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Reflection: Letting go of my expectations of myself

In our society, many of us struggle with the feeling of needing to have it all figured out. But, if we want to be our most authentic selves, we must be ok with letting go of our expectations of ourselves.  – Photo by Unsplash.com

The entire world has undergone immense changes in the last year, some for the better and some for the worse. And regardless of if we had asked for these changes or not, there was no escaping them.

Every single one of us is on a different journey and whether your current path is one of major changes or minor ones, it’s so important to realize that learning how to adapt to uncomfortable circumstances can be life changing, even when it's difficult.

Growing up, I was an athlete and my dad, who coached me in softball my whole life, always told me, “You have to learn to be comfortable when you’re uncomfortable.” At the time, I thought this meant getting used to a new batting stance, or learning new footwork or a new position.

But as I got older and experienced new things, I found myself going back to his words and I discovered that this was the best life advice I’ve ever received. 

When I first graduated from high school in 2017, I attended the University of Pittsburgh for a year. When I was there, I realized that I hated my major and didn’t love the environment I was in, even though it was exactly what I had dreamed of since I was in elementary school. I thought that I just had to get used to college, but no matter what I tried nothing felt right and I knew it wasn’t the place for me.

I was terrified of transferring or changing my major, because I had no idea where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. I feared letting down the people around me who were so proud of my accomplishments. But most importantly, I feared letting myself down and feeling like a failure. 

Prior to this point, I always had everything figured out down to the smallest details. I spent every waking moment thinking about my next step.

But for the first time, I had no clear direction and I felt like I lost myself. It took me months to realize that it all was okay.

When I decided to transfer after my first year, I went to community college for a year and spent my time focusing on who I wanted to become, hoping that things would fall into place once I fell into myself. 

After my year I spent at home, I decided to apply to transfer to Rutgers, and although it was never something I imagined myself doing, it was the most important and rewarding decision I’ve ever made.

I changed my major and career path from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to journalism with a career goal of working in public relations, and I spend all of my days writing. This was the most unexpected change, but it opened doors for me toward a career in something that I'm finally passionate about.

I had to put myself out there and had to re-do the entire freshman year struggles of meeting people and making friends again, but the friends I made here have been the best, most inspirational people I have ever met. They care about me just as much as I do for them, and that genuine love is something I have rarely experienced. I feel completely at home here, and I love every moment, including the not-so-great ones.

I'm indebted to myself forever for the sacrifices I made to get to this point, and the version of myself I created in the process. Three years ago, I would've never imagined I would be where I’m at and doing what I’m doing. Nevertheless, I’m so thankful for my commitment to myself and what I needed and I’m so proud of what I’ve overcome.

Every decision I make I hear my dad’s words telling me that the only way to make change is to force myself into uncomfortable situations, and he has yet to be wrong. You don’t need to have everything figured out, and it’s okay to feel all of the things that come along with the uncertainty of change. Embrace the obstacles on your journey and recognize that you have the power and the ability to adapt to whatever it is that life throws at you with grace.

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