Thursday, May 19, 2011

Second Year of College: Analysis

University Center, where I work now!

The whole campus is under construction right now. They’ve torn out the infrastructure, destroyed the landscaping, and are preparing to close off the library this coming school year. This year will be forever etched in my mind as the year of my mental breakdown and reconstruction.

I am currently doing really well. I just got a job working at the UCen. I’ve been in dire need of a second job for a while now. I’m already a course grader for Human Sexuality. Money has been tight, as always, and I really need to pay off my credit card and save money for next year. I’ll be working 15 hours this week for the UCen job alone, plus the 5 or so hours for the course grader job. Thankfully, I don’t have any midterms or papers due this week. I’m using this time to catch up and get ahead on my workload.

My new time-consuming activity
I’ve been at ease today. I actually feel like I’m getting work done rather than sitting around mindlessly wasting it. Having two jobs and working at least 12 hours a week for one of them will really teach me how to better manage my time. I really have to use my free time to do homework and not watch episodes of Ally McBeal on Netflix. If I get work done during the week, then I can relax on the weekend. It shouldn’t be the opposite. I’m currently doing the bare minimum during the week and then working my ass off during the weekend, staying up until 4am reading and probably not retaining any of it. But right now, I’m doing better. I’m motivated. I’m going to get it done. I’m going to finish this year right.

Me: baring the legs I've come to love
Mentally, my reconstruction is in full swing. I’m positive and focused. I’m diligent and disciplined. I’m not letting myself be negative towards my body or my mind. When I feel myself about to tear down my reflection and pick at every little flaw in the mirror, I consciously stop myself. I recognize the signs of trouble. I’ve even been working out a lot more, but not because I’m trying to lose weight or anything, but because I actually feel like it. I really do get that “runner’s high,” which is the release of endorphins in your brain that you get after a great workout, not just after running. Also, parts of my body that I really used to hate have been looking great to me recently, like my legs, for example. They are fabulous! I think I can attribute this change, not only to my new positive outlook, but more realistically, to my aerobics class. I really think all the kickboxing and step aerobics have paid off! I think I’m going to continue taking classes like that over the summer at my gym back home. I cannot wait to make Anthony take Zumba classes with me. I wish I could record it!

Me, Marie, Kat, and Gemma: future housemates! 
I don’t think I’m entirely off the hook yet, though. Over the weekend, I felt like I ate too much at breakfast and I was overcome with this paralyzing fear. I could feel panic setting in, my heart start to race and my skin go cold. At first, I didn’t know why I was feeling that way, but then I realized that I was about to relapse. It was so sudden, it took me a minute to catch my breath and talk myself back into my calm, positive state. It helped to have my friends there to talk to me rationally. Reason usually works in my times of mental crisis. So, no. I’m not out of the woods just yet. I honestly don’t know if I ever will be… That’s not the most optimistic outlook, I know, but I feel like it’s better for me to stop expecting to get better and let it happen on its own as long as I stay vigilant about preventing negative thinking and always trying to see the good things in myself. I really, really don’t want to sink back into that depression I had during finals week last quarter. You probably remember… But like I said, I’m going to finish this year strong. I’m going to stay positive and get my work done. I still have Anthony, who will be visiting me in about a week, for which I am super excited! My best friend Elisabeth came down to stay with me for a couple days a couple weeks ago, too! I have such a strong support network. If I do fall off the wagon again, I have no doubt that they will pull me back up. Not to mention my great friends here at UCSB: Marie, Gemma, Kat… Such great girls. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

This year, while the school was under construction, so was I. And I truly think that I’ll be the better for it. My infrastructure is stronger. My appearance has improved. It will be a long time until I have to reconstruct myself again. Just like my campus, I will be forever changing, but always for the better. 

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