I decided to share some of the pictures that I have been taking of the beautiful flowers outside Canaday, Great Hall and the Rock arch in this week’s post for they perfectly resonate with my current state of mind and showcase the appreciation that we all harbor for changing seasons from winter to spring or from sorrow to joy. Self-care is something that I have struggled with for the longest time and it was only when I was well into my second semester did I truly start to act upon it.
Here’s how my life was during my first semester at Bryn Mawr :
I thought I liked living in a messy place but too much chaos in my room meant unwashed clothes all over the floor, misplaced exam papers, lost books and note cards etc. I even resorted to not shower on a daily basis and to never make the walk from my dorm to the gym. I put away my tasks and was no longer the punctual person that I used to be. I suffered from reader’s block and writer’s block. I was homesick and thought that without my mother pushing me to work hard, I would be able to do nothing. I did not go out of my room and chose to be miserable. My grades went downhill and I felt trapped in this beautiful place. I wanted to leave.
So what did I do? I made use of the many resources that were made available to us. I went to talk to Stephanie Nixon – Title IX coordinator, went to a counselor in the Health Centre, sought help from Rachel Heiser regarding study strategies, and I talked to my Dean. I would still say that all of that was secondary to what seemed like the hardest thing I ever had to do – I had to stand on my feet and come to terms with the harsh reality of my situation. My life was in shambles and only I could fix it.
It took everything in me to wake up and go to my 9 a.m. French class every weekday. I did my best to pay attention in all my classes and to not distract myself with my phone. I participated in class and started feeling a lot better by doing so. I set out short-term goals for myself and I worked accordingly. I told myself that it was alright to mess up sometimes because the realization that follows is what matters the most. I gave myself time to spend the weekend with friends, I started interacting with people in the dining hall (where I work) a lot more, I did my laundry and tried my best to keep my room clean.I became a peer leader for a body positivity group on campus. I talked to my mom and told her I was scared to adult without her. In a few weeks time, I was on my way towards accepting Bryn Mawr as home. This semester has been kind to me. I realised new academic interests and will be working towards them in the coming years. I joined a group comprising of the most supportive individuals on campus. I took the time to know my classmates outside an academic setting and can feel strong relationships starting to form. I went out of campus into Philadelphia – found my new favorite restaurant. I attended several lectures on campus and was awed by how everyone is doing their own part in contributing to a better future. But above all, I let myself make mistakes and when I fell, I learnt to accept them and let them teach me what not to do from next time onwards. I almost made it to May Day and the beautiful flowers around me act as an reminder that change is inevitable and no state of mind can ever be permanent. The point that I am trying to make here is that there are plenty of reasons to not feel your best and there are ample resources to ensure that you do feel your best. None of us are alone here. It takes a lot of courage to take charge of your life but then again, that’s why we’re all here! Get involved! Get active! Start living! This life has so much to offer and only you can ensure that you’re living it to the fullest! It’s absolutely fine to be scared, to hit rock bottom and not comprehend where your life is going, to be immersed in a completely new place and to not know how you’re supposed to act. With time, it all gets better.
Here’s to conquering finals week and to completing my freshman year here at Bryn Mawr!