This is my 4th semester in grad school. Next semester, Fall 2017, should be my last, and I will be a proud recipient of a MBA concentration finance. I take online classes, two classes per semester and I work full-time (Ouf!). That leaves me with little-to-no social life, an eating disorder, stress level off the charts, and a ‘happy’ problem (by happy I mean 3 or 4 ciders a week).
I sit at work for long hours. I decide to go to the gym. I pay for a gym membership that I never use. I went to the gym once this year. I do not like moving. I eat a 3 courses meal for lunch. I complain a lot. I drink 3 to 4 ciders per week (the calories add up). I decide to eat healthy. I buy fruits and vegetables. I eat them. I do not buy more. I look up healthy recipes. I never cook using them. I stopped eating ice cream at home. I stress eat churros. I stress eat tempura ice cream. I eat late at night while doing homework. I stay up late doing homework. I sleep less than 6 hours per night. I have no social life. I text everyone instead of calling. I make plans to hang out. I meet up with friends. Most times I cancel plans with friends. I feel bad about my social life. I go on Facebook and Instagram and feel worse about myself. I stress out that everyone in my class is more intelligent than me. I work twice harder to catch up to them. I stay up even later to study. I get tips to lower stress for friends and classmates. I use tips and it lowers my stress during the day. During the evening, my stress level skyrockets because I think that I missed important deadlines. I stress cry. I complain. I start seeing a therapist. I think about quitting therapy. I no longer enjoy my work.
That is how I cope with grad school and work full time. Any tips?
Last August, I went on my first semi solo trip abroad. My trip consisted of two parts: Part 1, I went to Cancun, partied on my own and did touristy stuffs, Part 2, my boyfriend joined me in Mexico and together we took the bus to Tulum. It was a great trip; I had a mix of both. On the first part, I was able to make my own schedule and do activities that I enjoyed. On the second part, I had company and it was fun creating memories with someone else. I enjoyed myself a lot. I made new friends. I went to few parties with my hosts at Airbnb and danced to new songs. I saw Chichen Itza and visited a few cenotes. I biked Tulum with my boyfriend, and we visited historical sites. We discovered new drinks and dishes and realized how much Mexican food in our area is toned down.
This time I want to go to a new place but alone. I want to use this trip to learn about myself and also allow myself to loosen up a bit. I am a very self-conscious person. I always worry about what friends (and strangers) will think of my behavior. This has always prevented me from being spontaneous and act a little wild. I want to be able to enjoy activities without caring about what my people think of me. In my culture, you need to be constantly surrounded by friends and family. It is almost like a confirmation that you are a good person; if you were not such a good person, they would not want to spend time with you… I want to face my fear of being alone. I have lived most of my life in two places. I want to prove to myself that I can get around in other places, even if it is just to find food. Although, I was always attracted to different things (whether be visual arts, music or fashion), I always denied myself the pleasure of pursuing such activities because I was raised to conform to national culture. Everybody likes Adidas therefore, I should also buy and wear Adidas shoes, for example. Additionally, in my home country everybody thinks similarly. Whether your name is Stephanie or Carolyn, we all share the same worldview. In this time of my life, I want to be confronted with different logic and different perspectives, I want to grow from that challenge. I want to experience new things and hear new music. I want to meet people who think differently. Last but not least, I want to discover new dishes. I love to eat. I will not call myself a foodie, but I enjoy trying different dishes or different recipes. I want to find a new favorite cuisine. Traveling solo will allow me to relax and discover the real (or the new) me.
For three months now I have been researching travel deals and I found a few, but I was never able to finalize the purchase. I made up many excuses: I can find better deals at a later date, these dates are not good for my work schedule, I do not talk to my family so who will be my emergency contact etc.… Now, no more excuses. I have the fire to do it now. I need to travel and discover new horizons. And I should do it fast before the new U.S. president signs new travel bans.