Keys to Recognizing Your Struggles and Moving Forward

In college, a lot of my friends, colleagues, and classmates like to compare how stressed out, overworked, and tired they are. It is a constant competition between who worked the hardest and feels the most underappreciated. When the people around me start to share their daily struggles, it is easy to fall into a trap and feel the need to chime in on my recent stress as well in order to fit in. I have to remind myself; just because the people around me are stressed out or unhappy doesn’t mean I have to feel guilty for feeling happy. I am worthy of being happy. I am worthy of happiness.

That being said, even though I don’t want to feel ashamed for feeling happy amidst the crowds of the stressed and overworked, you shouldn’t feel ashamed for feeling stressed or overworked! Listen to the wise words of Minna B, the founder of Respect Your Struggle, “I am worthy - it does not matter how dirty my past is, how many mistakes I’ve made, or how many errors I’ve tallied up in life. My life is deserving of its best chance and I will continue my walk unashamed of my humanness.”

Life isn’t about being perfect, it is about being human. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has ups and downs. Some people have more ups than downs and others have more downs than ups. It is important to understand that the person next to you is walking a different road with a different struggle.

They are worthy, you are worthy, and I am worthy and deserving of the best life we can make for ourselves and we should be unashamed of our humanness.

Here's what other UC students have to say about overcoming their mistakes and recognizing their humanness:

"My biggest struggle by far was making the decision to transfer back to UC. I was worried about what other people would think since I was giving up my full ride at OSU, but I ended up doing it because it was best for my happiness and health. Sometimes you have to just take care of yourself and not worry about what others think because at the end of the day, you have only yourself and your own happiness." – Ellie Coggins, Senior

"Despite struggling academically growing up as a kid, crying nightly from not understanding, and being made to feel less than others by my classmates, I've proven everyone wrong as I am set to graduate with two degrees this spring. Increasing my self-esteem and self-care played a large role in my academic performance, and seeing a steady increase in not only grades but taking on leadership roles for the first was my moment of feeling empowered." – Emily Ramirez, Senior

"I was kicked off the soccer team my senior year for standing up to the coach. He wasn't a good coach and I had to stand up for what I thought was right. I moved forward by relishing the fact that it the sparked momentum to build a better women's soccer program. The girls' love for the sport was being destroyed by one negative influence, and I said things I shouldn't have, but I don't look back or regret any of it." – Meg O'Hara, Junior 

"When I was in 6th grade my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and I wasn't young enough to not understand at all but I wasn't old enough to be mature. I wish I could have been there more for my mom as I would be now. And I regret saying some of the things I did. Thankfully my mom survived and our relationship is better than it's ever been." – Erin Hagan, Junior

"The most daunting challenge I’ve had to face was that of truly learning to love myself, and cut myself some slack when needed. To ultimately, positively affect the lives of others, we must develop a sense of who we are, and the first step to any amount of true growth is understanding your worth - your intelligence, your beauty, your value - and most importantly, understanding that that worth isn’t contingent on any anatomy grade, relationship status, or job title." – Emily Wentz, Sophomore




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