Let’s talk about mental health. Part Two.

Just want to say a quick THANK YOU to everyone who read the 1st part of my story. The feedback has been incredible, and I’m so grateful for the support in talking about this journey.

In case you missed the beginning: Let’s talk about mental health. Part One.

So we left off just as my second year of university was starting.


Second year was another terrific one in terms of academics. I had my first 100%’s in university, and felt like I had (finally) started hitting my academic groove. I realized that I had a knack and passion for statistics (yeah, weird… I know).

I travelled to Halifax that fall to write my MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). I figured that if medicine was my goal, I should write this year as a practice for the one that would “count”. I surprised myself by achieving a score that would have been more than sufficient to use in application to medical school. That was definitely a confidence boost!

I also met a friend, who was in most of my classes, to chat with during down time. That provided a nice boost of social interaction through the long, and busy, days on campus. I did notice something shifting towards trouble on the personal side though.

As someone who is fascinated by medicine, I have (unfortunately) always had a thing about “germs” and getting sick… which is not reasonable conducive in many ways to practicing medicine. I became fixated on things like hand washing, avoiding contact with those who were “sick” in my mind (i.e. coughing/sneezing/etc in class). It spilled into home life too as I created routines to help minimize my “exposure”.

My always analytical, black/white, detail-focused, and routine-driven brain went to an even further extreme. It really came to a point when my family was sick, and I would just stay in my room as much as possible to avoid “exposure”. The process for me entering and exiting my self-created “clean” space (my room) was:

  1. Go into my room.
  2. Shut the (sliding) door using the handle.
  3. Wash my hands.
  4. Get changed into my room-only clothes.
  5. Wash my hands again.
  6. Avoid touching anything from the outside… with 2 variations:
    1. Avoid the use of my phone, computer, school stuff… anything that was “contaminated”. Use only things that had been in my room and not used by others.
    2. Use the above items but ensure to sanitize the areas they touched thoroughly after use. I would also wear different sweaters/tops to make sure that if they touched the items they wouldn’t keep touching the clean environment after finishing with the “contaminated” stuff. Also, I would wash my hands again.
  7. Wash my hands before I leave the room, and ensure to not use the handle of the door because it was contaminated from entering… why contaminate the handle at first? Because if anyone had been in my room that’s what they would have used with their “dirty” hands”.

I know. It’s exhausting to even think about now. But that was my way of creating limits, control, and knowns in my life.

I knew it wasn’t normal, healthy, or even realistic… but I couldn’t stop. I would create rules upon rules that I HAD to abide by. I figured that at least using my rules would help stop the tormenting thought processes in my head pointing out the negative in everything… but they didn’t. The constant stream of awful “what ifs” and “this leads to this… leads to this… etc.” was always there, and never gave me peace.

I had also been dealt a blow on the mental healthcare side: the counsellor, with whom I had finally established a working therapeutic relationship, left to work for another university. So there I was again, without a resource for help. I tried going to see the replacement counsellor and the other counsellor on campus, but neither were good fits for me. They saw a highly intelligent and highly functioning person (at least for that 30 minutes in consultation). I didn’t feel comfortable diving right into my most recent extreme habits/compulsions… and tried to get them to read my notes from the previous counsellor to help them see the severity of my situation… but in the end they just re-assured me that I was coping well and to come back if anything really got out of hand. Thanks.

I decided to make another effort to reach out to the counsellors later that year. It didn’t work, but oddly  interestingly I found out about a student job through Counselling Services. They were looking for a student to create and maintain social media platforms for the school’s Student Services, create and display informational exhibits on improving mental health issues, and run awareness events on campus. Sign me up: work independently, learn more about psychology, and get paid. Perfect. I was hired on the spot.

I still can’t believe the irony… Anyway….

I finished the year in a decent way. But another big change was coming: my only friend at school was taking mostly different courses from me in the fall… and would be going on an exchange to England for the rest of the year after that.


