I admit it.
I am struggling.
I am on the executive board for two different groups, creating a new group with a good friend of mine, and a member of around three more groups. I am taking 18.5 credits this semester and one course has math that completely lacks numbers (yeah, who knew that was possible?).
I am struggling.
I’m writing this at 10PM on a Tuesday night because inspiration hit me while I was doing my Differential Equations homework. I have eleven things on this week’s to-do list that will catch me up in time to take my exams that begin next week.
I am struggling.
Why am I telling you this? I’m saying this because I want you to look at my workload and not compare yours to it.
Still confused? I’ll break it down.
It’s only week four (barely) and I already feel overwhelmed and stressed out. I reached out to my advisor to tell her how I was feeling and she quickly pulled me into a meeting to see what she could do to help. Right before I went to that meeting, I told a few friends that I felt like I was drowning and that I had emailed my advisor.
I got a few “I feel you, good luck!” types of responses, but I also got “Seriously? It’s only week three. I think you’re overreacting.”
Suddenly, I was questioning how well I knew myself because of how well other people knew themselves. Makes sense?
There are people who have my major and almost (if not exactly) the same workload as I do, but they (seem) to be doing just fine. So why aren’t I? The answer is painfully simple: I am not them.
Don’t miss this:
Even if our situations are similar, it is completely implausible and unfair for anyone, including myself, to expect us to handle them in similar ways.
It has taken me 19 years to understand myself (give or take a few years, I wasn’t exactly concerned about who I was as a baby). So why would I doubt how well I know who I am because someone else doesn’t feel as stressed as I do?
Here is how it applies to you:
Don’t ever take your problems, put them in a box, and compare them to someone else’s problems. That box only holds your problems, not who you are. The other person’s box only holds their problems, not who they are.
Even, and this is important too, if your box is smaller than theirs. Or if your box is bigger than theirs. Each person’s problems are just as valid, despite whether anyone thinks they are “smaller”.
Don't let yourself or anyone else convince you that what has you stressed, what has you freaking out, what has you upset, isn’t as important, valid, or legitimate as it is to you.
You can do this. I can do this. We can do this.
Let's have an awesome semester.
School is starting to come back in session and that can mean a lot of different feelings for people.
You might look forward to school starting and you also might dread it. Regardless of how you feel, here is my advice: Look at the big picture.
Oh man, I sound like my parents. But this is one of the things they were right about!
Why are you going to school?
For the friends? I hope you are making friends, but that isn't the big picture.
Because I have to? Well, that's a good reason, school is an obligation, but not quite!
For education? Well, that's not wrong.
To me, you are going to school for, yes, the education, but also so that one day, you can do what you love.
There is a fond memory I have that I think of every now and then. I was studying in my room and I was talking to my roommate about the work I was doing. Admittedly, I was complaining about my workload, but I ended my complaint with, “But I love my major.”
And my roommate, Taylor, said, “What’s your major again?”
I said, “Computer Engineering.”
She replied, “You switched from Chemical Engineering? You never seemed happy while you were in that major, but you seem happy now.”
She was completely right. I am happy. But let me tell you why I’m happy.
I am not happy because some nights I stay up until 2AM studying.
I am not happy because sometimes I have to skip going to the mall to prepare for an exam.
I am not happy because I have to take exams or quizzes every Friday.
I am not happy because I have a heavier workload than many of my friends.
I am happy because I am doing and studying to do what I love. Every day I am surrounded by programming languages and computer concepts and Boolean Algebra.
Is it hard? Oh yeah.
Does my brain hurt sometimes? Most definitely.
But do I love it? Oh yes.
Is it worth it? Undoubtedly.
Welcome back to school, my people. You may not feel great and it may not seem to be much of a celebration, but I promise you, this is a stepping stone, a mere ladder rung, to something even greater.