Learning to accept my comfort zone

September 11, 2010 § 20 Comments

Although it has only been two weeks since this new semester has started, I’m already feeling the burn and stress that I usually feel only when the first cycle of midterms come about. I know most of my classmates feel the same way too, what with graduate school applications, job searching and job interviews. The second day of classes felt like a month in already.

Many expect senior year to be easy. On the contrary, it has been the most stressful start for me by far (excluding Freshmen first semester). First week back I was immediately bombarded with Senior Thesis, classes, club meetings, orchestra rehearsals, and a combined number of 400-500 pages worth of stuff I have to read for the five classes I was taking. Why was? That, I’ll get to later.

I do not like to boast, so it’s the truth when I say that I go to a college of rather damn high prestige–a liberal arts school that trains scientists and engineers. Yes, students here are highly specialized and well-trained in both the liberal arts and science. Moreover, most students here are ridiculously smart. So smart that people who were in the top 10% of their graduating class in high school fell down to just average upon enrolling in this school. Stress becomes a frequent happening when you’re in this environment and trying to keep up your fellow classmates.

Up until a few hours ago, I had 16 credits listed down on my course schedule for this semester. Four classes, research, and orchestra. Now I have 14.5, and I am glad I dropped a course that was dropping work on us that was just way over my head. Initially I felt horrible about the thought of dropping that Music History class. After all, 16 credits was only the average amount of credits that students take here. The thought of taking less credit per semester made me feel like I was lazy and not a hardworking student who stays up till 2am everyday finishing up homework.

One of my sources of comfort when times get tough.

And then I thought, why would I want to stay up till 2am everyday to do homework? That would just cause more stress on my part. Why must I be like everybody else? If I were to look back on my college years 10 years from now, would I regret not having more time to socialize? Besides, I’d much rather concentrate and actually learn from the few handful of classes I have than having too much to handle and half-heartedly learning things that I would only forget two weeks later. I should be able to do what I feel comfortable doing, and not compare myself to others. I must accept who I am, what I’m capable of, and embrace that. Only when I find a balance will I be happy.

Much like yoga, each person’s body differs in strength, flexibility, and endurance. While one certain pose may be a cinch for one student, it may take weeks, months or even years for the other to master it. The latter student, however, may in turn find some other poses easier than for the first student. Yoga is not a competition to see who can do the perfect monkey pose or who can hold crane pose the longest.  Yoga is about listening to your body and accepting what your body can do. Those who often compare themselves to others are those who are more likely to get injured because they are pushing their bodies over what they can handle at that point in time. You alone knows what’s best for your body. If your teacher pushes you to stretch past your limit, be sure to inform them. You do not want to come home from a yoga class with a pulled muscle or tendon and hate yoga for that.

Learn to love your flaws, because then you have something you can improve on. How boring would it be if you were born perfect? You’d be able to learn anything and everything in a matter of seconds, leaving your life empty of goals to strive towards. Accept what you can and cannot do, because that is what makes you you and interesting.

So what if I average 14.5 credits each semester instead of the typical 15, 16, or even 19 credits that some or most students here take? I am now at my comfort zone, a place of balance. I may still be a busy bee 6.5 days out of 7, but it will be a different kind of busyness. This new busyness will be filled with meaningful gains of knowledge instead of stressful cramming.

Do I regret dropping a course that I find rather fascinating? Yes, but at least I have the textbook that I can read and learn at my leisure. Besides, who doesn’t want to be enlightened by how music came about in Ancient Rome and Greece, and its transformation throughout the Middle Ages till the era of Bach? Okay, perhaps only me. :mrgreen:

Although I merely dropped Music of Western Civilization and added Intermediate Modern Dance, I feel as if I’ve pushed the reset button for my first semester of senior year. I am excited at what awaits me.


§ 20 Responses to Learning to accept my comfort zone

  • kat says:

    Wow where can I get a wall of yoga? Lol I am studying right now how bad stress is for your health and boy it is BAD. It takes courage to drop a class and accept that maybe you need to take a step back. You should never doubt yourself. I think you did the right thing girlie. Not to mention like you said, you already feel rejuvenated and excited for the year, just from dropping one class. Keep up the good work love!

  • I’m glad you did what’s best for you instead of feeling pressured to do something you weren’t comfortable with. I agree – that sounds like an insane amount of work and stress when you should still be having a certain amount of enjoyment! I mean, you’ll only be a senior in college once 😉 Stress really is the devil – no body wins!

  • highonhealthy says:

    Good for you for listening to your body and doing what will nourish it AND your mind. Stress is SO dangerous and people are overloading themselves way too much these days. I’m glad you took the time to do what was best for you and not what may be okay for others.

