I mean does one really need to explain why they chose New York over going to classes? Kinda. Once a semester when I feel overwhelmed with school I book a ticket to someplace I think will alleviate my stress and put me back in a healthy studying mindset.
Last year, it was travelling 14 hours on a Greyhound back to my hometown Pembroke, ON for just two days. The year before that, it was a solo trip to Toronto. The year before that, it was heading to Ottawa for a few days of no stress. This year, as you can guess from the title, it’s New York.
Many of my fellow student peers do not agree with my pre-planned plans to skip school. They deem it “irresponsible,” but I’m doing this because in university culture we’re taught to always study, and a break means you’re slacking. If you don’t say you’re studying, chances are you aren’t the most studious of students.
To be fair I fell into that “Club Weldon” trend in my first semester where I spent most of my hours at the Weldon (and Taylor) library from opening to closing studying an unhealthy amount. Studying to the point where I just couldn’t anymore and sat looking at my notes blankly.
The mindset took a large toll on my mental health. My grades dropped abnormally low and because I was used to being top of my class, it really affected how I viewed myself—not good considering how much I thought my self-worth was attached to how high I scored in every class.
That’s why in my second semester of first year, I decided to travel eight hours to go see my sister in the middle of the term without any explanation. At home, I felt a little more rooted and although I was feeling conflicted, I felt having that breath away from school via an unsanctioned holiday (I’ve deemed it Cindependence Week—my name and independence in one word, I thought it was pretty clever) really allowed me to regroup my thoughts. This inturn allowed me to become more happy mentally because it reminded me that I still had places to go and things to learn.
Since that week in March, I’ve decided to take a much needed break from school for my mental well-being once per term and I can honestly say it has helped me a lot.
Now on the title of this article why New York, Cindy? Well, when I pick places to go I consider the need for the trip. Do I have the money? How far is it? Do I need family comfort? This time around I chose New York because I feel unprepared for what will come after fourth year.
I’m supposed to have my life planned out since I’m graduating this year, and I really don’t know where I will be after April. Will I be in grad school? Will I be accepted? What happens if I’m not?
As these questions consume me, the one place that comes to mind is New York. I want to be in New York. I feel it’s a place that has a lot to give to a person—something for everyone. As an aspiring journalist, I think it’s how powerful the art scene is in the city and the multitude of opportunities it has in terms of education and job prospects.
In a way you can say this trip is a lot about finding my future self, but at the same time I want to tell the people of our generation that it’s okay to take an unsanctioned break. But if you really need a big break it’s probably a good idea to tell your professors so they don’t worry you. ;)
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