Many who consistently read EastCoastLiv - seriously, I love you and fear you in equal measure - may have noticed that I took a bit of a hiatus over the school year. Instead of hashing out exactly where I was when I wasn't blogging (your choices are a] the library and class, b] at work, c] eating, or d] trying and failing to get through all 12 weeks of Kayla Itsines's bikini body guide before my trip to Aruba or e] all of the above), here are a few life lessons I've been lucky enough to learn over the past six months.
- The universe takes care of a lot more than you'd think - so stressing about the aspects of your life that you can't control will not get you anywhere productive...
I found out in late March that I didn't get an internship that I'd been banking on. Like, really, really banking on. (Ergo the second lesson I've learned: nothing is guaranteed, no matter how many witty follow-up emails you send or artful networking run-in's in the company cafeteria... so you should definitely apply to more than one job.)
I then proceeded to apply to about 40 or so internships in the months that would follow, and I didn't merely "stress." No, not only was stressing about my summer job keeping me up at night, ruining dinner dates with my friends, and providing near-constant fuel to worry over in my head, it was preventing me from doing the most important work on my plate: schoolwork. I would literally ignore my homework so I could scroll through job-postings and apply for different positions.
Lo and behold, a few months later, I scored an internship that was a way better fit for me and the career I have always envisioned for myself. Even funnier, I was able to secure the internship I have now because I didn't get a job at the same company that I had originally interviewed for.
All the stressing that I had done had proved absolutely useless. Moral of the story: let stress push you proactively, but don't let it consume you - and trust that things will work out because more often than not, they really do.
- ...Though it may get you into a ~sexy~ room in the hospital. Stress is really detrimental to your health and definitely isn't attractive.
I learned the hard way that stress takes a toll on your health. In February, I was hospitalized with a kidney infection and in early April, I saw a rash forming on my forehead. Which hurt. A lot. It felt like the skin on my head was a few inches thicker than it should be, and it was hot to the touch, vibrating with pain whenever I raised my eyebrows. After a visit or two to the dermatologist and the general practitioner, I learned that I had shingles.
Further, I learned that shingles at 19 is not only incredibly rare, but was more likely than not stress-induced. I was lucky that it was a relatively small rash, even though it was partially on my eye and I had to visit corneal specialists to make sure blindness wasn't going to occur.
It really hurt. I won't give you the medical rundown, but basically it bursts and scabs - gross. Even more so, I had to take time off from class and work and the organizations I was involved in to wait for it to heal, and I was wholeheartedly embarrassed by the huge rash on my face. (I literally hid from the world under baseball hats.) The worst aspect of it though? Knowing that it was preventable if I had just managed my stress in a healthy way - which, for me, is exercising.
I think it's somewhat fashionable as a college student - a type A, perfectionist college student - to brag about stress, the hours spent in the library, and a sense of being overwhelmed. Moral of the story: it's really not, and it's absolutely imperative to recognize stress as something detrimental to your body and health. Carving out the time for yourself to destress is non-negotiable.
- Commit to things that contribute to your happiness - not your resume.
Now that the halfway mark of my college career has rolled around, I've realized that leadership for leadership's sake is a waste of your time - and your organization's. You know how people say that "life builders" are more important than "resume builders"? Don't get me wrong - both are important, but if you're living your life passionately and driven by curiosity, odds are they'll be one-in-the-same.
I'm really looking forward to getting back into the blogging-game - thanks for sticking around (& don't forget to subscribe or like!)