buried in the ground to hold and pump water into the house. Then the water heater would kick on to hold hot water for sink and showers. But showering was discouraged as it would mean more trips to get more water. The other tank was strapped to a truck to haul water from Peabody built water stations. As I got older other amenities were added; electricity, microwaves, satellite TV, etc (still had to haul water though). I would say the day to day life there was one of non-boredom. There was always something that needed to be done to ensure your survival for later. Usually my job was to herd the sheep, check on the cattle, chop woods, haul water to the crop lands, maintain and harvest the crops, and other farm stuff. If not that then it was cooking and cleaning at the house.
But as more amenities were added some jobs just became obsolete. For example, my family would take time to shear the sheep and process the wool; either to sell or use as thread in rug making. But as advancements in the rez happened the availability of wool thread became abundant. So the processing of wool was not needed.
So as more advancements made their way into our lives, complacency became a part of the routine. My days became take out the sheep from the corral, move them to a good location to graze. Watch some TV. Cook. Clean. Check on sheep. Move them back into the corral. Cook. Clean. Watch TV. Sleep. Repeat.
Progress is a Double Edged Sword
I have family that live on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, north of Seattle. Alcohol is a huge problem, as is drunk driving. They sell fireworks around the 4th, though they go off all the time and there is no noise ordinance. Marijuana is legal in Washington, but not on the rez because it's federal land.
They opened a casino resort and outlet mall several years ago. It brings in a lot of money. The casino is really nice, really fancy, though I don't gamble. Our family goes to seafood night at the buffet. It's like $25 a person and all you can eat crab/shrimp/mussels/salmon.
My Grandma lived by the beach. My cousins and I were always going down there when we were younger. She's in a nursing home now and they tore down her house and put up condos.
North of the Border
You asked about reservations in the US, but I'll answer anyway. I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, but my parents had roots in the north and we visited my grandma in a small northern community often. It's true that colonialism has left a legacy of addictions, abuse and other serious issues, but there's lots of great stuff in our communities too. My fondest childhood memories are of grandma making bannock with bear fat and the blueberries we picked. Most Indigenous people in Canada do not live on reserves. Many of us have never lived on reserves. I have raised my kids in the city, but we spend as much time as possible hunting, fishing, playing lacrosse, and other traditional pastimes.
Fort Hall Rez, Idaho. Rez life. It's alright. I mean it's prolly really bad on some other reservations. I can't attest to that. I've only been to a few different ones. But I can say this is kinda like a "ghetto" if you live in a nearby nicer suburb. But that's cliched since there's always a nicer neighborhood, and there's always a worse "bad part of town" everywhere, right?
Yes, and there are bad things out here. But we've done really well I think. A humorous outlook on all the bullshit is just something you can see people have learned. It's odd to me that only just recently has "Gangsta" attitude begun to disappear here. And even then it was just a handful of kids doin dumb s*. But going to school off rez there was often a palpable stigma that you might not be able to get beyond with some people. You can still feel it when you walk into some rooms with older folks.
Anyway growing up here was...hard for me. I guess. See I had a good family. There were the crazy uncles doin' the fast living, and it's been hard to accept that yes. But my family is mostly Traditional in lifestyle. This word Traditional is what has troubled me for years. In my opinion much of the Traditional mindset is just too xenophobic. It's awful sometimes to hear some of these elders talk trash on "daibos" the white people just down the road. Because those aren't bad people, they're my friends even. I figured out the lashing out at white folk is just a reaction to decades of negative influence.
I am not traditional, so I often see myself as a "bad" Indian. It's an identification issue that authors like Sherman Alexie capture really well for me. That's been the hardest part for me. I'm actually a musician, but not a Native Musician. I'm a sax player. I like jazz, and I'm sorry, but I can only stand powow songs for so long. I know a handful of "Indian" words, no I don't live in a tipi, but yes, yes I do know how to put one up. It's a dichotomous life I live, or something.
I think the worst thing about growin' up rez and then trying to succeed anywhere is the first time a colleague sees me show up late, or sees me after a few beers. I just lost that person's respect. And I can only hope that it isn't attached to race. Like, come on. Why can't I just be a shitty person for being late, and also separately be a useless drunk alcoholic?? Why I gotta be a Drunk Injun that shows up on Injun Time?? It's like I'd almost prefer to show up late and drunk in regalia just so it's THE issue, or not an issue at all.
Just let me fail in my own way, you know?
I'm from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico and the biggest problem we've had here is alcoholism although it's been receding with the new programs and health classes that have been getting funded.
