Reflection of 2016

Reflection of 2016

The Year of Adaption

2016, for me, was the year of adaptation. That was my “goal” or “resolution”. It proved to be way more of a transition year than I had initially intended it to be. It first started with just the fact that I was going to be transferring to a big university in January. Like most people, starting university is a big deal, and there is a lot of change. As a homebody, it was weird for me. And for the first two-quarters of university, I loathed it. I didn’t want to go back in the fall. There were a lot of different factors regarding why university, at the time, made me borderline depressed. The scariest part really was that I knew that if I kept going with my situation, I knew I would fall back into the deep, endless pit that is depression, and I wanted to fight like hell to keep out of it.

As someone who doesn’t like change, this year was hard for me. University was definitely one of them, as was the radical changes in a lot of my relationships with people.

The one thing that struck me really hard was family. All sides of my family are changing and everything I cherished as a child are now drifting away from me like sand in the wind. In April, my mother and I took advantage of my spring break and jetted to Austria to see my great grandmother (who I call Omi), because she was having a lot of health issues. Most people thought my 5 day trip to Austria was a fun spring break getaway, but it was mainly emotionally draining. The first part of the trip my mom was the crying, broken hearted mess. By the end of the trip, everything came falling down at once and I became the broken hearted, crying mess. My Omi is 95. I know that’s really old for an old person, and I am more than thankful to be able to know my great grandmother at 19 years old, but at the same time, because I am older, I truly realize how much my Omi means not only my mother, but to me as well. This woman is a living history book, she’s been through so much. Being a communications major, it was interesting for me to compare her standards to mine in certain aspects of life because we come from two very different generations. She is also one of the only family members I have left overseas, and she has done so much for my mom and my family. Not only Omi herself, but her town is changing as well. Her house is deteriorating; the neighborhood is being completely reconstructed. I couldn’t help but remanence on the memories I had in that house, that town. Everything was changing and it was a lot to take in.

My American grandparents are also changing for the worst. My grandma has lost her marbles and most of the things that come out of her mouth just infuriate me. My grandpa is hanging in there, but he is my grandmother's slave and it makes it really hard to see him or reach out to him without any of my grandmother’s tainting or input. The people and places that have helped shaped my childhood are slowly perishing away and I have had no choice but to accept it, make my amends, and move forward.

During the summer, I spent 90% of my time outdoors. I worked on a farm and as a lifeguard on a lake. Both taught me a lot and I met so many new people. The best part about meeting and interacting with new people (especially those that you end up seeing quite often) is that you will learn a lot. As a lifeguard, I became more comfortable with physical contact (something that for the most part I am uncomfortable with), because we had to practice lifeguarding techniques on each other. I became more open to meeting new people rather than just shutting them out and being my hermit-self. I was forced to do these things that made me uncomfortable, but in the end, it was beneficial.

With all emotional strains that came with the year, it has forced me also to embrace the fact that I am an overly emotional creature and that I just need to accept it and deal with it openly and straight on. I learned that it is possible ‘function properly’ without having to numb all my emotions.

Lastly, I need to adapt to our new country. But that’s something we all need to work on within the new year.

Now that I’ve had the year to adapt to a lot of changes in my life, I feel like it’s a good transition point to where 2017 is the year of (serious) change. 2016 was kind of like season 7 of Rupaul’s Drag Race: it was probably one of the worst seasons, though it had some perks in there was well, but overall it was a transition season to the new age of drag. 2017 is going to be a new age, a new dawn, and it’s time to get my shit together and start kicking ass and taking names. Not only in my personal life, but for everything else as well.

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Airplanes Are The Worst

Why taking an airplane is the scariest thing in the world

Here's the thing about overcoming your fear of airplanes...

You can't. And you won't.

Airplanes provide the possibility for endless adventures to places you would never even know existed years ago. It ALSO provides an opportunity to make unlimited amount of movies about airplane crashes that result in either death or being stranded on an island with only a volleyball named Wilson to keep you company for the rest of your life (Castaway movie reference).

I'm not sure when my fear of airplanes began, but these movies sure don't help the cause.

I can't decide if it's the concept of flying through the air miles and miles high that scares me the most, or if it's being in a small space with a select few people (not of my choosing) for many hours.

What if there are crying babies? (Happened)

What if there are barking Chiwawas? (Happened)

What if I'm stuck in the middle seat with two extremely large men who ask me for my airline snacks? (HAPPENED)

There's far too many risks you have to take when it comes to planes. The only thing is, I don't want to be stuck in one place my whole life and not be able to see what the world has to offer. But I also absolutely cannot sit in a car for over 20 hours just to see a palm tree. Planes are really the only way to do it, and learning to accept it is what I have done.

Even accepting the fact that I will continue to fly on planes despite my fear, I still go through the same process every single time I take a plane:

-Wake up to go to the airport.

-Eat not one single thing because i'm so nervous.

-Arrive at airport and see everyone in the security line.

-Calm down slightly because millions of people fly planes everyday and come out alive, so I must be okay too right?

-Freak out again after arriving at my terminal because I have just spotted three separate mothers that are getting on my plane with kids that are screaming for reasons God doesn't even know. (You're probably going to Disney so why are you crying?)

