My sister and my girlfriend are going back to school this week, and for the first time in about seventeen years, I am not doing the same.
Since I am no longer a formal student at an American institution, I’ve been reflecting a lot on who I am.
Who am I without school?
I’m still determining how to answer this question, but I started by creating a more detailed “about me” page. It was fun to do and while it’s not comprehensive by any means, I think it was a good place to start.
Additionally, in the last week or so, I’ve been doing some things that I’ve put off because I was busy in school. For example, I’ve finished two books recently. I’m working on finishing two more before reading or buying a new one.
The biggest way I’ve attempted to answer my question is by deciding not to rush grad school. It was a little scary to come to this decision because I find school comforting in the sense that I know what goal I have to achieve: to graduate. The means are provided as well such as you have to take classes and study. Without school, my goal is more focused on becoming self-sufficient… I need a job to do that but the types of jobs I can have are innumerable! To me, this goal is quite a bit more overwhelming.
I want to tackle this goal, thus, I won’t be applying for grad school until next fall at the earliest.
Delaying grad school would also allow my work experiences and whatever else I experience to influence which grad program I will eventually pursue. I still plan to take the GREs this year but instead of taking them in November, I will take them in December or January.
In regards to jobs…I’ve had a ton of first interviews but it’s been slow to hear back about second interviews. I’m going to follow up with some places this week to see where I am at as a prospective employee. I will also begin to apply for part-time jobs so I don’t deplete my savings waiting for a full-time job.
Some part-time job opportunities include teaching yoga. I’ve been postponing looking for yoga jobs in person lately but I’ll have to resume it. I just created a class about creativity because it’s something I’ve been struggling with lately, and I’m super excited to teach it! I have to fine-tune some things still, but it feels good on my body and I think it’d feel good to others too.
I’ve been struggling with my creativity because I haven’t been using it to its full-extent these days. This is definitely partially attributed to school, which is one reason not being a student will be good for me because unless you allot time for creativity, school really hinders it. I was fortunate to have time to take two creative writing courses last year, but it has been difficult to maintain the drive to be creative because I was thrust from the cocoon of being a student to suddenly being a graduate who needs a job and wants to go to grad school and needs to study and…I was putting way too much on my plate.
Once I decided to postpone grad school another year, I allowed myself the time to breathe and to allow my creative mind to flow. In fact, I’ve been dreaming a lot at night these days, which I think is a good sign. One thing I need to work on though is disconnecting from the internet before and after bed, because that definitely stifles creativity. Instead I want to reintegrate meditation for at least 10 minutes everyday. My goal is to then create something every three days.
There are some other things I want to talk about and share, but perhaps that’ll be for a different time.
I’m now a certified vinyasa yoga instructor! I’m so proud of myself and so grateful to have been able to earn this certification. It has been life-changing and eye-opening.
I’ve been wanting to write about my experience for forever, but the last two weeks have been unusually busy. Two weeks ago it was July 4th weekend and I was studying for my yoga final and spending some much-needed quality time with my girlfriend. Last week was the final week of my training and then we had a party to celebrate on Friday. Saturday I attended my step-grandma’s nephew’s wedding (weird? I know, but it was fun!) and then my parents left for a 10-day vacation. My weeks aren’t usually this eventful.
Now that I’ve graduated both from college and this training program, my days have slowed down a bit, thus I’ve resumed the arduous and depressing task of applying for jobs! Also, yesterday I spontaneously purchased a new member pass to a local yoga studio to become more acquainted with the yoga community. I also am hoping to teach at this yoga studio. I have some other studios in mind too though in case it doesn’t pan out.
Something needs to pan out though because I desperately need to work. The stress that comes with job applications has unfortunately returned, despite it being managed better due to Yoga as well as my wonderful girlfriend’s insight. I’m so pleased I got a month pass to attend an unlimited amount of yoga classes though because it will provide some much-needed structure until I figure out the job stuff. Plus I love yoga and I am trying different styles of yoga through this studio! It’s awesome.
Some things I’ve been thinking about lately, other than jobs, have been doctorate programs and whether to create a website just for yoga stuff.
In regards to the first thing…I still have to look at program curriculums but right now, I am interested in pursuing a doctorate in Women’s and Gender Studies. I feel nervous for being interested in that type of program though because it’s a relatively new field and aside from academia, I imagine job prospects to be bleak. That may not be the case but considering I have been having a difficult time getting a job with a degree in economics as well as WGS, I expect to deal with similar or worse challenges if I specialize in WGS only. On the other hand, because it’s a new field, I could be part of groundbreaking work such as helping to establish it as a notable field as well as being one of the first teachers in WGS to have studied WGS (currently, most WGS professors have diverse backgrounds of study ranging from Africana studies to economics to sociology).
