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I’m *Not* That Girl: The biggest lesson I’ve learnt whilst trying to get my s**t together

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

Turning the Tik Tok “That Girl” trend on its head

I’m That Girl who has breakdowns when the workload is one task more than I’m used to. I’m That Girl who wants to be busy but is always tired. I’m That Girl who brags on Linkedin but has no idea what to do after university. I’m That Girl who hates essay writing but chose a humanities degree. I’m That Girl who chose to publicly share what I’ve learnt after failing time and time again. 

Failing is my favourite F-word. Loaded with the weight of your shortcomings or mistakes, it’s a word that like many others, I’ve worked tirelessly to avoid. In the last year, I’ve completely changed what this word means to me, even if the Oxford dictionary doesn’t like it… Failing is something I do every day, and I’m learning to not be afraid of it. So often as women we’re told, either explicitly or through subliminal messages, that failing or messing up is not an option. The women before us have fought for our rights and a seat at the table, but once we’re there we can’t mess up the opportunity in front of us.

One afternoon, my housemate sent me this wonderful message, “Can I ask? You seem really like you’ve got your life together. Idk if it’s a facade but I’d like personal tutoring in this and am willing to pay big bucks.” 

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This was probably the funniest message that’s ever been pinged through my Whatsapp. 

I love that people think I have my life together, but throw a stone and you’ll hit five people who’ll laugh and tell you the complete opposite. 

My year abroad was one of the scariest and most exhilarating times of my life. The move abroad was really tough, you never realize how much you do in daily life that you have to start all over again. The first hurdle was probably the biggest I faced, I was scammed out of an apartment and lost £700. Not only was this a massive financial blow that I had to find my way out of, but I felt like such an idiot that fell for what, in retrospect, was an obvious scam. In the end, I found different accommodation and it couldn’t have turned out any better. I met the most fantastic people who were a joy to live with and enriched my experience in Lisbon.

This was proof that everything is temporary. The immediate spiraling I threw myself into and the panic I sent down the phone to my incredibly patient friend, only lasted a day. That day, although horrific and seemingly never-ending, was forgotten about when I found myself surrounded by my new flatmates. I would never have met these people if I hadn’t had to find the last room available in the whole of Lisbon. Ups and downs are a natural part of life, the ebb and flow of energy means it’s inevitable that things won’t always go our way. 

When learning how to surf, my Thor-like instructor told me time and time again to “Ride the wave”, which feels like an obvious comment to make. What he meant was that every time I felt like I was going to fall off the board or was scared of getting tackled by a wave, I needed to breathe into it and let the natural movement of the wave take me. By ignoring my instincts to just jump off the board and hope for the best, I planted my feet and stayed steady. Surfing was always much more thrilling when there were frequent big waves, floating around on my board on still water got boring after a while. I had to have faith that no matter how strong the ocean was on those days, I’d always end up on the sand with a smile on my face. You can’t surf without the wave, and you can’t be truly alive without the rhythmic highs and lows of life. Just as a wave swells and breaks violently, then comes to shore calmly and softly, life does the same.

I’ve proven to myself that I actually can do it. I found myself so many times throughout my life, practically looking up to the sky and asking “Why did this happen to me? It’s not fair.” It’s also easy to try and forget our mishaps, pushing to the back of our minds what we are too embarrassed to face. The thing is, these blunders are what make me, me. 

I see myself as constantly transforming and growing. The peaks and valleys are unavoidable. Even though that strikes fear into my heart, I’m invested in nurturing my own development.

“Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going because a straight line even in an ECG means we are not alive.”

Ratan Tata

I’m a Hispanic Studies student (Spanish, Portuguese & Catalan) at the University of Bristol! I love all things musical theatre and having a boogie!