My grad school years

It’s true what they say. Once high school is over, the years fly by. It’s a frightening thing in its own right, for life feels like it is zooming by. I am over the days of wishing time away. Now, I wish for more of it. Although these last few months of grad school had me in full on burn out, I did my best to appreciate where I was at the moment.

I’m feeling incredibly sentimental, if you couldn’t tell. If they didn’t feel like such strong words I might would say these last two years were the best of my life. Most certainly my adult life. You see, battling an eating disorder for 5 or so years out of the last 8 years will give you perspective. On the other side of recovery, everything feels so much more… free. Close to three years ago, I claimed full recovery. And each year I’ve learned how much more recovered I could be. Losing the years 15-18 to an eating disorder made adulthood confusing. Sorting out what was the real me and what wasn’t took a few years. Now, it isn’t so difficult. I see more clearly who I am.

I used to always score as an introvert when I took the Myers-Briggs test in college. This year, for the first time, I scored as an extrovert. I don’t think anything changed drastically, but I think I became less scared of who I am. In my early teens, I would easily identify as an extrovert. As I grew older, however, I think I felt ashamed to be outspoken and feared the burden of relationships that I thought being an extrovert would bring. Perhaps deep down I’ve always been an extrovert, but this last year I chose to embraced that.

Another change in myself is that I feel as if I have a million things to say on a topic, but it’s become increasingly more difficult to form an opinion. There is so much I don’t know. I used be so strong in my opinions, but now I feel like I am full of thoughts and questions. Everything seems to have so many shades of gray that I can no longer see black and white. The only things I know for sure are God’s love for me, the importance of loyalty, an innate desire for freedom but also belonging, and how kindness trumps being right.

I asked for help in ways that I hadn’t been mature enough to do quite yet too. After a little over a year without therapy, I went back to it. Prior to getting married I had slowly stopped seeing my therapist as I felt further and further away from anorexia and depression. While I was recovered from both, last summer an anxiety I never knew before hit me. I wrote about sick vs. well therapy and still stand by my statement that therapy can benefit anyone who tries it. Exposing my soul to a stranger felt amazing.

I saw my flaws but this time not the external or fabricated ones. Stuck in mental illness, it is easy to lose yourself and only see the flaws pointed out to you by the disorder (i.e. fat or lazy). Since recovery, it has been different. Being married I’ve learned I am hot mess. [I’m really glad I married someone who knows how to clean because I might would just throw everything away so I didn’t have to deal with it.] Making new friends I’ve seen myself differently too. There are many times that I dominate conversations. I try to finish peoples’ sentences if they seem to take too long finding a word. Sometimes I talk too much about myself. I used to think I’d be okay being a loner. However, God has shown me these past two years the importance of community. It’s not only to foster relationships, but to improve myself. If I am never engaging with others, I will not find areas of self improvement. Areas that matter.

Making good grades used to be my motivation for everything. As a freshman I would turn down  anything if it meant sacrificing time for studying. Maintaining a 4.0 gpa became my obsession like being skinny used to be. I slowly but surely loosened the reigns until this past semester when I realized exactly how little it meant to me. I made a terrible grade on a test this semester and I left knowing I screwed up. Yet, I realized that I had no emotional response to it. The younger me probably would have cried and then gone onto think other awful things about myself. This time it was so easy for me too move on. During my grad school years I did things like nourish relationship and watch too much TV on week nights  with Terry, both which took away time from studies. Doing these things taught me that I didn’t have to be obsessive about making perfect grades. Studying moderately and paying attention in class was generally enough for me to do well. The obsession only hurt other areas of my life and wasn’t necessary. I could manage both just fine.

My favorite lesson I learned from grad school, I discussed in an earlier post. Life is so much better when I’m not seeing everything as a competition. Dropping this perspective has made everything more enjoyable for me. My journey is unique to me. Sure, others may have similarities to me, but they are their own unique self too. Appreciating, supporting, and loving others is way more fulfilling than trying to beat them.

One last thing. The question of who am I? doesn’t have to be answered. It’s just something that is lived out daily, when I live intentionally. I know my soul was formed by the Creator, so as I live mindfully and strive for a meaningful life,  I am answering that question in a way. My emotional well-being, while important, is not the answer. Happiness may come and go, and I am okay with that. Living meaningfully is what matters the most to me.

