A Semester in Reflection
As the last couple weeks have gone by, I've been asking myself what I learned this past semester. I took three courses, none of which I was terribly enthusiastic about, so I had to really think about what I have gained in the past four months.
Interestingly, I think I learned a lot more outside of class than inside (but that probably is often the case). I had a horrible schedule this semester, chosen purposely to avoid a professor that I didn't want to have a second time in a year. In hindsight, it was probably the wrong decision. I would have probably been a lot less stressed out and more rested had I chosen the professor I didn't want. But I also probably would have dreaded class each week. Trade-offs.
The big lesson I learned this semester, which gave way to other lessons, was that I just can't do it all. I found myself stretched beyond my limits when I tried to work full-time, have a very tough class schedule and have a social life. I was dragging myself to work almost in tears from exhaustion, and something had to give. So, I accepted help from a friend and I cut back on my work hours. And it was okay. No one criticized me for not being superwoman and not being able to do everything. In fact, most of the people who know me well congratulated me on doing something to relieve some of my stress. It's still not something that was easy for me, but I saw what a difference it made and I don't regret it, and I will remember it in the future.
I also learned this semester that it's okay to accept help from others and to admit that you need help. This has always been a challenge for me. But I got desperate, was offered help from a friend, accepted the help and it's fine. I don't think it made me less in that friend's eyes. It probably won't make it easy for me to ask for help in the future, but I hope it will make it a little easier.
I think the last big lesson I learned this semester is that it's okay to do for yourself, to give yourself what you need, and even some of the things that you want. It's not selfish, it's about staying sane sometimes. I needed time this semester, and though it was hard to say no at times, I had to do it, and the end result was a stronger me. And now I feel more capable of doing for others.
So I'm super happy that this stressful semester has come to a close but I know that while it was really incredibly difficult, it was also, like most of the challenges that I've faced, really a growing experience as well.