Life Update: 02/18/19

Personal

It’s been a while since I have been able to write something of substance. So much has changed within the last few weeks, but it is definitely a welcomed change that has impacted me positively, for the most part. So lets begin..

Yesterday I had attended a Sarcoma Cancer fundraiser in memory of a young neighbour of mine who fought against this diseases for years. Unfortunately, her battled ended in 2018 but her memory lives on through her family, friends, and community that have come together to raise awareness for sarcoma cancer. It is nights such as these that remind me of the power of community and how when we come together, great things are possible.

In a separate area of my life, which is that of fitness and weight-loss, I am proud to say that I am now down 45 pounds. To be honest, the past few days have been a struggle. With going out often, to valentines day, to just craving junk food, I haven’t been keeping up my routine as best as I can. So with that in mind, I’m taking today as a fresh start and going back to my regular regimen with an open mind and good intentions.

The school component of my life has been very chaotic. This term definitely maintains a heavier course load compared to my first term. There is constantly stuff to do- presentations to prepare for, papers to outline, statistics exams to study for- and it’s quite exhausting. This weekend was the only weekend I have had off since the start and yet even when there is no school scheduled…theres still assignments to do. Fortunately for me, I have a fantastic support system that encourages me on a daily basis. I have to give a shoutout to Chantal here because without her constant encouragement and kindness, I would probably be very overwhelmed and unable to focus without freaking out. I just recently found out I finished a course with an A-, and although its not my finest work, I will take the grade because that class was a pain in my… well… you get it.

Emotionally and mentally, I do feel rather drained lately, but when I say emotionally I don’t mean romantically. It’s actually rather hard to explain. I am the type of person who invites my friends to come speak to me whenever they are going through something difficult or just need someone to vent to, speak to, or seek friendly advice from, but not professional advice. Within the past 2 weeks, a large amount of my friends have actually come to me, and while I typically feel honoured and willing to help as best as I can, a lot of their stories hit home for me. As a result, I feel almost tired all the time and I think it’s because I have been shouldering everyones concerns, which normally does not impact me at all. But with school taking its own toll on me, this second source is also impacting me as well. I think it’s time for me to engage in some type of self-care for a little while and take a step back from offering my help until I feel recharged and ready to help others without draining myself.

I went out on a second date with the lovely guy I had mentioned in a previous post. Although I am still not dropping names, I can reveal that the second date was just as good as the first. We went to my favourite restaurant, which he says he loved, and then ventured to play some games at Dave and Busters. And again, it just felt right. We can poke fun at each other, and laugh at one another and just be ourselves, which I think is very rare these days. But he is also very sweet, kind, and warm, which makes me that much more comfortable with him. I will be seeing him again, I think a few times, this coming week and we already have various plans in March. I’m excited to see where this goes.

I’ll have to cut this post a bit short for now, as I have a school group call for 2 presentations that I need to take in 5 minutes. I hope everyone has a blessed week ahead of them!

When Strangers Turn into Friends

Personal

Objective of the week: complete a 4 day intensive graduate course with incoming students I have never met.

This week, I was placed in a room with 21 strangers. Imagine looking out into a sea of faces that are already all so familiar with each other and just feeling isolated. That was me on Monday. I thought to myself, these aren’t my regular classmates, and I’ll barely ever see them again, so do I really need to talk to these people? Just get through the week and you’ll be fine.

Looking back at it, those were premature thoughts that just projected my own insecurities. I didn’t give anyone a chance and made judgement calls right away. I automatically thought that because I was a semester ahead of these people, I wouldn’t be making or maintaining any friendships.

The fact is, this past week has granted me the opportunity to meet so many kind and generous souls. Due to confidentiality, I cannot go into depth about what events unfolded, but what I can tell you is that each and every person in this class has allowed me to see the world in different ways.

I was able to see the world through different cultural, creative, and professional lenses. I was enticed to self-reflect and see where I, as a person, can improve myself. But most importantly, I was given the opportunity to really know people- not their likes and dislikes- but rather their most guarded selves. This act alone is very intimate and sacred.

Being able to hear and see people be so vulnerable with each other is a gift. It’s not something that comes easy or is just expected, but it is something to be cherished when it occurs. I know that for me, being vulnerable is very rare and only happens with those I feel comfortable with. So when someone was vulnerable with me, I always tried to thank them for their bravery.

Earlier this week, we had to take a test that would indicate our own personal strengths. Mine included:

  • Kindness & generosity
  • Honesty, authenticity, & genuineness
  • Humour & playfulness
  • Social intelligene
  • Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty

Each student was expected to grab a large sheet of people and write down these strengths. After doing so, we were told to go around the room and sign everyones sheet. There was no particular way to sign, meaning we could either write our names or even add a little message. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. Of course I made friendships, but I did’t expect anyone to write anything for someone that wasn’t going to be in their future classes. I was beyond surprised at the beautiful heartfelt messages that were left on my paper. I have never felt more appreciative for a group of people in my life, besides my own cohort. After reading their messages I realized.. not only did I see their true nature, but they also saw mine.

At the end of the four days, it was actually really difficult to leave these kind hearts and my new found friendships. I exchanged numbers and socials with a lot of people. I found out that a few students also live near me, and we all made plans to stay in touch and get together at times. It was so nice to hear people say how much they would miss me, or how much they wished I was in their class permanently.

The moral of the story? Try not to have preconceived notions about something. Sometimes having a judgement can really mess up great opportunities and friendships that would otherwise not reach their full potential. I am so happy that I was able to break out of my old thoughts and embrace all of those around me. Go into things with an open mind and endless positivity. The world can be a great place if you just be receptive to the good things around you. I can gladly say that I have easily made some good friends for life.

Although that class finished yesterday, I have an 8 a.m. course to get to this lovely Saturday morning. And even though I miss the group of new students, I can’t wait to see my own cohort. It’s been almost a month since I saw them last because of the holiday break. For my group, it’s like people who were once strangers in a crowded room waiting for their professional life to start, have now become a family.