This entry is part of a blog series. After reading and discussing a book of their choosing, student academic peer coaches were encouraged to write about their connections. Recent graduates and peer coaches Grace Eiden, Averi Linz, and Lindsey Kaufman are the guest authors of this post.

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Grace’s Thoughts:

At the end of Turtles All the Way Down, the “future” Aza begins to explain life moments that you aren’t completely aware of in the moment. She discusses how at the particular present moment of laying under the stars with Davis, she didn’t know what was to come in life and the battles she would face. She wasn’t aware of how beautiful the present moment was. This concept, although simple in words, can become very complex when thinking about life in the past, present, and future.

As a senior in high school, looking back on these past four years has been a whirlwind of emotions. There are no words to describe what I would do to be back in freshman science class on the first day, unaware of all the good and bad times that were to come. At the moment, I didn’t realize how safe and innocent those moments in that classroom were. I didn’t know that the enjoyment of my first high school science class would lead me to take CIS College Chemistry, and want to go on to continue in a science related field in college. Turtles All the Way Down really made me process the moments in my present life more, and I will continue to do this throughout my career in college.

Life flies by in the blink of an eye, and I have realized it’s extremely important to take advantage of the present moments more often without worrying about the past or the future.

Averi’s Thoughts:

Reading Turtles All the Way Down gave me a whole new perspective on OCD. The way I had previously been exposed to this mental health illness left me with many misconceptions that this book proved wrong. OCD is often a term that gets thrown around just to imply that someone is a neat freak or has organized habits, but it is so much more than that. I knew that people affected by OCD couldn’t control their compulsions, but I never realized just how intrusive and destructive their thought process really is until reading from Aza’s perspective. I also never realized just how hard it can be to treat OCD. Even though Aza was medicated, she still struggled to live a normal life with her illness. She had to accept that this a condition that she will have to live with the rest of her life and adapt to its severity.

This book has changed the way I view OCD and how I will treat the people in my life who are affected by  it.

Lindsey’s Thoughts:

While reading Turtles All The Way Down this quarter, the main character is a girl who deals with major OCD. She obsessives over bacteria and everything that either enters or touches her body. Not having a personal experience, but having a cousin who deals with this issue. This book opened up my eyes to what people with a mental health issue deal with and now I understand what my cousin also goes through. Going into the real world on my own I am now going to see people who might deal with OCD or mental health issues and will know at least what they might be going through.

I want to support and be there for those people because it’s not easy, it’s a battle. Every thought or action can spiral all the way down onto the next for them. We all deal with battles in life, but we need to notice the people who struggle with mental health issues to be able to support them and lift them up on all the battles they face. Especially the people who surround you.

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