The summer went reasonably well… all things considered, I guess. I wasn’t functioning on a terrific level in terms of my phobias, anxiety, or depression… but I was keeping my head above water and trying to use the coping skills I had.

The end of the summer came with a new challenge: a pilonidal cyst. I will spare you the details, but just know that it was a VERY painful cyst that became infected on my tailbone. And I needed it to be excised (lanced). The week before classes started. Awesome.


Third year was off to an OK start. Academics were still going pretty well, but I was yet again struggling with the lack of connection and support system in that environment. Not to mention the complete lack of structure. I had a really hard time coping with people having colds that fall and winter… and found that some days I couldn’t even bring myself to go to class because I knew that I would have to sit in rooms with people who were contagious. I spent a lot of  time in an isolated corner of a fairly quiet building working on my courses alone.

I was back working with the Counselling Team as the Student Mental Health Advocate. And still shaking my head at the hypocrisy of educating everyone around me on the very issues I couldn’t even cope with myself.

I knew I was struggling in many ways. My low moods and lack of energy were crippling. My anxiety and phobias were causing constant mental fatigue and frequent panic attacks. And my obsessive thought patterns and behaviours… they were still a daily struggle to cope with. 

Christmas break finally came. Just as the holidays were winding down I found out that I had a date scheduled for permanent surgical repair on my cyst area… for the first week of February.

I decided to go for the surgery. “Two weeks and you’ll be back to normal” was what I had been told, so nothing I couldn’t work with… or so I thought. The thought of having another infection requiring emergency excision without freezing (freezing doesn’t take in infected tissue) just wasn’t something I could have looming. As the term started I was in communication with my profs about my impending surgery and time out from class. They were (mostly) very helpful and accommodating, and I just kept telling myself that it would be doable.

I went for surgery the first week of February and ended up facing a gruelling recovery. As the weeks passed, and I continued to be out of commission. 

The down time lead me to realized that I was not going to achieve what I wanted through Sciences. I realized that medical school was not going to be a good fit for me in terms of lifestyle or timeline. I realized how much I wanted a family and to build a healthy life. I also knew that other grad school programs weren’t a good answer. So I started researching.


Spring started the snowball of HUGE changes in my life. All for the better.

Sometime in March I made a call (sobbing) to the registrar’s office to withdraw from my term. I still couldn’t sit, let alone sit all day in class. I knew, deep down, that I wouldn’t be returning in the fall either. I looked at my options and decided I wanted to try something that I knew would build my confidence. I decided: Medical Office Administration.

I had worked in that type of position before, but wouldn’t have been able to work in the hospital system because of my lack of credentials. I wanted a secure job with upward mobility. And more than anything, I wanted to start “real life”. And to make it a healthy one. 

I finally built up the courage to start talking to my parents about the whole story of my mental illness… and I finally let them in on the scope of my distress. They were incredibly supportive and loving, and helped me find the strength to try reaching out for help again.

I went to see my family physician, and brought my Mom with me as back-up to my voice. I wanted to make sure that my issues were being heard and being taken seriously. I also needed a source of strength with me to stick to my plan. He immediately started me on medication, something I had avoided asking about for years.

He also referred me to a psychiatrist. It took an unreasonable amount of time to get in… but I did eventually get to see him. I finally had answers:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Panic Attacks.
Major Depressive Disorder.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

As scary as they sound, at least now I knew that it wasn’t just me not being able to cope. These were real, and treatable, glitches in my brain.  I will say…  it felt incredibly re-assuring and comforting to finally be heard… and for someone to validate that my situation wasn’t OK. And most importantly: that it could be helped.

Medication was step one, and step two was a referral to a psychologist. Gulp.
He assured me that this would be a good fit, and that there was only one practitioner he would recommend… so on to the waitlist for her I went.


While waiting to see the psychologist, I did notice HUGE changes with the addition of medication. I began feeling my mood and energy being lifted, and I could feel some of the anxiety ebbing for periods of time. At the very least, my quality of life started improving… for the first time in a LONG time.

