Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Here We Go Again

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Acclimating to Our Usual Environment and Routine

Here We Go Again
I am officially back on campus and it feels as if I have never left. I don't feel as if I had a break at all. It seems that it has taken me almost no time at all to acclimate to my usual environment and routine. The campus feels as comfortable and familiar as it did when I left it in December. The classroom environment has not changed. The faces of the professors and the material may be different but other then that it all seems very much the same. I am maneuvering from class to class like a pro (now that I have been on campus for almost 2 years.) I am writing down assignments, attempting to adjust my class schedule, texting friends, and balancing my Trenta coffee and a cigarette in my mouth all at once. I have reclaimed my identity as Rachel, the coffee drinking, cigarette smoking, always organized and dedicated Penn student. I can't believe less than 6 hours ago I was snuggle up in my bed at home in the suburbs. Although it seems that I have acclimated rather quickly I still don't fully feel that I am in back in the swing of things. I am adjusting to life on campus, following my routine, and attempting to live up to my standards as a college student; but doing so is taking a great deal of effort on my part. There is a hint of, what I call, that "Here We Go Again" attitude. I give off the appearance that I am taking it all in stride. But, deep down, I am still exhausted, still struggling with the death of my friend, still fighting off illness, and still trying to recuperate after a very eventful and not so relaxing break. 
This semester feels like stale bread-
I don't feel the excitement and enthusiasm that I would like to feel as I approach the dawn of this new semester. It feels stale, old, and monotonous. Its lacks the freshness, energy, and openness that I associate with new beginnings; instead it exudes an air of here we go again...My post from yesterday, All Good Things Must End, offered and affirmation and discussed a level of determination required in order to get back in the swing of things in the hopes of completing tasks and pursuing our goals. I have managed to muster up this determination. I am here on campus. I am going to classes, reaching out to friends, and organizing my life in order to create a strong foundation for the Spring semester. But my determination is not met with an equal level of passion. As I said yesterday, desire is crucial element in building an unyielding determination. My desire to finish my undergraduate remains present and continues to push me forward. But, I want more than just a desire to complete the semester and ultimately graduate. I wish I wanted to be here. 
I'm ready to complete my college experience-
I wish I wanted to be learning, socializing, and participating on campus. It seems that sometime during the last few weeks or so I have lost my enthusiasm for being a college student and perhaps for life itself. I find life to be exhausting and somewhat daunting. I am 23 and I am still attempting to complete my undergraduate degree- When is it going to end? When will I be finished? When will I be able to enter the real world and embark upon my "real life"? 
I'm sick of the game; I want "real life" !
Mentally and emotionally I am ready to graduate now; however, my academic record says otherwise. It seems that I am bound to be a college student for at least 2 more semesters and it is up to me to figure out how to eliminate my here we go again attitude and replace it with some excitement and enthusiasm. I need to open my mind and my heart in order to discover a way to make these next few semesters fun, enlightening, and beneficial. We only are given one undergraduate experience; although mine has been atypical and extended it is still up to me to make the most of it and savor the opportunity. I am going to introduce an affirmation for us to consider in the hopes that it will help us to infuse our lives with some passion and fun-

I am constantly energized by life's possibilities.

New courses, professors, and possibilities !
This affirmation just popped out to me this afternoon. By approaching this semester with a here we go again attitude I have forgotten that this new semester offers a host of possibilities. Although a great deal of things- campus, friends, classes, workload, routine- feel the same as always I have to admit that they are not identical to last semester. I have already brought bags full of new decor for my apartment in order to give it a mini face lift. Yes, my friends are the same, but there is always the chance to meet new people and build upon the friendships that I already have. My classes and professors are completely different from last semester. I have the opportunity to be excited by new material and discover interests in topics that I have yet to study. And I have the chance to make connections with these professors who do not yet know me as a person or a student. So although a lot is the same, a lot is different as well; these differences create possibilities that can both energize as well as excite me. Rather than looking at this semester as yet another semester as a college student I need to look at as new, and with newness comes potential. 
I want genuine enthusiasm-
I am already feeling inspired by this affirmation. It has allowed me to open my eyes and see what makes this semester unlike previous semesters. It has enabled me to realize opportunities for creating and strengthening relationships. It has helped me recognize that there is still a great deal of information out there for me to learn, grasp, and absorb. New classes open doors for new interests and passions. Perhaps my Communications class will introduce a concept I have yet to encounter. My more advanced French course will certainly strengthen my aptitude for speaking and understanding the language. And my schedule is not yet finalized; I may end up in a class that is completely unlike anything I have ever taken before. 

Getting back in the swing of things implies a certain energy (the verb "swing" seems to express a level of enthusiasm or an energetic vibe.) I don't simply want to become acclimated to my environment and routine; I want to metaphorically swing along. I want to bop from class to class, task to task, and friend to friend with a level of unbounded energy and happiness. I want to be passionate about returning to my usual environment and routine. Let us abandon our here we go again attitudes; efface it from your mind and memory. We may returning to our usual environments and routines but that doesn't mean they are the same as when we left them. Instead of looking at our return to the usual as typical and predictable, let us look at the possibilities that come with starting again. It doesn't matter what you are returning to- work, campus, home, school, office- every domain possess a level of novelty and potential. Sometimes we spend so much time focusing on the elements that are the same that we fail to recognize aspects that are different and open the door to possibility. Maybe there is a new employee at your office who you could begin a friendship with. Perhaps you are getting a new roommate at school. You could organize your folders and assignments in a new way in order to incorporate variation into your life. You could add something new to your routine- plan to meet a friend for lunch every Wednesday, start following a new television show, begin journaling, write your own blog! If a new possibility isn't handed to you upon your return take it upon yourself to create one. Just thinking about new possibilities and the potential that this fresh beginning holds can help energize and excite you. Don't just acclimate to your usual environment and routine; get into the swing of things! 

Think about the potential and infinite opportunities that could await you as return to your everyday life. It may seem the same as it was before. It may look and feel identical to how you left it. But, it is not; it is different. Approach this return to school, work, or home with an openness; be willing to see changes and potential. If we allow ourselves to recognize the possibilities that exist within our lives than we are able to become energetic, enthused, passionate, and excited. Let us acclimate to our usual environments and routines while also noticing possibilities to invoke or embrace change. Lets throw a way our here we go again attitudes and add a swing to our steps!

Look for the possibilities and passion will follow,

Get Back in the Swing of Things

Swing, Swing, The All-American Rejects

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