The Truth about Insecurity

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Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

I’m not the most secure person– I second-guess myself, question my talent, doubt my abilities, and undermine myself. I’m only human after all, I think we all do this more than we realize.

When I published my book two years ago, I didn’t think anyone would read it, let alone like anything I had to say. I did it to just get my work out there.

When I committed to Week of Welcome, I didn’t think my WOWies would like me, I figured I would be just another person in their lives to fit into the collage of what Cal Poly becomes to them.

And two weeks ago when I took a photo holding a whiteboard, my loopy handwriting scrawling across, containing words that I felt defined me, I wanted to take that photo back. I felt awkward, not at all cute like I had hoped, I thought the lighting would be off, and my whiteboard was so much less creative or cool than anyone else’s.

Then became a published author, I turned out to be a great WOW leader whose WOWies love me (so they say), and I took that photo and I shared it on Facebook to let in the flood of reactions that may or may not go to my head. I got proven wrong.

Because more often than not, what we do will always matter to someone.

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Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

So why do we hesitate to do it?

I’m talking about voting… Why does it seem like my generation doesn’t vote? Possibly because we feel like whatever actions we take don’t matter. Quite frankly, whether we vote or not, it makes a difference. Because it can so easily come down to one vote, just like it did at my University two weeks ago when voting to suspend the fraternity who committed the blackface offenses last year. It came down to one.

We could be that one, if we used our rights and our privileges to do something about it. Trust me, with the way the government is turning these days, this matters.

I’m also talking about education, and not just in schools. Schools have their own systemic issues that need to be addressed, right now let’s focus on us. I mean in our everyday lives when we see something wrong, a microagression here or casual sexual harassment there; it’s our job to say something. So maybe the Brett Kavanaughs of the world are stopped before they get nominated for the Supreme Court.

Isn’t one injustice enough to see that something is wrong?

In the end, I’m really just talking about society. The way so many of us seem to put our jobs or our schoolwork or our accomplishments up for judgement when deciding whether or not we are doing enough.

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Photo by Simon Shim on Unsplash

It comes down to how well we do our work, how many positive comments we get back about a presentation, or  the GPAs I know that it feels like college students need if they’re going to get anywhere.

We need to realize that our securities– how we feel about our accomplishments or our voices or our knowledge– all come down to one person: ourselves.

If we feel like our voices don’t matter in voting, do it anyway. Then do it again. And again. And again. Keep proving yourself wrong; one voice can be all it takes to hear the right words.

If we feel like what we know isn’t everything we need to know, keep learning, keep reading, and keep the doors open for finding something new. The day we stop learning is the day a part of our lives gets left behind.

And if we feel like what we do, who we are, or the life we hold isn’t enough…

Surround yourself with people who never make you feel the need to be more than you are, remind yourself that there is only one of you and being 1/7.44 billion is okay.

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Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

We are all human after all. Sometimes it’ll feel like our actions, our voices, and our beings just aren’t big enough to matter. If I have learned anything in the past year, it’s that no matter how small a person or an voice or a smile in this world might seem, it can change lives.

So use and be proud of what you’ve got.

Welcome to Year 2: Plan for Success

My sophomore year here at Cal Poly officially began yesterday morning and I can already tell that it’s going to be quite an… experience. Quick summary of my two days of class: Ran to catch the bus three times (only for it to be late), started work at the University Store, emailed far too many professors about crashing classes, denis-bayer-97398went from 8 units to 20 in three days, joined a large theatre lecture class made up mostly of freshmen, ran into a wonderful amount of familiar faces, and experienced my first 8-10pm class.

This is going to be a year of firsts and a whole lot of learning.

There’s something surprisingly comforting about not being new to the whole college thing this year— I’m more comfortable than I thought I would be just having been here already, whether I felt like I knew what I was doing or not. I guess there’s something to be said about knowing that there are trials ahead, but at least having an idea of what to expect. That’s the difference between being a freshman and being a sophomore, I actually know how rough this can be.

I also know how fantastic this can be.

As it is with so much in life, the key to getting it all right is balance. I can’t spend all my free time at work because I still need to study. I can’t spend all my free time studying because I have committed to a job. And I also can’t only go to class and do those two things because, well, this is college— a social life is somewhat necessary for both sanity and survival.

So maybe the question is how do any of us find that balance between everything?

First of all,ben-duchac-66002 your people are so important. Not only do they keep you in check to say “hey, we haven’t seen you around lately,” reminding you that there are people who want you, but they also to check in on you when you forget to do it yourself. With a world heading towards higher productivity and more time working, we often forget to take breaks for ourselves or step back from things and remember to breathe. Our people are always important to pull us back when we fall off course.

Rule number two: Make a plan. We’re all busy people, I get that, and it can be hard to keep track of everything going on in our lives. So make some plans, get a planner going, and mark down some due dates. The key to this part is organization— the faster you get more organized, the easier it is to figure out all the information and to do lists in your head. At least for me, I know that when I’ve got a lot on my plate, it’s at least nice to see on paper that it’s possible to do it all. A little confidence boost never hurt, even when it just comes from everything fitting in one box on my calendar.

Rule number three: Failure to succeed is not the same as failure. Does that make sense? Let’s put this in lettered terms— there is a large margin between passing a class with an A and failing one with a D. If you’re giving something your best shot, asking for help when you need it, and doing what you can to get to where you want to be, that’s all you can ask of yourself. andreas-kind-338509Your best isn’t always going to get you an A, not when there are so many other things to focus on and remember. Lucky for us, a C is still passing. And sometimes, that’s the best we can do. Find a way to be okay with that, and if you can’t, then find a way to make your best a little bit better.

And finally, rule number four: You come first. If your body is telling you something, if you’re constantly tired or have a hard time getting through the day, something has to change. Burnout is very possible, both in work and in education, and it takes a toll on everything you do from your relationships to your sleeping habits. Even when it seems you can’t slow down or you have no other option but the pace you’re currently going at, there is always another way. It just might not be ideal. Before you even get there, it’s best to avoid burnout altogether by taking the time you need for yourself every day, not skipping meals, and definitely not skipping sleep. But it’s not always easy to stick to that, even with the best intentions. So if you fall a little behind on self-care, take whatever steps you need to in order to get back to good health. For college students, that could even mean a quick trip home or dropping a class— do what you need to do. And don’t forget about your people, the good ones are always there to help you out. All you need to do is ask.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and in the midst of the natural disasters and recovery efforts we see around the world, I am also reminded that some allef-vinicius-230238tragedies are those we don’t see. From the American Psychological Association back in 2013, 41.6% of college students struggled with anxiety, 36.4% with depression, and 35.8% with relationship problems. These three top issues can all lend a hand into impacting the wellbeing of students and if ignored for too long, they could become too large for one person to handle. I say this to point out that these percentages are not small— if you are a part of it, that is okay. You are not alone and you do not have to feel like you are either. Like I said earlier, ask for help and do what you need to do to get yourself to a good place, you deserve that much.

This world is a beautiful place and this life is a beautiful thing, at least I know it can be. So as I go into year two, I am going to do my best to embody the beauty, even amidst the turmoil of getting my life together. And hey, if I’m lucky, maybe running after busses can be a part of it too. Until next week everyone, have a wonderful weekend and here’s to the beauty 🙂