This past week was trips week, meaning while the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors all embarked on their outdoor education trips, whether that be biking, hiking, backpacking, white water rafting, surfing etc. the seniors did not have school. This week is provided to seniors to work on the wonderful common application, visit colleges, or do any other sort of work required to enter the amazing world of college, and I had one of the best weeks of my life. College applications and extreme excitement may seem like oxy morons, and they are, but I was lucky enough to work on these fantastic essays in New York City and Connecticut. This week was maybe one of the best weeks of my life. It was a week where I could relax and be in one of my favorite cities on the planet and with some of my favorite people. I did not have to worry about school; the panic while rushing from class to class, my ultra colored planner, with random highlighter marks and notes of everything I have to do in my life, and the pressure of school that only increases the magnitude of my eating disorder. The hustle and bustle of Polytechnic school was replaced with the fast pace New York City lifestyle, rushing up and down 5th Ave, waiting for my subway (hoping it is the right one), and the never-ending sound of honking horns and sirens. To some people, this may sound like a nightmare, but to me, this was (is) heaven. The colorful highlighter that is found across every page of my weekly planner (aka my Bible) was exchanged for the flashing lights of Times Square and the leaves beginning their color change all around New Haven (ok, not quite there yet, but I know it will be coming soon and I wanted another comparison 🙂 ). I understand these two places are completely opposite, the millions of people that are crammed into New York City versus the 130,000 people that are spread out around New Haven. Both of these places however, made me the happiest I have ever been. Now, I understand nothing can make you feel anything, but I couldn’t help but feel happy, comfortable, and at ease in both of these places.
Before I left on my trip, I was incredibly nervous about embarking on this vacation. As some of you may remember, a little while ago I wrote a blog post on vacations and how for people struggling with an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, or any other type of mental illness, vacations can only make all of the above problems worse. I was worried that if I went away I would all of a sudden fall apart. Instead, I felt completely whole. I was not scared of the food I was putting in my mouth, I did not care what people thought about me as I walked down the street, and I learned a couple of important lessons that I hope to keep with me not just through this college process but throughout my entire life.
I know the majority of my readers can currently, have in the past, or will soon relate to this wonderful college process. When I type the “n” into my search engine, Netflix no longer pops up, rather Naviance automatically opens, GREAT! The Common App is apparently my most visited website, and I currently have 8 drafts of my essay, all of which consist of, you guessed it, random streaks of highlighter marks, and random notes in multicolored pens that I swear are incomprehensible to any human being, including myself (maybe that is why I have not gotten very far in it yet!). So needless to say college is important to me and something that I care deeply about. I work incredibly hard yet still feel inadequate. I feel as if my dream school is just that, a dream. My dream life is also just that, a dream. One very important thing that I really need to hold onto, and I am not giving advice, but to all of you people out there who are struggling with something (so all of you), might want to hold onto it to, is that dreams can be realities if you wake up and work at it. I was talking to a really good friend of mine, who is a really important part of my life this past week and who has had incredible success… because he worked at it. If you wake up and put in the effort, and focus on your goal, and believe in yourself you will reap what you sow. Now I want to clear something up, I am not saying if you work at something you are guaranteed that exact thing in return, but you will be rewarded… in time. Which leads me to my next idea/revelation/belief to live by.
All this stuff takes time. College apps are due November 1 if you’re applying early and for regular decision sometime in January (just in case any of you forgot, here is your 1 billionth reminder 🙂 , you’re welcome). College applications take time. They are a long tedious process filled with writing, rewrites, double rewrites (is that a thing? Probably!), long nights, little bit (a lot a bit) of crying, fear, major self doubt, but ultimate reward. Another conversation I had this past week enlightened me on the idea that as humans, we want everything NOW. We don’t want to wait in lines (which is how Disneyland makes so much money off of Fast Passes), we get frustrated if our waiter takes more than 3.5 seconds to bring us our food, and we certainly hate waiting for answers to big life decisions (ie. College). I have talked to so many people who say, “I just want to know where I am going and have it be May already.” Sure, that sounds great. Would I love to know where I will be spending my next four years? Of course, that would take a huge weight off of my shoulders. But do I want to skip these moments that I have lying in front of me to get there? Absolutely not! If I had skipped to May I would have missed this incredibly eye opening and incredible week. I would have missed countless Young Life clubs, friend’s birthdays, Christmas (I’m obsessed with Christmas), and I most definitely would not be prepared for the AP Bio test considering I would have missed almost the entire year. I have lived my entire life waiting for the next thing to come. In kindergarten I wanted to go first grade, then I wanted to be in fifth grade, then middle school, then high school, then senior year, and now all that time has flown by and I don’t know what to make of it. When I was living in France, everything is so slow paced and the French take their time and savor each moment, which drove me absolutely CRAZY! I did not understand how someone could spend their whole Saturday relaxing, that word is not in my vocabulary! But this idea of patience (which is slowly working its way into my vocabulary) is so key and I have found incredibly helpful. It makes me stop and smell the roses. The week flew by so quickly because I was having so much fun and loving every second but I also savored each and every moment. I did not want any moment to end and hoped it would last forever. It was the first time I was not thinking about the next thing that would be going on in my life but rather about the people/person/scene that was right in front of me.