The increased energy helped me get into a routine of physical exercise that helped boost my mood even further. I started weight training for the first time, and felt better than I ever had as an adult.

I started psychotherapy in the very early summer of 2015. I ended up in a wonderful therapeutic relationship, and with a psychologist who was an excellent fit for me. She helped me challenge myself, and she saw how to help me work with my knowledgable-but-stubborn brain. I did things in the mid-summer that would have been impossible even two months earlier… like eat at a buffet wedding without washing my hands after serving the food. Sounds silly, but it was INCREDIBLE to have that kind of freedom again!


 So the next BIG step was school that fall. I had been accepted into a Medical Office Administration program about an hour and half away from home. I would be moving… and living alone. This was both thrilling and scary…


I’m going to end here… I still have a lot to say. I want to tell you the exciting, and pretty astonishing, end of my journey (well, to today anyway!) tomorrow.

Again: Please be open and kind to those around you, and know that you are never alone. Mental health issues are all around us, and are not something to be ashamed of.

All my love, and lots of positive thoughts, to you!

Jenn

Let’s talk about mental health. Part One.

Hello! Yes… I’m still here! It’s been an exciting and eventful month and a half, but we’ll get to that soon. Today I want to have a talk. I suppose it’s a one-way talk, but I’d like to at least put my part towards the larger conversation.


Today, in Canada, is Bell Let’s Talk Day. It’s been an annual event to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Despite being a HUGE part of our overall wellness, mental health struggles/illnesses are still regarded with fear, denial, stigma, and elicit many stereotypes.

This is NOT something we should allow to continue. Here’s the thing… mental illness is INCREDIBLY common. Depending on your source the stats can vary, but here’s the scariest part: they still won’t be accurate. Why? Because this is still an aspect of health that people AVOID talking about and seeking help for.

This needs to change. Right now.
How will it change? By talking. It’s truly that simple.

I’ve made mention in previous posts about having struggled with my mental health. I’ve never taken a full dive into it, but today I want to share my story. At the very least, this will allow me to practice what I preach in terms of being open and honest about mental health and wellness!

(Just a note: I know that this post will be long, and a little disjointed, but I’m trying to be honest about my experience.)


My Journey to Mental Health and Acceptance: Part One.

I want to start by saying that I truly had a wonderful childhood. I had two loving, supportive, and generous parents. I had an incredible younger brother, who was my best friend. Our family certainly had some big things to contend with (family illnesses, in particular)… but we tackled everything as a cohesive team (still do today). I have so many amazing memories of my family life as a kid. Trips. Hikes. Lazy days…. so many incredible things.

My parents will emphatically openly tell you that I’ve always been a RULE LOVER. It’s a running joke that I’ve been on their case since elementary school about them having too few rules (seriously!). My personality has always been Type A and perfectionistic; and both can be remarkably wonderful traits… if not allowed to rule your thought processes and life.

At some point though, that’s what happened. My thought process lost all flexibility, optimism, and ambiguity; my world morphed into black + white only. No gray, no ifs, no maybes, no sortas. I can’t actually pinpoint exactly when it happened, but it was definitely early on in life.

To add to the situation, I was bullied in middle school. I realize that this is not a unique situation, and unfortunately I was an “easy target”. I was outrageously tall for my age (despite having stopped growing by then), early to “develop”, a nerd, a know-it-all, a ballet dancer (before it was cool), a classical music lover, and an unapologetic bookworm. It got so bad that I remember pleading with my parents to home-school me the summer after grade seven.

I was referred, through the healthcare system, to a psychologist. She was awful. Her methodology of choice was a terrible fit for my situation… but she was also lacking the perception to truly grasp the extent of my dysfunction. The silver lining was that she agreed that I should not return to my school, so she was part of the plan to move me into grade nine that fall. I was also lucky enough to head to school in a new area.

High school was a mix of highs and lows. I LOVED my new school, and most of my classmates. It was a bigger school so I was able to find like-minded people. I really do think back fondly on my time in high school.

