To be honest, I was having a hard time at the beginning of the semester. I had gotten comfortable in this five months at home during quarantine, I was concerned with the novelty of COVID-19, and I was worried about living in such close proximity with my peers for four months. Unfortunately, when I moved back in, my mom couldn’t come with me like she had done for the past two years because she could not risk exposing herself to the virus as she is the sole caretaker for my brother.
It was difficult.
You never realize how much stuff you have until you’re packing up or unpacking your belongings. Everything really just piled on top of each other, and it felt like I was suffocating. As I have moved past that, I learned some valuable lessons. First, I don’t always need to multitask. Second, I need to be easier on myself.
Why do I have so many things? The clutter that comes with moving into a new dorm room has always been stressful, but I never realized how much I actually relied on my mother. It got to a point where I became so overwhelmed that I started crying and had no choice but to call her because it all seemed impossible at that moment. The only reason I was able to get through that moment was that my mom told me, “you are struggling because you are trying to pack away fifty things at once but what you need to do is put everything in one corner and attack that corner.” Once, I stopped trying to make my bed, stock my medicine cabinet, and put together my desk simultaneously, the task as a whole became much less daunting.
Believe it or not, this advice has been more applicable than I thought it would be. Multi-tasking is a great skill to have, but you don’t have to work on six things at once to be successful. There is an obsession with “grind culture” and the idea that if you aren’t constantly working or being productive, you’re lazy.
This is such a harmful mindset. It’s great to be productive, but doing so 24/7/365 is exhausting. We need to start allowing ourselves to have a break. There is nothing shameful in taking a rest. Especially, with a pandemic going on. Over quarantine, you did not need to start a small business or lose twenty pounds; simply waking up in the morning and making yourself a meal is more than enough. I, too, feel guilty if I spend my Sunday doing nothing. But I seem to forget that I just put in a week of work with close to no break.
We need to start being kinder to ourselves. It's okay to take a break. It's okay to give yourself a self-care day. You deserve it. As you apply to college or if you're already in college, you know that there is so much stress surrounding applications and exams. I want you to take this as an opportunity to take a break and give yourself the credit that you deserve.