February 4, 2022 | OPINION | By Finn Mott

Give yourself a break from your own expectations. Education can be a pressure system that gaslights self-care and personal priorities. I hope this can be a small space for you to acknowledge yourself and to give your body, mind, and heart a rest.

I am here to tell you that you deserve to put yourself first. Of course, I am not telling you to put yourself first at the expense of others or your future. However, I am saying that your personal needs should be equalized if not considered more important that the demands of another, an institution, social pressures, or any other extrinsic force placed upon you.

You are your own greatest threat. That being said, the only one who will determine if you are successful or not is yourself. Therefore, it is vital to give yourself permission to release your own unachievable expectations.

Allow yourself to bleed every once and while. Life is not all roses. Thorns are real and should not be ignored. Taking a break from personal expectations means granting your body and mind a space to not be okay all the time.

Being overtly intimate with your feelings does not correlate with being abnormal, unhealthy, or broken. As a community, we must normalize deep conversations beyond that of academics. Talking about emotional, social, and political pressures on identity needs to be welcomed and accepted. These societal forces often have large scale impacts on our mental health.

Do not forget that you are more than whatever stigma, stereotype, or label society may give you. Emotions should not be taboo in our own minds or in our communities. What you feel is real and deserves to be validated.

You are never alone. This school can be scary and hard to fit into. Please know that there is always somebody here for you if you need to talk or need support in any way. Do not be afraid to cry. Crying is completely normal, and it is better to cry than to feel numb. If you are a man, it is okay for you to cry too.

Sometimes to travel forward you first need to steer sideways. Being your best all of the time is plainly improbable. It is the start of the new semester and the new year. Please remind yourself that starting fresh is not starting over and just because you are not where you want to be does not mean you are not where you are meant to be.

Lastly, you do not need to have a soulmate to love yourself. You deserve self-love whether you are in a relationship or not.

Please acknowledge, I write this in the midst of my own struggle with all of these things. I simply hope this can help you in your day and maybe even your tomorrow.

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