Returning to the snow-capped, hallowed halls of Ryerson after a month-long break is REALLY taking its toll on me.
It makes sense, when you think about it… my last memory of this place is sitting patiently and nervously in the Kerr Hall Upper Gym, waiting for my psychology exam to begin. I was riding high last semester, keeping insanely busy, managing a full course load as well as two jobs – not to mention adjusting to my new environment, making friends, and learning to feed myself. I felt amazing; in fact, I was dreading going home. My life had become so well-rounded and amazing here, why would I ever want to leave?
The first week back at home was a challenge. I felt like I was stepping on everyone’s toes, trying to wind down from what a whirlwind of a semester I had just endured. I found myself trying to always stay busy, whether that meant meeting up with old friends, gong back over work from the previous semester, writing blogs, songs, and desperately trying to hold onto the feeling I had after my first four months here. The boredom was kicking me where the sun don’t shine, and I feared dissolving into madness.
I began falling asleep at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning just so I could sleep in the next day. I would wake up at 2 p.m., and stay in my pyjamas all day long until I eventually changed into new pyjamas to sleep again (P.S., if you plan on doing this, I recommend you bring more than two pairs of pyjamas… the laundry starts to pile up!)
At first, I went stir crazy. Sitting on the couch all day watching Netflix truly made me feel like the human embodiment of a potato. I started binging TV shows, including Gilmore Girls, The Office (for the 90th time) and Netflix’s new thriller, You (if you like sleeping at night and feeling secure in your home, take caution when watching this one).
After Christmas, this behaviour only increased tenfold. I can count at least four days during the break where I don’t remember going outside. My routine maintained itself: wake up, drink coffee, watch Netflix, text friends intermittently, then go right back to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. While this pattern proved extremely effective for watching five seasons of Gilmore Girls in three weeks, it took its toll on my health. I was groggy, lethargic, irritable, and frankly, catching a cold. But this was my new life, my new reality, and I had adjusted accordingly.
During the last week of the break, I spent time at my dorm reorganizing my room, cleaning up last semester’s garbage, and finding room in my 10×10 shoebox for my brand new keyboard. A keyboard which, by the way, had only been played for two days after receiving it… that should have been the first tip-off that I was in a funk, in retrospect. But I digress.
Coming back actually felt pretty good! It was amazing to see my friends again, be in my new and improved room, and look forward to the new semester.
Now… it’s the first Thursday of the Winter term, and let me tell you – I am STRUGGLING. My once easy, carefree attitude is gone, and in its place is a sleep-deprived, stressed out girl with little hope for her own sanity. I feel like the Titanic, floating along and minding my own business, when out of nowhere… BAM! I hit a gigantic iceberg and sink to the bottom of the ocean.
I’m struggling to write, and I can’t focus in class or on assignments. Things that used to take me 20 minutes might now drain two hours out of my day. Staying awake in class seems next to impossible, despite how excited and interested I am in my new subjects.
I know this must all sound a little bit dramatic. Perhaps it is; after all, I am nothing if not a liiiittle bit dramatic. The main point I’m trying to get across here is that even though someone may really look like they have their life together, especially from the outside, don’t let seeing that make you feel like you’re not good enough or not trying hard enough. Don’t feel alone in your exhaustion, anxiety, or any desperation you might feel. Because the fact is, people aren’t perfect. Especially not University freshmen. I speak for all of us when I say that this is a long, difficult, often painful journey to success and happiness.
But that doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of doing it. Give me a couple of weeks, a little time to recover, and definitely a few hours in a lecture hall to remind myself why I’m here and what I’m trying to achieve. Every day I feel a little bit closer to my goal, a little bit happier with my surroundings, and a little more enthusiastic about my work. Growing up is about managing the bad days along with the good ones. More than anything, it’s about learning who you are, who you want to be, and what it’s going to take to get there.
It’s a long road… so wear some comfortable shoes!