Run Away from It, or Learn from It

By Ankhita Samuel
Distinguished Young Woman of Kansas for 2012

First of all, I owe you guys a HUGE apology. I am SO sorry that I haven’t put up a blog post in two months.

I wish I could say that I was off fighting Orcs in Mordor (LOTR, anyone?) or proving that Sasquatch exists (which he does, obviously) or have some other really awesome, excusable excuse involving no internet and true gallantry, but I honestly do not have a [good] explanation as to why I’ve been so absent.

I know this must come as a colossal blow to you guys. I mean, let’s be honest; most of you have probably been trembling in corners for the last two months, waiting for my incredibly sagacious and scathingly witty remarks. But before you lose all faith in me, hear me out. 

In case it needed to be said again; I’ve always loved the Lion King. But…I kind of feel like I let Pride Rock down, seeing as I broke pretty much the most basic life lesson that Simba learned. And that is, that I ran away from my problems. 

In all honesty, life has been really difficult lately. Not more than most people’s lives necessarily, but more difficult and more stressful than what I’ve been used to. The finals before winter break were the worst two academic weeks of my life. It was just so…difficult. There’s no other word.

And then I felt like my life was a little out of control, so when it came time to write my blog post, I couldn’t. I mean, how could I possibly advise anyone if I didn’t even have my own life in order? That really scared me.

So when break finally started, I had had it. I was going to take a vacation from the real world. I stopped checking my school email, I didn’t really stay in contact with the college friends I had made, and even waited until literally the last possible second to order my textbooks for this spring semester. I tried to dive back into my high school life, going out for dinner, playing with my quartet, spending time with the family, and essentially, ignoring everything that needed to be done.

And it was amazing. I had such an incredible time – it felt so good to be back home, therapeutic even. I was living in my own little paradise with basically no worries. (By the way, if you ever read this, Drake? Timon and Pumba coined Hakuna Matata, wayyyy before you even thought about “YOLO”.)

When people asked me if I was ready to go back to school, I would smile blankly and ask, “what’s school?” And people would laugh because they thought I was joking… but I almost wasn’t.

Oh, and I made my parents promise that they wouldn’t talk to me about college unless absolutely necessary. No, you don’t understand. Any time anyone started talking to me about school, I would put my hands over my ears and yell nonsensically.

I was being ridiculous, I know. I’m not proud. Don’t do any of this, by the way.
I could try to justify my behavior by giving you a more thorough explanation, but I’m not going to, because even all that is not an excuse. I realize that now.

In spite of seeing what happens when you run away from life, reenacted over and over on a sticky, cheerio-encrusted VHS, I did it anyway.

I’m sorry, Mufasa.

This is my recurring weakness; when life comes at me, I tend to curl up into a ball, roll away, and ignore everything. Now – don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I instantly fetal position when I have to decide between strawberry and chocolate because they’re out of vanilla. I mean, after momentary panic, BAM, I choose BOTH and then congratulate myself on being so diplomatic. It’s not those kinds of things. It’s just that…Ankhita can’t deal with having to decide between Rocky Road, Raspberry Sherbet, and Mint Chocolate in addition to various toppings while an ice cream truck empties out an avalanche of flavors onto her head. You know what I mean?  Ugh, that was a better analogy when I was first going for it. Here’s what I’m trying to say:

Guys, I’ve been hiding from the past five months of college. It’s terrible. This is not the case for everyone, but I LOVED high school. I can’t say that enough. I had the best time and having to leave it is really putting me outside of my comfort zone. And I’m never going back. I have to accept that. One of the main lessons from the Lion King is that if you don’t face your problems, they’re going to catch up with you, and I completely ignored that. And let me tell you, it is so true.

In case anyone needed to be reminded of this (I know I do), nothing just “goes away”. It will come back to haunt you eventually – this applies to problems of all sizes. Maybe…you didn’t study for your test last week because you didn’t understand anything and it frustrated you. And now the test is tomorrow and you still don’t understand anything. Or maybe your mom told you to clean your room a month ago and you didn’t, and now there’s a green creature living in the back of your closet. Or maybe you ran away when your uncle killed your father in an attempt to usurp a throne that rightfully belongs to you, and now your kingdom is being run by hyenas and ruled by aforementioned uncle.

Jokes aside, Rafiki knew what he was talking about when he said, you can either “run away from it, or learn from it.” Obviously I had to go back to school eventually. And now I’ve had to catch up with everything that I ignored for a month. I was forced to stop running and had to really sit down and think about what I’ve been doing.

So here’s my New Years Resolution, about a month late: I will face my responsibilities head on. I will focus on what I can control and deal with what I can’t by taking it in stride.

So that’s where I’ve been. Again, I’m sorry. I’ll see if they’ll let me write an extra two blogs to make up for my two month hiatus from reality.

Hope 2013 has been amazing for you guys (take that, Mayans!) I know it’s been eye-opening for me!

Here’s to being awesome!

Ankhita Samuel is a first year medical student studying to earn a BLA major with a Spanish minor in the six year medical program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in Kansas City, Missouri. Originally from Olathe, Kansas, Ankhita was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Kansas for 2012. Learn more about Ankhita here!

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