The other thing I’ve been pondering about is the development of a professional website. This website that I’ve been using for four or five years now is quite personal, so I feel uncomfortable sharing it with people that I know and using it to advertise my business…it’s not a business website anyway, it’s my personal website. I should probably make a professional yoga website but websites are not cheap and as I’ve mentioned before, I need a job.
The lack of a job is making me nervous for next month because I don’t know what I will do. Will I be working a 9-5 an hour away from home? When will I have time to do yoga then? Will I get a job that will force me to relocate? How can I advertise for my yoga services if I can’t afford to make the website and if I have a job and can afford to make the website, how will I provide services if I’m working full-time?
I’m uncertain when I should invest money to make money and when I should save it I guess. I mean..I invested money to get the training so maybe I should save it now and make a free yoga website until I am able to upgrade? Any thoughts?
I keep revisiting my dream life scenario where I have my PhD so I am able to conduct research and teach, and then also teach yoga. To achieve this dream life though, I’ll definitely have to undergo some uncomfortable shifts of time-management and I’ll also have to do things I don’t enjoy. Or…as what Yoga philosophy argues…I may not expect to enjoy it but I should find contentment in what I’m doing regardless.
I really want to write posts about yoga, which may be more suitable for a yoga-focused website. One cool thing though is that I will be able to write for a yoga teacher’s website! I was introduced to her through the famous yoga Facebook group I always mention and she was looking for guest writers! Whenever my article is posted on her site, I’ll let y’all know!
I got into a horrible fight with my mom on the last day of spring break. She had gotten back from a difficult medical seminar and she was trying to relax at home when I came downstairs from my bedroom to sit with her and my sister. It was late, around 10:30pm, and they were planning the family trip to Disney to celebrate my graduation.
I was joking with my sister and mentioned how I was turning twenty-three this year, which prompted my mom to ask me what I am doing with my life. Assuming she was joking too, I responded that I don’t know (which is pretty true though). For some reason, this response instigated the fight, which was essentially about how I need to get a job and how I’m not doing enough and how what I’ve been doing my entire college career has been a waste of time.
I tried my adaptation of the Virgo Full Moon Ritual in the morning after I did my daily yoga session. I decided to do a Full Moon Yoga flow, followed by stretching because last time I did it, my hamstrings were killing me for several days afterward. Then I did the ritual.
Part of the ritual was to feel and think about what makes you feel like you are on task. I interpreted that as…what makes you feel fulfilled? What goals do you want to achieve, and what can you do more of to help you get there?
The three things that came to my mind were my girlfriend, my blog, and school.
I stopped crying daily. I didn’t realize I had stopped crying daily until my girlfriend was talking about the “getting-an-internship” struggle. I empathized with her and said, “Yeah, that process sucks. It used to make me sad, but not nearly as sad as how I’ve been feeling now that I’m graduating and in need of a job.”
Then I stopped for a moment because I realized that I hadn’t cried about graduating and needing a job in quite some time. I haven’t been excessively stressed to the point where I make myself physically sick, nor have I been excessively distracting myself from reality. I’ve been productive and calm.
She asked me how and why I’ve been so much calmer lately and I surmised that it was influenced by my daily yoga practice.
She agreed and pointed out how before when I wasn’t doing it every day, I would regret not doing it that day.
I added that I feel a little more…confident in myself. By that I mean, I know I’ll be okay after graduation. I’m unsure what I’ll be doing yet but…I think when I invested in myself by upgrading my blog, I’ve begun to see more of my value. Although I’m still working out the goals for this blog as well as what I want to do to achieve them, I feel more confident than ever that I will get to where I want to be. This feeling has manifested in other areas of my life, including my thesis. I’m more confident than ever in regards to me being able to complete an excellent thesis.
It’s awesome seeing how one small decision to practice yoga daily has affected so many areas of my life. The online yoga community I’m part of has helped inspire me to start taking action, also fueled by the fact that the ending of my undergraduate career is the perfect time to take some risks! I am not tied down to anything, I don’t have a ton of responsibilities yet, and I’m young. Now is the time to take my passions further!
