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Education

Drop The Pencil And Breathe

Learned a little thing called "self-advocacy," and it's pretty amazing.

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Drop The Pencil And Breathe
Fatima Cuenco

Why did I hate myself so much? One time, I went to a leadership workshop that addressed the stress that came with being a student leader. As an intern for my school's student government at that time, no part of me considered myself a leader; but the invitation was enough for me to feel welcome.

It wasn't until then that I realized how mean I was to myself, with the main culprit as comparing myself to others. I was mean in that, I set up these unrealistic goals, like waking up at 5 AM to read- only to wake up a failure. I liked seeing my Google Calendar filling up with so many colors- it made it feel like I was doing more than academics, that I was being involved. The reality of this, however, was that I was forcing myself into these things because I thought I had to catch up on three years worth of experience. The villain in me said I was not enough- that everyone else was doing a lot, and I was not. How silly was I?

I kept feeding myself all these things that took away my focus from my academics to ease this part of me. Coming in as a transfer, there was only a bit of time for me to catch up on three years worth of experience. This was my thought process; and while I was thankful for the experiences I was given, I wish I focused on my academics more. I wish I was able to settle into the system. All I knew was to keep pushing myself, that there was no way there could be something wrong with my mental health. I didn't grow up in a household that talked about mental health; so, there was no way for me to tell if there was something wrong up there.

Maybe there was, and maybe there wasn't; but in the case that there might have been, I wouldn't have known. I thought all these constant worries were nothing, that I would get over them the next day as always. I wouldn't have known that I was overworking myself. I wouldn't have known that what I was doing was too much, that I always had to please others before taking care of myself. It was scary saying, "no" because I always feared disappointing others; but I didn't know I could prioritize myself- advocate for myself.

I think part of taking care of yourself is learning about your weaknesses- it makes sense, just wait! Yeah, it sucks that we can be vulnerable; but bish, even Superman wasn't perfect. Accepting that there was something wrong meant I was driving myself to self-advocacy and overall...self-respect-- something I thought I was already doing; but I learned that I wasn't doing it well enough. I could talk about mental health, but that's a topic worth a different article. There's just this culture in college that tries to compare you to other students, and it really sucks! Don't listen to it! Don't you dare! Stop being mean to yourself.

As I always remind myself recently: you are loved. You are so, so, so loved.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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