I love that feeling at the beginning of a semester where you feel you can take on the world. You have a plan and you’re going to stick to it. Never once have I followed that plan through to the end though and I feel the same has happened with this blog! I hate the idea of making excuses but man did I underestimate how difficult it was going to be to work with the study plan I had set myself, work part-time, have a social life and write this blog.

The blog was the first thing to be dropped. It isn’t as pressing a project as finishing my degree and having balance in my life so I didn’t feel too guilty. Unfortunately the balance never quite made its grand entrance. Between doing the study I thought I needed to get my first class honours, my assignments due every week for my continuous assessment and trying to work part-time at weekends, there was no time for a social life. I tried to make it to Jazz, which was on every second week, and I had lunch dates with certain people on certain days but I could never fit everything in. It was like there wasn’t enough hours in the week.

So I decided to quit my job. I looked forward to having weekends free to catch up on the study I hadn’t quite managed to fit in during the week, writing blog posts, reading something purely for pleasure and for some pressure to be taken off my social life. That’s not really what I got though. If anything my life became less organized and more chaotic, so much so that looking back on the last few week of semester one alone I can barely piece together what happened or what I was even doing.

It’s impressive what the mind can do when you really focus on a goal. My goal was to pass my exams. Unfortunately the stress had some pretty horrific impacts on the rest of my life. There were some real curve balls thrown my way and some tough decisions had to be made. I had to ask my boyfriend to move out which eventually resulted in the demise of our relationship. This was by no means a simple task or pleasant experience. Keep in mind this man has been one of my best friend for the last (almost) seven years. Underlying all this was my fear of failure and so my first instinct was to go into lock down.

I feel I made the right choices for my education at the time but at what price? My awareness of my mental health fell to the wayside and I forgot what was personally important to me as my thirst for academic success took over. After the break-up I refused to deal with it. I kept putting it off, against the advice of my friends. The consequences of which were less than ideal.

The frightening part is that I somehow managed to lead myself to believe that I was doing okay. It wasn’t until my exams had passed and I had time to breathe that I realised how deeply I had dug myself into a hole. I knew something had to change. I didn’t quite know how but I knew where to go to find out. I had seen the college counsellors a few times before including the week of the break-up where I had left no details to the imagination. I’m now seeing someone regularly. This is by no means my favourite activity but it can help you find clarity and I recommend it highly to anyone, no matter how small or big the problem.

This brings me to why I’m back. I lost sight of the bigger picture. A huge part of how bad I was and still am feeling was the way I was living my life. I’m not a machine and although I was doing things like meeting friends and looking after my health (relatively, that seemed to get lost after exams as well), I wasn’t putting my heart into it because I was so focused on my exams. I felt like a shell of a person. It lead to thoughts like “who am I?” which in my opinion is one of the most dangerous questions you can ask yourself. Especially because you can’t really know who you are because so long as you’re breathing you are constantly developing and discovering yourself as a human being.

While wondering who I was I found it difficult to find what defines someone as a person. It wasn’t until after I abandoned the theory of knowing who you really are and that I was asked what my hobbies were that I found a place to start exploring. I’ve had many including photography, cooking, reading and now blogging. It struck me how rarely I was actually taking part in any of these things. So I’ve decided to change that. My new goal is to remember to do things I enjoy doing, things that make me happy. I want academic success but not at the expense of my sanity, social life or anything else for that matter. I guess you could call it a late New Years resolution.

But for the record: I HATE New Years resolutions.