But I also remember my last year of high school was when things really started going off track again. Which fits… it was a period of many changes.

I remember getting panic attacks about tests but not wanting to tell anyone. I really didn’t even understand what was happening… it seemed so shameful and scary.
I’d always been the “smart” kid. The one who could ace a test, no problem. The one who had all the answers. In the back of my mind was also the memories of that psychologist. She certainly hadn’t helped, so that really made talking to a “professional” seem like a total waste of time.

“It’s okay though, I’ll be in university soon and things will be different” ran through my head a lot that final semester in grade 12.

Cue the summer pre-university. I remember feeling frozen and scared. I realize that some apprehension is normal/warranted… but this was way beyond that. I didn’t feel like I was doing something that I was capable of or ready for. But… where I was from, the “smart ones” go right to university after high school.

I also remember that summer was the first time that my anxiety stopped me from doing the things that I wanted to do. I remember being unable to bring myself to go to a celebratory end-of-summer barbecue with my friend group because I was so anxious about having to say goodbye to everyone.


My first year in university was a disaster on many levels. I was in an environment totally foreign to me… not easy for someone who ran almost exclusively on routines and knowns. I was sorely lacking a support system at the school to help me navigate. Ultimately, I ended up doing an abominable job at most of my courses and (worse still) re-enforcing those feelings of being inadequate, a fake, and stupid.

The constant panic, anxiety, and depression was unbearable. I remember feeling so worthless, and helpless, almost constantly. I still felt like I should hide my “shortcomings”. I didn’t recognize that this was something that should be talked about and could be helped. In retrospect, I really wish that I would have had the courage and knowledge to reach out. My family would have been such a source of strength and re-assurance, but my inner perfectionist just couldn’t accept that I hadn’t achieved my goals.

To make matters (and my faith in mental health providers) worse… I was again referred, through the healthcare system, to a psychologist. Different person and even worse results. She summed up our consult as “Well, your parents over-prepared you for all of the negative things in life. That’s why you have such a hard time coping”.

Wow. To this day that makes me so angry.
I was clearly dealing with some severe mental illnesses… and she still just brushed me off. That really broke my willingness to seek help for my mental woes. I’ve always been tenacious, so I decided to just move forward to the best of my abilities.


Off to the work world I went. Here’s a disclaimer: I didn’t usually always make good choices in this phase, but at least I was doing some pretty intense learning. Learning about myself, what I wanted in life, and what I was capable of in a supportive environment.

I still dealt with crippling anxiety and depression. I dove into work in an effort to escape my inner monologue. The more I worked, the more I felt that I could avoid thinking. Which was so NOT the way to cope… but was the most valid option (in my mind).

Move forward about 4 years… and my life changed more than I could have ever prepared for. Losing my younger brother was not unexpected, but that in no way prepared me for it. It ripped a hole through me, and left me realizing that I had lost not only my sibling, but also my best friend. I dealt with the loss as best I could, but again… I just didn’t know what options I would have had for outside support.

After half a decade in the workforce I realized that I was not where I needed (or wanted) to be. I had reached heights that shouldn’t have been possible given my lack of credentials, but I realized that I needed more. I felt secure enough in my mental faculties to give university another try… and to aim for Medical School.

Medicine had always been a big part of my life. I have always had a very high level of fascination with all things medical, and also an incredible ability to retain the stuff I’ve learned about it. I remember looking through my Mom’s Mayo Clinic book for fun as an elementary schooler. It profiled health through the lifespan and I read it not only from cover-to-cover, but also as a way to calm myself down when my head was spinning. Since med school was the goal, science seemed the best program choice to make.


My first year back in the university system was a good one in terms of academic success. After nearly a decade since taking many of the pre-requisite courses, the accessing of old information in my own brain was exhausting. I did really well though, all things considered. Socially and mentally though, I wasn’t coping well.

Being in science in my mid-20s put me at the very high end of the class, age-wise. Everyone else was fresh out of high school. I spent most of the year not talking to anyone other than my (assigned) lab partners. Even though there were big open times between my classes, I would always have a novel with me to disappear into.

