This is something I hope all of my followers and the entire studyblr community will read…
Last year was the hardest year of my life and I did not even notice it until I was out of it. To give a little background, I was 19, and becoming a college senior. I completed my bachelor’s degree with a double major, summa cum laude. I worked two jobs, one retail, one as a tour guide, five days a week, and took seven classes in the fall, and eight in the spring, and six in the summer. By March I had lost 16 pounds, was not eating, not sleeping, and drinking four or more cups of coffee a day. I had a boyfriend, friends, a roommate, I was president of a club, vice president of another, and working as vice president of one club’s international leadership program as one of five student board members across sixty-three countries. I studied for my LSAT, took the exam, and applied to law school. And in August, I will be the youngest person in my law school.
I pushed myself harder and further than I ever imagined, and though I sometimes (often) felt like it, I never cracked, gave up, or even collapsed. I did not always take care of myself, physically, mentally, or emotionally though, and I failed myself there, but I was so driven, so determined, that none of that mattered to me at that moment. I do not regret that or any of the choices I have made, but I pressured myself more than anyone ever has, and more than I ever have. I accomplished unbelievable things, but at an insane cost - my health.
Often in this community I receive messages, and see posts, encouraging you to never give up, and to always push yourself to get that A, pass that test, graduate, or to overcome whatever academic or otherwise challenges you are facing. Almost daily I receive messages asking how I do it. “How did you graduate at 20?”, “How do you keep up with all of your commitments?”, and even, “You are so amazing, I could never do it like you do”. But I am here to tell you well, it is not pretty. I went days without eating a meal at times. Days without washing my hair, of wearing the same torn leggings and a hoodie because a grade meant more to me than I meant to myself. I got walking pneumonia at the end of the spring term because I had pushed myself too hard and spent weeks telling myself I could not afford to be sick today, tomorrow, or the next day. I wore myself down so much that I had a doctor literally tell me that now at 20 years old, if I do not tone down the stress and pressure I subject myself to, that I could give myself a stroke. A stroke, 20 years old!
Being a perfectionist, and being so overwhelmingly addicted to my studies, is not glamorous.
I am making this post not to brag about my accomplishments, but because I receive messages daily idolizing me and what I have done. I want everyone to know that this is not easy. Having a dream is hard work, and I have been unfairly hard on myself. Just because you do not see someone’s cracks and scars, does not mean they are not there. I have worked hard, and have earned these things, but I have made sacrifices I would hate to see anyone else make.
In 10 days I move across the country to start law school, and I am terrified that I will allow myself to do this all over again. I am not afraid of the move, or of law school, but of myself and how I talk to myself and treat myself, and the amount of stress and pressure I am willing to apply to myself, without hesitation. In a month I have law school orientation, and have set up a meeting with one of the school’s onsite trauma therapists. I refuse to let myself be my own greatest roadblock. I have to learn to love myself. It is not fair to your body and mind to put grades above yourself. I now full heartedly believe that a grade is not worth your health. I will no longer break my back bending over backwards for an A+. I will no longer let myself go days without food and rest because I want this essay to be perfect, or my presentation to go as planned, second by second. I will allow myself to be happy, well rested, well fed, and healthy. I will love myself, and this is a promise I am making to myself and to all of you, and a promise I hope you all can make to yourselves as well.
TLDR; Be dedicated, and determined to get what you want, but do not sacrifice your health, mental, physical, or emotional, for a grade, a diploma, a degree… You are worth so much more than a letter on a piece of paper, and it is okay to sometimes need to hear that. I know I did.