The end is near!
Or at least, that’s my hope, being in my fourth year of undergraduate studies.
And yet, the end is already looking somewhat bittersweet. Bitter, because there are still so many things I had thought I would do and experience when I first came in as a starry-eyed freshman those many years ago. Sweet, because I actually made some of those experiences that have enriched my time here happen.
I have to admit that, despite all the fervent promises of a fresh start, my first two years at university, honestly, just sucked. Why? I was doing fine academically (actually, quite well if I do say so myself) and I wasn’t completely friendless. So why was I so miserable? The question haunted me throughout my second year, which ended with some pretty disastrous grades. That was my rock bottom. But, blessings really do come in strange packages because, at that moment, I had nothing left to lose and decided to try something new – getting involved in an extra-curricular.
While I can’t for certain point to extra-curriculars as the reason for my immensely better grades in third year, I can say that I started to look at the university increasingly as a place for opportunities, rather than simply a collection of buildings in which I attended various classes. I’ve also come to learn that, in my case, getting involved was crucially linked to my mental and physical well being. As cheesy as it may sound, doing something outside of the classroom that was meaningful to me was my turning point. It started me on a one-way path, searching out opportunities to partake in campus and student life to enrich my overall university experience.
And so, here I am, in my (hopefully) final year of university enthusiastically trying to cram in as many different experiences as possible.
The result thus far?
Stress. In copious amounts. And a nasty cold the week before classes began. There probably isn’t any direct causal link, but I know that it was definitely not the way I wanted to start the school year.
While coughing my throat raw, I came to realize that there’s a balance that must be struck between work, school, and play in order to be at one’s best (and still enjoy everything at the same time).
The solution in my case was 6”x 4” and beautiful:
I’ve started writing down all of my various responsibilities and deadlines in this Paris-inspired agenda. It takes a little effort, but being more organized has helped immensely with reducing my stress levels. Simply by removing the need to worry and to expend extra energy trying to remember a whole whack of dates and things to do has made everything feel so much more manageable.
This isn’t a miraculous cure-all for stress, and I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to stick to keeping my agenda up-to-date. But, I’m happy – and I’m sure others are as well – to say that I’m no longer snapping at every person I come in contact with. Most importantly, I feel like I have some control over my life again, and that feels good.
À la prochaine!