The big step for me that year was reaching out to the counselling staff on campus. I had learned enough, and matured enough, to know that I was out of my league. I was so lucky to find an incredible resource in one counsellor in particular. He helped me with anxiety, depression, and the overall process of being a university student. I learned a lot from him, and still use some of the skills he taught me today. Still though, looking back, it wasn’t enough.

I honestly was looking forward to my second year back at university, and felt like I was on the right track for the 1st time in forever… and was that so reassuring!


I’m going to end here. I have so much more to say, and will be finishing my story tomorrow.

Note: PLEASE talk to those around you about wanting to love and support them. Remember that mental illness is so common, and that sometimes we just need to remember that.

With love, and positive thoughts, to you all.

Jenn

 

Endings and Beginnings.

12 days. That’s how long it took for everything to change in the best way possible! 

Yesterday was a day of lasts: last classes, last time in my apartment, last bits of my stuff being jammed into cars + boxes. Although there was definitely some sad moments thinking back on how I’ll no longer be in a place that brought me so much happiness… it also means that I’m ready to take on new adventures!!

As my Dad said on the way out of my apartment for the last time: “Say goodbye to your single life”. That’s EXHILARATING!! 


Today may be the last day of November… but it’s day of firsts! 

First day of my new life! First day in my new home! First day living with my incredible partner! First day as someone back in the work force (ok, I technically dont start until tomorrow but I’m no longer a student hehe)! First day of snow (gross, but still!).

And I can’t wait to see what comes next and go on so many new adventures!

Wish me luck… can’t wait to update you on what happens in the coming days!!!

Love, Jenn

Weekend Retreat: Nov. 20.

Hello! I’m still flying high from my exciting career news last week… but I’m also starting to feel the stress (just being real). The good news is that it’s not overwhelming me… it’s exciting me! I’m so incredibly lucky to have spent a few days celebrating with those closest to me, but I also was given the wonderful gift of a day away from it all on Sunday (thank you Adam!). Here are some of my favourite pictures from our hike and our afternoon of relaxing by the woodstove!


The dew was perfect when we headed out… dewberry

dewdrops


Surveyor’s pin from 1925:
surveyorpin

View of the Bay:

doubleview


And nothing better than coming back to a cozy fire and relaxing the afternoon away!

woodstovelog

Definitely a terrific way to spend a Sunday! Have a great rest-of-the-week everyone!

Love, Jenn

Drumroll…

I’ve been waiting… not patiently… but waiting. And I can finally tell you…

… I’ve found a job, and just officially found out I’ve been hired!!

I start in exactly 2 weeks (gulp!), and couldn’t be happier! 

It means a new place, a new start, an exciting new adventure … can’t wait to share the journey! More details to come! 

Love, Jenn

Waiting… What (not) to do.

Good Wednesday morning! I’ve been waiting for some news this week, and it just seems like time wants to c..r..a..w..l! So, I thought I’d put together a list of things to do (to annoy yourself and everyone around you) while you wait for something:

  • Review the preceding circumstances constantly and think of what you should have said, or what you could have phrased better.
  • Check your email (or hit refresh) every 15 seconds; and when nothing new pops up check on another app/site/etc.
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged at all times.
  • Make sure that your ringer is definitely on and at a blaring volume whenever possible.
  • Bug your loved ones about what their interpretations are, or what they think could be why it’s taking so long.
  • Get cranky and avoid distracting yourself.

Or, being a well-adjusted adult, try:

  • Finding something to do. The more physical the better; anything to keep you feeling like you’re getting somewhere (I like to crochet to keep my hands busy).
  • Listening to music that will keep you pumped up. Guilty pleasures are perfect for this! Also, dancing around while will give you a real boost!
  • Watching a funny and endearing movie… something that will capture your attention and get you laughing (feel those endorphins!)
  • Sleep. Seriously… just try to zone out and doze off. Being sleep deprived does not help your mood or your attention span.
  • Listen to the people you love and accept that they always know best… they have your back and will keep you grounded. They love you and will be there no matter the outcome!
  • …. or write lists about waiting! *wink*

Have a great rest-of-the-week!! Anything you’ve been waiting for, or any tips to help pass time?

