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

One of the most important realizations that I have had during quarantine is how powerful your mindset can be. It affects how you view yourself and the world. None of us ever expected that the world would be where it is at right now. I never expected to be taking online classes from my childhood bedroom during my third year of college. In fact, I had planned to be studying and interning abroad in London this semester. When hard situations like COVID-19 arise, there are two ways to go about it: sit there and do nothing about it or accept it and try to move forward. I am not saying you must move forward right away because we are still human; however, sitting there and complaining should not be the end all be all. There came a point when I told myself it was time to act on this adversity. Quarantine has given me a lot of free time to think, think, and think. I found myself overthinking everything and it started to take a toll on me. I did not like the place I was in mentally and needed a change starting from my mindset. 

Stop “should-ing” yourself

I first learned this mentality from Lauren Elizabeth’s podcast called MOOD during quarantine and it really resonated with me. It is so easy to get reeled into the expectations of society and compare ourselves to others. But the thing is, we are all different and have our own unique paths in life. When you “should” all over yourself, you are constantly telling yourself things like “I should have my life together like her,” “I should be working instead of sitting around at home” or “I should be waking up at 8 A.M. everyday.” I realized that I “should” myself so often that I am ultimately setting myself up for unproductive thinking and shame. 

What is filling your mind with these thoughts going to do? Is it going to get you anywhere? From personal experience, it got me nowhere except it made me feel more down. It is important to realize that there is no such thing as perfection and life is all about constant growth. What works for some people does not work for others. Even successful people who may seem like they have everything together still “should” themselves. But instead of “should-ing yourself,” ask yourself what practical steps you could be taking to reach your goal. Focus on what you realistically can do! 

Take a step back 

Whether you are busy with school, work or even lost in your own thoughts, it is important to take a step back and enjoy what is simply right in front of you. When I got caught up in a hustle mindset, it got easier to neglect my surroundings. I was focused on how the pandemic negatively affected the plans I had made for the rest of the year and its overall impact on the rest of my college experience. I often caught myself living in the past or living in the future, but not in the present moment. But what I realized was that living in the moment is what creates those great memories you will be able to look back at as part of your past. This encouraged me to embrace what I have now. I learned to appreciate more family time which is something that is only possible because of this lockdown, reconnect with my home friends and enjoy the nice warm weather here at home in SoCal compared to the chilly weather in San Francisco.

This has been a challenging time for all of us and the last thing you want to do is be too hard on yourself. Your mindset impacts your relationships, mental health, work ethic, confidence and more. Take some time to focus on what is best for your mental health and know that you are exactly where you need to be in this very moment. Let go of the “should” mentality and live in the present moment. You will thank yourself later for it! 

Kayla is a third year Communications Studies major and General Business minor and the Marketing and Publicity Director for the USFCA Chapter of Her Campus. She loves lifestyle content and hopes to contribute related content in her articles. Outside of school and work, you can find her watching sunsets at the beach, scrolling on Pinterest, or rewatching an old episode of FRIENDS.
Her Campus USFCA contributors are all exemplery young women at the University of San Francisco in San Francisco, California! Founded in 2020, Her Campus USFCA has grown rapidly to represent our diverse campus community through the unique expression that Her Campus allows. Here readers will find communally contributed articles as well as anonymous articles written by our chapter. We hope that you enjoy these pieces!