So, this is around the time in the semester when you start to plan what you're going to do for the next semester. We schedule our classes. We apply for research opportunities, maybe. We apply for peer advisor jobs, maybe. And how could you really know what you're going to do next semester when you are still balancing out how to deal with this one?
I don't know, but it is stressful.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts running through my mind. Last week seemed a little bit chaotic. But, it seems that every week is little chaotic.
Last week I had my interview for Project SMILE board. I registered for some of my classes for the upcoming fall semester, which could be a complicated process. I had a very big literature review due; it’s worth most of my grade in the class. And I went home for Easter.
Lately, I’ve been feeling incompetent.
It all began during my interview for P. SMILE. To be honest, even though I really love being a part of SMILE, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to rejoin board for the next semester. I knew that I was going to be taking time consuming courses next semester, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to commit the time. But, I decided to apply because SMILE has become a very integral part of my college career, and I’ve built relationships with amazing people. But, most importantly, I still want to be a part of what SMILE does—it provides a support system for students who would have not received it otherwise.
So, I decided to apply again. And the interview was brutal.
I was interviewed by all my fellow board members, and they basically laid out all my flaws on the table. Essentially, they were worried that I would be really busy next semester and wasn’t sure themselves how committed of a board member I would be.
I was expecting this, but then they brought up specific events that I had to miss because I prioritized other things first.
- Mentor / Mentee #1. We took the kids to Berkeley Marina for a cleanup. The day after the cleanup on Sunday, I had an econ midterm. Therefore, I knew that if I was going to go to the event, I had to study a lot on Friday and Saturday. So, I got together with a friend and we started studying on Friday. A few hours in, I was feeling so stressed about it and totally unprepared for the midterm.
So, I felt that I really needed to study for this midterm. I called our Head Coordinator, and asked if I could miss out on the event. He understood and said that because there were already so many mentors going relative to mentees, I wouldn’t be needed.
I seriously cried after that because I was so thankful. I knew as a board member, I should attend all events, and I felt really bad to even have asked. But, I also knew that by doing this, I was being unfair to other board members because everyone else had schoolwork to do too.
- Mid-semester Retreat. This is a retreat we go on with board and committee members. I honestly did not think that this was a big event, but I found out afterwards that it was. Either way, I am supposed to go to all events.
But, I once again decided to not go because I had another econ midterm on Monday and I couldn’t afford losing a whole weekend not studying for it. I would be feeling anxious the whole time, and I knew that most of the meeting agenda would not pertain to me because I would also be missing…
- Mentor / Mentor #3. Camping.
I told board members many months ago that I would not be able to go camping (annual spring semester event) because I have serious environmental allergies. If I get a bug bite, I swell all over. I couldn’t risk that if I would be taking care of kids.
They said that this was not something that they’re holding against me, but without my presence, I made each of them do more work.
- Mentor Social #2. Dinner and Karaoke.
We have mentor socials so that mentors could bond and get to know each other better.
I couldn’t make it to this one because it was Easter weekend, and I was going home. Honestly, I didn’t intend to go home, but my dad bought the ticket. I did notify the event planner that I wouldn’t be there and asked if she could change the date, but in the end, I couldn’t go.
I should have told the head coordinator earlier that I was going home.
So, yes, I have missed many events. Are my excuses valid?
I feel like for the events where I missed because of a midterm… those seem valid to me. Am I not a student first? Do they want me to prioritize SMILE over school?
Probably not, but I’ve had a lot of absences. In addition, I, generally, haven’t been volunteering for many extra tasks. And I guess, this shows that I am not a committed board member.
And this has been bothering me a for a while because I do have low self-esteem and I really am not sure whether I am capable of doing the things I want to do next semester.
I am very emotionally attached to SMILE, and I want to be able to show it too. I want to be peer advisor. I want to do well in my classes (Econometrics as my hardest class, but still a work intensive load set of classes). I want to keep my jobs on campus (because college isn’t free!).
Does that sound like a lot? Am I asking myself to do the impossible next semester? Can I even do it?
I recently saw a TedTalk (I LOVE TedTallks!) about how stress could actually be a good thing. WHAT? Yeah, I know.
So, health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, did a study and found that people who experience a lot of stress, but think that it is NOT a detrimental thing to them, actually live longer than people that low levels of stress.
Over and over, we’ve been told that stress is bad. We should avoid stress at all costs. But, for many of us, stress is a very natural part of our lives. And when we are stressed, our bodies physically react to it: our heart beats faster, we sweat, we breathe faster. If we see stress as a bad thing, then our arteries constrict and less blood passes through. But, if we see this stress mechanism as a way for our bodies to rise up to the challenge, we can easily confront it.
I don’t totally understand the science behind it, but I know that stress is very much a part of my life. Heck, if I don’t feel stressed, I know that something is wrong!! But, stress is positive, and it causes us to reach out to others.
Here’s the link: How to Make Stress Your Friend
Take twenty minutes and watch it (and then, watch a bajillion other Ted Talks!!)
Anyway, what do you think? Do you think that what I have going next semester is a lot? Or, do you think it’s manageable? Or, do you think you need to get to know me a little better?
Also, how is stress acting in your life? Is it a part of yours as it is a part of mine? What kinds of things are stressed about? Or, are you a person that doesn’t get stressed? If so, how do you do it?!
Let me know! And as always, thank you for getting to the bottom. :)
Over and out.
PS. Check out a flyer I made for P. SMILE's fundraiser. I'm proud of it, and I wanted to share it with all of you :)