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Life Update

November 28th, 2018

The semester is coming to a close, and as much as I want to be a person who exudes positivity, I’m not going to lie when I say I’m struggling a little bit across the board (no more than any other college student, though!). There’s just enough going on to the point where everything feels hectic, and I’m simultaneously reflecting on the past, worrying about the future, and just generally feeling two steps behind everyone else. That comparison, in fact, is the root of my struggles- even though I’m surrounded by erudite classmates and friends, so I should logically feel motivated, my default state tends to be self-deprecation. Even though I know “comparison is the thief of joy”, when I’m surrounded by creators, innovators, philosophers, and more, it becomes so easy to beat myself up because I feel like I’m nowhere near the same level as them.

As much as I want to be in solidarity with my fellow students, sometimes I have to ask myself the uncomfortable question of “What do I have to offer that they don’t?” This is especially prevalent in terms of job applications, internship opportunities, class participation, the interactions we have, and other aspects of life. I feel like I haven’t done enough to make myself stand out among a crowd, but instead of motivating me to work harder and refine myself, it makes me more withdrawn and hopeless about my future. I find that I’m regretting what I’ve been doing in the present (which, oddly enough, becomes the past…), which transitions into me being afraid about having nothing to show for myself after college.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I also miss being young and not having this sense of constant urgency. I know I can’t revert back to my childhood, and I know I have to be exposed to pain and making mistakes, but I’m afraid I’m regretting some of my college experience instead of relishing it. I don’t like feeling this way- moving forward, I primarily want to be more mindful and do every assignment to the best of my ability, which sounds daunting but rewarding. Working hard will keep me busy, distracted, and hopefully happy with my still-developing work ethic, but I know these feelings won’t easily dissipate over time. There’s much more I can write, all about regret and moving forward and honesty, but this post got so much out of me that I feel like I can move on, even if it’s just a tiny step. ūüôā

-Jillian B.

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Thanksgiving Break Tasks to Complete

November 24th, 2018

Somehow, I’m already 80% done with my Thanksgiving break, even though it feels like I just got home! I head back to school tomorrow afternoon, with just a few overwhelming weeks left before a blissful, month-long winter break. Before I haul out the holly and get into the holiday spirit, though, I have plenty of classes, assignments, papers, projects, exams, work shifts, and extracurriculars waiting for me. Just rereading that sentence seems overwhelming, but instead of ignoring everything I have to do- paradoxically making myself more stressed- I figured this would be a good place to upload a list of tasks I want to get done in the next two days before I go back to campus. Without further ado, here’s to hoping that these goals will make the final few weeks of the semester more serene than they have been in the last few years! Hopefully, before I go back to campus, I can. . .

1) Figure out if I need anything for the next few weeks

2) Pack for school

This includes…

-Clothes/Toiletries/Makeup/Electronics/Homework/Miscellaneous

3) Organize everything in my semester spreadsheet calendar

4) Catch up on missing assignments 

This includes…

-My White Teeth reflection/Emailing my Shakespeare professor about journal entries/Catching up on journal entries for my Poetry Workshop class

5) Make a manageable plan to complete upcoming assignments

This includes…

-My 2 readings for Monday (one is almost done)/My essay proposal/My Sociology paper (just needs edits)/My Sociology presentation (just needs edits)//My essay rough draft/My Biology quiz (unsure of what chapters those are on, as of right now)

6) Make a manageable plan to complete final-related assignments   

This includes…

-My final English essay (after drafts are reviewed)/my Shakespeare final/finishing my poetry journal entries/doing my poetry final portfolio/studying for my Biology final/studying for my Sociology final

7) Continue looking for/applying to jobs for winter break

8) Compile a scholarship list

9) Figure out how to schedule chores into each week

10) Schedule exercise into each week

11) Schedule self-care into each week

12) Plan some kind of outing with my friends to relieve stress

 

That’s it for now! This post was more personal than public, but it definitely lets anyone see what’s going on in my brain at all times. Letting this all out, especially in a semi-organized manner, helped me a lot, and I’m hoping to be disciplined enough to commit to these tasks! Whenever I post next, it’s almost certainly going to be yet another reflective post. Thanks for staying with me as I test the waters of WordPress ūüôā

-Jillian B.