Finally, I recognized that people tend to sell themselves short (something that is pretty obvious, but not often acknowledged). I think so highly of all of my best friends. I believe they are the smartest, kindest, most intelligent people on this planet and deserve all the best things life has to offer. I couldn’t understand how any of my best friends would not get into their top choice college – I mean they’re perfect for crying out loud! But then I turn to myself and I do not see the same. I have had so many talks with people who feel like they are inadequate but then are so quick to jump and tell me how great I am when in reality I see all the positive qualities in them but none in myself. I have had people tell me the colleges I am applying to are unrealistic and I shouldn’t even apply. My old French teacher told me I would never speak French (mais, je parle français maintenant donc…). My eating disorder told me I would never recover, my depression and anxiety told me they were never going away, but I told myself otherwise. I don’t care what people say you can and cannot do, because when it comes down to it, they are not there with you while you study for hours, or while you cry before a meal because you know you have to eat it for recovery but it will be so incredibly hard. These people who say you are not capable of doing something that YOU want to do really should just shut up, to put it as nicely as I can. If you want to be a doctor and build a rocket but also own a 5 star restaurant in New York, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, because you can. You can do anything that you set your mind to and others aren’t there watching your every second or hovering over your every choice. I mean look at Steven Spielberg, one of the most renowned directors of all time, he was denied from USC’s film school (arguably the best film school in the country), or Walt Disney who was fired from a local news paper due to his “lack of creativity and imagination” or Michael Jordan who got cut from his high school basketball team. These are all people (along with many others) who persevered after what are thought to be enormous failures. I have learned through treatment, this college process, my near encounters with death in France, and the continuing process of recovery that failure is 100% inevitable. Do I like failure? No! I don’t know anyone that likes failure. I can understand someone that appreciates failure because some of the most beautiful lessons or opportunities can come out of it. When my old French teacher said that I would never speak French it only made me more determined to learn the language and to prove her wrong. I am now fluent and came from a D average freshmen year (started from the bottom now we’re here!) Failure sucks in the moment but is a beautiful thing in the long run. If I had been accepted to every program I applied for or “succeeded” at my eating disorder or got 100% on every test I took without studying, my life would be completely different. I would probably be swamped with responsibilities, I would still be battling my eating disorder (or have already been taken away by it), and I would never have learned the value of hard work. I work for everything that I receive (something that I learned from my parents). I don’t believe in being handed anything, although it seems like a really nice alternative to hours spent bent over and AP Bio textbook. I remember a couple of years ago we had an incredible runner on our school’s cross country team, Wesley. He was the most beautiful runner and ran so fast you could barely see him as he passed by. I remember my dad telling me that each race, no matter how much pain he was in or hard it had been, meant a lot to Wesley because of all the work he had done to get to the spot he was at. If he woke up one morning and could suddenly run a five minute mile with no effort put in, what would the reward be? The beauty of success is that is derives from failure. I cannot name one success of mine that has not come out of something difficult or had some type of setbacks. So to everyone, as they go through life, college applications, friendships, sports, whatever it may be, remember that it is ok to not get 100% on every quiz, the Ivy Leagues are not the only colleges out there (although they are great places!), being denied somewhere may mean a better opportunity at an unexpected place, and being told you’re bad at something does not mean you are (those people don’t really know you!)
I don’t really know what the main topic of this post was. It was a sort of recap on my trips week but I just had so many good conversations with my friend that stuck in my head that I just had to write about them! I hope that these are some things that you all can hold onto as well during difficult times!
All my love to you all! You are stronger than you know and others can’t dictate how your life turns out.
And to leave you with a quote from an amazing human being…
“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” – Ellen DeGeneresYes, I ate that, and it was hecka good!loved this place so much!