Because of the pandemic, I can’t wait to have my college semester end. This feeling I have is by no means that I dread or hate school, but is more so for the fact that I have become a workaholic between work and school since the start of the pandemic of last year. By having my semester end, I am freeing up a lot of time during my week, that can be used for well – me.
When Dr. Bertice Berry had all of her scheduled lectures cancelled in March of 2020, she was left with a lot of free time. Dr. Berry had been spending her days flying all over the country to give talks to people about communication and telling stories to inspire hope. When all of that was immediately taken away, she had to figure out her next steps.
How many social media accounts do you have? A Pew research study found that about 75% of adults have more than one social media account. This number is likely to be pretty high in teens and adolescents who grew up with technology and social media.
I believe that everyone should embrace who they are, and be proud of their unique traits, but how can I do that if I don’t even know who I am? I always knew that I was just going to be myself, and see where life takes me, but it hasn’t been that simple. I am a good student with great grades, I have amazing friends who support me through anything, my family is wonderful, so what else could I possibly be troubled with?
The weather in Pittsburgh is getting warmer again and it’s been a good reminder for me to get outside more and try to stay active. I have seen the huge positive impact exercise has on my personal mental health and it can also help me control the weight gain side effects of my current medications. I often neglect physical activity because I feel like I don’t have time in my busy schedule or I’m too afraid of “gymtimidation.” I’m working to care less about what other people think of me or my body, but in the meantime, I’m finding ways to stay active outside of the gym.
One of my strongest held convictions is that we have the most powerful influence on the world we live in. We are in control of how we treat each other, our society, and our environment. It is therefore up to us to take action against what is wrong in our world. One of the things we need to take action against is inequality in the workplace.
While it’s incredibly important to get a good night’s sleep, sleeping patterns and the amount of sleep adolescents get can get jumbled because of mental illness (for example, we’ve talked about “depression naps” and the effects that they can have). Overall, it’s difficult for adolescents to get the recommended amount of sleep they should be getting, and with higher rates of mental illness within this age group today, it can be even more difficult because of the ways that it can affect your sleep, such as depression napping and insomnia.
Something I realized as I was staying home more and more during the pandemic was that I was constantly on my phone. My addiction to my phone started before the pandemic when I was still in in-person school. I was away from my family and hanging out with friends felt like a chore. Therefore, I spent every spare minute of my time on my phone and the Internet became a place where I could relax and stop thinking negative thoughts for a moment.
Do you ever feel like you are constantly losing or failing in that one area of your life you are trying so hard to be successful in? Do you ever know the “right” thing to do in a situation mentally but don’t actually act on that knowledge? It can be hard – especially for those of us who are in therapy or other forms of counseling and are doing the work to improve our mental health. Having head knowledge of how to change but not implementing it can make you feel terrible. It’s like, am I even trying to change? If I were, wouldn’t this be easier? If only our will alone could lead to long-lasting change.
About half a year ago, I had started an application to my dream school, I knew the chances were slim but I was determined to set that aside and try my best. I went to almost every Zoom webinar and was encouraged by my friends, family, former teachers coaches, and even staff at this school. I worked on it for 8 months and when the deadline came around, I started counting the days until the decision. Then I was counting the hours. Then I was counting the minutes.
If I had known today how my life would be as I look towards the completion of my undergraduate degree, I would’ve been shocked by the person I am today. Everything about myself has changed; I finally came out as a lesbian and met my current girlfriend, I finished my chemistry degree, and I have taken charge of my own mental health.