Labelling Myself

I had a talk with a psychologist today because of my concentration problem, which I thought was due to me being an HSP. She was thinking more in the direction of ADD and gave me the option to have this be investigated further. The other option was to just accept who I am and to live with it, which I decided because the only advantage I would have with the diagnosis ADD is getting medication. I have a few reasons why I don’t want to have this label sticked on to me:

  • It’s a label designed by this world of label-makers. Why don’t we just accept who we are and let people be ‘different’? Being ‘different’ is the standard nowadays, and the only thing we can do to go against this is to not label ourselves. I want to be ‘me’ without this label, without being judged by anyone. I want to be accepted.
  • Medication. It might be good for my concentration, but every medication has its side effects and is probably bad for the environment.
  • The only advantage, like I said, would be to improve my concentration on important moments, but as my grades are still quite good, I don’t feel like I need it.

And now there are these people who don’t understand me making this choice of just accepting. I don’t know what to do anymore. I am lost. Lost in this world full of ignorant people who I don’t get.

Being a Highly Sensitive INFP with Anxiety

Ever since I found out I’m an INFP, I felt my life was a little more understandable. I got to know why I feel the way I feel instead of thinking I was a weirdo that didn’t fit into this world. Recently, I discovered I might also be a highly sensitive person, which would explain, for example, why I’m always so emotional. I mentioned my anxiety in previous blog posts, so I’m not going to explain that part.

Here are some of the things I experience:

  • Having so many ideas in your head, but not being able to find the words to express them
  • Wanting to explore the world but also stay within your comfort zone (a.k.a. not far from home)
  • The above also includes wanting to go out with friends but also staying inside and read a book or watch tv
  • It also includes wanting to be alone but feeling lonely when you are
  • Feeling every single pain in your body and always thinking it must be something bad
  • Having this split personality when you feel depressed or are quiet at one moment, whereas the next moment you can be manic or spontaneous and don’t care about anything and being impulsive.
  • Your dog being your best friend
  • Caring too much about everything
  • Being pessimistic and positive at the same time (I don’t even know how this is possible)
  • Maybe the positivity is because of the hopefulness
  • Stressing out about small things
  • The feeling you are not understood
  • Usually being late for everything even though this is never your intention
  • Being afraid of experiencing a panic attack again
  • Being a perfectionist at times
  • Always crying whenever there’s a possibility
  • Not being able or taking a long time to make decisions
  • Wanting to live and eat healthy but it’s not working out the way you want
  • Being afraid of an unlived life
  • Not wanting to be ordinary
  • Not being able to put this list in a good order because ideas keep on coming

How I deal with all of these things, you ask me? Well, I don’t really have an answer, I just do, but sometimes I don’t (my so-called ‘down days’). I do, however, believe that understanding, accepting and loving yourself are the most important steps towards a more happy life.

I hope some of you are familiar with some of these points and remember you’re not the only one feeling this way. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s how some people feel and think sometimes and you should take this into account before you judge someone.

Why We Should Never Quit

Things can get tough sometimes. The number of times that I’ve been in the state of almost giving up on something is absurd, but I’m proud to be where I am right now. I made it this far already, so why would I not survive the next obstacle ahead of me? This is what I try to make myself believe when I’m in a bad mood, and it does actually help make me feel better.

Reflect

The times I’ve been homesick and miss my dog; when I have a feeling that something’s wrong with me but blood tests tell otherwise; when I’ve been staying up until 2 A.M. to finish an assignment for uni; when I have so much coursework and feel like I’m going to mess up; when I feel like a failure. It makes me sad, but it also makes me realise I’m alive. I’m human and supposed to feel these feelings, and it’s only temporary. Reflect on the things you worry about, but also reflect on the good aspects of life at that moment and appreciate them. As Dumbledore said in The Prisoner of Azkaban, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light”. Even if it’s just the small things. For example, I had to finish an essay on Monday and had to do a weekly quiz for a grade, and I was afraid I wouldn’t finish both in time, but I did, and I was proud of myself. All the hard work was worth it.

