There once was a time in my life when I believed in perfection. Whether it involved my grades, my personal friendships and relationships, or simply the way I was choosing to present myself to the world, I strove to maintain a certain sense of flawlessness in all aspects of my life. That was, of course, before I came to realize that these notions of perfection are unattainable. As life tends to move rapidly before our eyes, we often tend not to focus greatly on the changes occurring until we designate the time to reflect on them. Within these moments of reflection, it is natural to think that one may feel overwhelmed. Yet, the true resolution to overcoming this feeling lies within the ways that we choose to approach it.

After completing almost two years of college, I have come to realize that my personal experiences throughout this time period have played a significant role in shaping me into the person I am today. I remain grateful, as they have consisted mostly of moments of happiness and growth - though that is not to say that I have not faced hardships. In days of old when I was forced face to face with intense stress, there had been times when I simply did not know how to cope. Instead of acknowledging my sources of struggle, I would choose to be counterproductive and continue to push myself to my limits. It was not until my sophomore year that I realized I needed to make a change.

Over the past few months, I am proud to say that I have begun engaging in more self-care.

More often than not, the first thought that comes to mind when a college girl says "self-care" is an expensive face mask and a bottle of wine. Though I am in favor of both, my journey has helped me to understand that self-care embodies so much more than what is perceived. In essence, I now understand that it is acceptable to spend a day in bed if necessary - to decline an invitation for a night out and catch up on school work. It is acceptable to spend an hour at the gym to feel your best, or to indulge in cravings in moderation. It is acceptable to remove toxicity from your life, and it is acceptable to be forgiving of those who have hurt you so that you may heal. Most importantly, it is unapologetically acceptable to do whatever you believe will make you happy.

By adapting my behavior to acknowledge and fulfill these deeper standards of self-care, I say with ease that it has changed my life for the better. My disposition is softer and my heart is lighter - both things I may never have come to change if I had not decided to take better care of myself.