Since the infamous "Sophomore Slump" has been hitting me hard, I think I have been more introspective lately and being more mindful regarding balancing my life. Of course, this is only my second year in college; however, I do feel that this year is filled with more pressure. This year is my "big picture" year; I need to declare my majors, figure out when and where I want to study abroad (more on that later), find summer internships (already!), and rethink my priorities. When at Macalester, it's so often to get caught up in so many things, and it becomes so easy for me to compare my internal self to someone else's external image. I have to constantly remind and stop myself from comparing myself to others; the next person is probably struggling just as much as I am, just in a different part of their life that is not shared. No one is great at everything!
Since the study away application process is extremely long and time-consuming, I finally(!) decided on the program that I will be applying to for Fall 2017 (I'm hoping to study away in the fall instead of spring of junior year). Although I was debating between two very different programs for the longest time, I ultimately chose the ISEP Exchange Program with Ehwa Women's University in Seoul, South Korea. (Crossing my fingers that it will work out)
First, I decided against a program in Spain due to the high costs of living in Europe; even though the program itself wasn't expensive, everything else is. Second, I decided against the a multi-city program because of its heavy focus on International Development. While I am an International Development concentration, I can't imagine myself studying the same topic for the entire semester. Third, I have always wanted to learn Korean properly and being in Seoul for a semester will improve my language skills. Fourth, I decided against two other programs in Seoul at Yonsei University (one of the more prestigious co-ed universities) because I want to experience being in a women's college. Most people don't know this, but when I first applied to colleges in senior year of high school, I was actually debating between Macalester and a women's college on the west coast. Choosing to study abroad at a women's college is like my getting a cake and eating it too!
One of the biggest things that I constantly strive for in life is balance. I enjoy being a well-rounded individual and try not to focus too much on one thing. While it's great to study hard and stay up late to finish homework, I will not sleep less than 5 hours in order to get work done. (I currently average 7 hours of sleep per night)
This year, specifically, my goal is to be more emotionally vulnerable. I don't mean that I will be intentionally more sensitive to topics, but I'm trying to break down the image that I created for myself since when I was young. Although I did not grow up in a Chinese family with uber-traditional values, I do feel like emotions are something of a luxury; I was taught to study hard, work hard, and never do anything half-heartedly. Having dedication and hard work ethic was praised, showing compassion and being kind to others was often not (it was just not emphasized as much). Even my Chinese name has the character 毅 (ngai) that stands for dedication and commitment in it. As a child of immigrants and an immigrant myself, I was taught to be strong, not weak; showing my emotions is a form of weakness as a result.
While I am the friend that people turn to for consolation and advice, I rarely reciprocate and share my deepest personal emotions about my life. Currently, I am at the point in my life that I am realizing that bottling up my feelings (positive or negative) can be deteriorating for my physical and mental health. In the past month, I went through some rough patches when I have taking my friends' burdens to heart personally; I was carrying enough emotional baggage for three of four people, and my academics and self-motivation suffered consequently. I was glad when a professor offered to talk when I missed a class, and was grateful when several more adults was there for me when I was struggling with ways of dealing with a range of different emotions. Most of all, I'm grateful for some of my closest friends who allowed me to finally learn how to trust and share my emotions without judgment these past months.
Thanks for making it all the way down here on the post. I hope I didn't bore you to death. Sophomore year has been one hell of a journey and an emotional roller coaster so far, but I am certain that I will persevere through it all. Thankfully, Fall Break was timed nicely and I get Thanksgiving Break next month. Even though neither break is a week long, they are very helpful for me to catch up on sleep, homework, or my emotions. I can mentally recharge and also work on other non-academic things.
Thanks for reading my thoughts today. You're awesome.
college student. junior. international studies major. over-the-top foodie. I clean when I'm stressed. I blog for fun.
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