These past ten or so weeks proved to be some of the most stressful and frustrating days I’ve ever seen in my 3+ years as an undergrad. Be that as it may, though, with every struggle came great rewards, and I wouldn’t trade this past quarter for anything (except maybe for better grades. Oh well).
On multiple occasions, I was pushed to my absolute limit, and I came to my breaking point more than I would have liked to. None of that is surprising, considering the fact that I worked 20 hours a week, had a full course load consisting mostly of Math classes, 2 vice presidencies, all while trying to maintain both my social life and sanity. Despite my incredibly full plate and seemingly never-ending to-do lists, there were points where the quarter seemed to drag on and on with no end in sight. Yet here I am, sitting inside of a Starbucks back at home in Sacramento, reflecting on the ten week snafu that was Fall quarter.
But aside from the stress that dog-piled me constantly this past quarter, there were also the amazing experiences and opportunities that came my way. One of those was the opportunity to feed the homeless on Skid Row for Thanksgiving. You can get a full recount of that event here. That experience not only inspired me to get more involved with philanthropic endeavors in the future, but also allowed me to see life through different eyes.
Other positive experiences include being able to see Demi Lovato live in concert, hiking up to the Hollywood sign with one of my very best friends, and also being able to celebrate my 21st birthday with some of my closest friends. But one of the best things that happened to me this past quarter was embarking on a journey to better my relationship with God. I like to tell people that this happened by accident, but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past three years, it’s that some of the best experiences can’t be planned, and only happen by accident. I was able to rekindle my faith, and the best part of it was that I was able to meet some incredible people along the way, all of whom are on the same journey as I am. In an attempt to keep this post from running too long, I’ll elaborate on that in a future post.
It was experiences like those that reassure me that I will always have people there to support me. There are always going to be people who come and go in your life, but it’s the ones that stick around that make the entire adventure worth while. I’ve learned to not lose sleep over the people who’ve decided not to stay, and I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that you can’t always keep everyone around. There is always going to be someone who cares, and it is those people that you should turn to.
Finally, I’ve learned to be strong, to not be hard on myself all the time. There is no shame in asking for help, whether it’s for an assignment or in your personal life. I used to think that I needed to show that I could handle myself and be independent, and I used to believe that asking for help was demeaning and an incredible blow to my ego. But if anything, asking for help when you need it doesn’t show weakness – it shows strength and perseverance. Life is too short to be stumbling around doing the wrong things and trying to figure things out on your own. The greatest adventure in life is having someone there to share it with you.
I did have my share of existential crises this past quarter, but with those came moments of clarity. I refuse to let my Fall Quarter be defined by the meltdowns and negative moments I had, because in between those meltdowns were positive experiences, and it was those experiences that taught me not to be so hard on myself all the time. Even if I’m having a miserable time, it won’t last forever. Now having one quarter of the academic year under my belt, I know I can take on whatever is next to come. It’s only going to get tougher from here, but it’s the challenges that you are faced with that makes life so exciting. The finish line is now within my line of sight, and once Winter quarter starts, I’m ready to hit the ground sprinting.