I’ve been considering to invest more into my yoga practice and I am also considering higher education again. I haven’t thought about it since September but doing my thesis (and killing it!) has reinspired me that maybe conducting research is one of my callings. I’m unsure still, but I’m open to the journey!
I don’t understand how so much time has passed since I last wrote…it’s crazy. I’m soooo unprepared for the speed at which time is flying because I have so much work to do for my thesis before the semester ends and I have to stop kinda failing an economics class…keep me in your thoughts.
Anyway…I’m about to embark on finishing the draft for the first chapter of my thesis. It is rough, so hopefully, I can significantly improve it by the time the official copy is due.
Aside from that…some updates!
Happy September 1st!
Jeez, I can’t believe it’s already September though. My senior year officially begins on Tuesday, which has caused my anxiety to spike tremendously once again. Unfortunately, my anxiety triggers cold sores on my lips at least once every season…they’re super painful and because tea tree oil is the only effective remedy to treat them, (tea tree oil, if used as frequently as possible throughout the day, tends to prevent cold sores from going through the whole two-week healing process and reduces it to a week or if you’re lucky to catch it early enough, a mere couple of days), my lips become super dry. Every year, I feel like I get them more and more easily, which is frustrating. I used to get them only if I didn’t sleep but now I get them whenever I go from calm to hella anxious and worried. Anyway….
Yes, I’m anxious because of school. I’m also anxious because I just came back from the dermatologist…I got a biopsy and now I have to go back in three months. My mom is currently at the doctor for her cancer…health issues are incredibly anxiety-inducing.
Additionally, it’ll be one year since my cousin passed in two days. I always think about her, but over the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking about her more frequently and I have been wanting to talk to her more than I usually do. Her parents planted a tree for her in the city where she was killed yesterday…I wish they had told us about that because I would’ve liked to go. It must’ve been a nice ceremony.
In this month, I’ve come out to my parents a second time, my parents met my girlfriend, and I also got into my first fight with my girlfriend.
By “coming out” a second time, I just told my parents that I had a girlfriend. My dad handled it better than my mom…not that my mom handled it terribly this time though. My mom basically worried about my safety and my future, meanwhile my dad focused more on the fact that I can tell him anything and that he loves me.
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” -Mark Twain
My therapist recommended I try a counseling group that focuses on behaviors and emotions, and I went to my first session last week. It’s only been a week as I write this, but it’s been insightful thus far. Our first assignment is to practice mindfulness because it is helpful when it comes to reducing suffering, increasing control of your mind, and experiencing reality as it is.
Unfortunately, this assignment has gone to the wayside a bit since my dad had to go to the ER last week and spent three nights at the hospital. That would’ve been a prime time to practice meditating because I was consumed with anxiety and the thoughts I used to have after my cousin passed resurfaced…I was experiencing very intense emotions. I tried working out in the morning, which did help a little bit but…I didn’t deal with my emotions sufficiently I guess. It all blew up in my face a couple of hours later when my mom was nagging me to text my aunt. I erupted and we got into a dramatic fight…and she stormed out of the house. Then I yelled at my sister until I finally broke down and cried uncontrollably.
Anyway…I forgot about this assignment but I will work on it every day going forward because practicing mindfulness would help regulate my mood swings.
I have practiced yoga twice in the last two weeks, which is a method for practicing mindfulness though. I watched the Yoga with Adrienne videos that my good friend, Lana, recommended on her site. I think I would rather learn the moves enough to do it on my own but for now, watching the videos and following along has been a little helpful.
Thankfully, my dad is doing pretty well and he’s home from the hospital, so my anxiety surrounding medical issues and death has decreased. Instead, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety about my future. I think as far ahead as a year from now, which is ridiculous because then I miss out on enjoying the present moment.
My surgery was about a month ago, if not longer, and it went well. It was a 20 minute procedure and I wasn’t in pain until the following day. The following day and all the days after that were miserable though.
My mom and sister coddled me back to good health. They wheeled me around in the wheelchair, took me to class/tutoring/office hours (I was taking a summer class and unfortunately couldn’t live in my apartment for awhile due to the surgery), helped me out around the house, helped me wash my hair, etc. They were incredible, especially considering that I was a whiny ass sometimes because I hated being unable to function normally and I felt like my summer was taken away. At least the Olympics began during my recovery so when I wasn’t doing academic things, I was focused on watching the Olympics with my sister.
