What’s a stressed, Catholic grad student to do when overwhelmed from being hard on herself? Go cry in a local church! I used to pride myself in finding no need to cry, but over the past academic year I’ve discovered the miraculous powers of tears and have accessed them whenever I could.
Other ways I’ve been trying to deal with stress as of late is through prayer, hence why I sought out the church today, as well as reaching out to friends more often. While it usually takes my friends a while to respond, I was lucky to receive encouraging, warm responses from them while in the church. I couldn’t help cracking a smile when reading over their messages, and felt very fortunate to have my friends to cry out to.
Today I attended a meeting for a movement within the Catholic church that a friend had invited me to. It was an evening of wonderful, deep, open reflection. Afterwards, we all went out to grab a bite to eat in a local restaurant.
In dealing with a longing for deeper connections with those around me, as well as fighting anxiety in the past few months, a friend had suggested to me that I seek out a community. This group is definitely a community I see myself becoming a part of. I’m encouraged to join by the deep connection I witnessed among the members and the care they showed each other as they shared their struggles and reflections. I look forward to the fruits of hanging around this group in the future.
Yesterday I had an unexplained bout of anxiety that affected me the whole day and distracted me from my work. Having faced multiple days like this hasn’t made the experience any more pleasant, but I have been proud to look back and reflect how I’m learning to manage them better. I have grown in determination for fighting these moments and seeking out help so that they don’t hold me back. I’ve been learning to accept that these days will come, and even though all may seem lost in the moment, I have the power within me to bounce back. I’ve come to recognize the importance of being present in the moment by slowing down thoughts, taking deep breaths, and remembering the positive. Most importantly, I’ve come to know and appreciate the support group I have in these moments. I’m thankful for the family and friends who let me cry, who withstand listening to the same running thoughts, and who put up with my irrational grumpiness. I’m grateful I have people to relate to and to laugh at anxiety in its face. This includes a friend who yesterday commented she’d refer to her anxiety as Regina George when I said I wish that anxiety was a physical thing we could hit, and then proceeded to make Mean Girls puns.
I have taken the first steps in promising myself not to let anxiety control me. My bout of it yesterday has motivated to make changes to face it head on and defeat it to the extent that I can. Life is too short to be held back.
My, I haven’t written here consistently in a while! Graduate school has taken over my life to the point that sometimes I’ve forgotten to take pleasure in the little things. Time to return to writing to be reminded of them more often!
The past week leading up to Easter had its share of graudate school trials, which left me with averaging 3 hours of sleep a night. Fortunately I was blessed to have a best friend stay over for the week. She was in for some doctor’s visits and I was busy with school, but we still managed to see each other and share some great “chicken soup for the soul”, as I refer to the times that we spend together. The timing of her visit was perfect with all the stress of school I was going through, among other things, and I was happy to have her around for Easter!
Other then my friend’s visit, the week was good with all the Easter services to attend. The services gave me an opportunity to run into and reconnect with alumni and friends I’ve looked up to and am blessed to know. Even though the few days before Easter are supposed to be solemn, they were filled with jovial and much-needed socializing.
I concluded the week by serving a traditional Polish dinner for friends with all the food my family would serve for Easter brunch, including carrot salad, kielbasa, Polish ham, pierogi, and bread. I was inspired to do so by the care package my parents had sent me and links of Polish dinners that my roommate was sending me. I traveled all the way to a packed Polish deli in South Boston with my roommate to pick up additional food. It was wonderful to relive a little bit of the tradition I have grown up with and to share it with friends.
Also, my roommate and I finally get to feast on all the chocolate we’ve accumulated from care packages, birthday gifts, etc.
Overall, I had some solid Easter festivities that have rejuvenated me to power through the rest of the semester. Only three more class meetings and 4 more weeks at my placement!
On Monday I decided to step out and go to my first meet up! It was organized by a volunteer group at a Panera near me, so I had no reason not to miss it. The other attendees and I spent a couple of hours making cards for patients at Boston Children’s Hospital. It was fun watching how creative people got and to spend time with a new crew. I hope to continue volunteering with this group!
I love getting into the swing of running. I appreciate the endorphin wave that washes away the stress of school and helps me put things into perspective. The exercise reminds me the importance of self-discipline as I push myself to prepare to run in a 5K in a month and how its needed in other parts of my life. Most importantly, it gives me some ME time, which I don’t usually set aside time for.
Over the past month I’ve accompanied a girl I know from a local, non-university affiliated dorm for college and young professional women to teach catechism in East Boston. Our interactions to this point have been the quiet, polite exchanges expected between acquaintances. Today we managed to break the ice a bit with more comfortable conversation. We laughed over fumbling through our commute to and from East Boston, particularly when we missed a stop on the way back. The best exchange was over lunch back at the dorm when we debated over my whether my deepest desires included consuming more chips that we took from the dining room so as not to throw them away.
I’m glad to have shared some laughs with this girl today. We’ve known each other for a few years but never really had many one on one interactions together. I’m like that we’ve finally reached a point where we can show our quirky sides and be accepted for it.