Overall there is nothing extraordinary here. It would be equivalent to a rural community. There's no stores aside from the local gas station and we don't have any internet providers in the area. We have a lot of new building and homes but all of our roads are dirt. There's a lot of farm land and open area. We have a middle plaza that's reserved for traditional dances and gatherings that aren't open to the public. The closest town is called Bernalillo about 30-40 miles away and there's 2 other reservations along the way.
We have a population of about 3,500 and 80% of us are fluent in the language with about a 60% participation rate in dances and traditions. The culture is strong here and we have a small (rate of) waning of language in younger children due to the advances in technology.
There's a high employment rate here and the pueblo has a main export of traditional foods and pottery. There are a bunch of different types of art but pottery is the main one.
Overall, reservation life isn't terrible here, culture and tradition is strong as well as the alcoholism rate going down with the top notch healthcare and programs that we get here. We're really remote as far as location goes and we have a high employment rate. Been here my whole life and wouldn't change a thing.
Hopi tribe here. My rez is in the Southwest and the sand gets everywhere. Even though I've moved to a big city I visit family Every time there is a dance. There's still a huge presence of kachina's which I take a lot of pride in.
Children being forced to boarding schools and forced to practice Christianity is still within living memory with my great uncles having been shipped to big cities.
There is a lot of poverty. Many people burn coal for heat in the winter and have to travel to the springs for clean water. But my So'oh (grandmother) tells me things are a lot better now than when she was young.
Even with the drugs and poverty everyone can still laugh at anything. And you barely walk through the door before being told to "sit down and eat".
I am a Navajo who grew up on the Navajo nation my entire life. My mom is a kind hearted women who works at a school and my dad is a strong very upfront man. He spent 30 years working industrial construction being a ironworker, pipefitter, welder and he says he was a journeyman and a foreman on many of his jobs but now he works at the hospital in the town I grew up because he says the work he did in those years really took its toll on his body. I consider myself very fortunate that my parents don't drink. Growing up my father was very rough on me and my older brother. As a 6 year old we would learn to ride horses and the purpose was for work like rounding up cattle or heading sheep. We worked on the fence lines as children and we would haul wood and coal because we used a stove. My dad used to tell me men don't cry and that if I'm ever going to be somebody that I needed to learn everything he knows so I did not play much as a kid. I spent weekends helping him change fuel pumps or he would be working with the horses. We were always doing something productive and it was hard.
Today I am 22 and live alone in Phoenix, Arizona. I am a full time student at the local community college and I am looking for a full time job now. I just got here last night and I am scared but I am ready. It wasn't until I was around 19 that I started to appreciate the way I grew up but I constantly think about the lack of friends I have and the lack of memories of being with the ones I had and it's always difficult because there are just not many of them. The Navajo nation is simple in that you either grow up like how I did or you grew up wishing you grew up like how I did because mom and dad were constantly drunk and leaving on the weekends to go spend the weekends at a casino.
There is really no middle ground, with a understanding soft spoken father and mother who understand that children need to be children and aggression is not the way to teach, but it's there and it's rare, I envy these parents.
I grew up on a reservation in Minnesota. I left when I became an adult.
Basically has the same stuff as rural towns. No good paying work, lots of drug abuse, except the benefit of a Super Fund site next to the town (that's a huge chemical leak that no one can afford to clean up). It leads to a lot of cancers. My father died of a cancer associated with it.
The good is there's a strong sense of family in the community. My fiance grew up there as well, but has a much bigger family. They are all there for each other and it's amazing what people can do in groups like that.
The "Rez culture" is something I didn't even realize existed until I left. I said slang words no one understood and had an accent. Both me and my fiance have lost those accents (Don't tell her, but she gets it back if she is mad.)
I'm from one in South Dakota. It's a sad place. I'll always love it because it's where I'm from, but it's hard to go back. The meth addiction there is terrible. That and the assumptions I deal with living in the city nowadays is annoying. They assume because I'm from the rez that I get everything free in life. Not the case.
Off Rez is Hard Too
I'm Cree First Nations and my parents moved from the rez before I was born because of how bad our education was and the living conditions (at the time, it's getting better now). I moved a lot, but when I was in high school I moved to a 90% white town and it was surreal how my sister and I were treated. We were both the "Native Girls" and were the only ones in our school and we received the dumbest stereotypes and worst questions. I had a 18 year old ask me if I could speak to animals and he was completely serious. Another guy asked my sister what it was like to grow up in a teepee. Our principal tried to exploit me and do a "traditional American Indian ceremony" and make me dance in front of the school because I'm a jingle dress dancer. He even hosted a "Indian drum lesson" and brought in a group of white ladies to teach the school how to drum. My sister and I refused to touch anything we were so mortified. I tried my best to educate people but it got so tiring hearing the same questions over and over again.
Alaska native Inupiaq here. Born and lived 8 years in Barrow, then 20 years in Fairbanks. Now living in Anchorage. We don't have reservations but we do have villages that are mainly Native.
The biggest difference is economic. We didn't have much money, weren't raised with money and as a result have poor spending habits coupled with half-assed schooling by newbie bush teachers. Financial stability is something that we struggle with no matter if your Inuit or Athabaskan or Yupik. This of course can lead to everything else mentioned in this thread, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, etc. you get the picture.
It's getting better though, with each generation we're learning more.
Just Normal Folks
I was born and grew up on the Bad River Reservation on Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. I lived in a house my mom's grandpa built in the 40s for the first couple years of my life, then my grandpa and family friends built a new house in the 80s, so that is my childhood home. My grandpa and uncle lived down the road in my childhood and they would harvest wild rice, and trap muskrat and beavers. The boat launch was under a mile from my house, and even closer to my grandpas land so I would go out with them a lot. He would sell the quilts, and wild rice at his smoke shop he had on the highway. We had a casino built on the Rez when I was about 10, and that was a big deal. There was a trailer park in the Rez and that is where most of my friends lived, but it was on the other side of the river and you'd have to either drive or get wet to get there. I worked at my grandpas smoke shop until it closed in 1996. We participate in pow wow weekends, selling quilts and wild rice. Pow wows are a good time, family comes who don't live on the Rez, mainly scattered around Wisconsin/ Minnesota. I lived in Milwaukee for a couple years as I attended community college and lived with a friend from the Rez. We brought some friends we met in the city up north and they said it was not how they imagined it. It's pretty normal, we're just all really poor, haha. Bad River Reservation, just outside of Ashland, Wisconsin, come check out the casino, I'll be at the bar.
I grew up on the Navajo Nation; the largest reserve in the U.S. All my family still reside in the area, but I got to leave for college. For the most part, you are isolated from everything civilized. We did not have running water or electricity until I was about 10. My father and uncles had jobs 10 hours away and would make frequent weekend trips home, and the nearest town is probably a good hour drive. I did not realize how difficult our lives were until I moved away for college.
As children, we had the vast open landscape as our playground. We hiked, camped, played tag, all without boundaries or worries that strangers were lurking. It was a close knit community, and families were clustered across the reservation. For example, if you were to visit a family friend, then you could pretty much walk on over to visit their grandparents, siblings, etc.
I would make frequent trips home during college, and suddenly there is a disconnect between you and your home. You leave home again impressed with this overwhelming grief. Not only is alcohol rampant on the reservation, but the quality of life is just unbelievable (compared to the rest of the USA).
I've lived on Standing Rock in North and South Dakota for almost my entire life (and I'm sure some of you are aware of it now because of our anti-pipeline movement). These are just my experiences:
I lived with my grandmother (who I called iná, mom) and several cousins as a young child, and our house had no running water, electricity, or anything else like that. We had to drive sometimes up to 3 hours away to fill up water tanks, but we usually just used water from the river to wash/bathe/eat/drink/etc. We had a woodstove for cooking, and we used candles, gas lamps, and flashlights at night. When I became school-aged I would try to finish all of my homework at a community center before it got dark. There were hardly any stores and my grandmother was a residential school survivor and was always very reluctant and fearful of leaving the reservation, so we mainly supplied our own food by hunting/gathering/gardening. I definitely have a lot of wild childhood stories, but I wouldn't trade any of those experiences for the world.
After my grandmother passed, I moved in with my aunt. We had about a dozen people living in one of those crappy firetrap HUD trailers so it was constantly chaos. It was pretty much the norm though, and most of the kids only came home to sleep. We got commods (gov't food) but it was never enough so I ended up getting sent to live with a hunka (non-blood/ceremonial) relative after a few years. The schooling was pretty average, but I was considered "advanced" so I took several online courses in addition to my normal classes, and I attended a lot of summer programs too. Those summers were the first time I realized that some people looked down on how we lived, and how different it was for some of them. It was a little hard to accept and a lot of things that other kids said bothered me, but I guess I just got used to ignoring it. I was aware of a lot of the problems in my community, like alcoholism and drug abuse, but I was also aware of how complex those issues are when you throw in a lot of the generational trauma people are dealing with. I saw it in my own family, with how traumatized my older relatives were by their residential school experiences, and how it trickled down and really affected younger people even though it wasn't actually their trauma. It can be really difficult to deal with, and I feel like a lot of people just brush it off or deny that it's an issue altogether.
I went away for university and then I came back and got another degree at our tribal college. I've pretty much dedicated myself to working in the revitalization of our language, and right now I work in a full immersion program for younger children. I also tutor at a few local schools, and work several after-school programs when I can, but my main focus is definitely the language. The main problem is that our biggest resource is managed by Europeans who won't fully commit to community involvement and also aren't too keen on passing the reins onto actual Lakota/Dakota people who are already involved.
Overall, I definitely don't blame people (especially kids) for wanting to leave, and I actually try to encourage young people to leave and have some life experiences away from here. It's so easy to get stuck in this vacuum and fall into some of the vicious cycles that exist around here.
But honestly, I could never see myself permanently leaving. When I'm off-rez, I feel like I sometimes become "The Native Girl" to everyone. In college I felt like I became the spokesperson for every Native person ever to some people, and it was really hard to express myself as an individual around them. And I often felt very uncomfortable hearing some of the things my peers had been taught about us. One guy told me that his dad warned him to never stop on a reservation, and if anyone approached him to just run them over. I had a classmate who wanted to pick my brain all the time because she spent a week on a reservation for a service project once and it was just exhausting. There were a lot of misconceptions (I don't get free anything unless we count a few Pell Grants and a scholarship that covered two semesters of my second degree) and flat out lies they expected me to be an expert spokesperson on.
At home on the rez, I feel like I'm seen as more of a complete person, with interests separate from my Lakota identity. We definitely have a lot of problems and a long way to go in some aspects, but I love being able to visit with elders and hear their stories, and being able to understand them when they speak our language. I love playing handgames with my friends, I love dancing during wacipi season, I love digging prairie turnips with my little cousins, I really just love my community as a whole.
People Explain Which Strange Things Are Considered Normal In Their Home Country But Weird Everywhere Else
What is in the water in the United States that compels people to walk around in their homes with their shoes on? Try doing that in South Korea––people would be so mortified. I have a sibling whose apartment is carpeted from wall to wall and who walks around inside with his shoes on all the time, tracking in any manner of dirt and dust from outside. Egad! I get chills just thinking about it. And as an American, it's something I've noticed people from other countries love to comment on.
We learned a lot more about things that are considered normal in other countries after Redditor monitonik asked the online community,
"What's normal in your country that's considered weird in others?"
"I grew up in Australia..."
"I grew up in Australia and migrated to Ireland about ten years ago. First thing I noticed was people in Ireland really like to talk about death in everyday conversation: Who died. When the mass is. The removal of the body and the anniversaries of their death. It's so normal in conversation."
"Leaving a baby..."
"Leaving a baby bundled up outside to sleep. When my previous neighbours had a baby, sometimes I would pass it on the porch, just sleeping. Including in winter as long as it wasn't too cold."
And in the United States, rest assured that child services would be called ASAP.
"In Japan, there are public toilets in a few places where after urinating, you can opt to view a general health assessment report."
Sounds like a privacy issue, no?
"I live in Malaysia..."
"I live in Malaysia and nearly everyone here uses at least three languages in a sentence."
Spend some time in Miami. The official language of the city is Spanglish.
"There's this sport..."
"There's this sport in Finland called eukonkanto, where men participate in running a specific distance, all while carrying their wife or girlfriend. Winner gets their woman's weight in beer."
"It's a small country..."
"Probably talking to people so that no one else can hear you except the person you are directly talking to.
It's a skill almost all Dutch people have, I have found, but it can be very unnerving for other people because you can be sitting pretty close to two people having a conversation and have no idea what they are saying.
It's a small country and very densely populated with people who value their privacy. It's a survival skill, really."
Can we bring this to the United States? Why are people so LOUD here?
"Some areas in the country..."
"Saying "hi" or waving to strangers. Some areas in the country take it even further and you're considered rude if you drive through a residential street and don't wave to anyone walking as you pass them."
"If you're walking with a dog..."
"Walking all over the countryside along ancient footpaths (as well as bridleways and byways, and a lot of disused railway tracks that have been designated as footpaths). These paths often go across privately owned land; the landowners are required by law to keep the paths clear, and if they put up a fence to provide a gate.
If you're walking with a dog, you're expected to keep it under control around livestock and when the path crosses a road, but otherwise it's just accepted that dogs are going to run around sniffing everything."
"We have robots..."
"We have robots at busy intersections and crossing points to assist and control traffic flow."
Nice to see Chappie is getting some work.
"The other day..."
"I teach in Japan but grew up in America. The other day my students asked me wide-eyed if Americans really wear their shoes inside. I told them yes and that sometimes my dad would cross his legs like this while we sat on the sofa and I could touch the bottom of his shoes. They were super grossed out. "Eew, why would you wear shoes inside! That's so dirty!" These kids are 2nd graders so it starts pretty young."
It never hurts to travel––you'll broaden your horizons and learn more about other cultures! When the pandemic's over––I mean actually over––and it's safe enough to travel, I might just hire someone to play my wife and take part in that Finnish wife-carrying contest. Some beer sounds great.
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to tell us all about them in the comments section below!
The brain a fascinating part of the body. No, its the most fascinating.
Scientists have said for years that we'll never know all about the brain and its functions.
So if it is so fascinating and so capable and awesome... why does it stall? Why does it overload?
Why aren't we all gifted with photographic memory? The brain definitely has a full storage issue. And we all suffer.
Redditor u/MABAMA45 wanted everyone to fess up to and just embrace all the things the brain can't handle by asking:
What can your brain just not comprehend?
I'm a smart person. I read, I study, I comprehend. But certain types of math can send me to the funny farm. I tried trigonometry in high school. I needed a therapist after a week. My brain hates math. It is what it is. I give up trying.
Louder!Meme Reaction GIF by reactionseditorGiphy
"I can't comprehend why any company would think I'm more likely to buy their product if they make their commercial 20db louder than all other commercials. Instant boycott."
"The sheer size and scale of the universe. Like the fact that you can fit all the planets of the Solar System between the Earth and the Moon. Now realise how far apart all the planets are in the Solar System. This is practically next door compared to the distance between our Sun and the nearest star."
"There are billions of stars in our Milky Way (with the majority having planets of their own). The sheer scale of the vast emptiness involved means that even when our galaxy merges with the Andromeda galaxy in 4.5 billion years' time, there will be very, very few actual collisions between stars."
"Then there is the void between galaxies, and that it takes billions of years for light, at its speed (massless, and the fastest speed possible), to travel between galaxies, speaks of the sheer emptiness and distance in that void. I can't quite fathom it."
"What was there before the universe, what was there before that, and that and that and (you get the idea)."
"Before" implies that time exists on both sides of an event, but that is not true when we are talking about the universe. Like how there are no positive numbers less than 0, there are no times before the beginning of the universe."
In the Words...
"Language, the fact that we all collectively decided separately and divertingly that certain sounds have meanings and that other sound mixed with those can change the meaning."
"Thanks for all of the upvotes and the award :3."
"Adding onto what I said, sounds are just vibrations in the air that out brains interpret into the sensation of hearing. Really we're vibrating the air at each-other and those air vibrations to your brain contain meaning. When you think about it like this language is not too dissimilar to the internet in a way. Makes you realize how crazy and unique of a skill language really is, with-ought it we wouldn't have a civilization."
"Another interesting thing related to this is when people call your name. Even if your in a crowded area with hundreds of people talking around you and you think your tuning them out if you hear your name you immediately notice, Some part of your brain must be constantly listening."
"Here are some other things my mind can't quite grasp:
- Computers, the fact that my phone is performing countless mathematical operations constantly.
- the plank length, if I understand it right it's the smallest distance anything can move, like a pixel of space.
- the human body and animals in general, were a collection of (large number but idk how large) cells all working together in various systems some how sustaining a brain that is able to be conscious, it's a miracle animals work at all let alone what they're capable of.
- why my ankles crack when I walk.
- what the future will be like, the world is changing so fast it's likely the future will be nothing like we think and it's coming." - Flaer15
I'm EmptyFun Floating GIF by Tomas BrunsdonGiphy
"My little brain can't comprehend the vast emptiness of space and the fact it supposedly just stretches on forever and never has an end. Kind of wild when you try imagine it."
Like any other muscle or organ in the body, we have to listen when pain is inflicted. We have to recognize discomfort and deal. Why don't we allow the same respect to our brain? It will tell us when enough is enough.
Simplicity...Work Working GIFGiphy
"How a simple calculator works. I can do math. I'm actually very good at it. How does a little plastic box do it though? Always boggled my mind."
"Dates. I am considered a historian by my family due to my knowledge on most world history, but God dang dates... I could be talking about WWII and say it happened the same date as WWI."
Billions of People
"That all the others persons I talk to or see, have their own thoughts, own inner dialogue and own life. For gaming analogy sometimes I just feel like others are NPC and I just can't comprehend that there are more than 7 billions person just like me."
The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one's own, which they are constantly living despite one's personal lack of awareness of it."
Now That's Too Much!
"I have a PhD in astronomy and MSc in Physics, and had to take ~2 years worth of quantum mechanics courses. It's one of those things where you can take solace that even with all that education on it all I can say is no one else really understands it either."
And the Dark?
"Light isn't affected by time. So... other things could just exist outside of time? Like, if you were a photon that traveled at light speed for a million years and then hit an alien's third butt, you'd experience it as instantly being a million light years away."
"A photon moves at the speed of light through space, but is standing still in time."
