Monday, March 25, 2019

Perfectionism + College

I’m in my last semester of college, and I still haven’t gotten over dealing with being a perfectionist over school. It’s something I’ve increasingly struggled with over the last four years, and it’s driven me to the breaking point numerous times. The other day I saw that I got a B on a group project I’d turned in before spring break, and I’ll be honest- I was really upset with myself. Because immediately I started beating myself up- thinking over what I did wrong, what I could have improved on, how I could’ve spent more time on the project. That’s the place I’ve gotten to in college. If it’s not A’s, then it’s not good enough for me. And sure, that might look good on paper- I’m on the Dean’s list, and in the Honor’s Society, just like I’ve been all throughout college. But what that actually transfers to is not having a social life, living for school/work/studying, staying up until 2am every night working on homework. Perfectionism is the thief of joy, and you are your own harshest critic. The truth is that for me perfectionism over my studies is just a form of trying to have control over something in my life. I’ve struggled with failure schemas for years in school- always telling myself I’m not smart, I’m not good enough, believing I have to work twice as hard as everyone else if I want to make the grades. As a senior, down to my last eight weeks in college, I’m working on being okay with taking back a little of my life. The day that I got that B, I spent six hours studying and then decided that the best thing for me was a break, so I went to the movies and got ice cream with a friend. And sure, I could’ve spent another six hours studying, because there will always be more that I could do, I could always invest more time into a project, work harder, study longer, sleep less- but you have to find the balance in life, and know that your grades do not define you. As cliche as that sounds, for people that deal with perfectionism, it can absolutely feel like your grades are a direct reflection of your worth as a person. So here’s the reminder, for anyone that needs to hear it, including myself, that your grades are just a letter or a number. They are not your happiness, they don’t get to make you feel less than, they shouldn’t steal your joy. So work hard, be proud of yourself, go the extra mile, but remember that life is about balance. Don’t get so focused on that end goal of graduation that you forget to enjoy the journey of getting there. 

*Note- today I spent eight hours studying and finished a paper for my capstone class that I’ve spent nearly twenty hours on over the last week. Soooooo, I’m still working on that whole balance/perfectionism thing. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Starting Over

It seemed like a good a night as any to start over. Without putting much thought into it, I wiped the slate clean. A decision I may regret later, but in the moment it seemed like the right call. This space was once such a huge part of my life, and I'll cherish everything that it once was. I don't even remember the original name of this blog. It's went through an identity change a few times. It's morphed and grown with me, and then it sat in silence for the past two years, as I'd simply grown out of this space. Nostalgia pulled me back though, and I found myself wanting a fresh start. Don't get me wrong- I'm thankful for the 80,000 visitors that this space has seen over the years. I'm thankful for the hundreds of bloggers I met through this space, the connections I made, the friends I got to know. But life is about growing, and I closed the chapter of my life that was blogging. As much as I loved that time in my life, I can't say I loved having my teenage years so intricately documented on social media. That was one of the very things that drew me away from blogging in the end. I reached a point in my life where every aspect of my life felt so public. Blogging, running a branch of the Odyssey, writing for the Odyssey, three Instagram accounts, twitter, facebook, snapchat, pinterest, and three emails. It was overkill. I was glued to my phone, and my online presence largely ruled my life. It seems only natural that after all of that I would become a much more private person. I've slowly returned to loving Instagram again- that's really my niche. I love documenting life through photos. I don't have any desire to become a public blogger again, but I do miss the writing. That's the one thing that I always loved so much about blogging (besides the photography), was the writing. So I don't know what this means. I don't know if I'll write a little or a lot on this space, but just knowing that it's here, that it's wiped clean, that it can be whatever  I want it to be- it's a reassuring feeling.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Why I Stopped Blogging

Little known fact about me. I was a blogger. In the height of blogging, back in the early 2010’s, I was a blogger from 2011-2016. Writing was my outlet, and my blog was where I put all of my creative energy. It was honestly such a fantastic influence in my life- meeting people, creating content, and challenging myself in new ways. It led me on to work for the Odyssey, which was another amazing endeavor in itself. As I got busier and busier in my personal life, with college and work, my time for blogging became less and less. I pretty much dropped it entirely in late 2016, with a few posts here and there throughout early 2017. Recently I’ve been thinking about my blog space- what it used to mean to me, and what a great influence it was on my creativity. So today I went to that dusty corner of the internet- my blogger account, to take a look around. And what I found was kind of interesting. Looking over my blog stats, I found that out of the hundreds of blog posts I wrote over the years, my most viewed one was “Finding the Light in College”. With over 3300 views, I kind of wondered why this was my top post. But reading through it, I realized why. It was one of my most brutally honest moments in blogging. I was transparent about my truth, my struggles. Because the truth is that being a Christian in college- it can be brutal. I was struggling, and I was honest about it. I wrote about something that so many people can relate to. I think that while blogging was a wonderful outlet for me, during my time as a blogger, I struggled with some of the same things that I’ve been struggling with on social media lately. It’s that same thing that every other millennial struggles with. Being honest. So often social media feels like a place that is only for our highlights reel. Everything is touched up and sugarcoated. We strive for transparency, and sometimes we achieve it a little bit, but it’s hard to be totally honest. And sometimes, it’s just easier to walk away from it all entirely. Because the mindset of views, likes, followers- it can be all consuming. At a point when I was blogging, working as an editor in chief for the Odyssey, also working as a content creator for the Odyssey, running three Instagram accounts, twitter, facebook, three emails, and snapchat- I felt like my entire life was so public. Everything was up for judgement. And during those days, you’d be hard pressed to find me without makeup on. I didn’t step out of the house unless I was dressed to the nines. Hair curled, full face of makeup, probably a skirt and heels. Every photo, every caption, every post- was carefully curated and scrutinized. My phone was glued to my hand. I was in constant contact with my team, fellow bloggers, Instagramers, girls from my fitness community, girls from my bible studies, classmates, coworkers, friends, family- I couldn’t step away from my phone because my phone felt like my full time job. And looking back at that time- my life looked really happy. And I’m not saying that it wasn’t. It’s just that sometimes it all felt a little fake. Like a little bit of a fa├žade. Because all of those things were great, and a lot of them were really true, but it’s also true that I was probably eating ice cream at 2am in my pajamas, while I cried over some college algebra homework that I got a D on. It’s also true that during that time I pulled 20 hour days, drank up to seven cups of coffee a day and slept four hours a night. It’s also true during that time that I was dealing with a lot of insecurities and low self-confidence. But you wouldn’t know that from my latest selfie. My point in all of this- is that I say screw the picture perfect social media. I’m over it. It isn’t real life, it isn’t relatable, and frankly- it looks nothing like my real life. I’ll always cherish my blog space, but I think part of why I walked away from it is simply for the fact that I can’t relate to it anymore, because putting up that kind of image isn’t who I am anymore. I value my privacy, but I also value honesty and telling my truths. And maybe one day soon I’ll figure out how to strike that balance again. But for now I’m happy to live my real life and whether or not that makes it onto social media, it doesn't really matter.