My brain and heart are full right now- in good ways. A mix of sadness and happiness, making me rather human. I’m thankful to have this summer to spend time reflecting on where I am right now. I can see this space becoming more journal style and less “themed posts” for a little while. We’ll see. I hope you’ll join me for my new adventures in life.

Thanks for inviting us to think out loud on Thursdays, Amanda!

23 thoughts on “My grad school years

  1. ” The question of who am I? doesn’t have to be answered. It’s just something that is lived out daily, when I live intentionally. I know my soul was formed by the Creator, so as I live mindfully and strive for a meaningful life, I am answering that question in a way. My emotional well-being, while important, is not the answer. Happiness may come and go, and I am okay with that. Living meaningfully is what matters the most to me.” This has to be my favorite quote from today. I could not agree with you more. I believe living meaningfully will let other things fall into place. As you said “happiness may come and go” being able to understand that and know that there is a light on the other side of the darkness makes it better and helps. Much Love 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing! I often feel this way as a chapter of life is closing and an unknown area and time is about to open. I wish you the best as you continue to grow and change. I agree with you on the competition…I struggled and still do at times with making things in to a competition rather than enjoying others and being happy for their accomplishments.

  3. Amen, you are a beautiful new creation in Christ Jesus, and it’s so beautiful to see you share that. It’s radically amazing love that I see through you! Wow, it’s amazing that you’ve become more of an extrovert over the years. The way we change as we grow is incredible. Love ya Kate! Have a wonderful wonderful weekend of rest.

  4. Aww this made me miss school big time. I always get a little sentimental and nostalgic when I see all the kinds going to school in the fall and knowing that I won’t be going too. I definitely spent plenty of time wishing time would go faster and I could be done with the schooling, but now that I’m done, I see how many good times I had and miss those. It’s a good lesson to practice living gratefully in the moment.

  5. All of this warmed my heart, Kate. You are growing so much, and I see the truth in these words. It’s weird for me to say, but I’m proud of you. I’ve never even met you, and I have no right to say that, but to watch you affirm yourself is empowering. I cannot wait to see where your life is going next.

  6. I’m so happy you did this for yourself (and that you shared it with us, of course). This transition period deserves all the attention you want to give it. It’s beautiful and empowering to read how much you have learned about yourself – and how honest you are about what you now know. I think many people go their entire life without this level of self insight. You are a beautiful person Kate and deserve to recognize yourself as such. Bask in this new chapter upon you 🙂

    1. I’ve always been a deep thinker.. sometimes for the good and sometimes not so much. I’m glad I have a space to share it now Thank you for all your sweet words and your never failing encouragement!

  7. It’s so enjoyable to read how much you’ve grown. Congrats again for finishing up – such an accomplishment. It is a sentimental feeling – you put so much time, work and sweat into grad school, and it sounds like you made lots of good friends. Cherish those memories outside of the classroom. Looking forward to reading about the next step!

  8. Congratulations again on finishing grad school. I love reading your thoughts on how you’ve changed (all for the better!) and how much more love you have to give. If I could pick a dietician, you would be it! 🙂

  9. Just wait till you have a kid…then the years REALLY fly by. 😉
    Congrats on finally being finished with school. I’m sure it is so bittersweet but you should be so proud of yourself.
    I believe we NEVER stop figuring out who we are. I’m 32 and I feel like I’m only just beginning to figure it out.
    I really enjoy reading your more reflective posts (although I totally understand using this place as more of a journal than collection of themed posts). Just keep being you.

  10. Woah, Kate.. you said something that totally hit home. I get so self conscious about how much I can talk, and talk about MYSELF. I get moments, especially lately, where I am super aware of it and feel people are annoyed by that side of me. It actually surprises me to see someone else who realises that about themselves too, I can just be so loud sometimes and I know for some it can seem like too much (I am actually convinced I’m part deaf and can’t hear myself).
    And man do I agree, I know when I have flopped exams as well, but I feel a lot less sad or bad about it.. In the end, I know I will graduate and be a dietitian, so who cares if I got an A or A-?
    Again, congrats on graduation, you deserve it 🙂

    1. I don’t think people realize that even us extroverts can be self-conscious about ourselves. It feels good putting ourselves out there until the over thinking sets in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s