This semester has brought a great deal of change along with it. Thankfully, most of that change has truly been for the better.
For the two semesters prior to this one, I worked as an editor for one of my school’s newspapers. It was a rewarding job, and I consistently felt like I was engaged in the community and contributing, at least at some level. But it was also incredibly time consuming. I also took 17 credit hours last semester, and that on top of my job at the paper really was too much. I never had time to exercise, my eating habits were crazy and unpredictable, I was often moody and hopeless feeling, and I had very little life outside of academics and my work. It was tough.
In retrospect, I am incredibly glad that I did it. I proved to myself what I am capable of accomplishing, and I learned so much from my job. Now, I am also very glad that I am no longer doing it. I am currently settling into a job at a literary magazine, which is more in-line with my passion and considerably less time consuming.
I also recently started on new medication for anxiety. I am pretty anti-medication in terms of coping with mental issues, but after receiving support from my family I decided to give it a try. The medicine hasn’t changed everything, but it has definitely been a part of my progress toward being a healthier, happier person.
This semester, I have been focusing on making time for what matters to me instead of allowing myself to be swept up in the rush of academics/other commitments. The extra-curriculars that I am involved with (the literary magazine and a philosophy club) are both things that I am passionate about and genuinely enjoy. I’ve picked up playing the mandolin, I write more, I spend more time with people I enjoy, I exercise almost every day, I eat well, and I allow myself to indulge in little things that aren’t particularly important but that make me happy – like arranging fruit in fancy designs on top of my yogurt.
I still am focused on academics, and I still understand the importance of continuing to push through and devout time and effort to achieving success in that part of my life. But with a decrease in anxiety I have been able to take a step back and evaluate what matters from a fresh perspective – a perspective that is healthier, and definitely more enjoyable. And I’m happy in a way that I didn’t know I could be – I’m able to relax into my life for the first time in a long time (ever?) and enjoy it without worrying about the long-term repercussions of every small hiccup along the way.
Looking outside of academics/pursuit of a career/etc in a productive way (I don’t mean giving yourself more time to party or starting your weekend-drinking on Thursday night), has definitely caused me to evaluate my priorities in a positive way. As always, there is still struggle and difficulty, but I’m going to consider this one little step in the right direction.
Ps. Okay, you can’t blame me for taking the extra 3 minutes to make a pretty breakfast – who wouldn’t want to eat that??