Often, we just need to stop, give ourselves time to hear the voice in our minds and think deeply about the things around us. As much as we may depend on others, true strength comes from within. Hearing your own thoughts can begin the path to healing, happiness, change or hope. Surely, we all engage in deep thoughts from time to time, if not frequently!
On the topic of thoughts and opinions, it appears that Over The Edge does not have a column that engages its readers, gives advice or asks for input, and I think it is about time that OTE has some deep conversations. If you have a topic you are curious about, need some words of wisdom or going through something and want a second opinion, shoot Deep, Deep Thoughts an email at [email protected]. Maybe you want to rant or give out your piece of advice! It would be great to hear from you! (And, we’ll keep everything anonymous 🙂 I hope that you find these articles somewhat uplifting and lighthearted.
Looking at those around me, I have decided to begin Deep, Deep Thoughts with an article I hope most of you might resonate with: the uni-life crisis. Having had the opportunity to work with and befriend many students on campus, there is one thing that every student will struggle with at one point or another during their university career: WHAT AM I DOING? With that, many students begin to worry, panic and lose sight of the aspirations they once had. Am I studying the right degree? Can I get good enough grades? What career will I have? Can I afford it? Should I be doing this? When will I sleep? On top of that, we might have to juggle family, friends, relationships, jobs, finances, health problems, and so much more.
Eventually, we are not even sure if tomorrow is worth it.
I spent a month during my first year going to classes and coming straight home to sleep due to nausea I thought would never go away. I had never hit that rock bottom before. When I asked friends about their experiences, they always said first year is toughest. But I don’t think ‘toughest’ is the right word. First year is the most uncertain. Everything is new and you have no idea how things will turn out. By second year, you have adjusted and have a better sense of direction.
I asked my friends for their advice on getting through university and here are some responses I got:
– Don’t expect to have the highest grades in first year (or ever!)
– Never hesitate to use all the resources on campus because once you do, you will regret you did not use them earlier. Co-op/Career office is great if you have no idea what job you might want
– Grades do not define who you are, and every student has experienced poor grades
– Always ask for advice from advisors, students and faculty when choosing which classes to take, what classes to drop and what classes to postpone taking (a lot of students regret not asking freinds about what classes to take!)
– Make friends, join clubs, volunteer and do fun things other than studying. Everyone gets lonely in university, and it gets even tougher if you are away from home
– You are not a real student until you have left a long paper to the last minute, written an exam you never studied for or withdrawn from a class in the middle of the semester
– Make sure to sleep, get exercise/go for a walk, and EAT! If you do not, you can ruin your health
– Yeah, work and school are tough, but it is all worth it in the end, as long as you are committed
– Do not have a meltdown in front of your peers because they will never forget it (a little random, but I can see the reasoning) See counselling services for help!
– As UNBC students, we are all in this together. Whatever you are going through, someone else has before!
The tips above are specific to university, so below are some general advices that may help you get through any personal struggle and convince you not to give up on yourself, no matter what happens or where life takes you. (My friends have laughed at some of my advices, so I hope you do too.)
Firstly, you are never alone. Every human being that has made it to adulthood has had something significant, tough or painful happen to them. When you see the ‘perfect’ lives of people on social media, know all these people have issues. To be honest, some days I tell myself, “Even Kim Kardashian has problems.” I have learned with time to never wish to be anyone else, because everyone has difficulties. This piece of advice may sound cliché, but when we experience distress or hopelessness, we tend to exaggerate our emotions and place ourselves in a ‘deep dark hole’ mentally, believing that we can never come out. In reality, billions of humans before you have gotten stuck in their own deep dark hole. Most people eventually realize that the sun will come up and that there will be a light to guide you. As long as you believe the sun can come up, have faith that it will. The dark hole will not remain black forever.
Secondly, what is happiness without sadness? What is content without anger? What is ease without pain? We do not know what true success is until we have failed. I do not think that it is possible to experience joy without knowing what life is like without it. We live the rough, tough days so that we can enjoy and appreciate the good days. And guess what? After those good days, you will experience tough days. And thus, the cycle repeats and never ends.
Thirdly, it is absolutely ‘okay’ to have emotions. People might tell you, ‘be thankful for what you have’ or ‘it is not a big deal,’ yet you cannot turn off how you feel. I believe there are just some days where we are meant to be sad, upset, anxious, or worried. I think living through these emotions makes you a stronger, wiser, kinder, and in the future, more optimistic person.
Fourthly, take care of yourself, get help, and know when to stop. Give yourself breaks if you are working too hard. Understand your own limitations as a human being! This is the toughest for people, even me somedays, to accept. You cannot be or have everything you wish, the way you wish. Life is fair because nobody gets exactly what they want. Too many things are out of our hands. At the same time, do not give up until you know you can no longer handle your situation. Reach out for help, talk to others and try changing the way you are doing things. Spend some time alone (in deep, deep thought), but at the same time, do not to cut yourself off from others. Socializing with others can often make you feel better, allow you to vent out and connect, and let you hear different perspectives. Eat good food and exercise. And please, if you have no idea what you are doing in university, talk to someone. If your emotions are overwhelming you or you are struggling in any way, talk to someone you trust, or seek help. Everyone needs some guidance. Help others when you can as well; making someone’s day a little better will remind you that you matter, and you can have an impact.
Fifthly, take a deep breath and smile. ☺ Just smiling you can improve your mood. I have tried it myself many times, and although it does not change the situation I am in, I am reminded to stay optimistic, and I know that I have the strength within me to get through anything. You as well have the power to get through anything.
Sixthly, be proud of you who are. Never forget your own accomplishments! I believe that you as an individual are a role model for yourself. There are days in which you have accomplished so much. The beauty of knowing that is that you know you can do it, and you can push yourself even harder. Do not try to be better than others, but instead try to be your best self- that is when we accomplish the greatest things in life.
Lastly, BE PATIENT. This is the toughest. Things do not go from bad to good overnight. You will not build inner strength, improve your grades or heal emotionally in one week. Everything takes time, so do not worry or panic if things do not improve as quickly as you want. It could take months or even a year. Whether you believe in fate, destiny, karma, a supreme being, God or many Gods, be assured that everything happens for a reason.
Do not ever give up on yourself. I tell myself one thing every day: just keep walking. That’s the most important thing you can do. Do not stop living because your life is priceless and worth living every moment. Your uni-life crisis will soon pass, and you will be proud you got through it! ☺
Comments, questions, want to have/give advice or want to know about a certain topic? Contact Deep, Deep Thoughts at [email protected]!