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A Slightly Cynical, Good-Hearted Take on Self-Reflection

Last quarter kicked my ass. It threw me down, kicked me, and stood on me for five weeks until I finally figured out how to release myself from its grip. From taking 17 units, working four days a week, doing an internship, being a member in clubs and a sorority, and helping coach a middle school volleyball team, I have been spread a little too thin. However, last quarter has taught me a lot about myself, which seems to be the best silver lining. This article may not be helpful for many, but it’s reflective, and I think the new year allows me to reflect on last quarter's wins, the “L’s”, and everything in between. I encourage everyone to reflect as well on the quarter and the year so that for 2019, we can start off on the foot we want.

Here are a few things I learned last quarter that helped me SURVIVE its chokehold:

1. Saying no is OKAY.

I am a people pleaser by nature. I want to help others, please others, and stay busy. But my constant reply of “yes” left me with too much to do, a lot of internal and external pressure, and almost no time for myself. I caused myself a lot of pain trying to do everything. It took some time and a lot of phone calls with my mom to realize that cutting down on some of my commitments could improve my well-being and reduce my stress levels that reached an all time high last quarter.

2. Make time for yourself.

This goes hand in hand with saying “no”. I had to say no a few times to events, outings or meetings to give my introverted extrovert self the time I needed. Whether that was taking a nap, watching a movie, or literally just cooking myself a meal, I learned that planning time for me gave me something to look forward to on really busy days, which made the day feel more achievable.

3. Feeling feelings is normal.

I do not like to feel a lot of feelings because I get stressed by their uncertainty (is anyone sensing a trend here?). I learned last quarter that truly letting myself feel vulnerable won’t kill me, and I thought it would actually cause me to stop breathing. I let myself experience vulnerability this quarter. I did not care for it. I really thought it sucked. But I felt “the feels” on many different spectrums and levels, I let them sink deep down into my skin, and then I slowly moved on, which actually made me feel stronger than when I had repressed that vulnerability. I felt that if I could conquer what were foreign, uncomfortable emotions to me, then I was ready for any future stressor, event or feeling.

4. FRIENDS ROCK!

Lastly, I learned that my friends are what got me through one hell of a quarter. Facetiming friends from home, watching trashy TV late at night while “studying” with my housemates, or getting dinner with new friends gave my head and my heart a rest. If it weren’t for their encouragement and their “being there”, I don’t know how last quarter would have gone.

Last quarter gave me valuable insight, and frankly, I am still trying to take these realizations to heart. I don’t give good advice, nor do I listen to advice, especially my own, so truly internalizing these things will be my next feat. I am also not much of a New Year’s resolution person, but I think that reflecting after anything significant is helpful. So I encourage everyone to reflect on something from last quarter or last year that you thought was hard or transformational or frustrating. I think we are never done growing, and lessons can be found in everything we do.

Take my recommendation or don’t. I usually don’t follow what I tell myself. But I can feel myself growing, and I think that is something valuable, and I want you to feel it, too.