"A person at rest moves at the speed of light through time, but is standing still in space. When you accelerate through space, you're simultaneously decelerating through time. That's why observers will see your clock slow down when you begin accelerating at relativistic speeds. It's referred to as time and space dilation. Makes more sense once you realize that."
"There are people who don't have an internal dialogue with themselves. So, they never question if they are right or wrong. They never wonder if they are treating someone fairly, or if they are nice or mean."
"They can change their minds with no information, but it doesn't involve the process most of us go through when confronted with an opinion, or new data. It's not common, but it's not entirely rare. When I learned about this, I just couldn't understand how it was even possible."
The EndSeason 2 Episode 10 GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
"Death, obviously I understand why people die and all that but just thinking what happens afterwards. What's it like for the said person that died, is it just blackness? Is it like they're dreaming??? Reincarnation?? This probably sounds very stupid but I don't care 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️"
There is so much to learn, and even more that we'll never know. And that's ok. When the brain is full, it's full. Seems like just a part of life. The mysteries will sometimes stay illusive.
It's okay to hate things.
Some things deserve to be hated. Internet trolls, people who mistreat animals, and individuals who talk during the movie are most definitely worthy of the scorn they gain. However, there are some items and topics which could do with a bit of rebranding. Instead of being "Hate Me," they instead deserve a sign that says, "I'm Really Not That Bad."
What doesnt need the hate it gets?
They say you hate what you don't understand. Clearly, they were thinking of things like the entries below when they came up with that expression as all of these fit the bill of being hated for not being understood.
It Cycles Past Judgement Into Comfort
"Sleeping with stuffed animals. You're never too old for that."
"Somewhat mature: Not needing a stuffed animal in order to sleep.
Very mature: Sleeping with one anyway because you don't give a f-ck what other people think."
Long Live The King
Most unfairly villainized and maligned animal in the world all because of some stupid Disney movie. They are not scavengers at all they hunt 90% of their prey and lions steal food off of them far more than they steal off lions. They are highly intelligent predators with an equally important role to play in the ecosystem."
They Go Through More Than Anyone Will Realize
I can personally confirm that I was a piece of work in grade school--then high school. And it wasn't because of teachers--it was because of me."
"As someone in high school rn, I agree with this. They get paid too little to deal with my laziness and bullsh-t"
You might have been told, either by a friend or a family member or some misguided news source, that the following topics are deserving of your hate. That their mere existence is something to shun and hate.
That's not the case.
It Tastes Soooo Good
"MSG. It's like salt but on crack and exploding with flavor."
This was a pretty racist phenomenon that got built up around Asian restaurants in the 70s and 80s.
"Essentially some study came out that MSG was bad for you and caused headaches, racing heart and basically anything else that might be considered bad. They even came up with a diagnosis for it "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" and it was recognized as a legit medical diagnosis.
However, the FDA had already tested it and on retest found that it was still basically as safe as anything else you put in your food. .
The original studies were really flawed in that they weren't blind and there was already this perception that MSG was bad because they were racists/xenophobic."
You Know Bananas Don't Normally Look Like That, Right?
"GMOs. Humans have been slowly doing that since we started cultivating crops, now we can just do it quicker. And there are millions of people who rely on GMO crops to not starve to death."
It's important to be cautious about your own safety and well-being. No one is trying to convince you to take unnecessary risks.
However, sometimes that thing you were worried about might not be as deadly as you imagined.
They're Not All Chernobyl
"People freak out because of the radiation but almost everyone is oblivious to the amount of crap a coal or oil powerplant dumps in the atmosphere."
"Nuclear waste is relatively easy to store and modern nuceal powerplants have good safety records."
They're Just Words
Chemist here. The word "chemicals"
Toxicologist here. "Chemical free" ugggggg makes me so mad. Anything can be toxic at the right dose
Seriously. Don't Be That Parent.
"TV shows made specifically for toddlers. They are toddlers. It's all colors and shapes and being excited over simple things. That's what toddlers are about. YOU don't need to watch the show. It's not for you."
Do certain things and people deserved to be scorned? A look at Twitter will say a resounding, "Yes." But with a keener eye, and a closer look, you'll see that misinformation or misunderstanding can guide misguided to hate.
Going to college is an exciting experience. You meet new people, learn about the world and the inner workings of society, and make lasting friendships. As fun (and expensive *cough, cough*) as higher education can be there is a reason that only one-third of the US population 25 and older have been able to complete a four-year degree program. It is hard and burnout is real.
Going through university was filled with both happiness and sometimes tears for me. I loved school and found my classes interesting, dove into extracurriculars, and had that perfectionist drive to get all A's... totally not sustainable. It hit me I was totally burnt out about two years in while enrolled in an algebra class.
