Let's not beat around the bush: the last few months have been rough. A lot of not great things have happened and a lot of seemingly pointless drama has taken its toll on people. And in light of the clusterfuck (pardon my French) that has been my life for the last few weeks (months) it has been really hard to act on the power of positive thinking, especially since I am naturally a realist. Some people confuse realism and pessimism. I am a realist. I see things at face value and process logically. I do not go out of my way to find the negatives in every situation... at least I like to think so.
Self-esteem is a gift that I do not possess. I frequently blur the lines between a high self-esteem and a large ego. Arguably I have more of an ego than I do self-esteem. But I think my ego is based on my abilities and talents and my self-esteem is focused on character traits. It's very easy for me to focus on all of my character traits I don't like. I think it's the musician part of me leaking into the parts of my life where it's not needed. I have always been hypercritical of my flaws and under appreciative of my strengths. So today I wanted to do something that's a little different for me: Focus on some good stuff.
You'll never catch me saying that going to school at Mizzou was a bad decision. It's arguably one of the best decisions I've ever made and it has led to some pretty incredible stuff. So I just wanted to point out what I think the top ten things to happen to me in college are:
Working at Venture Out. I have said it once and I'll say it many more times: I have the coolest job in the world. I get to watch groups come in and develop their capabilities as a team and the only thing I do is encourage discussion and make sure everyone is being safe. Teamwork is an incredible force and watching people realize that while they're hanging from a rope 20 to 60 feet in the air is inspiring. And I get paid to do it. So that's cool as hell.
Being involved in the Emerging Leaders Program. I was a participant and now I'm a facilitator. As a participant I discovered how I approach being a leader and how it differs from how I live my daily life. I learned how to work with people that are like me and, more importantly, work with people that are not like me. As a facilitator I get to foster the same realizations that I made while interacting with some incredible human beings. It's awesome. Leadership is awesome. I love it.
Temporarily losing my passion for music. I won't lie to you. By the end of my Freshman year I hated being a music major. It's a lot of work for what looks like little to no reward. I was not adjusting to collegiate level music well. But when I came back this past August I realized that you really do learn to appreciate something when it's gone. I have a passion for music, a universal language that almost anyone can understand to some degree. I have a passion for something that is a very pure form of expression. I get to study what I love to do, and that is incredible. It's a lot of work, yes. But there is so much reward. Self-discipline, satisfaction, confidence, and a million other things come out of putting in the effort to tackle a piece of difficult music. When I've spent hours working on ten seconds worth of music, and I finally get it, I feel like I can conquer the world. It's such a thrilling experience.
Developing my strengths as a human being. College has shown me what I'm bad at. But college has also shown me what I'm good at. I am an empathetic person. I am responsible. I am adaptable. I am dependable and loyal. I am organized and consistently thinking several steps ahead. When faced with a situation I consider all of the possibilities and adapt to the situation in case my formulated solution does not work. I am not afraid to communicate how I feel. I am wary of whom I put my trust in until I am sure that my trust would not be misplaced. I am cautious and thoughtful. I am selfless and charismatic. All of these things are my strengths and I utilize them to the best of my ability. I cherish them.
Discovering what is truly important to me. College has taught me what to keep close to my heart. Friends, family, passions. Those are the three things that I need. They take priority over anything and everything and that feels really good.
Letting go of people. Sometimes you let people into your life because you think they should be there. And sometimes you realize they should never have had a spot in your life to begin with. It sucks. It makes you feel awful. But letting go of those people will make you feel so liberated, and I feel so free of burden because I have let go of the people in my life that were not good for me.
Getting tattoos. It seems pretty trivial, and the literal act of letting someone repeatedly stab ink into my body isn't a huge deal in retrospect, but the symbolism behind it is powerful (at least it is to me). Each tattoo is dedicated to one of my best friends, the greatest people I have ever met. One symbolizes a sense of adventure that one of my best friends invokes. The other symbolizes the unconditional support that I have received on a pretty much daily basis. And then they both represent a sort of metamorphosis. Before this year I would not have considered myself the type of person to get a tattoo. I was never quite daring enough to commit to something like that. But I stepped out of my comfort zone (literally) and I have absolutely no regrets. Despite what other people may or may not say this was a good decision for me.
Getting closer to one best friend. Speaking of best friends and how I memorialize my friendships on my body via getting stabbed with a needle, I can't begin to express how much it means that I've gotten closer to one of my best friends since we both started college. We don't go to school together. We live over an hour away from each other if we're both at school and we live over four hours away if we're both at our parent's. Yet I am closer to this dude than I have ever been and it's awesome because I never would have expected to find a friend in someone that is so different from me on the surface. But when you look past the surface we are actually quite similar, and I value that complexity. I value that we are opposites in so many ways but at our very core we have much more in common than people might think. It keeps things interesting and fun. I love the kid like he's my brother and I'd do anything for him, that's the truth.
Meeting my other best friend. I promised myself the summer after high school that I would not get emotionally close with people in college. It's a lot of work and a lot of risk and in high school it really dicked me over. The reward can be great but I've never been known to be a risk taker. But fate decided to take those plans and shit on them because I met my other best friend and I've never been more emotionally close to anyone in my life. The guy is patient with my shenanigans and has picked me up more times than I can count. We have a friendship that people should be insanely jealous of because we are the perfect team. There isn't a person in Columbia that I can comfortably be 100% vulnerable around than my best friend. So thanks, fate, for shitting on my plans. I really appreciate it.
Struggling. Damn I've struggled. I've struggled with class (shoutout to music theory). I've struggled with people (being a people person takes a lot of energy out of me). I've struggled with emotions (I have too many all the time and it's overwhelming). But struggling builds character and I am quite the character. I don't anticipate that I'll ever stop struggling, it's part of life. And that's fine. I have a great support system to tell me when I need to be strong (or tell me when I'm being a complete idiot because it happens a lot).
College is great. I love college. It's so much more than just going to class. I've learned more outside of a classroom than I have inside a classroom, and I've learned a LOT inside of classrooms.
Today I found on Tumblr: