If someone were to go visit the School of Social Work this week, they would see a lively combination of stress and wellness. The Self-Care Caucus has been looking out for us. As we hunker down in the midst of a demanding semester, they have provided opportunities for us to care for ourselves. There are healthy snacks offered up on the fifth floor. There’s tea and hot chocolate in the lobby. There are board games and cornhole available for a playful break in between classes.
There is both an overwhelming busyness and a comforting solidarity. Both anxiety and a deep understanding – somewhere down in our core where it’s often hiding – that we’re going to be just fine.
I am grateful for my community’s thoughtfulness, as they provide snacks and tea and games for us. I am grateful for professors who give an optional one-week extension to be used on any one paper throughout the semester (which I gratefully utilized last week when I was hit with three papers all at once). I am grateful for friends in my cohort who get the struggle and to whom I can vent.
My concentration year has been more demanding that I anticipated. I have needed those reminders to live slowly. I have had to pause, look at all that is on my plate, and gently take one thing off. Or maybe rearrange a couple of tasks. I have compromised, saying no to opportunities that I really wanted to say yes to. I have had to juggle and balance all that life sends my way, ultimately creating a life where I can feel busy in a healthy, fulfilled kind of way, while also being mindful and appreciative of the world around me.
I don’t want to wake up in May, having wished the year away. I don’t want to float along, oblivious to the joy and privilege of being at a place like the School of Social Work. I don’t want to take this opportunity or community for granted. And so I aim to live slowly, soaking it all in. I am to strike that balance, constantly assessing my own needs and desires and responsibilities. And I’m grateful for an educational environment that backs me up.