I wanted to give up, I was flustered and spent way too much time trying to get a great grade in a class that just wasn't clicking for me. What did I do? I had to take a step back and reflect on what I would tell a friend in the same shoes. I would tell them they don't need to be perfect, that getting a C+ in one class wasn't going to wreck their whole GPA, and for the love of God drink water too won't just coffee.
Self-care and stealing extra sleep, even just an hour nap, can go a long way to refreshing your drive. The takeaway really was just to show me the same love and support I'd been putting out to those around me. You deserve it, too!
Redditor peachyjams asked:
"What are some tips for a burnt out student?"
The Reddit community gave this user some wonderful tips and tricks to help with student burnout.
Go at your own pace.
“Don't pressure yourself into 4 years. It's OK to take it slower. Balance out your schedule with more enjoyable elective credits if you can, or just take less courses in a semester if possible.”
“Obviously things like financial aid, living costs (if not living at home) and others may play a factor in how many courses you need to take or how quickly you need to complete college, so if you can't take less courses, talk to your advisor or counselor and work with them to carefully plan out each semester so that your coursework is balanced IE: You don't end up accidentally taking Calculus + "Fun," art class that was 1000x more work than you thought it would be in the same semester.”~zachtheperson
“Burnt out doesn't begin to cover it.”
“I feel very qualified to answer this. I have been in college continuously since I was 18, and I'm now 32. I have 2 years to go before finishing my doctorate. I currently have an associate's, bachelor's, and master's. I have also worked the entire time. Burnt out doesn't begin to cover it. Here is how I stay sane:
- Give school as little bandwidth in your life as possible. "Good enough" are the two most beautiful words in the English language. Get Bs on things. Write your assignments and due dates on a master calendar, block off times to get them done, and try to avoid thoughts of school outside of those blocks.
- To increase productivity during your work blocks, use Freedom or something similar. I paid for a lifetime subscription and in one class alone it paid for itself. It just blocks access to your distractions on the phone and computer while you get stuff done.
- Tackle other hobbies in life that you see progress in outside of school. Even if it feels like school will never ever end and you're on a treadmill of misery going nowhere, you can go somewhere in other areas of your life. I'm currently training for a marathon, just started learning cello, I mentor first gen college students, and I'm in a book club. Pick your poison, but try to put away the laptop and push yourself in a non-academic area.
- Your social needs may vary, but try getting together with other people not in your circle of school misery. Join a sports league (yuck for me but maybe not for you). I host regular dinner parties. Volunteer. Now that vaccines are out, make sure you get one then connect with other people.
- DO NOT TAKE A BREAK. When you stop school even for a semester you know what it's like to be happy and not have the weight of misery pulling you down. You won't want to go back. Slog through and just do it.
- Don't reward yourself with damaging things. Don't eat or drink your rewards for school or you will be unhealthy and unhappy when you're done. Reward yourself with something positive instead."
If I had to recommend one book, it would be 'Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle'. Basically, it goes into the science of feeling burned out, why it's bad for you, and how to fix it on a physiological level."
“If you don't want to read the whole thing, if I could distill the most useful information it would be: exercise. The author digs deep into the science (which I love) behind why it works SO DAMN GOOD, but if you hate science and reading, trust me. Go for a run a few times a week, lift weights, dance a lot, just get your heart rate up. Good luck. School sucks."~bicycle_mice
You don’t have to be perfect.walking dead love GIFGiphy
“If you're an A student I would suggest lowering your personal bar. Being constantly burnt out isn't worth the 0.2 difference in your GPA and if you're worried about career prospects there are always comparable fields that aren't quite as competitive.”
“Trying to get an A in every class takes disproportionally more work. If you can get A's and a few more B's while getting to chill every once and a while and not stressing, do that.”~SlightlyOvertuned
Lists are seriously underrated.
If your sensation is of being overwhelmed (i.e. you have an impossible amount of work to do with no end in sight) more than burnt out (you are exhausted and becoming detached from the work), then two tips:
- Realise that it's not infinite. If you stick it out until graduation (and I hope you do!), then many of the problems you're accumulating will be wiped clear. Perhaps your GPA/final grade won't be as good as you want, but remember that whatever you're facing now - this too shall pass. Knowning that there is an inevitable light at the end of the tunnel is useful for me.
- Make a list. If you are the under-organised type, making a list of things to do each morning on a sheet of paper dramatically reduces the stress level that those items cause you. You can implement some fancy to-do software if you prefer but tbh a daily todo is simpler and more effective...”~alexandicity
A book and a blanket? Make it so.read new york GIFGiphy
“When I was a burnt out student I took solace in a comfort zone activity. Something unrelated to my school work that I could dive into for a little while when I needed a break. For me, this was reading the Lord of the Rings.”