Stay positive and take your time

Remind yourself that there better times are ahead. It may not be in the near future, but Rome wasn’t built in one day, too. If you’re going through a tough time, you’re allowed to take your time. Not everyone will understand, but you’re never alone in these situations. It’s also important to speak up about it, it doesn’t matter to whom or if you’re only opening up to one person. If you’re isolating yourself, you’ll only make it worse. If I hadn’t confessed I have anxiety problems, I would’ve had to do terrible class discussions about literature for which I would be scared every single time. There are solutions to your problems, even if it might not appear so at first.

Follow your dreams

If you don’t have a passion in life, find one. It is important, at least for me, to have one or more goals in life. You’re having a thing to strive for and to look forward to. A friend of mine started a project in which she sends boxes full of positive notes to children with a serious illness. This is an amazing initiative and by this, she pursues her goal of making other children happy. I have no idea where I would be in 2, 5, or 10 years, but I know one thing for sure, I want to be happy and that is my aim.

What To Do In The Summer

This year, I said to myself that I wanted to go on a proper holiday with my friends to a sunny place, and meet lots of friends over the summer. Both didn’t happen, but I did do some other things.

  1. Go on a trip. I went to London in the first week of the summer holiday with my study association, but that was basically it. I’m still gutted I didn’t go to other places.
  2. Having days out. I did have some fun days, such as going to the zoo with a couple of friends, going to a place to swim, trampoline jumping with friends, sleepovers, going to the cinema (I’d recommend Finding Dory).
  3. Work. I was planning to earn a bit of money, but I didn’t want to work a lot. I applied at my local employment agency, planning to take on temp work. By chance, I got sent to help in the kitchen of a restaurant, preparing desserts and other food and it turned out I worked there for more than a month.
  4. Hanging out with friends. I wished I would’ve done it more this summer, but as I had to work often, I always had to plan things in the morning or on days off.
  5. Relax and take your rest. I have slept a lot this holiday. Nine hours each day, every day. I apparently needed it, and I’m feeling a lot more relaxed than when the holiday had just started. I recently was feeling a bit panicky and overwhelmed, and I just had to go out of the house, so I cycled to a place and watched the sunset. It was beautiful, calming, and a good place and time to think. Relaxing also means watching series, or in my case, the Olympics, PointlessBlogZoella, and more youtubers.
  6. Exercise. Even though the season may be over, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any exercise. Go on a bike ride, go for a run, or just go for a walk with your dog. It’s so nice and, in fact, really easy to go out and do stuff instead of go on Netflix or Youtube. Another option is just to play with your dog, like I did. It can be just as exhausting as ‘proper’ exercise.
  7. Read a book (or many). It may sound weird as I’m a student of literature, but I couldn’t find the time to read a book for pleasure during college. I have loads of books on my bookshelves that still need to be read, and a few were lucky this summer: Me Before You, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Clockwork Angel, and a few more. I want to read more than I’m able to, but still, diving into another world is a really good feeling.

These are the things that I’ve done this summer, it doesn’t seem much, but time has flown by, and I’m starting my second year at uni in one week’s time!

My First Year at Uni: Advice & How I Passed

My summer holiday has already started and I’ve finally got time to look back and reflect. I can tell you, this year has felt like being on an unremitting rollercoaster with ups and downs. The bad thing is that I mostly remember the downs this ride has brought. Some people may say that I’m exaggerating everything, which may be true to some extent, but I cannot help it due to my INFP personality which causes me to feel all the feels, and I don’t think those people realise how everything impacts me.

I started last year’s summer by working full-time at a petrol station until the end of the holiday. Then I had the introduction camp of my study association, which was followed by the start of the academic year, diving straight into lectures and seminars for 7 weeks in a row. During this block, I still worked every Saturday at the petrol station, and the volleyball season had started as well, which took up another 2 or 3 evenings each week. I thought everything was doable, but only a few weeks in, my anxiety showed up again, I got a shoulder injury, and my grandfather got cancer. I managed my way through the first block and passed the exams. I chose to get professional help for both my mental and physical problems, and sometimes that help wasn’t really useful, but every bit is one step further in the good direction.

