Dear Self, Don't Forget The Lessons You've Learned
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Dear Self, Don't Forget The Lessons You've Learned

This is a letter to myself, following a brief haitus.

Dear Self, Don't Forget The Lessons You've Learned
Daulton Beck

Hello, I am back and I am delighted to share what I have been up to since I last posted. Due to the business that encompasses my life, I was unable to post every week for the past few weeks, and it got me thinking about whether I was spreading myself too thin or not. It turns out that I am. I admit that my life has been hectic and I took on too much at once.

I like to think of myself as a renaissance man, always have, and always will; until now. Since elementary school, I was involved in a plethora of sports and in a bunch of different friend groups. At the time, I didn't realize how overwhelmed I was, and I just assumed I liked the feeling and I carried on being a "renaissance man" for the rest of my schooling.

In middle school, I struggled a lot with friends because I was always so busy, and I could no longer hang out as much because I was either too focused on my school work or the sports I was in. I wanted to be the best and I was not going to let anyone stop me. I remember that my parents at the time even told me I need to take a little break from things, but I refused and I continued the same pattern into high school. However, in high school, it only intensified.

In high school, I began my honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in addition to beginning preseason for track and field. Both had taken a toll on my time, but I learn from my mistakes and ended up making time to hang out with my friends, despite the business that was surrounding me. At this point my time was split equally three ways between my friends, school, and sports, and I felt that it was an equal balance. Looking back at it, I was too stressed out, and I did not even realize how stressed out I really was.

When I started junior year, I was placed into the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, and started writing for my high school newspaper. This really tipped my time balance and this is where I began to feel worn down, but I still wanted to be the best, so I continued. My time was now split like follows: 20% my friends, 60% academics, and 20% clubs and sports. It was honestly very emotionally and physically crushing for me and I ended up getting very sick pretty much every month. However, I thought it was because of what I was eating, which was In'n'Out like every day, but it turns out it was how stressed I was that was lowering my immune system's ability to fight off infection and my lack of sleep. High school so far has been the hardest stage in my life because it was the most academically crushing of my academic career so far. I'm very proud of the GPA I achieved and the awards I got, but as I look back, I was in so much pain with no outlet because I had thought that my clubs were my outlet. It was really hard, but when I got to college, it slowed down, but not enough for my immune system to catch up.

In college, I had experienced a lot of stressors, but the most crushing of them were my clubs and I pretty much added a new thing I was involved in every year. Freshman year I was very heavily involved in Atlas, and in the Penn State International Affairs and Debate Association (PSIADA). In between those, I had a very busy social life and an academically demanding semester with me taking 21 credits my first semester, and 19 the next semester. However, the first time I noticed that I was spreading myself thin was when I did not do well the first couple semesters, finishing my freshman year with a 3.3 GPA.

For me, I could've done better and it brought me great pain. Thus, I dropped Atlas and focused on my academics for my sophomore year. However, that year I became an Under-Secretary-General (USG) for my other club and helped plan and run our high school conference that year. Moreover, I added student government on top of that and continued that for the rest of the year, I did slightly worse academically again, which brought my GPA down to a 3.1 cumulative. I still was trying to strive to be the best and most involved, but it turns out that I was only slowing down and I did not want to admit it. I was losing my mind, honestly. Junior year and Senior year have been very different times, full of emotions and breakdowns that accompanied my stressful life.

Junior year began with a breakdown. That was the second time in my schooling that I realized that I was very stressed out and I ended up going to emergency services to begin therapy for the rest of the year the day following my breakdown. It was a very tough time for me and it was simply because I never gave myself a break. It was a hard year, both academically and personally.

Senior year got better, but I began slowing down again after a small hiatus and I slipped back into a fragile state, but I kept my composure this time because I knew if I did not, finishing college might have not been an option. So I continued, as hurt as I was inside. I added even more things, but I was doing academically better. Unfortunately, it took another breakdown a few weeks ago that I needed a breather and I took it.

Since then, I have come back to write some more and I feel less stressed than before. I have finally taken time to myself, which I never afforded because of the business that was my life since I was young. I have learned that you have to take a step back sometimes and enjoy yourself. it is not selfish to take me-time. It can really save a life. From me now to me then, it is going to be okay. You don't need to spread yourself so thin to be liked or to catch the eye of a recruiter, just be yourself and be consistent. You don't have to be the best and brightest star in the sky because regardless of all of those other things, death is imminent, and you are still a star.

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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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