Suzanne Degges-White

Perspective: Community Engagement Brings (Meit)healing

Jan 14, 2021
NeOnBrand / Unsplash

Though my own heritage is a wee bit more Scottish than Irish, I feel a deep connection to all things Celtic and I recently watched a new movie set in Ireland. Not wanting to give too much away, the story involved a ragtag group of folks coming together as a community to help the lead character get back on her feet.

Perspective: Every Day Is Blursday

Dec 10, 2020

New Year’s Eve is three weeks out and I’m wondering if I made any resolutions last year that I’ve misplaced along the way. It was actually last December 31st when the first official COVID case was reported. If that seems like a million years ago or just yesterday, I get it.

Perspective: Radical Self-Care

Nov 5, 2020
Zoltan Tasi / Unsplash

Have you ever been in the midst of a moment of quiet reflection, or maybe a yoga session, or even a relaxing massage, and been surprised by unexpected emotions bubbling up and overflowing, maybe even with a few tears? As stressful as this past year has been, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by your emotions when you take a minute and take a breath. It takes a lot of energy to manage the anxieties, fears, and uncertainties that we’ve faced, so don’t fight the release that letting go can provide.

Perspective: My 2020 Bingo Card Is A Bust

Oct 1, 2020
Alejandro Garay / Pixabay

Do you ever joke about what’s NOT on your imaginary “2020 Bingo Card?” I’d never have thought to include a global pandemic that would sweep in and virtually shut down civilization.

We’ve all daydreamed about working from home in our PJs, but who’d have guessed we’d be doing just that day after monotonous day?

Perspective: Mid-Year's Resolutions

Aug 26, 2020
Jude Beck / Unsplash

Just think, we’ve been coping with an unrelenting natural disaster for months.

Unlike storms that can be spotted on radar before they arrive, the pandemic surprised us all. People responded with their own unique crisis response and while each response is simply a normal reaction to an abnormal situation, after half a year of “responding” it’s normal to feel that you just can’t feel much of anything anymore.

Perspective: Diversify Your Friendships

Jul 23, 2020
Gerd Altman / Pixabay

There’s no doubt recent national events have underscored the value of our social support systems to overall wellbeing. While most of us typically choose people a lot like ourselves as our friends, it’s clearly time to move beyond this constraint. The world is a delightfully diverse planet and we need to create friendscapes that reflect this diversity.

Perspective: Lessons From The Pandemic

Jun 17, 2020
United Nations Covid-19 Response / Unsplash

The last few months have been a social experiment of global proportions. We saw firsthand how interconnected the world has become and how quickly things could shift as we all bolted our doors to keep out COVID-19.

Perspective: A 2020 Commencement Message

May 14, 2020
Unsplash and Pixlr

There’s a Dr. Seuss book that’s a popular graduation gift – Oh! the Places You’ll Go. But as we know all too well, no one has been able to “go” much of anywhere in quite some time.

Though change is on the horizon, we aren’t yet sure how the future will unfold. That makes it especially important to celebrate the accomplishments of our new high school and college grads.

Hopefully, their newly earned diplomas will be a passport of sorts that allows them entry into spaces and places that were not possible until now.

Perspective: Zoom Fatigue -- It's A Thing

Apr 9, 2020
Allie Smith / Unsplash

They say that too much screen time is bad for your emotional health. Well, almost overnight, the average amount of screen time for everyone went up dramatically when the country went on a face-to-face lockdown and dropped into a virtual reality world. Interruptions in social activities and fear of the unknown also affect emotional health. Hours of intense screen time in ergonomically incorrect chairs and less time being active affect physical health.

Perspectives: Technology Can Help IRL Friendships

Mar 5, 2020
Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

Have you heard about the new smartphone apps that help you keep track of your friendships? With names like UpHabit and Dex, these apps provide users with a place to store information about their friends. Like birthdays, shared interests, and how often they get together. You can even set up regular reminders to schedule phone calls and meet-ups. It’s like a spreadsheet for friendship engagement. 


Perspective: Connection To Home

Jan 23, 2020

With all of the headlines vying for attention, the rising of Lake Michigan and the loss of the lakeshore is one I’m particularly disturbed to see.

I’m from the Piedmont region of North Carolina, midway between the mountains and the coast. Like some who grow up amid such natural beauty and geographic diversity, I never truly appreciated these unearned windfalls that are North Carolina birthrights.

Perspective: Act Now To Prevent That Post-Holiday Letdown

Dec 19, 2019

This time of year, many of us are just hours away from the start of a delightfully long holiday break. Whether you’re gearing up to celebrate the holiday in a big way or just eagerly anticipating time away from the job, your attention-to-detail may already be flagging by now. 


Perspective: The Dirt On Comfort Foods

Nov 14, 2019
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Although it’s only mid-November, the weather’s taken quite the wintery turn. While we’re laying in supplies for our Thanksgiving dinners, we may find ourselves stocking up on other comfort foods, as well. There are scientific reasons we crave high calorie treats, especially this time of year.  


Perspective: Fail Your Way To Success

Oct 10, 2019
Rawpixel /

Forty years ago, John Wayne showed the world what “True Grit” looked like. Grit is all about passion and perseverance as we work towards goals that matter -- even in the face of delays, setbacks, obstacles, and barriers. 


