Hello there! Long time no chat. It’s been a little busy in my own life lately. That’s perhaps an understatement. The past two and a half weeks have been some of my most intense in my entire college career. Finals does that to me. Right now sitting back at home by my Christmas tree in my fuzzy socks, I’m feeling way more at ease already.
In the past two and a half weeks, I’ve had four finals and two papers due. Work was also intense throughout all of this. I work in the development department at my university and I took on a new supervisory role where I do more administrative work rather than talking to alumni firsthand. It’s great and my coworkers make me so happy. However, it was busy, and at the end of the month I compile a crazy amount of statistics. Now that I’ve finished all of this stuff up, I’m finally able to sit down and think and relax.
It’s great being back home with my family and seeing my siblings, eating some great meals, and having a shower with great water pressure (under appreciated on a daily basis!). I do have some more personal work that I’m hoping to get done during this break but I’m also finally prioritizing some self-care and relaxation, something I haven’t been doing much of lately.
Recently I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on what it means for me to be successful and to excel in my everyday life. I feel like midterms do that to me. Having a very concrete assessment of your performance can be a big reality check. For me, prior to college, I always got great grades pretty easily. Yes, I worked really hard, but it also came very easily to me and academics were my “thing.” Tests never really caused me that much worry or anxiety because I just knew that I would probably do well with the little bit of studying I put in. Things have really changed since getting to college. I go to a school where everyone’s “thing” is academics.
I got to really thinking about this after one of my midterm exams. I took it and got a really sub-par grade. Unsurprisingly, I was pretty upset about it, and it really affected my confidence as I entered into the final exam. I shed quite a few tears and it seems stupid to cry over something like that, but school really does matter to me. But I realized when I was talking to my mom (so thankful for her and her wisdom) that my problem mostly was that I felt like I was losing a piece of my identity. I had always been the “smart” one, the “nerdy” one, the one who worked hard and got perfect grades. But this test was like a slap in the face that reminded me that I’m actually not that person. That’s a persona that I adopted and tried to live up to, but it was actually false.
I am one of those people who always tries to tell other people that they are full of so much worth, that they are more than their body, their grades, their achievements. I find it rather ironic that I can’t show this same type of love to myself. Realizing one’s own inherent worth is tricky, isn’t it?
Sitting here now, I’m thinking of how I really want to live and how I see myself. I am so many things. Yes a student, but also a runner, a daughter, a sister, a friend. A person with a quirky and fun sense of humor, who loves to laugh and cry, who will never let a baby or dog or cat pass by without breaking into a huge smile.
I want success. I want to be great at what I do. And I know I will be, because I am not complacent and I love a challenge. But that doesn’t mean I have to be amazing and great every single day of my existence. Sometimes I’ll feel really lazy, tired, and just want to sit on my laptop watching Netflix or reading blogs rather than studying. Sometimes I’ll just curl up and stay in bed rather than getting up and working out. Because both are good things. I tried to be easier on myself this finals season. I took real study breaks, where I watched Netflix (New Girl is my new favorite show), or hung out with friends. I slept later because I felt like it and my body begged for sleep.
I’m not going to lie, it was a struggle. Treating my body and mind with compassion is so much easier said than done, when I feel pulled: one side of me knows that my heart truly desires peace and calm and to do less, but do less well. The other side: tells me that I should be “healthier,” work out more, that I’m not good enough or pretty enough, or a good enough person.
So what’s my goal? Some gratitude for starters. I think taking time to be thankful will help me live more in each day. Being easygoing and flexible. Remembering that eating is not “deserved,” it’s needed. It’s going to take practice but it will be worth it. Life is a journey, and luckily I get to set the itinerary and also take detours.
Now it’s time for me to get ready to celebrate Christmas! I’ll be coming back at ya next week, but for now, thank you Amanda for letting me Think Out Loud.
How do you see your own identity? Have you ever defined yourself by your successes/failures only?
How do you stay grounded during busy seasons of life?