  • nattietan says:

    I’m glad you chose to listen to your body and go for what you know is best for you. Sometimes, we try to ignore what we know may not be best for us just because it looks to be the easier option. I fully think you made the right choice here though and you ought to be proud! I’m sure this year’s going to be an exciting one for you hun!! XOXO

  • Monet says:

    It is so important to listen to our bodies and our hearts. I have been feeling very stressed with the start of graduate work, and I had to cut out some things in order to make sure I was cultivating inner peace and growth. You made the right choice, and I so appreciate you blogging about it! You are an encouragement to me and to many others. I hope tomorrow brings rest and happiness love!

  • Wei-Wei says:

    Oh, man. This reminds me… I’m taking Algebra 2 / Trig and it’s moving at a much faster pace than the other option, which is just Algebra 2. Honestly, I don’t understand what difference it would make if I took just Algebra 2… and it’s a lot harder. I don’t know. I feel like that sometimes.

  • I can relate to this! Last semester I ended up dropping a credit because I just couldn’t handle the workload on top of some personal things I was going through. At first I was like “What is wrong with me?” because I felt I SHOULD be able to handle it. But we’re all different and we should do what works best for us. I’m glad you realized this! 😀 Besides, we’re only in college once and we should try to enjoy it! It’s ridiculous to be so busy that we’re just constantly in class or studying without any time for fun.

  • Hey Elaine, thanks for stopping by my blog . I am glad that I find yours! I totally understand this start-of-semester anxiety ! we have been in the summer for so long and it is really hard to catch up!

    Your yoga wall post is SOOOOO impressive! where did you got it? seems like you are a really expert! I just start doing yoga this year , on an off. I hope to find something more motivating, e.g., like your super cool yoga pose!

    Good luck with the new semester 🙂

  • Megan says:

    What a FABULOUS post! I love this especially: “I should be able to do what I feel comfortable doing, and not compare myself to others.” I am really working on not comparing myself to others. It’s so much better to just be grateful for ourselves 🙂

  • Aimee says:

    Way to go! I think it’s very important to learn this lesson early on too, because life always wants us to add more “stuff” to the mix it seems. Glad you are doing what will make you happier and less stressed.

  • Wow! I am glad you dropped off a course – honestly, in the long run… you’ll be much happier!!

  • Having taken Music in Western Civ, I can say that you aren’t missing things I’m sure you already appreciate and, like you said, can learn in your time:) Dance, and the movement it will provide, will be so much more enjoyabe and as you noted, less stressful! I’ve missed your posts (I’ve had no computer, and it looks like you’ve been tied down in different ways) and am glad you have been busy balancing out your life in very important ways. The last year of college was so difficult for me, with some of the stresses you noted, and I can’t say I shared your tremendously healthy outlook. I’m definitely inspired by reading your post!

  • Sometimes I forget how much it helps me to do some yoga or hit the gym when I’m stressed, but it really does! (Usually I’m stressed because I don’t have time to get everything done, and then working out goes out the window, but I REALLY need to stop that bad habit!!!) I hope the semester goes smoothly for you 🙂

  • CourtandWhit says:

    Wow, what great words of wisdom! I love how you were able to compare life to yoga. I was in the same boat when I was registering for classes for my senior year of highschool. Everybody around me was taking on 4-5 AP classes, which averages at about 3-4 hours of hw per class. I had not taken an AP class my whole 3 years in high school and I was still feeling the challenge and course load from my classes! So instead I chose to take one AP class, and the rest of my classes are concurrent with the community college so that I can get dual credit. I just did what was in my comfort zone as well. I do not want to remember my senior year as nothing but studying I need to have time to live too. Great post!


  • i dropped a lot of classes in highschool and sure, dropping history meant that i couldnt apply to university without the extra credits..but it worked out because it wasent something i wanted anyways and to have forced myself with the class, no matter how interesting it was, i would have burnt out for sure. you’re VERY wise and you did the best thing- dont feel guilty. knowing that theres too much on ur plate at one time and taking the right steps to easing up is worth it! you wont have to pay for it later with stress ❤


  • Geni says:

    What a smart woman you are. I am still trying to learn how to love my flaws at 40 and how to slow down a bit so I can appreciate where I am. You seem to have it down at twenty something! Amazing.

  • Michal says:

    Good for you girl on listening to your body! Ever since I started school I have been pushing myself, and finally I just realized that I cant say no to everyone. I have to make some me time 🙂

  • Just checking in to say hi and I hope your semester is going well 🙂
    Senior year IS all about taking the classes that you WANT to take! Honestly, I think Im going to end up maybee doing an extra quarter just so I can take some extra classes that I dont need but really want to experience. No shame in that 🙂

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