I could be writing this post as a gal who is completely finished with the Spring 2014 Academic Semester but noooooo, I decided to turn in some papers late on May 1st. But for the sake of relatability, as I know that school is ending for many folks all over, I’ve decided to reflect on this very trying and tiring semester. So here are some lessons Spring 2014 taught me:
- Decide what’s more important: mental health or good grades. Since starting graduate school, I always choose mental health. After having a meltdown around this time last night about all of the work that was due at 9AM this morning I decided that I’d rather turn in a couple of assignments late, take a B in my online class, and finish the semester with my sanity in tact. As much as I’d love to have the best grades in class and shatter people’s’ expectations, I really don’t care to stress myself out to impress the next person and I know that in the future I’ll be able to prove my abilities when, where, how, and to whom it matters.
- Go at your own pace – and be content with that pace. Many of the people I started this graduate program with (and a few that started the semester after me) are graduating this Saturday. It stings a little, because I feel like it should be me but I know that my day is coming and I know that every decision I’ve made regarding graduate school was not made by mistake. I’m getting anxious to get out of school and into the workforce but I know that I’ve got to remain patient because there’s more to learn from this chapter in my life.
- Expect the unexpected. I found a boo out of nowhere – well, actually, on OKCupid. It was unexpected because I’d sworn off relationships so that I could focus on school but I realized that the right relationship with the right person isn’t a distraction. My relationship has actually motivated me and helped me focus on what’s important. I also unexpectedly made some professional connections that I hope will materialize into a job that will move me into the next phase of my life. I didn’t have an inkling of a plan but literally within like a week, things started falling into place. Still waiting for some things to become concrete but I’m definitely heading in the right direction now.
- Sometimes you need a break. There have been several times this semester that I’ve been out having fun when I should’ve been working. Do I regret any of it? NO. At the time I felt anxious and guilty because I was letting time slip through my fingers but honestly, spending time with people that mean the most to me doing things I enjoy are just as productive as actually taking care of business.
- Push yourself to do without. For Lent this year I gave up shopping. Not all shopping, but no clothing, shoes, jewelry, purses, or other wearable items that I already have too much of and likely don’t need. It was harder than I thought but looking back, I really don’t feel as though I missed out on anything. When I shop I convince myself that I need something (or many things) and then they end up sitting in my closet until I get the courage to finally give them away because I know I’ll never wear them. I convinced myself that this was ok but my shopping hiatus showed me that I can live for almost two months without new clothing and the world doesn’t end. Oh, and my bank account thanked me too.
- Little things add up to equal big things. When I say things I mean pounds. Of all the things I let fall by the wayside this semester, healthy eating habits and exercise were the two that I let slip the most and I’m absolutely paying for it. According to my health blog Just Do It Dori in January of 2013 I weighed 227 lbs. Throughout the year, I lost almost 30 pounds but by February of 2014 I weighed in at 229 lbs; 2 lbs heavier than when I’d started over a year ago! I don’t even want to know how much I weigh now…I can really tell how badly I messed up because I can’t fit many of the clothes I wore last spring. I can slowly feel the health bug biting at me and I’m determined to make some progress this summer.
- Quit…or at least make some changes. I hate stagnancy and I’d been feeling a lot of it in my life earlier this year. I quit some things and changed a couple of others and doing so has definitely made things better. Nothing is perfect but I definitely see that there is something valuable to be gained from shaking things up. I’m still waiting to hear from the Man upstairs about what my purpose is but until then, I can’t resist changing a few things every now and then in order to explore new possibilities that may help me stumble upon it.
What did you learn this semester? Is your semester over? Wanna help me write this paper? (kidding!) I’d love to hear some other nuggets of wisdom from Spring 2014 in the comments!