“What works for you depends one what's in your comfort zone, but it should be something that you can easily pick up and put down again when it is time to get back to work.”
“To this day, I still read the Lord of the Rings when I get stressed or overworked. In fact, I am reading it now, for the 48th time.”~khendron
“Lots of things you could try! Sleep. 8 hours a day, wake up spontaneously without an alarm and if you feel the need do a 30-90 minute power nap in the afternoon.”
“Meditate daily, 5-30 minutes to start in the morning or whenever you feel comfortable. Limit the consume of caffeine.”
“Plan a healthy diet you can stick to, reducing the amount of junk food first to focus later on the composition of your main meals, snacks and so on. Eat plenty of greens, fruit, nuts and drink mainly water or sugar free drinks.”
“Take cold showers. Those are a huge boost, especially in the morning. Decompress. As someone said, take the days you need to just do nothing during your week. Last but not least, workout! Start small, build the habit and stick to it!“~Tha_Sin
“...it's pretty normal in our over worked society.”
“Burnout is real. It means you have given too much of yourself to something, and you need to recover. While deadlines don't wait, professors often will. “
“You have to communicate with them if you are struggling. If they are worth their pay, they will do their best to accommodate you. It's unhealthy to continue under so much stress. Be kind to yourself.”
“Nearly everyone experiences this at some point in life, and it's pretty normal in our over worked society. Do what you can to clear your mind. Assign yourself a certain number of hours to completely shift gears away from all these responsibilities.”
“Set an alarm if you have to, but give yourself enough time to reach a stage of full body relaxation. You can try walking, meditating, sleeping, whatever your body needs. Just listen to it! There is no shame here. You must care for yourself and keep a balance. Deep breaths, often.”~VaginaWarrior
“Yes to this advice!! Let teachers know ASAP that you are struggling and often they will be able to make accommodations or offer help. Also, looking into counseling services that are offered through the school is definitely worth taking advantage of while that stuff is accessible and free.”~shannonbta
“because a b*tch needs water...”
“My bad day thing is I have to get up, eat (even if it's takeout), put on fresh bedsheets because if I'm having a bad day in bed it might as well be comfortable and smell good, have a shower (even just shoulders down) and go for even a small walk, even if it's to the shop or to get myself that takeout."
“They're not huge things to do but they're very difficult on some days. And I don't always do them all, maybe I just eat and shower, or go for a walk, or just change my bedsheets. But all of them are small tasks that feel like mountains but once I do one or two of them they're so so easy, and I benefit from them all mentally or physically or both."
“And I have a litre bottle of water and cup of tea at my side at all times because a b!tch needs water and there are few things as comforting as a good cup of tea in a warm mug to me."~thisisausername-2021
“I didn't pull a single all-nighter in my 4 years of undergrad.”
- “Don't listen to your fellow classmates who boast about study 60+ hours a week, they're either exaggerating, straight-up lying, or have an incredibly inefficient study method. There will be times where you really need to be studying hard for extended amounts of time (ex. finals week), but for the vast majority of the semester it is completely unnecessary to do that in order to get a good grade.”
- “If you do find that you need excessive study in order to do okay in a course then you need to reach out to your TA(s) and professor. Most universities have free tutoring services, use them.”
- “Seriously just take more breaks and get more sleep. I didn't pull a single all-nighter in my 4 years of undergrad and now that I'm in med school I don't have any need for that either. Without real breaks and sleep your brain's ability to actually store and organize all the information you've studied goes out the window. This is harder to do if you need to work to support yourself but you need to find some semblance of healthy sleeping habits if you want to be able to make it through all 4 years.”
- “Eat real food. Don't just live off of snack foods and coffee, your brain isn't going to work properly if you don't fuel it. It's generally cheaper to buy canned and frozen fruit and veg so if you're on a budget try those aisles. Additionally, most places have some sort of charity or community pantry/soup kitchen, use it if you need to.You don't need to be completely destitute in order to reach out for help from these places, if you are struggling to make ends meet get help from your community. It is not weak, it is not shameful, it's being smart enough to accept that everyone needs help now and then.”
- “I mean it, don't pay attention to classmates and social media influencers who say they spend all their time studying. They almost definitely aren't and if they are they have an unsustainable view towards work/school that will bite them in the butt later on.”~JSD12345
Treat yourself to a mini-vacation.
“If you have any extra money (I know, easier said than done) book the cheapest AirBNB you can find within the area you can get to with the transportation you have available. Go alone or bring a friend, and have a mini-vacation, just for a night or weekend. It's very refreshing to have a change of scenery, even if it's in your same city.”~goshawkgirl
These are some great ideas to help cope with the all to real burnout. Remember to show yourself the grace you give to others because your best is all you can do.