Balancing between the present, the future

At a certain point, you’re going to hit a low. Honesty, probably multiple lows. It’s as inevitable as a driver honking at students on Commonwealth Avenue. 

When it happens, you may think to yourself: ‘I’m running and not going anywhere,’ ‘How are other people actually getting things done?’ and ‘How do I avoid doing things today?’.

It’s different for everyone — whether it happens years from now or in a few hours —  but that’s what happened to me a few weeks ago. When I was in the moment, I felt like I wasn’t changing or moving. Looking back, I analyzed what happened and how my life adjusted and is adjusting to new circumstances.

I’ve only started to see the light of day recently.  

It started with the first full week of school.

The first Monday was hard. It wasn’t only that I’d made my schedule heavy with classes starting at 11:15 a.m. and ending at 9:15 p.m., with two of them being two hours and 45 minutes each, but that didn’t help. 

The problem was the uncertainty I had about my majors, my experience and my ability to succeed at the workload. In turn, I felt shaken by my uncertainty since I’m not used to feeling like that. 

I’m not one for comparing myself to others either. I rarely do it and mainly stick to myself, but I did at that moment. I heard about people’s many internships and journalism clips, their cultural experiences and interesting qualities. I compared them to myself, someone with no internship experience or work anywhere related to my major.

The best way to put it is I sort of freaked out. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything right, and that time was moving too fast for me to catch up. I was completely off-kilter. I felt my routine wasn’t working.

On top of that, I was trying to figure out how to deal with having friends and a social life while balancing my new school work that was more hands-on rather than just lectures. 

Last year, I never had to worry about balancing a social life because it was nonexistent. I met no one and I spoke to no one. Now I have four roommates and go out and experience new things, which I love, but I realized that I put off work more now than I did my first year during COVID-19.

A person dealing with stress. Thalia writes about how she pulled herself through a period of low self-esteem this semester and how she continues to cope with her stressors. COURTESY OF ANNIE SPRATT VIA UNSPLASH

However, I’m happy I have my roommates, because they helped me through those low moments. They were a sounding board I needed at the time and gave me security.

I look back and laugh at how I’ve shifted from prioritizing academics and disregarding socialization to prioritizing social life and jumbling the academic side of my life. Thankfully, things are balanced now,  and I’ve adjusted to how I was going through life pre-pandemic in high school. 

Amid my freakouts, I realized I needed to get something done to get out of my rut. Not schoolwork — something just for myself that was tangible and had no pressures attached to it.

I went through my options, but I still didn’t want to leave the room or force myself to do something that I wouldn’t like. This wasn’t a “Let’s start exercising to better myself” thing, because that’s something I did not want to do.

In the end, I ordered a huge pack of embroidery string to make friendship bracelets and broke out the knitting supplies. 

Every time I decided to procrastinate and watch videos or was feeling down, I made it a priority to make at least one bracelet or knitted square. I’ve stuck to that promise for the most part. I’m giving my finished projects to my roommates, so it puts some positive pressure on me to finish the work instead of putting it off.

Sadly, it doesn’t fix everything. 

It doesn’t fix that I haven’t had professional experiences in my field of study while others have. But it’s helping me cope and feel productive in the meantime. I’ve needed time to get my bearings and steady myself to take one day at a time. I’m hoping I’ll keep progressing and feel confident enough to get that internship later. I’m not rushing the process, though.

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