I wished for the second block to go well, but as things never go my way, it was quite the opposite. My (unrelated) uncle passed away (due to cancer). I didn’t really know him, but still, it was so sad to see my family members suffering. In this block, I had one course in which I excelled, one which I completely failed, and another one, which I partly failed. With my search for help, I received the option to quit the programme at university. I absolutely didn’t want to know anything about that because I liked it, even though it was quite hard. And I am now able to say that I am glad that I made the choice to stay.

During this time (December/January), I got more and more unhappy at my workplace. It wasn’t until a few months later that I quit my job because of the former and my realisation that it wasn’t doable along with uni and volleyball. But the third block was still busy as always, for I still had to work there until April. I already gave up hope for one of the courses of this block, literature from 1550, and decided that I wouldn’t do too much effort for it. A miracle happened, I passed the literature course with a 5.8 (out of 10) and didn’t have to retake the exam. I passed the other courses as well, meaning I had no resits of the third block in the fourth block.

Turning to the fourth block, I was determined to pass the remaining courses, and everything was going suspiciously well. That was until the last few weeks when I had to do 2 essays along with a huge load of other assignments. On the last Monday of classes, my dog died, which made everything worse again. It felt like another downfall. It resulted in not celebrating my birthday. The next five weeks would be within the framework of exams and, again, quite busy. I realised last week that I unofficially passed the year, but yesterday I got both good and bad news. The bad news is that I failed my fourth attempt for the oral exam of English proficiency. The good news, on the other hand, is that I passed my resit exam for multilingualism, which means that I officially have obtained 45 points (out of the possible 60) and can move on to the second year!

My advice for novice students:

  • Focus mainly on your study. Depending on your courses, you will put approximately 40-50 hours per week in it in total. I don’t mean to withhold you from having a part-time job, playing a sport, or being part of a committee. On the opposite, I encourage you to do something besides your study. I am only warning you that you should not do too much, as I did.
  • If things go wrong, and they are out of your hands, or when you have other problems, talk about it! Go seek help, even though it may seem scary. I have never regretted it. Still, to this day, when I have to go to my study advisor, I am terrified. But you have two choices: suffer alone and things won’t get much better, or get help and improve.
  • Make friends! I have met some amazing people, who are all trying to get the best out of each other and all have a passion for the same thing: the particular programme. Another tip: meet them outside of classes to create a stronger friendship.
  • Also, don’t forget about your previously made friendships. My high school friends are still some my best friends.
  • The first weeks or months (or year in my case) may feel overwhelming. Remember, it takes some time to settle, but once you are, it will be wonderful.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Watch your money! I sometimes have these periods when I am spending way too much. You don’t always have to go low-budget, treating yourself every now and then can be really satisfying, and there is nothing wrong with it.
  • Remember, there is always hope.

I have never regretted my choice of English Language and Culture. Of course, I’ve had several thoughts about why I didn’t go into business economics, or whatever I like more. And the fact that I was not sure whether I was going to pass this year has made me think of starting a different programme next year and resulted in having a backup plan. But I like the people and the offered courses, and I don’t want to miss out on those. We’ll see what next year brings. But for now, I’m going to finish reading Harry Potter and enjoy the fact that there is no pressure.

Deadlines & Extensions

Can we talk about the fact that I am so bad with submitting things before a deadline?

Within two weeks, it happened twice, and they both were essays. The first one was unintended. I had to write an essay out of the presentation that my previous blog post was based on. First of all, can we talk about the maximum amount of words allowed? If I have more to say than the maximum, then please let me do so. However, I had my first draft ready on the day of the deadline, and I was on the maximum already. A friend gave me feedback, and that included me having to change basically the whole essay. I, who leaves everything until the last minute, decided to do this half an hour before the deadline. Having finished exactly at the time of the deadline, I submitted my final version one minute past the deadline. I repeat: ONE MINUTE PAST THE DEADLINE. Don’t ask me how or why because I already hate myself for doing this. After e-mailing with the lecturer, which made me even more anxious, he accepted my submission. I did not dare to look at my essay again, in case I made a stupid mistake. The good thing is that the result was a 7.0 and I’m still wondering to this point how and why.

