Winter Term in Review: 2016

Having finished the first two out of the five major finals I have this term (with two more completed by the end of the week) I thought now would be the time to reflect. Academically I believe that I have melted into my own this term after the few finals I accomplished last term being handed in early January and having creative anchors I made it a goal this term to remain creatively engaged in academics this term nd have achieved that goal.
Having hit a groove with academics and a routine with reading this term also brought some challenges when it came to mental health and limitations. We made a joke in the Student Lounge not too long into this second, colder term that Graduate Schoool was essentially a Boot Camp for students to push their bodies, both mentally and physically, to the limits and then see how far they could gamble with pushing them a bit further. This Boot camp, when it came to working in fast-paced (but amazing) environments for my Production Assistantships, as well as travelling solo to England for the first time, all the while trying to mediate between mood swings and heavy boughts of anxiety left me a bit lost at sea in my own mental health.
Which was nonexistent, and not voluntarily so.
Luckilly I have a golden support system. I have calm and patient folk about, a few in particular, who listened and held me together and helped me hold myself together, so that I can safely say that my toolkit, my toolbox for life, that I usually have packed to the brim for everyday use, is going to go through a safe and pragmatic change this summer to prepare for my journey into dotoral studies.
Beyond mental health, my eyes have been opened by the world around me. This term has brought a cold, strange winter in two continents for me. It has brought new ideas for writing and new ideas for life. I value my life, my friends, in a shifted perspective that I am grateful for. Academia, it sems, is a good place to be situated when I want to challenge things that I would otherwise be disappointed with but not know how to go about making change.
Change can be made, but someone has to stand up for it.
So as I step into a few new Leadership roles I am grateful for the strong women in my life. My mom, who has shown me how to volunteer and be strong in a leadership position. Jen U, who has guided me through nearly seven years of non-profit work, programming, and all things between. Without naming everyone it has just been fairly obvious to me that I am made up of the strong women in my life, their ideas, their passions, and there is nothing like saying I AM NEXT and I CAN DO THIS to be motivated to be just like them.
And now, as I crack my window a small bit, listening to David Bowie on a cool Monday morning, thinking of the things I must get on doing, I look forward to a POWERFUL summer. Powerful, power, strength. My word for 2016 was strength in all forms of the word. Mental, physical, passionate strength. Is it fair to say that the summer can only bring good things? Maybe, or maybe it just brings opportunities to establish and explore what strength is for me.
This winter term, however, has me clinging to the strength that I do have and have developed with the help of others and my sheer willpower to continue on, because for that I am not only grateful, but proud of.
xx Jess


Cool to be UnHappy

Why is it uncool to be happy?


Or maybe it isn’t uncool but it is trendy to talk a lot about the process of finding happiness.  I’ll get there someday.  Maybe next week. When this project is over. When I lose ten pouds.  When he loves me. I’ll e hapy later, right now I’m content.

I get it, I’ve spent a lot of time not trying to be happy but trying to survive, but in all realness that’s the goal, isn’t it?  Not to look good at get 1000 likes on Instagram. Not to be published.  Not to become the youngest CTO in the country. The goal is to be content, happy once a day every day, right?  Isn’t it?

I was recently on a trip abroad, and I was happy once a day every day.  Multiple times a day  more like it.  Happiness accompanies us on the subway, it drips into cocktails with girlfriends or quietmoments before the alarm in the morning with a cool breeze.  Happiness doesn’t need to be documented, and it doesn’t need to be broadcast, but it does need to be acknowledged.

I’ve had this obsession with smiles for a long time.  When people are super into loking fierce, or beautiful, I wonder what they think happens when they smile, because smiles are ferociously attractive.  They signify happiness, contentness, good feelings, or, in most cases: strength.

Strength comes to us when we don’t need it, when we do, and when we don’t think we can.  I think that’s how happiness is too, I wonder if they are more connected than we believe or give them credit for.

I’ve had a rough few months dealing with some mental illness issues personally, and even though there have been harder days than others, and moments of despair, I have…may not found happiness, but I’ve found strength, and light, and warmth.

I am grateful for knowing what happiness is like, and to have strong, great humans in my life to smile with.


xx Jess