Perspective: Surviving The September Stresses

Sep 5, 2019
Sydney Rae / Unsplash

September has arrived and another new school year is underway for everyone -- from pre-school through graduate school. If you’re a student or a parent, it may seem that the number of hours in the day just shrank from twenty-four to “almost enough” or “not nearly enough,” depending on your workload.

Perspective: Firefly Friendships

Aug 1, 2019
TCMerlot / Pixabay

Have you ever struck up a surprisingly close friendship with a stranger you’ve just met on vacation? I call these “firefly friendships.” Fireflies symbolize communication and illumination – two necessary elements for connecting with new friends that we would never have noticed in our usual domestic habitats. 


Perspective: Cracking The Rose-Colored Glasses

Jun 27, 2019

I’ve been thinking about change a lot more than usual lately. Our youngest child is flying the coop next week to move into a 4th floor walk-up in the Big Apple. As happy as we are that his law degree became a ticket to his dream job, my dread of the looming “empty nest” tempers my delight a bit.   

Perspective: Lighten Up And Enjoy Life This Summer

May 23, 2019
Johannes Plenio / Unsplash

Even though summer is almost here, that doesn’t mean everyone’s mood is all “sunshine and buttercups.” In fact, over the past few years, the levels of stress, anger, and worry Americans experience every day has been on the rise. And the heaviest toll is taken on folks under 50. Maybe once you reach 50, you’ve seen enough of the world to know that getting worked up about something outside your control is a colossal waste of precious time. You also probably realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  

Perspective: Counselors Bring The Healing

Apr 18, 2019
Michael Browning / Unsplash

April is Counseling Awareness Month, and as a counselor/educator, I’d like to focus on the healing counselors bring to clients.

When facing challenges that aren’t easily solved or traumatic experiences that negatively affect thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, counselors provide us a space, both literal and metaphorical, to make sense of our experiences, validate our truths, and figure out our new normal.

Perspective: Status Symbols And Higher Education

Mar 14, 2019
Pixabay, edited

When I was a young teen, what I wanted more than anything was a pair of Levi’s jeans. In my mind, Levi’s would make the difference between acceptance and rejection by my high school peers. I can still hear my mother’s refrain to my plaintive pleas, “Levi’s won’t make you popular. It’s who you are, not what you wear, that really matters.”

Perspective: The Benefits Of Gigging In This Economy

Jan 31, 2019

Winter weather has taken a heavy toll this year. Just getting to work each morning can be a bone chilling challenge. The miserable weather coupled with the start of the new year may have you dreaming of a new job where you work from home and be your own boss. 

Perspective: Slaying The Winter Blues

Dec 27, 2018

Last week’s Winter Solstice marked the arrival of longer days and shorter nights. But we still have to make it through a dozen winter weeks before we can believe that spring will come again. Although not everyone will experience a full-blown case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, most of us do feel twinges of discontent when daylight grows so scarce. 

Perspective: The Value Of Giving Thanks

Nov 22, 2018



The days have grown shorter, the first snow has fallen, and it’s time to gather with people you might actually try to avoid the rest of the year, if you’re able. 

Generation Lonely

Oct 18, 2018


It’s clear that Wi-Fi has turned too many of us into internet junkies, no matter how old we are. Time spent connected to the “24/7” internet swallows up a whole lot of what was once considered “free time” or even “working hours,” for some. 


Hugging It Out Is Healing

Sep 13, 2018


If you’re like most people, you experience conflict with your partner on occasion. But if you leave the house on a truly sour note, you might be damaging your health, as well as your relationship. 

Why Do We Love Hashtags?

Aug 9, 2018


Hash-tagging began eleven years ago when Chris Messina, a SanFran techie and Google developer, tried to find a way to bring focus to topics and connect like-minded individuals through social media. Though he received some initial pushback from friends, his idea caught on -- like “#Wildfire,” right? 

Your Job Vs. Your Place In The World

Jul 5, 2018

Last month, an old friend reached out to discuss her fear that her husband was suffering from something she called, “Work Separation Anxiety.” Not only did he struggle with committing to take vacation days, he also had trouble taking time away for “life or death” absences such as loved ones’ funerals or his own hospital stay.

Nowhere in the United States can a person working full time at minimum wage afford a simple two-bedroom apartment. While that is a problem in itself, it raises concerns far beyond just having a place to live. In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Victor Yehling looks at details of the situation in Illinois and Wisconsin and possible resolutions.

Vacation Is Very Good For You

May 31, 2018

When it’s this close to summer, you’re probably thinking about how you’d like to spend your “summer vacation.”

People who work in education tend to measure time a little differently than the rest of the world. Our new year begins when autumn draws near and the arrival of summer heralds the end of another year on the job.

What's Your Pet Generation?

Apr 19, 2018

The latest generation to hit adolescence is called Generation Z by some and Gen Edge by others. While they follow close on the heels of the Millennials, researchers say these kids differ from their older Millennial siblings in a lot of ways -- kind of like the temperament difference between cats and dogs.