The second essay was a biggie. We had to work together in pairs, and although I was working with a really good friend, I hate group assignments, and I shall explain the reasons. The deadline was on Friday the 27th of May. It was my birthday on the 28th, the day my parents would have a funeral; my dog died that Monday; my grandpa had surgery on Tuesday; my anxiety got really bad; I felt sick on Wednesday; and I’m probably still forgetting things. Having had the first essay handed in one week before this deadline, I didn’t have much time. We already had a topic we wanted to write about, but I, being an INFP full with ideas, was a bit deliberate about our subject. In the end, we went with my friend’s plan, though to this point I’m still not wholly content with our choice. Anyway, she had already finished her part, whilst my part was still lacking. I did have the information, I did know what I wanted to write about, but I just couldn’t write anything down. It was Thursday when I had a breakdown between two seminars and I realised I couldn’t take it any longer. I needed a break. I asked for an extension, which was accepted, and everything seemed fine. I finished the whole essay, with the finishing touches of the combined parts. However, when my friend was walking through the hallway, she heard the lecturer saying that one of the extensions was ridiculous. I still hope to this day that it wasn’t ours, or else I feel really bad for my friend. The result was a 6.5, which is what I would probably have given ourselves as well, even though I was secretly hoping for a higher grade.

So, in the end, everything was all good and I’ve learned my lessons, and this has made once again clear that I cannot work with the pressure of deadlines. My suggestion would thus be to abolish them. For once and for all.

Losing & Gaining: Presentations

I am that clumsy person who loses things. Last week, I apparently lost my new PointlessBlog necklace, which I absolutely adored and has a lot of meaning to me. I have worn it every day since I got it. Somehow, it disappeared, and I cannot seem to find it anywhere, but I have this feeling that it is waiting to be found. For my presentation, I wanted to wear this necklace so badly because I believe that wearing personal things make me more comfortable.

Now on to the real story. So, I had this presentation on Thursday for literary theory. I had to discuss New Historicism in Hamlet. Because I messed up almost every presentation that I have done in my life, I was quite nervous. The former presentations went not speaking loud enough, to several blackouts and some even included panic attacks. Having only started working on the subject intensively two days before the presentation was due, it was not an ideal situation.

Many people think that my nervousness is just something to overcome because almost everyone gets nervous about public speaking. They don’t understand that the obstacle, like the bar in the high jump, differs in height from person to person. In my case, that bar is so high that I’m on the edge of not even trying to do it because I know I will fail anyway. Additionally, all those tips, such as picturing the audience naked and practising in front of a mirror, do not help in my case. However, this week’s presentation was different. I was nervous, did not take my medicine because it is so aggressive and jumped up and down to get this adrenaline out of my body, but I wanted to do this presentation. I knew what I wanted to say. I was open for it. I wanted to get it over with. So I did.

Getting my way through the presentation with only two silences and some unclear explanations, I am one step further into public speaking. However, afterwards, the lecturer suggested getting help. A few days later, I still do not know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it is a good thing. Everyone here at university is helping and encouraging each other to get the best out of everyone. On the other hand, however, I do not know if I want help. I know it would probably be better to do something about it like going to a workshop or whatever, but I am already improving without all this, so I do not see that there is a problem.

Here is my advice for presentations and public speaking:
1. Be open for it. Do not fight against your nerves. You have to want it to happen in order for it to happen.
2. Know what you want to say. You have to know the text, and roughly knowing what you want to say is not good enough. Write everything down in the right order, read it again and again, and it will be fine.
3. Silences are not necessarily bad. Take a moment to breathe, pick up where you left, rephrasing it, and then move on to your next point.
4. Do not think too much about the audience. Do not start staring, change your gaze continuously. It is not scary to look someone in the eyes. Everyone wants you to do well and no one will judge you if you stop speaking for a moment.
5. Speak with a good pace. You cannot always stop a rapid pace, but please, try. The same goes for a slow pace, if you are talking slowly, you are probably hesitating because you do not know what you want to say. Avoid this.
6. Hope for the best.

I gained. I lost. I gained improvement. I lost the battle not being a good enough public speaker. I will be better next time.