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

1: To Trust My Process

As a Black woman in predominantly white spaces and as a first-generation child of immigrants — imposter syndrome can definitely creep in and spark comparisons of myself to so many people around me. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s this: don’t listen. It’s not real. It’s often easier said than done; however, my process and my story are exactly that. Mine. No one on this planet can ever take that away from me, and I should treat it as such. As I have crept closer and closer to life after undergrad, it seems all I can think about is what’s next. Then the comparison came, “Oh wow, this person is already taking the LSAT.” “This person moved and got their dream job.” A wise person once said that comparison is the thief of all joy, and my god, it couldn’t be more true.

I had to take a step back and really visualize things from the standpoint and comparison of my life’s journey only. After all, you are your greatest competition. I needed to take the time to celebrate what I have accomplished. I have worked diligently since coming to college. I have worked hard all of my life. I have always tried to make the best of what I have, and I don’t have one piece of evidence to prove otherwise. I will get where I want to be because every year, I look back, and I’m perpetually amazed by how much I withstand and persevere. Sure, I’m not there yet. But the goals are clear, and the plans on how to get there may be ever-changing, but my verve and tenacity can never be denied. You shouldn’t deny what’s yours, either. And alas, it’s okay to take a godamn break.

2: No One Has Got You Better Than You

I have found myself saying, “If it’s up to me, I’m in great hands.” In my final year of undergrad, I have genuinely begun to understand what self-love is, and how important it is to be able to take care of yourself in times of hardship. We’re constantly evolving, and I believe learning to take care of yourself is a continuous learning process. Creating boundaries and upholding them, knowing when you’re overextending yourself, and knowing to say no are all ways in which I’ve been practicing having my own back. I’ve learned that you are the model for how other people will treat you. If you can’t set a precedent for what you want to hold space for in your life and what you will not tolerate, how can you expect others to treat you otherwise? You will always be your greatest investment.

3: Turn My Pain Into Something

2023 has honestly been one of my best years in undergrad so far. Even though I was hurt continuously and realized that there were still different types of pain for me to experience, I understood that the ways in which I came out of those circumstances were what mattered the most. Sequentially, how I dealt with my pain and how I chose to deal with it moving forward also taught me a lot about myself. 

I am a firm believer in having your aura transcend outside of your being and having your energy be felt. I, in turn, am also a firm believer that you can turn sadness, grief, worry, or what have you — that cultivates itself in your body into something cathartic. Sometimes, for me, I dance until I feel alive again. Sometimes, it’s writing in my journal. Sometimes, it’s setting myself up to have new opportunities and travel. The things that affect us negatively without choice can transform into something beautiful with intention.

4: To Surround Myself  With Good People

My village is everything to me. They say that the people you keep around you are a reflection of yourself, and growing into the woman I am today is also because of the amazing people around me. There are so many traits and characteristics I admire about my close friends. I truly believe everyone that I love lives life with such grace, and I aspire to be them in many ways. Understanding what good people meant was definitely a journey, and this correlates to item number #2 on this list. Learning to create boundaries has also cleared draining people out of my life and made space for new people with healthier mindsets. Make sure you have people around you who uplift you and push you to strive to be better. I look forward to expanding my village and encountering more beautiful people on my journey through life. 

5: Always Leave Room For Enjoyment

Ah, this one is my favorite. If 2023  has taught me anything at all, it’s that I love to have a good time. I was always such a serious person when I got to college — in a lot of ways, I still am. I was sort of a prude and deeply enveloped with family responsibilities and school, but when I finally learned to let loose, there was no going back. However, learning to let loose has been one of the most beneficial things I’ve learned in undergrad. It’s distinct for everyone, but it’s probably one of the biggest secrets to a life of longevity. Positive experiences live with you forever; don’t deny yourself of them.

Stephanie Sika

CU Boulder '24

Stephanie Dzidzor Sika, who goes by Sika, is a Ghanaian-American first generation college student at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her hobbies include dancing, cooking, and writing. Sika is working actively towards informing, sharing, and loving by way of her work as much as she can.