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Seeking Solace

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Julia Van Allen

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Great Debate
February 13, 2019

The one where I’m not okay

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Seeking Solace

Photo by Savannah Jo Reeves

Photo by Savannah Jo Reeves

Photo by Savannah Jo Reeves

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As a new semester rolls around, I find myself currently surrounded by the ghosts of semesters past. Last semester in particular was the toughest one yet. I spent hours each week debating whether all of this was worth it or if I should just quit now and save the effort for some other dream.

Last semester put me through the wringer. Those closest to me can attest to that. I found that even with a lighter course load, my time was still filled with extracurriculars and work that did little to ease my stress. I felt trapped, suffocating under the weight of school, interpersonal drama and the ever-present fear that I will never be good enough.

All of this turned out to be a recipe for multiple emotional breakdowns and days spent worrying about anything and everything.

Toward the end of the semester, my doldrums grew so unsurpassable that I made a pact with myself: I needed to do better in the coming semester and in life. I needed to find my joy again.

Weeks and months spent feeling like a stranger in my life made finding happiness in the simple pleasures difficult. I couldn’t keep putting up walls where there needed to be wide open fields of green. Walling off my problems, or walling off the people in my life who were actively supporting me throughout all of this, wasn’t going to fix anything — the opposite actually, it would only isolate me more.

All of this boils down to one decision.

This semester, I will craft my life into a healthier and happier journey, rather than a hectic race toward the finish line. With graduation looming at the end of the semester (Yikes!), I want to spend my time doing both what is important for my future and what makes me happy. I want to spend more time with the people who matter the most to me rather than hiding away when I need to get mountains of work done.

In theory, all of this seems simple enough, right? I just need to do what makes me happy and get my work done and then everything will be smooth sailing. Something tells me that won’t be the case. This semester will be challenging and trying in every area of my life.

The difficult journey won’t stop me. I want to feel like myself again, and my days spent scrolling through Pinterest and watching inspirational YouTube videos has stirred up the perfect idea to make this goal into a reality. Weekly discussions on self-love and self-care will be my guide in my journey to acceptance and growth.

To kick it all off, I want to begin with an apology.

To those in my life who were directly affected by my terrible coping mechanisms and inability to face what was actually bothering me, I am sincerely sorry.

I know apologizing for what happened in the past won’t make it better, but I hope it sets a better standard for the future. It’s a step in the right direction, which is my goal this semester.

Guys, gals and nonbinary pals, this semester will be difficult at times, but it’s incredibly important to take care of yourself and of those around you. Keep an eye on yourself, on your friends and on your acquaintances. You never know what they might be going through at that moment.

I’m sending so much love in all directions, good luck in this new semester, Blugolds.

Van Allen can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Writer
Julia Van Allen, Op/Ed Editor

Julia Van Allen is a fourth-year English critical studies student who survives off of coffee and pictures of cute puppies. She is so excited to spend another semester on The Spectator with her favorite people!

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Seeking Solace