Love, Jenn

 

Monday Musings: November 14.

Good morning! It’s chilly, it’s Monday… it’s all good!! Here are some of the random thoughts rolling around my head this morning:

  • I can’t even pretend to be a patient person, so waiting is not my forté, but why do some waits feel longer than others? I’ve been really feeling the “hurry up and wait” lately! Crossing my fingers and toes that things start being finalized soon!
  • My inner child can’t stay hidden when there are crunchy leaves or puddles around. Ever. *Crunch, crunch, crunch*
  • Had an end-of-season BBQ with my parents and partner last night… great food, great laughs, and amazing company! Thank goodness we all share a weird  sense of humour!
  • I had some amazing fall treats this weekend:
    • apple cider + a cinnamon bun: perfect treat after a morning market trip and post-paperwork! (Thanks Adam!!)
    • homemade apple crisp: delicious and perfect after the barbecue! Thanks Mom!!
    • a jalapeño burger (ok, the last one isn’t exclusive to fall… but it was so good!)
  • There are 25 school days left for me! TWENTY-FIVE! Reality is setting in, and it’s weird!
  • Not to sound like a broken record, but my parents and partner ROCK! It’s been a bit of a wild-ride the past few weeks… they’ve been terrific and so supportive during the excitement and the nerves. THANK YOU!

Well that’s it, but have a great week!!! Anything on your mind on this Monday morning? Love, Jenn

November backwards and forwards.

This is a time of big changes and new possibilities for me. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’ll be in the coming months, but also about how far I’ve come.


November 2006 – 10 years ago.

Where + What: University… 1st Year of Nursing.
I always say that I would not change my past, and this is a strong reminder of that. I went into nursing because it seemed a good idea to me at 17. It seemed to be the natural step towards being a healthcare provider. In truth though, it was miserable. The adjustment to university went really badly, and the feelings of isolation and inability were paralyzing. I learned a lot from that experience though, and it certainly taught me about myself.


November 2008 – 8 years ago.

Where + What: Tim Hortons and Private Nanny
This was a time of crazy schedules and even crazier life patterns. Working 13+ hours a day meant little time to think… maybe that was the point. I know life had been hard on me leading up to that fall, so I think I was just looking for ways to distract myself and forget what had happened.


November 2011 – 5 years ago.

Where + What: Account Manager & working with Dad.
After spending a few years working in a dental office, this was a great step! Dad and I loved working together and found that our approach is very similar in business… and in life. The challenge of learning a new business was thrilling, but I was starting to itch for going back to school.


November 2012 – 4 years ago.

Where + What: University… 1st Year of Science.
If at first you don’t succeed? After working for over half a decade it was time to go back to school. I realized that I knew I wanted to be in control of my career and not be looked-over just for not having the educational qualifications. I was feeling out of my elements after being out of the school-routine for so long, but was feeling happy for the mental stimulation.


November 2015 – 1 year ago.

Where + What: College… 1st Year of Medical Administration.
The year 2015 was full of huge changes for me: new places, new friends, new routines, new places, and a whole new outlook. I was loving my new life and my new program. It was the perfect place to start again, and I’ve grown to love my life here! I am beyond thankful for the chance to start again and to learn how to be truly independent. The feeling of waking up every morning excited and empowered is incredible beyond words!


November 2016 – NOW.

Where + What: College… finishing my Medical Administration program.
I’m still loving my life. Big changes have continued this year, but all for the greater good! Independent, in love, and ready to take on what’s next! I’m currently in the process of interviewing for the next part of my life… and the changes will keep on coming! I’m no longer terrified of change; I’m excited by it! Only 20 days of class left… almost there!


November 2017 – 1 year from now.

