From an outsider’s perspective, 2016 was a pretty good year for me. I traveled around the world, made tons of new friends, and even got my nose pierced! However, 2016 inside my head was not so great. My Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Clinical Depression got worse and worse throughout the year, especially between October and December. I let them go untreated, finding other unhealthy ways to deal with my issues. I finally started taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills a week ago and the results are already tremendous! When I get back to school, I am going to start seeing a counselor as well.
I’ve decided that 2017 is the year where I create my best self. The other day I saw a quote by George Bernard Shaw that resonated with me — “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Why should I spend all of this time trying to soul search and find the true meaning of life when I can create the life I want to live? There are obvious barriers (for example, money) but I’m going to live the life I desire to the best of my ability. So, what do I want to do in 2017?
- Figure out what to do after graduation — After talking to a friend about what he’s going to graduate school for, I think I finally figured out what I want to spend the rest of my life doing! I found the profession of Mental Health Counseling and it seems perfect for me. I spent today doing research on graduate programs and I’m excited to see if this career path will work out!
- Kick this semester’s butt — I had an amazing GPA until my mental illnesses started to affect my schoolwork this past semester. I am fully ready to spend hours at the library working my butt off to recover from Fall 2016. I’m taking 5 classes that all seem interesting so I’m excited for what this semester holds!
- Get more involved in my sorority — Like I said, last semester was not my finest time. I avoided most social situations like the plague. This semester I want to hang out with more of my sisters and attend more of our events.
- Study abroad — If you read my first post, you would know that I was supposed to be spending the Spring 2017 semester abroad in Glasgow, Scotland. However, I backed out of the opportunity because I didn’t feel capable of being alone in a foreign country. Going abroad was one of the number one things I was looking forward to when entering college, and I’m not going to let this opportunity go to waste. I’m looking into shorter-term programs that I can go on during the summer. With the combination of medication, future counseling, and a shorter time frame abroad, I am sure that I can conquer living abroad! Now the question is, where?
- Work on my physical health — I have always been naturally skinny, which has led me to get away with poor eating and exercise habits. My goal is to go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for at least 45 minutes. Exercising is great for your mental (and physical, obviously) health and I could really use something to let out built up stress. I also want to focus on eating well-balanced meals, and less frozen chicken nuggets.
- Look good, feel good — Doing my makeup is almost therapeutic for me and I love putting together new outfits. However, I am the queen of waking up five minutes before I need to leave for class. I want to make the time in the morning to put on a nice outfit (no more leggings & hoodies) and at least do basic makeup. When my liquid lipstick is on point, I feel like I can conquer the world. Why not feel that way every day?
- Hobbies, hobbies, hobbies — In the course of being in a long-term relationship, I sort of lost myself along the way. I stopped doing the things I enjoyed but now I want to get back into it! I absolutely love photography, and I want to learn more about how my camera works off of automatic. I also enjoy painting (although I’m not very good at it), baking, and reading.
- Go on solo adventures — I love my friends and I love spending time with them. I am definitely a people person, and it’s often hard for me to spend a lot of time by myself. This year I plan on exploring places around UMass just with my camera, my journal, and Lydia (my 2006 Mazda 6). It is super important to be comfortable being alone and unfortunately I do not feel that way right now. I’m hoping these little adventures will help out with that.
- Put myself out there career-wise — So far throughout my college experience, I have only applied for one internship. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get it. Looking for internship and job opportunities, I often feel too unqualified to apply. I want to gain the confidence to apply for these opportunities, even if I won’t get them! I would love to have a psychology-based internship in Amherst for the summer. It’s time to start looking!
- Stick to blogging — I’ve tried blogging a couple of times, but I’ve always stopped because of my lack of confidence. I thought my material wasn’t good enough and I was embarrassed that people I knew in real life would find it. Now, I’m going to blog for myself. I’m going to blog because I enjoy it. I love reading other people’s blogs, so why not have my own? It doesn’t need to have 5,000 daily page views, all that matters is that I enjoy it.
- Stay on top of my shit — I am the master procrastinator. I start off the semester strong by doing my readings and using my planner, but all of that goes downhill by the end of the first month. I always finish my assignments on time (excluding this past semester, but I’m going to blame mental illness for that one) but with unneeded stress. I need to commit to using my planner and actually do things in advance.
- Keep journaling — Besides medication, journaling has been the best thing for my recovery. It has helped me understand my thoughts and feelings and come up with solutions to problems. My thoughts in my head are often very circular, but when I write them down, I can come to conclusions.
- Volunteer in my spare time — There are so many volunteer opportunities in the Amherst area and I would love to help out! Not going to lie, my number one place I would like to volunteer is the animal shelter (I really love dogs, ok), but I know there are also a ton of other places in need of help.
- Keep my room clean — I am messy, sorry roomies. It isn’t harder to throw my dirty clothes in my hamper instead of on my chair so I’m not sure why I always choose that option. A messy room stresses me out and causes me to be less productive, so I need to stay on top of keeping things neat.
- Spend money on experiences instead of things — I know that sweater looks super cute, but you know what would be even cuter? A picture of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower! I’ll admit it, I’m a shopaholic, but I’ll never get to travel throughout Europe if my habits don’t change.
- Wake up at a consistent (early) time each day — Waking up at the same time every day leads to better sleep! Over break, I’ve been waking up around noon each day (whoops), but that won’t cut it when I have an 8:30 class starting next week.
- Stay strong, and keep working on my mental health — The last few months of my life have been complete hell. This week has been my first glimpse of relief. I am so proud of myself for making it through the toughest time of my life so far and I’m excited for what life has in store for me. I know I need to keep taking my medication, seek out a therapist, and find other coping mechanisms.
I know that’s a long list, but I am determined to accomplish every single thing in 2017. I deserve to be the best version of myself, and all of you reading this do too.