I am UIC: Handling transition in a busy time of the year

Every class, new anxieties are voiced by my peers. With the rapid arrival of finals, everything is happening so fast! So many questions hang in the air, like, “How will I manage to write three papers and put together three presentations in the next two weeks?” As well as, “Why am I so broke, lol?”

Besides professional and academic concerns, roommate situations are changing, my friends are entering new life stages, and I feel as though I still remain in the same exact, “What do I even want?” stage. The world shifts around me, but I feel the same!

So, how do I cope?

Well, here is a list of three things NOT to do:

  1. Apply for multiple new jobs in order to escape feeling stuck (this is my weakness). Dramatically changing things may be exciting, but using change as an instrument of control does not get to the root why you fear being stuck.
  2. Plan an extravagant, last-minute vacation. I’m all for spontaneous adventures, but don’t be unwise with your savings and blow it all at once… once again, escapism is not a long-term solution to fearing change.
  3. Get freaked out and quit everything you’ve committed to. This is what I am tempted to do right now. Yes, cleanse yourself of toxicity! But remember that all choices have consequences and taking time to process costs and benefits is super important. A couple of weeks ago, we did a lesson on “decision making” with the kids I work with in an after school program, and I was BAFFLED by how many steps I skip in my own decision making.

And here is a list of HEALTHY ways to process change:

  1. Write down thoughts and feelings in a daily journal! This helps me understand long-term feelings and recurring thoughts and fears. Biased in my love for writing — please do it!
  2. Watch “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “Forrest Gump,” and then “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” Live vicariously and gain amazing perspective on life through these beautiful characters.
  3. Talk about what you’re thinking! If you are afraid of not finishing exams, or not graduating on time, talk about it! Voice how you feel! Talking about my own fears lately has helped me connect with others who feel in very similar ways.

You are not alone! Change is scary and it is difficult, but the best way to tackle it is to face it head on! You and I, we will be OK, and we will get through this crazy time much like we have gotten through the many other crazy times thus far.

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