You Can Breathe.

Drop The Pencil And Breathe

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

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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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An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time

Graduating college in any number of years is an accomplishment to be proud of.
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To the person that isn't graduating on time,

It sucks, and I won't lie to you and tell you it doesn't. The day you walk out of Advising, head hanging down because you aren't going to finish in four years, makes you feel ashamed of yourself. You did well in high school; you were always told you were smart, expected to be smart, so why couldn't you make it out in four years like you were supposed to?

You know you're going to have to tell your family, so you begin preparing yourself for the worst reactions possible. And telling your friends you won't be graduating with them will only add to that sense of hopelessness.

Soon, you'll see photos and posts from people you left high school with, talking about graduation and the wonderful lives they are about to begin in their new careers. You'll wonder how they did it, and you'll feel like a failure.

But you're not.

Graduating from college is a huge deal. It really is. And it will be no less of an accomplishment in five, six, or 10 years.

"According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60 percent of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time."

Things happen. You might change your major. You might have financial troubles. You may take a year off to figure out exactly what you want to do. That's okay. Take all the time you need. The real world and your career will still be there whenever you graduate.

Guess what else. Your family will still love you, and your friends will still support you. Give them some credit. Your loved ones want you to be happy and successful. Don't get me wrong, they may be upset at first, but give them a chance. Odds are, when the emotions settle, they will go right back to asking how classes are going. And when you do get the news that you'll be graduating, they will celebrate with you, and they will be there in the crowd, waiting for you to walk across that stage.

Graduation will happen. If you attend your class and study hard, it will happen. There is no reason to rush. Just do your best. Try your hardest. Take classes when you can. Just by doing that, you're doing more than so many others are able to do.

"Among 18 countries tracked by the OECD, the United States finished last (46 percent) for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it."

You'll get there. Take your time. Enjoy your classes. Find new interests. Study what you love. Embrace opportunities. Study abroad. Take that weird elective class. This is your time to take in everything the world has to offer. Take advantage of that. You'll graduate when you graduate, filled with pride and wisdom. And when they call your name, and you walk across that stage, hold your head up high, because you've earned every bit of your degree.

Graduating from college takes countless hours of studying, long hours in the library, and a tremendous amount of dedication. Don't add pressure to yourself by setting a timer. It is completely okay to graduate when you graduate, and it is still something to be proud of.

Best Wishes,
A woman who is finally graduating

Cover Image Credit: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120417041415-education-graduation-cap-story-top.jpg

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.

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To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.

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" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.

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3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.

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4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.

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5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs

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6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.

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7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.

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8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.

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9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.

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10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.

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11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.

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12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout

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13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.

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14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.

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