Toward the beginning of the semester, I was sitting at Rooster's Coffee Bar on Main Street (shoutout!), working on some school assignments. At that moment, I was already overwhelmed with my work; it was only week two! Sometimes it feels like professors put blinders on when it comes to an understanding just how many commitments I have outside their classes. Which, I know they most likely deal with similar time management struggles. But, let's face it, we're ALL busy.
I'm not sure about you, but I like to write things down to organize my feelings and get them out of my head. So that day, I sat at Rooster's and wrote in my notes all the negative emotions I was feeling. As I began to write, I realized that I was looking at my circumstances with so much negativity. Not only that, but something clicked in my brain that I've been trudging through my whole SRU academic career with a poor attitude. I remember that I would constantly complain about fitting my classes, assignments, clubs, work, volunteering, workouts, and leisure time into my schedule. I often found myself asking, "Why is this so difficult?"
And yes, part of the answer is that sometimes you need to make sacrifices on one thing to make way for the successful completion of another. But what I wasn't seen for so long is that complaining about all the things I had to do didn't change the fact that I still had to do them. So I realized that rather than complaining, I could look at my circumstances with gratitude and positivity. At this moment, when I collected my emotions, I thought of a random statistic I had heard a while back. According to a study by the Asian Development Bank and Harvard University, 6.7% of the world's population are college degree holders. Read that again. Only 6.7?
I did a 180. I wrote in my notes, "what a blessing it is to be able to get an education." This was a significant turning point for me. From then on, I wanted to switch my phraseology from my commitments being a "burden" to an "opportunity." What if instead of complaining about what I have to do, I become grateful that I GET to do it and better myself BECAUSE of it? Perspective has so much power. I can either choose to dwell on the negatives or switch my attitude, remembering that my worth is not dependent on my ability to do everything perfectly. Wow, how freeing it is to look at my life this way. I've already noticed a difference in my stress this year compared to last.
I've also become more aware of another important truth that goes hand in hand with this: any worthy pursuit in life will come with challenges. A few weeks ago, my sister showed me a Twitter video of the Duke Women's Basketball head coach giving her players a harsh word of encouragement. Her main message was that things don't get easier. But, you begin to handle hard better.
So yes, getting an education is a good thing. But it is also challenging. Therefore, I believe that as I change my perspective from "this sucks" to "this will be difficult, but I will get it done," I will set myself on the path to handling hard better. Here's to choosing a positive filter.