Every morning for this past week, I have opened my eyes, sat up in bed, and turned on my computer to check my grades, if they have been updated, if they have changed, if they are out. There was a class that, in the middle of the quarter, I began to slack off in. By the time I got to a point where even if I studied, I felt that I would fail, I began to stop going to class altogether. I went one more time, to make sure that the material was out of my grasp. And it was. It was overwhelming, difficult, and demanded time I didn’t have to give.
Then my life goals changed. I had a new goal to strive for that demanded excellence. Suddenly, passing this class that I had, at this point, dropped to a pass/no pass class became necessary. Otherwise, it would throw a serious dent in my academic career. Also, it would be the first fail I’ve ever had in a class.
So a week or two before the final, I sat down with a list of all the key concepts to be covered on the final. At first look, the list was daunting. I could not imagine getting through the material, let alone in a week. I stopped going out, I stopped seeing people, I stopped responding. Instead, I sat at my desk and slowly, went through every topic. If I didn’t understand it, I sat reading the textbook and examples until I did. The act of crossing each accomplished topic reassured me that I was making progress at something I thought was impossible. During this time, I read a quote on my friend’s tumblr: “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible in temporary. Impossibly is nothing.” For me, the impossible wore down to possible. Possible wore down to something easily in my grasp. I went into the final confident and of course, left doubtful.
This morning, I woke up, sat up in bed, and checked my grades (Obsessive, I know). I had passed! And there was a complete flood of relief. But I thought back to my quarter to see if I was happy with it.
I sacrificed a lot of things to try to do well: my friendships, not just with the people closest to me at San Diego but from home and across the country; my health, letting my stress manifest itself in such unhealthy ways, etc.
So, the point to this post, I guess, is to make a promise to myself. To understand that there are few things that are really impossible. To strive to take small steps to accomplish big things. To not neglect my relationships with people. It’s true at the end of the day, careers, work, and studies won’t abandon you but really, that’s not how I want to be living.
This spring break was really difficult because there was so much more than just grades on my mind. For a day, I had to stop responding to arguments and shut off. I stayed in bed with my books and music behind a closed door. But I resumed with the rest of my life and the time I spent with my friends made me understand how important it is to have people who care for you to keep you accountable, to encourage you, and for you, to be humbled by their struggles and their willingness to love you, in spite of all their own burdens.
What a long post but I guess, I’ll end with what I’m holding onto: “The best thing God has created is a new day” - Sigur Rós.
Second chances and clean slates! Hello, spring quarter.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
today was pretty much the most perfect day. Not in the I-did-so-many-crazy-things way but I did everything I love to do with a great friend. Not overwhelmingly adventurous or crammed with a thousand fun things but perfect.
- Coffee shops with Wi-Fi, outlets, and a decent cup of tea.
- Anywhere with my Bose headphones to block out noise.
- Libraries, browsing the shelves for new good reads.
- Inside a captivating book.
- Driving away, towards, fast, slow with my car and iTouch.
- A long run.
- Watching a some dramatic, overwhelming episode of a show.
When I need to get out, get away, need space, my reflexive response is to run to in a place of refuge.
Rachel! :) May your 22nd year be more than you imagined it could ever be. I can’t wait to see how much you will grow as a person and a friend. Stay healthy, beautiful (inside & out), and amazing. Happy birthday!
- Amelia: Life is hard. There’s no way to protect what’s going to happen. Someone could back out of their driveway tomorrow and mow me down and I will be dead before you. Right now is all anybody has. Right this minute. And yes, this diagnosis is unspeakably cruel. And living with it will be daily struggle but as long as the good days outnumber the bad, you gotta live those days. I mean, why would you give up Rocky Road ice cream before you have to? Or swimming in the ocean? Or driving? God, or driving with the top down on a sunny day? I mean, that has got to be worth living for.
- Michelle: It is. Right now, when you say it, it is. But when you’re not here, cheering me on. How am I going to make it through this?
- Amelia: First off, I am your friend. I will BE here, cheering you on, until you take your last breath. When the day come that your life is not worth living anymore, when it is worse than even rocky road can fix, I will kill you myself.