The 20 Somethings: CTRL and the Year of Enlightenment

“For what it’s worth…. it’s never too late or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you are proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”  - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Nothing could have ever prepared me for the self-transformation and personal growth I have made in the past two years since I arrived at college. You have heard the cliché saying “everything happens for a reason” so often, you regard it with a cautious grain of salt until you let the chips fall into place. This summer and these past few weeks since the semester started has given me plenty of time for reflection and self-assessment of different areas in my life ranging from personal to relationships and academic/career based. Any chain of events this past year did not occur on coincidence. It required a great deal from me to adapt to the following: patience, forgiveness, accountability, meticulous planning and embracing failures and setbacks. I certainly would not say that I have this “figured out” because who does? There is always room for improvement because life is all about trial and error. Continuously learning and living and hoping that if we do both so freely, we may attain far more than what we are looking for.

Say No and Put Self Care First!

I started a personal ritual that I learned from watching a Ted Talk on time management. Friday afternoons for an hour are designated to sit in silence and summarize the week both in my head and on paper. I highlighted and made notes on my mental and emotional wellbeing, physical activity and meditation, penned down my social wellness and relationships as well as spiritual wellness for the week. It has benefited me to use this as a benchmark on my interactions with others and ways to manage stress and increase productivity. Following this, I write some goals for the following week, month and longer term. I sticky-note positive affirmations and put them on mirrors, my desk, fridge, places in my room and house that will catch my eye. For a very long time, I was constantly working myself around my schedule instead of working my schedule around me. Instead of saying no to others, I overloaded my plate of responsibilities and favors without a regard for my own needs and wants. One day, I declared that was going to change and I have not looked back ever since. Little by little, I was doing what the kids say nowadays as “reclaiming my time.” With good reason, I was no longer trying to be at every function because my friends wanted to go or doing favors for others at the most inconvenient time. I still struggle with it, but it has been a step in the right direction. I did not make myself so accessible and available to people and it feels amazing. In the past, often I would have to leave campus to get some peace and quality alone time that still stimulated me to get work done, read a good book or just wander around the city.

Spirituality: Getting Right with God (or any higher being)

I did not know about attending Mass until almost sophomore year and once I did, I started to go regularly. Some events that played out since arriving to college made me feel so out of touch with God and my spirituality. Mind you, my own church is in West Philadelphia and when I did go, I only wanted to be there to pray and then duck people my parents know there when “social hour” starts. Feeling connected to a higher spirit was so important to me growing up and it felt like betrayal to not be in the right headspace to seek it. I set time aside to read the Bible and study it when I could and if I couldn’t, pray a few times a day. Slowly but surely, I felt more at ease to have mended the relationship I have with God when I made it a priority and essential to my everyday lifestyle.

Faith Above Failure to Believe in Your Success  

Those moments when everything does NOT go according to plan are awful. When you experience a bad grade, missed opportunity, or do not feel like you are “where I need to be” in comparison to your friends or peers is devastating. We all experience it. It is what your next moves are when you feel like this, that matter the most. I switched my major a few times in good conscious because I was never brave enough to believe in my blessings and abilities to study to become a competent doctor. I decided that I am my only competition and there was nothing in between my life as a student now and the potential I have. It is incredibly difficult to be so honest with yourself about your deepest fears and biggest dreams and making decisions that can change what you want to accomplish and the possible obstacles you may face. Through and through, I’ve learned that there is no one in this world more aware of your needs and wants more than yourself.

Accountability Is A Major KEY: Take CTRL

This past year I have had an unprecedented amount of personal growth and I am excited for what the twenties has in store for me. Protecting my peace, setting goals to secure my future and remaining positive and open-minded are fundamental to working (not waiting) to “live your best life.” People always talk about waiting for their “glo” or when they think they have reached their peak in life before everything becomes boring and mundane after. By that, they mean when they must pay those student loans back and worry about still being single and not travelling as much as they wanted to. I have this huge confession to make to you. What if your whole life was your peak? Reconstructing this mentality begs the question of what are you willing to work for and take charge of? We are not always in control, in fact, things are not going to go our way about 9 out of 10 times. That means there is still ONE chance, ONE way for it to work in our favor but nothing works with waiting. It’s a lie. Life is full of uncertainty and lots of surprises but what is for you will not miss you…. Unless you wait around and miss it. God Bless them twenty-somethings! “SZA’s Mother: And if it's an illusion, I don't want to wake up. I'm gonna hang on to it. Because the alternative is an abyss, is just a hole, a darkness, a nothingness. Who wants that? You know? So that's what I think about control, and that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it”.

By: Betty Mulugeta, La Salle'20