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Back to School Jitters

Mood because tomorrow school starts back

Feeling a sense of fear but excitement, all at once, as I embark on achieving one of my biggest dreams, becoming a clinical psychologist. Tomorrow I begin my doctorate education at George Washington University, in the Psy. D program and to say I am a bucket of emotions would be an understatement.

As I was driving through Georgetown, on my way home from work this past Thursday everything finally hit me. From buying ALL of the textbooks {literally some classes I have 6 books for}, to doing all of the “pre-homework”, to balancing all of my usual work/dog/life obligations I felt overwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, I made these choices, and I like being busy, but that doesn’t mean I’m exempt from having an occasional moment to just freak out. I began to question myself and question if I was ready and for those 15 minutes I was driving home, my mind was on a self-inflicted trip of insecurity and I felt myself sinking once again.

Okay, maybe not into a sunken place, but you get my drift

The biggest question I kept asking myself is“What if I fail?” You see, failing is my biggest fear (surprise, surprise) and getting my doctorate is something I have been dreaming about since I was a little girl. So, the stakes are high and the idea of failing is terrifying. But in that moment of spiraling, I remembered to

breathe. I remembered the advice my adviser at Hollins, Jeri, always gave me and other students when we had these moments, which was:

"You are here for a reason and you were chosen because the folks who picked you knew you were ready, knew you had something to give and knew you could handle it. The work is on you now to believe it. "

I’ve always been the type of person to put a lot of pressure on myself and therefore, become my worst critic. Once I got through my panic attack, I talked to my parents about it and they reminded me that even in 3rd grade, I would make things far more difficult than needed. I always had this cycle of challenging myself, then doubting myself, then excelling past my expectations.

Upon meeting my classmates on orientation day I began to realize that I was not alone in my anxiety/panic attacks on this journey. And although I feel tons of anxiety about starting school tomorrow and I will probably have 10,000 more of those moments to come, remembering these things brought a lot of comfort to me.

It also taught me that self sabotage is so very real. I love the moments where I have to come face to face with who I am- the good, bad, and ugly. Being hard on myself and applying the pressure is how I thrive, however, I must find new ways to be my naturally “determined and perfectionist” self without down casting my abilities at the same time. I know that I am worthy, capable, and ready. And so are you.

Life is a balancing act and while I am thankful that I am able to calm myself in moments of anxiety, I also knew that if I kept this to myself, I would let my fear and anxiety paralyze me. By writing this down and sharing it, it leaves me no choice but to acknowledge my fears and rise above them. And I know myself well enough to know that I will.

If you’re going back to school or experiencing a new change in life, I know it can be scary but believe in yourself and trust that you got this. Tomorrow I begin my doctorate, and will be balancing working a full time job, loving on my pup and making time to enjoy my 22nd year of life. Living life to its best may require creating a little more of my “white space” but I am the author of my life, just as you are of yours. Anything is possible, we just have to push our fears to the side and let 'em know who’s boss.


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