The past year has been full of both good and bad change. I moved away from everything that I know and love and experienced a new place and new people; I rediscovered my career passion; and, I began working my first job in a “professional” setting igniting my actual career beginning. Along the way I have changed a ton, and have not only gotten understanding about lessons shared, but also learned a few of my own.
Rid your life of toxic people.
For years I have tried to hold on to familial and non-familial relationships because I felt like certain people “had” to be in my life. Whether that need was based off of familial connection or just how long they had been a part of my life.
I used to feel the need to call and/or text people because I felt that family should be in my life, even when they made no effort to contact me. Well, now when people cause me undue stress, treat me poorly, or don’t acknowledge my existence until convenient I’ve learned to sever ties with them. Communication with them is done on an as needed basis. No phone numbers, no Facebook friendship, nothing.
I’ve learned that sometimes you have to remove people from your life for your own sanity and mental health purposes. If they do not have enough regard to treat and communicate with you in a respectful way or can only acknowledge you when it’s convenient, then why should they be a part of your life?
Learn to appreciate what YOU have to contribute in a professional setting.
As I delve into my career and continue on my professional and academic journeys, I find it more and more valuable to recognize and appreciate the skills and talents that I have to offer in the professional world.
I think it’s particularly easy to fall into a place where you don’t think you are good enough when you are fresh out of college and moving into the realm of your career. Diving in headfirst to an environment where you are likely the youngest, most inexperienced in the room can be quite intimidating. The best thing to do though is to take a deep breath, evaluate your skill set, and appreciate it.
Of course we all want to be better; we all want to be the best, in fact. However, you have to learn to accept and appreciate what have because if you don’t, you will 1) never know when you’ve become better, and 2) never learn to appreciate what you have to offer in life.
Admit that you need help, and seek it when you do.
During undergrad I suffered from bouts of anxiety and depression, though I didn’t finally admit it and seek help until about a month before graduation. By that point, I wasn’t suffering from recurring intermittent bouts, but more like one really long ongoing bout.
I grew up in a family where these types of mental health problems were never discussed, often chalked up to laziness, and almost always referred to as something that could be prayed away. Needless to say, when I started having abnormal feelings and thoughts I wasn’t open to discussing them or even admitting that anything was wrong. When I finally sought help though, it was because I had no other choice.
It’s important not to wait until things become awful to seek the help you need. I speak particularly from the standpoint of mental health, but please understand that this applies to many other facets as well. If you’re stressed, depressed, anxious, or have declining grades, or need financial assistance, ANYTHING. Seek help when you need it.
Do things that you enjoy!
Reading books, planning and journaling, cooking, traveling… These are all pastimes that I started to neglect during the rigors of my undergraduate experience. Now that I am a graduate student (and an actual adult, lol), I have learned that no matter how busy and overwhelming my life may become I have to find time to do things that I love.
Living is about experiences, and all of your experiences CANNOT be about your academic and professional goals, etc. Find time to do things that make you happy! Have lunch with a friend, plan a day trip with a friend, go on a cruise, or just sit down and read a good book. Live my friends and find enjoyment in things other than your career.
Self-awareness is key.
Throughout undergrad, when I started grad school, and even at my job people comment on my self-awareness and how it will take me far in life. I used to wonder what that meant, or how it was possible that being in touch with who I am was such a wonderful thing. Then I started meeting people who are not as self-aware as I am, and I understood.
Self-awareness is defined as: conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
There is something eye opening about really evaluating your character, the way you feel in certain situations or about certain things, what drives you to do the things that you do, and truly discovering what you desire in life. You may surprise yourself, but I think a huge part of embracing where you are and where you are going in life is learning more about who you are.