Unfortunately, the week of my final exam was terrible. I was finally feeling better and able to hobble around a bit so I stayed in my apartment to focus on studying a couple days before the exam. I was stressed because the last exam I took, I did poorly. I didn’t do as poorly as that time in calculus when I thought I at least got a B but got a D instead, but I was disappointed nonetheless. Especially since I wanted to ace this class. That was the whole purpose of taking this class in the summer! After my second exam, it would’ve been difficult to obtain even a B+.
So a couple days before my final, I sat in my room in my apartment studying/trying to focus on studying. Then I took my exam, which was tough despite the days I spent in solitude studying. The exam was only two hours and I don’t think it was incredibly challenging, but I kept second-guessing myself because my math didn’t make sense to me. I ended up being the last person in the room taking the exam.
Immediately upon exiting the building, I burst into tears. Not cute, happy tears, but hysterical, ugly tears with tons of snot. What made it worse was that I only had one tissue and the bus back to my apartment wasn’t coming for another hour. I didn’t want to walk home since it was late and I was only able to hobble.
I wanted to talk to someone about my exam to help calm me down, but I didn’t know who…I definitely wasn’t going to call my mom because slobbering on the phone to her would’ve made me feel worse. (She usually gets hysterical when I’m hysterical). Sometimes things happen at perfectly convenient times though.
Right after I sat down on a bench, I got a text from a guy I met on Tinder last September. We never actually met up. I blew him off a couple times, not that we ever had serious plans to meet up anyway. Since Septemner, we’ve texted on and off…maybe once or twice every couple of months. He had texted me the day before my final so he knew I had a final, but he didn’t know when it was. His text came at the perfect time.
I spent the next hour crying and texting him on the bench in the courtyard. He was perfect to talk to because we aren’t close at all so I didn’t care if I seemed lame by being so upset and because there was so much to learn about him, I was able to distract myself effectively by getting to know him.
Then the bus finally came and I texted him until 1am in between self-pity shots of shitty pink lemonade vodka and episodes of Angel.
The following day, I felt like crap and not necessarily from the vodka (although I didn’t feel super from that either) but because my doom and gloom attitude about my exam suffocated me. It was also a glum day outside, which tends to heighten my bad moods.
I ended up missing the bus to work and having to pay for an Uber. At that point, I was sufficiently upset and pissed at myself and I just wanted to go home. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that, so I got an iced coffee. That’s when my day spun around.
My summer coffee choice has been Dunkin Donuts’ Almond Joy iced coffee, especially after they stopped offering the Pistachio one. In my hometown, they didn’t have the Almond Joy flavor anymore but at school, they fortunately had some left!
Coffee is comparable to alcohol to me. I’m sensitive to caffeine so it makes me all hyper and happy. Alcohol makes me feel relaxed and silly, but they both make me feel…better? I’m unsure if that’s the appropriate word but..it’s like, if you’re nervous for a party, you have a drink to loosen up. If I’m having a bad day, I have coffee to pipe me up.
So I was at work feeling a little better, especially since the first-years were interesting to talk to. Then I found out I got an A in the class! Which seemed impossible based on my calculations but there was some extra credit involved and possibly a curve so…I was extremely happy. I proceeded to tell the Tinder guy and then I felt silly to have cried so much after my exam.
Afterwards, a guy came up to my table at work. I recognized him from when I went to the movies back in June. He worked at the theater and somehow my friends and I had gotten into a discussion about sexual violence in the news with him. When he told me he was attending my university this fall, I insisted he come to orientation to check out my job since I work in this field and since he seemed pretty educated and interested in this work. At the time, he scoffed at the idea of attending orientation but low and behold, he was there! The last orientation of the summer happened to be one of the few days I was working, so I was able to run into him. Then we chatted, he signed up for more information, and got super involved during the part of orientation where we talk about sexual violence. He impressed my boss enough to earn free sunglasses!
I love how things work out.
When he left, I talked to another guy who complimented my hair. I thought it looked subpar that day so it was nice to have heard otherwise.
So yeah..it was a rough week that ended well. That has pretty much been the tone of my summer. It’s been way less social compared to last summer with all the partying and working but..it’s been good nonetheless.
I went abroad for the first time, worked two jobs a bit, read a bunch and finished Buffy, completed three credits with an A, and I just returned from a fun trip to Las Vegas! I’m healthy and I haven’t smoked since July so…this is good. Now I just have to finish getting ready for school in a week or so!
How have your summers been? Comment below!