As I've found myself coming to the end of my 20s, I have taken time to reflect on my life. Self reflection, in my lifetime, has always helped me to continue to grow into the person that makes me the happiest and fulfilled. I touched on that briefly in the last post that I wrote in November, but didn't delve too deep into where I was at. During that time, I was doing reseach on going back to school. I had contacted a handful of schools and talked with various admissions advisors to help me determine what I would need, how much it would cost, and what going back to school would look like. I was scared to tell others about it.
What if I didn't get in?
What if I fail?
What if people think that I'm not cut out for this?
Truly, I am my own worst enemy as we all so often are. But I was feeling stagnant in life and I didn't want to be stuck in the same monotony for the rest of my life. I wasn't unhappy per say. But I didn't feel fulfilled. I knew I wasn't putting forth my full potential. And so I decided to go after one of my dreams.
At the start of December, I started my first class working toward completing a BS in Psychology. The school that I'm attending accepted the credits I completed at a technical college when I was fresh out of high school. Thankfully that took up nearly all of my generals, meaning I could focus primarily on the core classes. I was so excited, but also incredibly nervous. I had been out of school for the better part of 10 years. As much as I've loved writing and have spent the majority of my adult life writing in various formats, the essays I would have to write intimidated me the most. Ironic, I know. But I wasn't a strong essay writer as a teenager. Admittedly, I slapped essays together and hoped for the best. But regardless, I always did poorly with essays.
Having been in school for over 6 months now, I can say that I continue to amaze myself by how well I'm doing. I was never a bad student, but I wasn't a straight A student either. My goal was to just be able to pass. After a few months in, I received an unexpected email.
I had been doing well enough to be invited to join the National Society of Leadership and Success. I couldn't believe what I was reading.
Not long after, I got another email.
Was this truly happenning? I wasn't just barely passing. I was doing well! I obviously knew that I had been getting good grades on my assignments, but these invitations made it all more real. I loved what I was learning, I was fascinated by the lessons, and I was doing better than I could have ever imagined!
I'm not sharing this to brag. Far from it. Believe me when I say that imposter syndrome is a very real thing. I often doubt myself and always get an twinge of fear when I get a notification that a grade has been posted. I never take a grade for granted. I never submit an assignment thinking, "Ha! Aced that!" I continue to vow to myself to give it my all and hope for the best.
In the time that I started school, my priorities have shifted. One big shift was this, right here. Writing. Blogging. For awhile, I had a Facebook page to share my posts on. I took that down when I started back to school. For some time, I considered deleting this blog altogether. I felt that I had been chasing a fantasy with writing. I sincerely believed that I was a rotten writer and was fooling myself into thinking that people would enjoy my writing. Why am I doing this? What is the point? (That imposter syndrome doesn't just apply to my relationship with school!) Rather than delete anything, I simply set it aside to reevaluate later.
While chatting with a friend this week, I found myself reminiscing about my early days of blogging. I shared the journey I took trying to discover my voice as a writer. Having always looked up to him as a friend, fellow writer, and generally speaking an overall kind and loving friend, I found myself wanting to write like him. Try as I might, that was never going to happen. Trying to write like someone is like trying to simply be another person. Even if you say the exact same thing, use the same tone and mannerisms, it will never come to be natural or comfortable. We as humans are all so uniquely different. Even the most closely similar people have differences. So after trying and failing to write like he did, I focused on myself. Self reflection once again. And I found my own rhythm, my own voice, and created pieces that I was quite proud of. You can admire and appreciate another person's work while still having such stark differences. It took me some time to learn that and discover that, but that discovery has helped me continue to grow.
By the end of our discussion, I was yearning to get back to it. Put my thoughts and feelings down and share it to those that are interested. I've grappled for years with the idea of getting readers. What to people want to read? Why did this post do better than that post? Should I share my post in the morning or the evening? Round and round I went torturing myself with these types of concerns.
One of the many gifts that had come with being in school is that I sincerely don't have time to stress and worry about how well this post will do. I don't have time to worry about when I'll be able to make another. I don't have time to stress about what theme each post should be. I don't have time to stress about what time of day to share it. It may seem counterintuitive, but it's truly a blessing. It has freed me from my anxieties and woes.
These past few years have been a whirlwind for us all. And it's certainly not settling down any time soon. The best thing I've done for myself in this time has been to check in with myself.
Do I feel a sense of purpose?
Am I happy?
Does this friendship/relationship support me and my growth as a person?
What can I do to keep growing?
Being in tune with one's self is one of the greatest blessings and the best pieces of advice I can give a person. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know what will bring you joy and help you continue growing. Don't be afraid to take a leap of faith. Sometimes the best choices to make are the scariest ones.
Now I'm just starting to sound like a cheesy inspirational poster.
Wouldn't be the first time I sounded like a cheesy inspirational poster.
So that's where I'm at. I'm preparing to apply for my master's program very soon. Despite how well I'm doing in school, it still makes me nervous. What if I don't get accepted? What if I totally fail? Again with all of the what ifs. But I would be letting myself down if I gave up now. So I've just got to keep my head down and press on.