Undergrad Adventures: Fall 2014

A poster that sits in the window of the dean's office of the College of Environmental Design, with a message I need to remember more often.
A poster that sits in the window of the dean’s office of the College of Environmental Design, with a message I need to remember more often.

I’m finishing a final draft of my second capstone essay this week (more on that later) but my three academic classes for fall quarter are finally over! In all three years and a quarter of college, fall 2014 was the toughest, busiest and most stressful academic terms I’ve had. But despite all of the meltdowns and existential crises, the past two months were definitely a significant period of self-examination.

I can never, ever, ever, ever let myself get so busy and burnt out that I have to wait until the last minute to do very important things.

Never, ever, ever, ever again.

I need to always make time for me.

My own personal health really suffered these past two months, and I think if I had forced myself to slow down I would have enjoyed life more and physically felt better throughout the quarter. Taking an art journaling class replaced my regular yoga practice, and I realized that I would be even better off making time for both.

Family and friends are the best support system. 

My friends and family really helped me get through the quarter, and I am so grateful. My best friends are truly the real MVPs. And especially at home, I was not the most pleasant person to be around. I really appreciate my parents and siblings for putting up with me, and the encouragement and patience really helped me push to the end.

Being organized was my saving grace.

Google Calendar and Trello were the two best ways to help me schedule my life and keep everything I needed to do in one place, which made the feeling of running around like a chicken with my head cut off less pronounced.

However, wasting time on the Internet was not. 

Whenever I felt that I needed to take a break, I would head to the Internet for a quick browse through my RSS reader or social media feeds. In theory, this is fine. But I found myself hours later doing the same thing without returning to work, which made me even more stressed out and created a very vicious cycle. Now that I know I have that habit, I’m going to do my best to curtail it.

And most importantly, I need to try to not be so hard on myself. 

This is something I will be working on, not just for winter and spring quarters, but for the rest of my life. I need to learn to trust myself more, and if something doesn’t work out the way I want it to, I need to just go with it and understand that it is only making room for something better. Almost every time I was incredibly stressed out about something to the point of tears (which has never happened before), it ended up being okay. I need to continue to remember that.

For my fellow undergrad students, what did you learn about yourself this past quarter/semester? And for those of you out of school, what were some of the biggest self-reflecting lessons you gained in college? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

2 responses to “Undergrad Adventures: Fall 2014”

  1. Zoe, the biggest lesson I learned, years after graduation, is that there is a huge difference between pursuing grades and pursuing knowledge. Even more important is the ability to distill that knowledge into the practical (a career) and the profound (wisdom). Alas, I wound up with a good career, but I have fallen short on the wisdom front, though my journey (I hope) is far from completed. I think you have the makings of a wise person — I really mean that. … And don’t infer that I’m saying grades don’t matter. They are the gateway to graduate school, but never, ever check your thirst for knowledge simply for a grade. — Tim

    1. Thanks for the reply, Tim! I will be sure to hold onto that nugget of wisdom.

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