Juli Mukhadze: My October bucket list
Moments of self-doubt happen in the lives of the vast majority of people on this planet, there is nothing unusual about this. However, listening to and believing the people who believe in you is sometimes life changing, expat student Juli Mukhadze writes.
Every new chapter in our lives starts with a substantial amount of excitement within us: new season, semester, degree, work, maybe even a university or city and country. The word "new" is like glitter on an object, making it shine and seem more than it might turn out to be. With this glitter comes the process of adaptation to this shining effect. After a short span of time the magical effect wears off and we are left with the truth of solely adapting to changes and overcoming difficulties along the way.
Little over three years ago the same glitter applied to my everyday reality. After graduating from school in Ukraine instead of Georgia – my country of origin. Living far away from my homeland was not new to me. However, living apart from my closest family members did pose a challenge. Moving to Tartu at 17, starting an independent life – fortunately, I was not the only one. I soon met a lot of my course mates, neighbors, friends and their friends who were all very young, far away from familiar places and people, starting a whole new chapter in the book of their life.
Every person has their unique way of approaching changes in life. It is not universal which of these we are aware of. Usually, and in most of the cases, they do not work as we expect them to – which leads us to major disappointment in ourselves. This disappointment is often expressed in doubting our capabilities, knowledge and finally giving up on great plans that were made while we were so excited with the glitter. Self-doubt and improper analysis, or ignoring the problem, often lead to compromising our state of mental health, losing concentration and the agreement we made with ourselves in the process of planning. As our plans and motivation fall apart – so do hopes and dreams, leaving the person in a state of void that cannot be explained in just a few words, due to the fact that perceptions vary from one individual to another.
So, if things are that bad, if every change is stress after all, how do we ever experience adventures and gain insight on various aspects of life without compromising a little part of our mental health every time? The answer can be that it is okay to sometimes not be okay or have no idea what you are doing at the moment.
For a young adult, things are often overwhelming, and it seems like everyone around us expects us to have our entire future figured out. Do not overthink or panic, and instead take a few deep breaths. Life is a huge process of constant learning and researching, and mistakes are allowed as long as you learn a lesson for next time.
It is essential to maybe also realize that "Right now, I am not where I want to be" and "I think I need to make some changes to improve my state." The first big step towards shaking the crisis is admitting: "I do not think I am figuring this out on my own" and "maybe I need help after all" – there is absolutely no shame in this. On the contrary, for international students it is often the community formed by students of the same background, helping one another take it one day at a time and get through tough times. Even if you cannot provide an expert opinion, you are still there to listen and keep company.
Nowadays we have numerous options on how to overcome our struggles. Of course, the professionals have been learning for years and been trained on how to manage these crisis situations, but no one knows us better than we know ourselves. We are spending a lifetime with ourselves; hence prioritizing self-care is never a mistake. Focus on your health – if the body is at ease, the mind starts to improve. Treat yourself with simple things that can possibly bring your mood up. Take it one day at a time – things usually require time to be figured out, and sometimes some problems have to be uncovered and eliminated layer-by-layer like a cabbage. Do not forget to stop and look around you in the moment, appreciate the things that you have right now and do not compare yourself to anyone else – different people end up under different circumstances due to varying reasons. Surround yourself and reconnect with those people who make you feel valuable, value your opinion and let you be yourself around them.
Last but not least – do not stop believing in yourself. Moments of self-doubt happen in the lives of the vast majority of people on this planet, there is nothing unusual about this. However, listening to and believing people who believe in you is sometimes life changing. Surround yourself with the most acceptable opinions and fair feedback. Sometimes, there is no better catalyst for healthy thoughts than an objective overview of the current situation.
After three years here, I am past all deadlines, problems and troubles from when I thought my life was ending. Gladly, I am still not alone and the journey turned out to be quite adventurous. As the international student community seemed very closed, some of us still managed to branch out and connect with locally based student associations and networks. I am proud to be one such example. Despite the language barrier, which was torn down by the people who did their fair share of work to make me and people like me feel included.
Finally, take care, stay healthy and do not forget to relax occasionally. At times, resting is just the right vitamin for our minds. Enjoy your October and do not forget to check on your friends who seem to need help.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski