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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Rocky Starts


May 6, 2020
by Noelle

Life Hacks

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I recently revisited my journal because as I approach graduation and the beginning of a new chapter, I wanted to remind myself where I was when I started this one.

I did not start grad school the way I wanted to.  I was recovering from a difficult breakup, I wasn’t living with my long-term roommate anymore, my relationship with my parents was strained, and I just didn’t feel like I had the right energy going into the year.  On top of that, I was entering a class of people that had bonded over the summer and it was intimidating, even for an extrovert like me.  I have always prided myself on my resilience and adaptability, but it took me longer than I expected to adjust to all of the changes, and I wasn’t happy.

And then at some point, I had enough.  I realized I was putting way too much pressure on myself to have the perfect year and the resulting disappointment was a weight that was preventing me from fully enjoying the things that were going right.  So I let go.  I let go of the year I wanted and accepted the year I was having.  And while that didn’t change things over night, it was liberating.

This is not to say that I threw in the towel and gave up on having a good year. Quite the opposite.  By letting go of what I thought I wanted and needed, I was free to define my path as I walked it—to pursue unexpected opportunities, take risks, and better recover from setbacks.  I’m not going to lie, not having a definite destination was scary at times.  But I look at where my path has led me and it’s nothing I could have planned for or expected.  And it’s wonderful.

Looking ahead, I’m still not certain of the destination I am heading towards.  And for me that’s still a little scary, but also exciting.  These past two years have taught me that it’s ok not to have a perfect plan and stick to it.  There will be rocky starts and disappointments.  But if the past is any indicator of the future, there will also be many happy accidents, surprising victories, and unanticipated joy just around the corner.

So after endlessly scrolling through my playlists, I think I found the perfect song for this entry and for my final song recommendation.  “Sisyphus” by Andrew Bird.  Enjoy!