The final exam period is over – and I am so happy to be home for the holidays!
As 2019 is coming to an end, it is time to reflect on everything that has happened over the past year. Of course, I could not be more excited to have the chance to do some personal writing for the first time in weeks. 2019 was a year of constant transition. But thankfully, it was also a year of growth. Where I am now and where I was a year ago are completely different places. But honestly, I am happy with the direction that things are moving.
I am not going to lie, 2019 was filled with some pretty low points. I struggled a lot this year with self-doubt. Living away from home is always difficult. You are forced to self-advocate for your needs, and have only yourself to blame when things go wrong. You are given the opportunity to examine who you are and what you want. The thing is, nobody really talks about what happens when you feel lost. I got into a bit of funk at the beginning of the year. It seemed like I was just going through the motions with no real direction or passion. I don’t let these feelings surface often, and I tend to absorb the needs of others before myself. I know this is something that a lot of twenty-somethings struggle with. As students we are pushed to have a direction. We are expected to know what we want, where we are going and how to get there, with little guidance. This can build character and inspire growth, but when it’s not done right we set ourselves up for failure. The problem is, a lot of twenty-somethings don’t know what they want. Rarely, are we given the time, space or resources to figure it out. When we do feel lost, we are seen as unmotivated, lazy or personally conflicted. Nobody acknowledges that the system might be flawed, instead they pile on the pressure and hope this is enough to push us forward. What if it isn’t? What happens when students fall through the cracks? It is frightening the amount of people that are having an identity crisis in their twenties. Unfortunately, the system traps us.
We graduate and we are hard pressed to find a job in our fields. The market is competitive and this doesn’t happen overnight. We have just spent four+ years, and thousands of dollars to get our degrees. Now what? We have so much debt, that we are forced to take any job that we can find. We go on job interview after job interview, to try and find a purpose. This creates an immense amount of pressure on students. Not only after graduation, but during our degrees too. On top of academics, we are pushed to do anything and everything that we can to set us apart from the people sitting next to us. Extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, jobs, volunteering – you name it. Students are harming themselves in the process for just trying to stand out, to be seen. This adds layer on layer of pressure. When we are exhausted, we are told to push further, to push harder, that it is it part of the system and necessary for success. Students are breaking and the result is horrible. I was always under the assumption that if I ever needed serious help I would be able to get it on campus, no problem. That’s not the case at all. After my experience working with students, it is so hard to get help. The resources available are understaffed, underfunded, overcrowded and difficult to access. No wonder students are crumbling. The system has taken away the element of self-exploration, that is what your twenties are about. We are not given the space to fail, to switch directions or to figure out who we are, because the process takes such a big toll on our lives. Time spent, money invested and so much stress endured. Students are desperate for a change.
I struggled with all of these feelings this year, and it set me back. I questioned my degree, my social circle, my relationship and myself. It was year of constant transition to build myself back up. I do not have it figured out, but I am finally okay with that. As much as the system glorifies direction, there is beauty in the chaos. Even though nobody talks about it, you have the power to change every dynamic in your life. It will be the hardest thing you do, but it is worth it. You are not obligated to think certain way. You are not bound to include anybody or anything in your life that you don’t want there. People move on and things change. That doesn’t have to be a sad thing. I think it is important to appreciate that everybody is a work in progress, and we need to give each other that space. If we don’t initiate it, it will never happen.
I have made some pretty drastic changes in my life this year. I have had to relearn how to be alone and revaluate the people that I want in my life. I am really happy with where I am. Even happier that I have the opportunity to keep growing in the new year. A big part of this transition has been moving into my new place. I have met some amazing people this year that have helped pull me out of my funk.
I can always count on Zar to remind me to take care of myself. She forces me to take the time and space that I need. She is the best beer pong partner and guitar hero co-star that I have ever had. She really has a positivity that lights up the room. Celly has inspired me to push myself and be creative. I can always count on her to show me the best music, and water my plants when I am not home. Her energy is contagious and I know she has my back no matter what. Erin is always calm as can be, and she knows how to help me through any crisis. She always asks how my day went, and will never say no to helping me finish a bottle of wine. I can always turn to Tay for fashion advice, and even though I don’t see her every day, I know she is only a phone call away. Then there is Dre, she is my rock. I can always count on her to brighten my mood, and she gives the best advice. I know I can talk to her about absolutely anything, and there will never be any judgement. These girls have made a huge difference in my life and I am grateful every day that I get to spend with them. Truly, that’s what it is all about. Having people in your life that want you to be the best version of yourself.
My family has been a huge support system as well, especially my sister. Even from another country she manages to keep me in check. With every update, picture and text she sends, she puts smile on my face. I am so proud of everything she has done this year, and how much she has grown as a person following her sense of adventure. Thanks P! Love you always.
I have put a lot of time into myself this year, and that is something that does not come naturally to me. It has been a conscious effort to validate where I am every day. To set boundaries for my time and my efforts. I am proud with how far I have come, and I cannot wait to see what the new year holds.
I urge you to reflect on the past year as well. Reflection is a huge part of growth, and I promise you will be surprised with what you discover.
2020 is a fresh start, let’s make the best of it. Happy Holidays!