 

 

 

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On Coming Home

November 21st, 2018

Ever since I’ve started college, I’ve been thinking about how I technically have two different homes now- one being wherever I live at college, and the second being my home in New Jersey. Before my freshman year of college began, I was struck by the thought that my childhood home, where I had been living for eighteen years, wouldn’t be my permanent place of residence anymore. Throughout my childhood, I was fortunate enough to not have to move houses, so I had never had to deal with that shift. As a current college junior, I now have more than enough experience in changing wherever I reside- I’ve lived in three different dorms throughout my three years at school, and I still come back to New Jersey for every break. However, especially because my college career is more than halfway over, I’ve been reflecting more on the impermanence of both coming back to my New Jersey home and wherever I am living at school.

It’s no secret I love being home in Jersey, especially in the fall; I love watching the familiar patterns of the leaves changing colors, reminiscing on childhood memories like Saturday morning soccer games, and being lucky enough to spend time with the family and friends that I love so much. As I grow up, though, I only become more aware of what’s changing around me. Even though I do my best to embrace this change, it’s very easy (for me, at least!) to feel nostalgic for people, places, and things I logically can’t get back. This feeling usually stems from silly things, like a favorite childhood restaurant closing down. At its worst, though, I start to think about the passing of time and how, whether I like it or not, my closest friends and I are already separating from each other. Some of us go to different schools, some of us have chosen different life paths, and some of us have just stopped talking. Even though I still keep in touch with many people through social media and have maintained strong connections, sometimes I find myself (ridiculously) yearning for the times in high school when we were all in the same vicinity, sharing similar experiences, and promising to always be there for each other. I’m so proud of the people in my life who choose to share their accomplishments with me and the rest of the world, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have been surrounded by them at one point in my life. Even though it’s difficult to fully accept that some relationships may fade, I have to make peace with it- especially so I can focus on strengthening relationships with the people in my life who still choose to connect with me!

Along with being reminded of fading friendships, I also glean some fear for my family in terms of age when I come home. I feel like college has been going by in a blur for me, and when I think about myself growing up, I also have to accept that my family is aging as well. That, along with the fact that I don’t get to see my family as often as I would like to when I am away at school makes me both nostalgic for and appreciative of the days when seeing my immediate family was a constant I knew I could always return to. This feeling has only been heightened by the passing of my beloved Abuela over the summer. Even though I find myself worrying about the fate of my family, specifically the older members, and I don’t feel nearly grown-up enough yet to deal with the passing of anyone close to me, I feel more inspired to keep in touch with them so I can appreciate them now. Even though it’s not something I say aloud because I don’t really know how to verbally express it, I hope my family (and friends!) know just how much I love them.

The point of this (lengthy) post is that, as much as I’d like to, I don’t think I’ve fully accepted all the changes that have happened in my life in the past few years. That isn’t to say I don’t appreciate them, though! Having new outlets for writing, or new opportunities to volunteer, or making friends from all different walks of life is something I can never take for granted. My college life and my home life don’t have to be overwhelming to balance, even amidst all the instability that comes with growing up. I know I’m lucky enough to have wonderful people by my side at this very moment, and I think that’s something I really need to work on taking more to heart. ūüôā

-Jillian B.

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On Being A Good Person

As I said in my first post on here, I’m trying to write for myself- while I’m so appreciative of anyone who happens to read this, I also want whatever I write to be meaningful to me. However, I’ve already been having a really tough time with that! I have six posts drafted on here, but even though I have a lot of ideas I want to share, I always felt critical of my own writing voice whenever I went to make edits. With that being said, I want to talk about what’s been occupying my mind for the past few weeks or so. Even if it’s not written flawlessly, it’s something that’s been really resonating with me for a long time, so above all else, I know it’s making an impact on me right now.

