As of the first week of May, my sophomore year is over. I am halfway through my undergraduate college career. The past fall and spring semesters have been filled with wonder, laughter, tears, and stress. My sophomore year has been an incredible year overall. I have really thrived in my classes and enjoyed the content. My clubs, activities, and work have brought so much joy to my life and kept me busy!
I have noticed that over sophomore year, unfortunately, worry allowed life to pass me by. I really struggled to be present in the happy moments. I found worry in the simplest things like friendships, homework, or even just thinking about the future. The negative moments seemed all-consuming and filled me with self-doubt. Self-doubt about my success and the future was draining. However, the negative moments have taught me to grow.
When faced with any self-doubt, it was difficult to be productive as all I could seem to do was call my mom or sleep. Everything felt overwhelming. In the past, I always felt the need to justify my unproductivity by studying extra hours or deep cleaning my room. I found myself comparing my productivity to others. Now, I still complete the work I put off, but I have learned to give myself more grace. I learned that I have never been in comparison to others. I am my own dedicated, hard working person. Justified or not, I am fully allowed to do what is best for me. For example, if I need a break from homework an hour after I wake up, so be it! No justification is needed.
By treating myself gentler with or without justification, I have learned how to grow from past connections this year. Although I pretend I am a confident, independent person, I am a people-pleaser at heart. I love being connected with others. It hurt when past friendships seemed to turn from warm to unwelcoming in the past semester. The hurt manifested into insecurity. However, learning to grow from these friendships has taught me to value myself. All of these friends have served their purpose for me and allowed us all to flourish.
Although negative moments have been difficult to work through the past semester, I have developed amazing new coping strategies to regulate new, uncomfortable emotions. In February, I gave up TikTok. A week ago, I deleted Instagram. Being away from social media is freeing! I feel so much lighter as I am not keeping up with comment threads about drama or who is tagged in that Instagram photo. In the past, my typical coping strategy for stress was spending hours on TikTok. I would leave the app feeling more drained. Rather than going on social media, I have opted to be outside, walk, write, or even just sit and do nothing. These strategies are much more recharging. Another new strategy I have discovered is writing down everything I am grateful for every night whether in a journal or on my notes app. It really allows me to see the light at the end of every day. Although I gained a lot of academic knowledge through my classes in the past year, unlocking these strategies will aid me through the rest of my life.
The past year has truly been a wonderful time of growth academically, socially, and personally. Despite all the self-doubt and uncomfortable moments, I have been able to learn from them. I am so proud of all I have accomplished and cannot wait to recharge this summer. I hope to flourish even more as I enter Junior year.