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This is my first week back at university after a long and sometimes busy but sometimes incredibly laid-back summer. I made so many plans for business things to do in the summer, but most of them never happened (though, to be fair, a huge rush order did happen so it’s not all a wash). The week before going back to school I started panicking about how I was going to have time for everything – how could I possibly keep the business running while also participating fully in my time-intensive major? – but now that school has actually arrived I’ve just been strongly reminded of how much I thrive with challenges.
Challenges to time.
Many was the summer day where I spent the entire day in front of the computer while my boyfriend was at work. I was ostensibly working too, but on most days I saw a little bit more of Facebook, Cracked, and computer games than I did of my Etsy shop, blog, or bracelet supplies. I would even wander mindlessly from website to website looking for something interesting rather than get to work. But now that I’m in class several hours a day and need at least 2-3 more hours a day for practice and homework, it’s like the whole vast internet has nothing to interest me. With a full plate and to-do list, I kick into high gear. There’s not a moment to waste. And when I go to bed, instead of being disgruntled about how little I got done and waking up already stressed and depressed, I go to bed satisfied and wake up fired up for a new, packed day.
Don’t be afraid of a busy schedule. As long as you’re dealing with your days head-on rather than hiding in overwhelmed shame, it’s likely you will not only get through it but become excited about all that you’re getting done.
Challenges to talents.
I really struggled in my choir class last year. One of the reasons for this was because I was among the more advanced singers. I just wasn’t being challenged. This not only made me a little annoyed with my fellow singers but also made had me dreading the next several semesters – with nothing to reach for, no growth, I wasn’t invigorated and therefore choir became a chore I had to get through to get a degree. However, this year I’ve been accepted into the university’s top choir. So far we’ve only had one rehearsal, and an unusual one at that (it was actually the callback) but I have already shed my frustration and anger in joy at how much more alive I feel in this class. Standing in the room as we all sang together nearly brought tears to my eyes, and I have difficult pieces, multiple concerts, and – so exciting! – a trip to Spain to look forward to.
Don’t let yourself plateau; it’ll breed frustration and unhappiness that will seep into other areas of your life. Find ways to challenge yourself, to learn and to grow; keep yourself on your toes and you’ll find yourself looking forward to your days.
Challenges to self.
I have a tendency to be dependent. Part of this is because I’ve had to be; I’ve been working through some mental issues over the past couple of years that have required the help of a very patient boyfriend, some wonderful understanding friends, and on two occasions professional help. But yesterday, as I prepared for the choir callbacks, I was alone – my boyfriend graduated last year so wasn’t on campus, I haven’t yet made friends in my major, and my sister doesn’t have a phone right now – and began to panic. Normally when I have a panic attack I run to my boyfriend, and while he does a wonderful job of helping me get through them I always go through a small pity-party as the attack winds down because, yet again, I’ve had to get help from someone else instead of being strong on my own. But as I pulled out my phone to text him, the thought occurred to me – this has happened before. I know what to do. So instead of texting I put on a guided breathing app, and ten minutes later I was fine. The realization that I had taken care of myself was nearly overwhelming (in a good way) and I spent the rest of the day with a boost in confidence and the knowledge that I really am a strong, independent woman.
Getting help from others is great and at times even necessary, but don’t let it cripple you. You can only blossom if you’re the one driving this thing. Make your own decisions, trust your own intuition, and realize just how amazing you are.