This winter and spring have been really hard for me, hence the lack of blogging. I don’t really want to share my emotional ups and downs because a lot of times, I don’t even know how to express what I’m going through, and I end up writing a lot of drafts of blog posts that go unpublished. I’m also very conscious of the fact that we live in a public world, and I don’t want to put anything on the internet that I wouldn’t be okay with seeing on a billboard. I know not all people think that way about their online identities, but that’s how I go about it – I want to be proud of everything I put out there.
That being said, as a grad student, an aspiring student affairs/higher ed professional, and someone who interacts with college students on a daily basis, I think this is an important post. This is a excerpt of a post I wrote last week when I was in a serious funk. I was really unhappy, as I had been for most of the winter, and finally this weekend I snapped out of it. I sat on this post for a while because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to publish it, but I think there are other people out there who can relate to what I’m going through. In the past week I’ve talked to two good friends of mine (who are not in grad school) who expressed similar frustration with life in general, and it made me realize that I am not alone.
Looking back, I’m not sure why I was surprised by that, but I always got the impression that everyone was loving life except for me. This was a great reminder that everyone has their struggles, but you can’t always see them from the outside looking in. It always amazes me how life comes full circle – we talk about normalizing the experience for first year students a lot in the office, and I’ve found myself thinking often this year about how I need to take everything I do in my work with new students and apply it to my own life. This is one example of that!
So to students who might read this, whether undergrads or grad students: Know that you are not alone. Find something that you enjoy, and keep up with it so that you have that to look forward to. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. I’ve found that when I’m honest with myself and say to myself, “I’m really unhappy right now”, that’s the moment that everything turns around and I’m able to see the sun again. And finally, seek out people to talk to about what you’re going through, whether that’s friends, people you work with, people outside your work place, or trained professionals.
To any working professionals out there who might read this, whether you’re in higher ed or another industry, young or old: Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Take the time to listen to someone. Take the time to ask questions of the younger workers around you. You never know what you might say that might spark some bit of thinking in them that will help them reach a point of clarity, or just help support them through a rough patch.
That being said, here it is. (I realize this is a really short post for how much I’ve built it up – but hey, I’ve got a lot to say now that I’ve processed it. You can tell I’m in the right field. #reflection)
My twenties so far have been a weird time as far as emotions go. I feel like I have a ton of them but for some reason can’t express them.
Like the guy? Don’t show it – gotta play it cool so you’re in control.
Don’t like the guy? Don’t show it – gotta play it cool so you’re in control.
Need friends? So does everyone else – but don’t be too eager or that’s just weird.
Love your job? That’s great, but all your friends hate theirs, so don’t tout that too far and wide.
Frustrated with your job? Everyone else is too. But you better not show it on the job – you better pretend to love it.
It’s exhausting pretending to feel things. It’s exhausting pretending not to feel things. When do we all get to just be who we are and show what we feel again? I know that I show my emotions on my face so I’m sure I’m never fooling anyone about how I really feel, but I miss the times when I felt like I was always being 100% myself and truly being honest. I’m not sure when the last time I was really honest with myself and others was. Except for just now – that was true honesty right there. I think if anything your twenties are a time when you need to be more honest and let yourself feel things even more because you’re going through so many changes, but it’s so hard to let go and do that. Especially when you’re in a new place, with new people, still figuring out how all that is going to work…it takes some time. Here’s hoping I can find ways to be truly open and honest and really feel again sometime soon. I want to be able to show my emotions and be okay with it.