If you ever ask me what kind of person I want to be, my immediate response tends to be, simply, “A good person”. I know I’m not a perfect person by any means, but I do like reaching out to friends and family members with little messages to (hopefully!) cheer them up. However, in the midst of being a college junior in a busy, stressful semester, I’ve found myself feeling more withdrawn and short-tempered than usual. As someone who wants to go into a service-based career, that genuinely terrifies me to no end because I’m afraid I won’t be an effective motivator, counselor, support system, etc. for whoever I want to someday serve. Even though my family and friends are exceptionally supportive and kind to me, I can’t help but feel like they’re exaggerating or being biased if what they say to me happens to be what I want to hear. That’s a byproduct of my own insecurities, and I wholeheartedly trust these amazing people in my life, but sometimes it’s difficult for me to accept compliments of that nature because I’ve seen myself at my worst.

This desire to be a good person has only been heightened in light of all the tragedies that have been occurring in the world recently. I’ve had the motivation to investigate into service-based careers, but I’ve also had more of a cynical attitude towards my classwork and assignments, because I feel like spending time studying for Biology or reading an epic won’t aid me in becoming a good person. It’s been a bit of a struggle trying to balance academics and my personal feelings this semester, but something I’ve been trying to remember is that any act of kindness, no matter how small it may be, can still be impactful. Whether it’s holding the door for someone, or smiling at a stranger, or complimenting someone on their insights in class, that still has the power to make a difference. It probably won’t change anything on a global level, but instead of feeling defeated by everything negative, I can do my part to add a little bit of brightness. As cheesy as it may sound, I want to recommit myself to being a good person, even when I’m not feeling the best. It’s what my friends, my family, and everyone I encounter deserves. ūüôā

-Jillian B.

 

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Welcome!

This blog and its first post have been in the works since¬†February¬†of this year. Why did it take me over eight months to finally publish something? Basically, I created this blog, drafted a post, and read it over and over until I was finally satisfied with how everything sounded, but something still prevented¬†me from hitting “Publish”. I’ve recently realized that as¬†much as I want to share my experiences¬†with others, I don’t want anyone I know to feel obligated to read this blog. Even though the people in my life¬†are exceptionally¬†supportive and kind, I’ve lately noticed that I would enjoy having some creative¬†outlet that can reach both strangers and acquaintances alike.
I don’t fully know why I’m so hesitant to announce this blog to social media, but I do know that a large part of me is (irrationally)¬†worried about people judging my writing. While I was drafting this post, I was meticulously picking out every word and worrying that my writing was imperfect, but if I wait until I feel like this post is “perfect”,¬†I’ll never get this published!¬†Even though part of me fears judgement, I also find myself worrying that no one will come across this blog, and I’ll just be shouting into the void. However, I’m starting to wonder if recognition should really be that important to me. I know¬†that words can still hold weight, regardless of whether anyone reads them or not. Even¬†though I’m certainly not the most evocative writer, I want to¬†learn to have more confidence in myself, so if what I write is meaningful to me, then that’s all that matters- at least, that’s what I’m trying to believe!
Funnily enough, every single time I drafted (and redrafted) this first post, it all resulted in the same progression of me recognizing my¬†fears, and then me resolving to be more confident in myself.¬†I’m hoping starting this blog can inspire that confidence I’ve been looking for. Even if no one reads it, or if no one likes what they read on here, I know I can grow as a writer and a person from doing this. My words are potentially being broadcasted to an audience, and taking the chance to be vulnerable is something I should be proud of myself for doing.
To whoever may be reading this, I’d love for you to stick around, but there’s no obligation to! Thanks for reading, and lots of love ūüôā
-Jillian B.