-Calm down because the plane doesn't board for another hour so at least I have a little more time to be on the ground.

-Freak out again because we're now boarding and I don't have a guaranteed seat with mom. And everyone stares at you when you're searching for a seat.

-Calm down because I got the seat with mom.

-Freak out because they're going through safety procedures and I've realized that I might ACTUALLY need the life jacket under the seat to float in the middle of the cold ocean if we go down.

At this point, there is no more calming down:

-Freak out because we're about to take off (what if we don't make it into the air before the runway ends???)

-Freak out because now we're in the air and there's turbulence

-Freak out because the seatbelt light keeps dinging and it always sounds like there's an emergency

-Freak out because I just looked out the window and were going through a huge cloud (HOW does the pilot see where we're going??)

-Freak out because we just got stuck in an air pocket and dropped what felt like 5,000 feet in half a second

-Freak out because we're finally landing and my ears are popping so much that I think they are going to fall off

-Freak out because the wheels are coming out of the plane for landing but it sounds like the plane is falling apart

-And when we finally land, you'd think everything would be okay. But then it takes the rest of the day to get off the plane because everyone moves at turtle speed. I start sweating because suddenly the plane is 1,000 degrees, I get claustrophobic, so I STILL freak out.

The whole flying experience for me is just overall awful. My heart is constantly beating out of my chest, and I'm constantly on the lookout for things that could go wrong. Spring break is approaching, and I have planned a trip that requires me to take a plane.

SO PLEASE. Wish. Me. Luck.

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A Case Of The Freshman Blues Calls For Community

How to recognize the symptoms and fight them.

College is a time of excitement and new experiences. First quarter is filled with meeting new people, discovering new interests, and investing in certain organizations. However, winter quarter is when the start-of-the-year celebrations die down, and students are faced with a flood of assignments, papers, midterms, and finals. Suddenly, you’re hit by this overwhelming level of sadness that you can’t really explain or understand.

One minute, I was studying the laws of supply and demand, and in the next, uncontrollable tears were bursting out full force.

I forced myself to calm down, and I sat outside my dorm to call my best friend. I tried to stop my voice from shaking and tried to control my breathing. But, when she asked if I was okay, the floodgates suddenly opened.

The freshman blues is a common phenomenon that tends to plague freshmen in college. One can never know when it will strike.You tend to lack motivation, lose your appetite, and feel distant from your friends. You try to pressure yourself and say that you need to study right now, or else you’ll fail your exams and your classes. At the same time, you feel so weighed down by your feelings of sadness, that it renders you powerless and immobilized.

The reason for these feelings is that you are going through a time of transition. In high school, you were surrounded by the same exact people for four years straight.

In college, that is usually four times as big as your high school, you essentially meet new people on a daily basis, and you really have to make an effort and find time to invest in certain people.

In college, education is valued so highly, especially since you have to pay thousands of dollars every year. The classes are more interesting, but definitely more difficult than they had been in the past.

Sometimes, freshman year is when you get a C or lower for the first time in years. It may be the first time you’re in a non-platonic relationship. It could also be the first time that you’re away from your family for several months at a time.

Whatever it may be, these are some of the changes that freshmen may experience and could potentially lead to feelings of anxiety and loneliness.

During these times, we need to realize and remind ourselves that academics aren’t everything. It’s okay to prioritize your health, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It may sound a bit morbid, but does an academic degree really matter once you’re dead? Your health should be your number one priority.

If you are a victim of the freshman blues, acknowledge it and do something about it, but don’t let it consume you. If it comes back, here are some ways to fight against it.

1. Surround yourself with people who love you

When I was going through the freshman blues, I didn’t want to tell anyone about my problems because I didn’t want to be a burden. If these people really love you, they will be willing to do anything and everything to comfort you.

When I finally decided to talk to someone about it, I felt so much relief. That person was willing to listen to me, comfort me, and wait for me as I cried. Although you may be unaware, there are definitely people that love you and are willing to listen to you.

2. Find ways to release your stress

Everyone has their own unique way of releasing stress. For me, watching sad movies with my roommate released the tension and anxiety in my heart. Allowing myself to cry was the best thing I did to relieve my stress. It allowed me to process the fact that I was stressed, and that I needed time to myself.

Some other ways to release stress can be writing down your emotions of a piece of paper, crumpling it up, and throwing it away, or you can participate in the midnight screams, exercise, or go to a counseling session. Letting emotions of anger, sadness, and frustration fester in your heart and mind is unhealthy.

3. Reward yourself, regardless of whether you completed a task successfully or not

In the end, you need to realize that you completed the task, whether it was done successfully or unsuccessfully. Nonetheless, it’s a thing of the past now. There’s nothing you can really do to change what you’ve done, so you need to allow yourself to move on.

4. Smile

It’s one of the easiest ways to boost yourself up. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, frowning will simply just make you feel worse. In the end, you’re trying to get rid of these feelings of sadness, so just go through the actions of smiling. You just need to fake it till you make it by going through the actions, from which the emotions will follow.

College is a time for you to explore new things and meet new people, but remember to never lose yourself in the process. The freshmen blues is definitely something that will pass. Keep going at a pace that is comfortable for you, and remind yourself that you are loved!

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