Where + What: still undecided… but hopefully loving my new career!
I’m hoping to be working full-time and spending my days exploring and trying new things. I imagine I’ll be comfortable in my new job and looking for new outlets on the off-hours. I hope to be spending my life with my amazing partner, and to be still putting the priority on family and a complete life.
I intend to keep working on my outlook and my mental framework. Not to sound cheesy, but I’ve seen how far I’ve come and want to keep improving… somehow I think it’ll be a continuous process for the rest of my days (and that’s OK by me!).


November 2021 – 5 years from now.

Where + What: I have no idea!! I do know that I’m going to continue working towards having a life I love and am proud of!


What are your November highlights/lowlights past or present? What are you working towards? Please share!!

Love, Jenn

Pictures from a frosty walk.

Good morning and happy new week! Hope that the weekend was a good one, and that you had a chance to enjoy some outdoor time!

I got to enjoy a chilly walk this Saturday morning, with some terrific company, and took some pictures along the way… enjoy!

squirrel

chickadee

(Please note: We were not feeding anyone at the park… this is simply their habituated response)

boots-in-leaves

forsted-maple-leaf

Frosted Bud.JPG

What were you up to this weekend? Any fun stories?

Love, Jenn

Goals: November

It’s officially November… time sure is flying! I have done well with my October goals which has felt so empowering!

It’s time to set some goals for this month. Seeing that this is the last full month that I will be in school (YAY!!!), I’ve decided to focus on the school a little more:

School: Academic Goals

  1. Stay ahead of the game. This is sort of keeping one of my October goals, but it has really helped to keep me motivated over the last month. I find that staying ahead as a rule rather than exception keeps things going smoothly and keeps the stress at bay, and frees up some of my evenings.
  2. Chase the marks. I have been having easily the best marks of my life this term. I’ve been so relieved to be almost done that reviewing and processing the information has almost been exciting! I LOVE some of my classes and am finding that showing my knowledge off has been a great motivation to stay engaged.
  3. Stay organized. After doing well for September, the paper piles had started mounting a bit. I’ve gotten them down to zero again… so it’s time to stay on top of it and make sure I can find everything from now until the end of term. when I can go through and REALLY get my clean on.

School: Social Goals

  1. Talk to everyone. I’m in a small program of wonderful ladies. We’re down to 16 and have been together since last September all day, every day. It has been so neat to watch everyone grow and figure out what they want after finishing our program… I want to try to have a conversation (long or short) with everyone before we all head our separate ways.
  2. Prepare a card for every classmate. The goal above will probably help me figure out what to write to everyone, but I’d like to start prepping my cards for the end of the term. We’re all headed out on the next big step… so I’d like to wish everyone luck!
  3. Reach out to references. Speaking of the next step… I’m about to be back in the real world… eek! I’d like to have a conversation with all of my references again just to touch base and let them know how school has been going.

School: Mindfulness Goals

  1. Enjoy the countdown. Full disclosure: I’ve had a countdown going since pretty much day 1 of the term… but its finally the homestretch! I am not wishing time away, but I want to remind myself how short the time left is… and how quickly it’ll go by!
  2. Enjoy the laughs. I have some GREAT women that I spend my school days with. We have grown to be incredibly good friends, and it honestly makes me so sad to know that I won’t see them everyday come mid-December and after! We always have a good laugh, and I’ll admit that I’ve been in tears of laughter several times even in the last few weeks! I’m going to savour the moments we can still have together, and enjoy the laughs that have gotten us through some pretty rough patches over the last year and a half.
  3. Enjoy the student schedule. As tough as some days/weeks are, students have the schedule thing pretty easy when it comes to hours spent on campus (at least in our program). I’ve been fortunate to have had work done ahead of time, so I’ve been able to shorten a lot of my days to 8:30-2:45 most of the term. I am going to ENJOY the remaining afternoons, because I know that soon I will probably not have the flexibility to be on the move like I do now!

Any big changes coming up for you? Any goals you’d like to share? I always love hearing what people are working on!

Love, Jenn