Give and Take…For Yourself

By Astha Berry
Distinguished Young Woman of Wisconsin for 2014

 
Sometimes we become incredibly focused on other people – I know that I do. I’ve always been an extrovert and always will be – or so I thought. Sometimes you give and give and it feels great. At other times, it starts to drain you. I’m not saying that I’m a selfless, blameless person. I take too – being able to accept help when you need it is super important.

But often times the taking and giving is all through interactions with other people. What about yourself? When was the last time you took time out for yourself to read your favorite book, play your guitar, color in a coloring book, go on a walk, or just lay on your bed and stare at the ceiling and just THINK. Not because you have to practice a song or finish an assignment for class but because you want to.

I cannot even tell you how many times I have heard students say that they don’t have time for “fun” reading anymore or that they stayed home from school sick but it was actually glorious because their illness forced them to do…nothing.

I’m a huge proponent for productivity. But I also know I don’t take nearly as much time as I would like for myself.

I constantly felt like I was in a state of frenzy – there was so much I needed to do. I have lists upon lists of things to do, homework to finish, emails to send, letters to write, and baked goods to make. And I HAVE to have fun. I must make time to spend time with friends.

I learned a few new words and phrases in college – one of them is called FOMO or the fear of missing out.

Let me tell you, this fear was incredibly real. I wanted to experience every bit of college and take it all in because it’s supposed to be the best four years of your life, and I feel so lucky to have gotten in here, and I’m paying so much money so I better enjoy and I need to do well in all of my classes but I still want to have fun and make lifelong friendships and I wonder if we will all end up like the gang on Friends or How I Met Your Mother and I don’t want to look back and have regrets and STOP.

Usually when my family or friends from home call, I can only talk for a little bit because I am constantly surrounded by people at college. While I love being around my college friends, I realized that I truly am never alone. In the past few weeks I finally sat down and spent several nights alone and I found that I didn’t feel lonely. In fact, I felt happy to take the time to journal, doodle, and watch Netflix for the first time in months. This time was not time that I had to give to anyone else or ask for – it was a gift to myself.

So, if you can, add one more thing to your To Do List… “Nothing”.

 
Astha Berry is a college freshman at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland majoring in Neuroscience and Writing Seminars. Originally from Franklin, Wisconsin, Astha was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Wisconsin for 2014. Learn more about Astha here.

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