Well friends, it’s been over a year since I last spilled to you – and let me tell you, there have been a TON of developments in that time.
I’ve been away from this blog because I took a much-needed break from school. I wanted to step away from my studies to make sure I was really doing what I was passionate about, and work to pay off some debt that I’d accumulated while living abroad. I wrote about my plans to take time off here.
This year was exhausting.
Most of the time, I was working 7 days a week. I worked my 9-5 job for a website called Travelzoo, but it didn’t stop there. Over the past year, I’ve worked at a café/whiskey bar on the Harbourfront and a cult taco joint in the Annex, as an Elf at the Christmas Market, and a Brand Ambassador at the Distillery’s first-ever light festival. I even thought it was a good idea to take an online course during this time, and occasionally stepped in as tour guide for the company I’ve worked for for 4 years.
With the exception of two weeks over Christmas, I didn’t really take breaks, and that really wore me down. I had a tough time keeping my room clean and my fridge stocked; even my (incredible and patient) roommates saw very little of me. Trust me, y’all: if you can, keep your weekends sacred. I’m not trying to glorify my busy, it was simply my reality at the time. I didn’t do it to seem important or needed, I did it because it felt financially necessary for me.
This year was refreshing.
Even though I was working myself to the bone, I was learning a million new skills. I gained experience in hospitality, sales, production, client relations, account management, web publishing, travel and tourism, event planning, public relations, and more. The jobs I held presented a new set of routines and expectations, and a completely different group of people. I’m a hands-on learner, so learning on the job and applying my skill set every day felt so much more fulfilling than simply talking about theory.
It was also nice to have a break from thinking about grades and classes and credits and exams. Going through a lot of health issues in the past few years really derailed me academically, and I started to think I wasn’t smart or deserved a place in my university. I’m a high achiever who wasn’t really proud of how I was performing in school, and I became disinterested and lost motivation. Thinking about my grades gave me massive anxiety, and I finally had a chance to define myself by something other than transcripts, while learning new skills that built my confidence.
This year, it got personal.
Being away from school meant that I was away from my core social circle. Between that and the frantic busyness that comes from working all the time, I learned who my real friends were.
I quickly weeded out those peers that looked down on me for not sticking with school – I had no time for their condescending remarks about how easy my life must now be, or the insinuations that I wasn’t smart, determined, or a hard enough worker to stick with it. I knew in my heart that I simply needed to make sure I was doing what was required to achieve my own goals and find balance again.
I became so grateful for the people that both encouraged and empowered me to take time and do my own thing. The ones that honestly cared about how I was faring in the corporate world, and reminded me to take care of myself. These were people who checked in when my health got thrown out of wack, and when my family was going through tough times. They were a mix of old and new faces, who would gladly boost me up when I felt lost and celebrate the little wins I had each day. I shook off the emotional vampires who tried to belittle me, and I learned that I would much rather live a balanced life than a prestigious one prescribed by someone else’s definition of success.
And so, I’m back on campus and returning to eAmbassador role yet again. I’m trying to always remain present and attentive in class, and continue to engage with the unique communities that will always exist here at Glendon. This time around, though, life is a little different. I’ve pressed the re-set button in my life, and I have a better sense of what my priorities are.
“I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference.”
Until next time,