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A Summer of Introspection

This summer, I participated in a conference for residential life leaders. There, I met amazing people and facilitated an education session titled “How Self-Care Can Make You a Better Leader.” A few weeks later, my siblings and I spent a weekend in Georgia to visit our sister and experience a new city. We also got to enjoy some quality time with each other. The weeks leading up to my internship were filled with working, completing assignments for two summer courses, and hanging out with friends.

Then, in mid-June, I took a flight to the D.C. area for my summer internship with a federal government organization. I expected this part of the summer to be the busiest. After all, I would be working full time, taking another online class, and completing some tasks for my extracurriculars. I anticipated long days, at the end of which I would want nothing more than to curl up in my bed and sleep. I envisioned spending weekends in the city, meeting up with old (and new) friends to see new places. What I didn’t expect was to have a whole lot of free time, which is exactly I had.

My workdays ended at 4pm, for the most part. I teleworked often which eliminated the fatigue I would have experienced from commuting. My extracurriculars did not take more than 3 hours of my time every week. And that third summer class was a breeze. All of this left me with time that I did not anticipate having.

What did I do with this time? I thought about life. A lot. I reflected on past experiences and where I want to be. A lot. I cleaned, learned to make new dishes, and worked on my spiritual life. I kept in touch with friends and family from home. I made some new friends. There were hours upon hours spent on applying for fall internships. I tried to go out once or twice a week and visited museums, new restaurants, outdoors events, and so on. I thought some more. I figured out what my fall semester was going to look like (and let me tell you, it is going to be nothing like what I initially expected).

My summer internship ended yesterday, but I can whole heartedly say that I’m glad that this summer was not as busy as I thought it would be. I was able to slow down and reflect. I learned how to embrace change and not be so scared of the “I don’t knows.” It’s very easy for me to get lost in the ‘hustle and bustle’ of everyday life, so having the chance to ease into things was extremely helpful. I feel like in some ways, I am ending this summer with a clearer mind, as well as excitement for what lies ahead. My hope is that as I go into the fall semester (which will indeed be busy), I remember to build (and sustain) healthy habits and slow down when I need to.

This summer of introspection was nothing like what I expected, but it was everything I needed.

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