(Middling) Expectations

Lessons learned from Week 2

Having just survived a week of volatile mood swings while trying to keep up with all my classes, it’s strange to be sitting back in my room feeling somewhat at peace with how I’ve been coping through it all, because the truth is, I’ve barely been able to. Out of the three assignments I had due this week, I could only complete two. This was after making a promise to myself earlier this year, that I learn to would better prioritize the regularity of my sleeping and eating habits this semester, no matter the expense -

And yet that’s the strange thing about it all. The very fact that having been at this high pressured environment and university for so long, I’ve sometimes viewed the very maintenance of my own biological needs as hindrances to.. what? Passing a class? Finishing an assignment? Making time for myself to breathe?

If there’s anything this week taught me, it’s that I really don’t belong at Cal anymore. This culture of expectation to self-deprive for the sake of reaching incredible standards of achievement, productivity, and growth? I’m not sure if I can take it much longer. I don’t mean to bash the university altogether because I’m sure there are students who have come to love it here and adapted in ways better than I have, maintaining their health and emotional balance.. But as it is, I can barely survive anymore, just doing the bare minimum to keep my financial aid.

The only thing I just wish I could know would be, to what extent my difficulties can be explained by my mental illness, the objective difficulties of the classes I seek to take, or natural fatigue? This would at least provide me with the satisfaction of knowing that, perhaps if I’m wiser about the environments I choose to immerse myself in the future, I can set myself up for better growth, rehabilitation, and service of myself to others.

As it is, I’m not at all thriving; just barely breathing. And even if by Berkeley’s standards, I’ve been doing the rough equivalent of flying for all the effort and time I’ve put in thus far, I no longer have the energy nor the mental capacity to fly any longer.

I no longer feel anything toward the goal of becoming: “Elite. Incredible. Competitive. Exceptional ©.”

I just want to recover from my depression, love my friends well, prioritize my wellbeing, and find my greatest undergraduate achievement in this. If that makes me weak to the world (and embarrassingly low on the grading curve), so be it. I used to have so many qualms about this, but now that I’ve reached some point of acceptance, I’m at peace now. It doesn’t make sense to make excuses for that which invariably constitutes my humanity in all its limitation. God knows I’ve been doing the best I can what with I have left. I’m still trying to tack on a double major to my program because, even with all my gripes against it, Cal is still a wonderful place to learn.

Granted, with my condition, I can no longer return to the same kinds of schedules and expectations that I had made for myself as a freshman. But I have been trying to remind myself that this doesn’t make me any weaker or less capable.

Rather, I am simply learning to love myself more for who I am, and not what I can do.