Thursday, December 3, 2015

It's Different

Not to be confused with the reasoning behind the title of this post, this post is going to be a bit different than what I usually share but I wanted to share it regardless. I had a very different post planned for today but decided that this one trumped that post for a variety of reasons (although that will still be posted later).

Yesterday in my Religion class (Intro to the Old Testament) we were talking about Ruth and got onto the topic of self care. This seems ironic if you ask me since if you think about self care in conventional terms finals week and the end of the semester isn't exactly when students are taking a whole lot of "me time." Substituting caffeine for sleep, granola bars for real meals, and dry shampoo for showers is actually the opposite of self care if we are talking about it in regards to mental and physical health. (As a disclaimer to my parents who probably just became incredibly alarmed after reading that last sentence and the overall lack of healthy behaviors it exhibited I was being dramatic for emphasis although I can't say that those activities haven't happened before…). So now that my parent's blood pressure has gone back down we can get back to the purpose of me bringing up self care. When talking about the book of Ruth we decided that in this book of the bible self care was meant more along the lines of risky, unconventional, creative behaviors that push against the norms and are transformative and life giving. Even though dry shampoo kind of fits into this definition (unconventional and pushing against the norms - lack of shower // transformative - bye bye grease // risky - will people be able to tell that I skipped showering?) the real kicker comes with the rest of the definition. Self care is life giving in which you improve yourself to improve others. It isn't necessarily self sacrifice because it shouldn't be solely taking away from yourself and you should also be getting something in return. This led to a whole class discussion of how we can practice self care which then caused us to talk about vocation which is where I am really going with this post. 

Practicing self care can be as easy as giving to others, being nice, but the main one we discussed was pursuing jobs of interest despite the salary. Well, this struck a cord with me as I am struggling through the remainder of this semester with all things Elementary Education at the forefront of my thoughts. We discussed this effort and the practice of self care as practicing resilience and grit in order to give us a sense of vocation.

The idea of vocation really got me to think. In my mind vocation is always about what I'm going to do job wise and the thought that comes to mind is always the ideal job a person wants to have. No one wants to think of their vocation as a job they dislike or dread going to. Well, our discussion in class was a reminder that in today's world looking for jobs you truly enjoy doing and that will support you aren't necessarily what you will easily find. Sometimes it takes this self sacrifice. We redefined vocation as what you're passionate about and the idea that for most of us that we are going to be working within the system for those first few years out of college to find our vocation and make a life within it. The likelihood of having to make a temporary plan where we have to do what's best support wise is incredibly realistic for many of us which may cause us to do acts of our vocations in small ways fully embodying self care. As I sit in the library typing this surrounded with an abundance of notes and information about all things elementary education I am realizing my vocation a bit more realistically. I am working diligently daily in school as an education major with the ideal situation of teaching for a few years after gaining my masters while also blogging and possibly working towards eventually becoming a full time blogger (at least for a little while). I know that blogging could very well be a temporary thing but it is something that I am so passionate about that it almost wouldn't be fair to myself to not pursue the opportunity while I can knowing that I can always go back to teaching in the future and enjoy it as I have thus far if that presents itself as a possibility. Again this is an ideal but by participating in this risky, unconventional, and creative endeavor that is blogging and potentially one day taking it on as a career this is my way of practicing self care even when it means staying up later than I should now to ensure that all my ducks are in a row in the different areas of my life.

The entirety of our conversation in class was geared towards the idea that this is very different than what we may have expected and even though the current vocation we are working with or working towards may be a temporary plan we are carving out the stepping stones for our eventual goals and creating new ways to reach these goals making this different plan, idea, or vocation ok. I am fully aware that when I look back on college when I'm older I am going to notice that my college experience has been a lot different than others. I didn't choose to go to a large public university but instead picked and attended a small, rigorous private university that challenges me daily. Going out to me in many instances doesn't mean going to parties nightly but implies a late night in the library. Some week days I barely have enough time to complete my assignments let alone have the time or energy to be super social at night. As I went back to school after Thanksgiving my dad reminded me to make sure that I had some fun because that is a huge part of college. While I agree with that and love that my parents want to make sure that I have a healthy balance of academic endeavors and social interaction it also makes me think about how college for me is a lot different than it was for them and how it is for some other students. I prioritize my studies, oftentimes too highly, and take on responsibilities that other people may shy away from with the realization that pursuing my wide range of interests will hopefully pay off when it comes to carving out the stepping stones of my vocation. I aim to create opportunities for myself so that I have the experience and work ethic to do whatever I set my mind to later on. I am sure that I will look back on college with so many fond memories with friends (obviously very important) but also with a confusion of how I managed to have time to do all the things I've done thus far. I am definitely not saying that being an education major, running a blog, and becoming Kappa Delta president is a walk in the park but it isn't unrealistic either (I mean here I am). It is all about the balance and for me doing what I can while the opportunity presents itself is something that is important to me. Being able to balance these endeavors with more typical college activities is tricky but do-able. That attitude in itself is different than what you would hear most people, especially college students, say but I fully believe that that is ok. This is my way of practicing self care, having the resilience and grit to manage my time properly in order to do all of the things that I want to do no matter how different that may seem from someone else's perspective of college. Working towards the overall goal of providing myself with the opportunities I can to ensure that when it comes to carving out my vocation I am experienced and capable to take on a balance in order to do what I am passionate about.

My friends like to joke that this quote below was written about me and in all honesty I don't know if I should be concerned or just accept it because there are definitely times when this feels true (although empire sounds a little too much like it is my way or the highway).

So as you are struggling through finishing the semester strong with finals, papers, projects, and other assignments when all you want to do is go back to your apartment and watch ABC Family's 25 days of Christmas and forget responsibility (I'm completely guilty of wanting to do that!) know that your resilience and grit are paying off in ways that you may not necessarily notice now. You are working within the system to do the best you can and in the process are likely discovering the importance of balance. I am hoping that this resonates with some of y'all and maybe even inspires you during this stressful end of the semester but will also help you to realize that even though what you're doing may seem different, it's ok. Not sure if I am trying to reassure myself or all of y'all in this post but regardless of the purpose it is here for you to take it as you please. Also, props to you if you made it all the way through my rambling and processing of thoughts. Writing can be so therapeutic and I was so intrigued by our discussion that I felt like it wasn't fair to not share it so I would love to hear your take on this very different perspective on college and life in general. 


  1. This post is beautiful, thank you so much!


  2. Needed to hear this as sometimes finding a balance in college is challenging especially during finals.
    Loved this post and your blog,


  3. you are so awesome, and I loved reading this since you don't normally post things like it on your blog. Thank you! :)

  4. What a great post! I love class discussions where I can relate back to my own life!!
    Miss Olivia Says

  5. Thanks for sharing this Dorothy! I definitely related this to things going on in my own life!


  6. Such great advice! :)

  7. Dorothy! Thank you so much for sharing this! I also just watched your stripped down video and can relate to so many of those things as a junior in college myself (including a sorority presidency!) It helps a lot to see how happy you are with your college experiences even though it isn't the "typical" one and to know I am not the only one who thinks that too! I love your content and following you! Congrats on all of your recent successes!

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  9. Beautiful post, actually very helpful, thanks for sharing

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