As Student Profile Week draws to a close, I’ve decided to use this article to help everyone get in touch with the most important student in your life: you.
It’s getting to that stressful point in the semester. You know, where you begin to regret every subpar assignment, missed homework, and middle of the road exam score. It’s not quite finals, but you can feel them lurking around the corner. It’s also getting to that point in the year when you begin to come to terms with the reality of your New Year’s resolutions and every DC to-do that you don’t have ta-done.
It seems like most of the people I know, both at AU and elsewhere, have had less than ideal semesters. Everywhere I look, I see people putting their health, both mental and physical, on the back burner. So I figured we could take this time to reflect, get in touch with our emotions, maybe cry a little, and reconnect with what’s really important.
So let me ask the big questions:
How are you feeling about this semester or this school year as a whole?
Did you reach any of the goals you set for yourself?
Have you grown as a person?
Are you happy?
If your answers resemble anything close to ‘eh, kinda, and maybe’ we need to chat, because we all deserve to be more than happy-ish.
The first thing that I’m going to tell you to do is make a pro con list. You can ask anyone close to me, this is my go to problem solver. Can’t decide what classes to take? Pro/con list. Don’t know where to study abroad? Pro/con list. Can’t figure out why the hell you’re in a slump? Pro/con list! As corny as it sounds, they really do help. What have you done this semester that you’re proud of or that made you extremely happy? Take time to soak those things in. If they made you smile once, they’ll make you smile again.
For your con list, be 100% honest with yourself. Where did you let yourself down, what went wrong this semester, what aspects of your life did you push to the perimeter? Take a good, long look at what you’ve come up with and ask yourself what you can realistically do in order to make next semester better than this one. You can procrastinate less and go to office hours, but sometimes no matter what you do, you just won’t be great in a particular class and you and your roommate won’t get along. Change what’s in your control and make peace with what isn’t.
On a similar note, start noticing and appreciating the little things. I definitely don’t do this enough, something that was brought to my attention by Brenna, my kickass editor, in her blog post. As American University students, I would argue that most of us don’t do this enough. We like to focus on our big accomplishments, like where we’re interning this summer or our study abroad experience, but how often do we stop to notice everything that is happening around us? I can attest to the fact that appreciating the littlest things- like a cup of tea after a long day or a ray of sunshine that shines through the window during your most dreaded class- can give you the boost you need. Next tine you’re feeling overwhelmed and overworked, take a moment to notice what’s happening right in front of your eyes, it might be the boost you need.
So this didn’t turn out to be a profile. It was more questions and unsolicited advice than any concrete help, but nonetheless, I hope that you pause for a second to self-evaluate. Take time for yourself, don’t worry about what you can’t control, and enjoy the little things in life. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.