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You Can’t Get the Highs Without the Lows

I told myself that during these past two semesters, I was going to make the best out of my time back home even though it didn’t look how I was expecting to. Instead of being with my friends on campus doing whatever college students normally do, I had to learn how to be there for myself in a place far from campus. It was definitely a bumpy ride. However, it was a journey that I somehow managed to achieve, and I wanted to reflect on my journey with you. 

There was that span of time during the fall semester when I was flooded with a bunch of work. I was still trying to figure out my time management skills while also taking classes that I didn’t have much interest in, but were required for my degree. I was more stressed out than usual and really asked myself if there was a better lifestyle that I could create for myself. I wanted to know how I could get my work done without disrupting the emotional and mental balance that I wanted to achieve. 

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During Thanksgiving and winter break, I purposely gave myself time to breathe. This was when I noticed that I was more self-aware about my emotions and was reflective about the past situations that were bothering me. This time definitely encouraged me to really look at who I was as a person and how I wanted to change my lifestyle to become a better version of myself. I remember there were days that I was unmotivated, but there was a voice inside of me that told me that I was always capable of making my days better. I made the effort to take care of my body by eating healthier or working out a bit more. I discovered — or rediscovered — hobbies that brought me some sort of satisfaction to my day. There were many other tiny changes that I made, but those changes really helped me become more confident about what I could accomplish in the future. It gave me the opportunity to envision and work for the kind of life that I can look forward to.

To integrate my work with my change in lifestyle, I knew I needed to make the spring semester look different compared to the fall semester. I made the decision of taking courses that helped me focus on one difficult class while taking two other fun and informative ones. I also decided to start working in increments with a bunch of breaks in between, and it helped decrease the number of times I felt overwhelmed throughout the semester. I also made the effort to not make my semester all about work, so I decided to find organizations on campus that coincided with my hobbies and passions. I auditioned for a dance crew at my university (through Zoom) and applied for Her Campus! Eventually, I got into both, and they helped me a lot with self-reflection and improving my self-confidence. 

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Since we’re very close to the end of the spring semester, I am glad that I can look back and see how much I have accomplished for my own self-growth in such a strange and transformative time in history. I am pretty sure many of us can say that it wasn’t what we were expecting, but we still got through it! It amazes me how capable we are of going through very stressful and difficult times, but I think the hard times are a reminder of the good moments in time that we can create for ourselves. We just need to believe in ourselves enough to make the changes in our lives that can get us to those highs to balance out the lows. I hope this reflection was helpful in some shape or form, and I wish you a happy and healthy summer.

Sapna Parihar

U Mass Amherst '23

Sapna is a member of the University of Massachusetts Amherst chapter from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a junior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Psychology. Sapna is excited to continue writing about wellness and anything else that revolves around her passions. Her interests include dancing, crocheting, listening to R&B and Pop, and reading self-help books.
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