March Recap: I returned to university & my new life of having no life

Well, here I am. I have survived.

This has been like a lonnnnng month. I’m writing this whilst feeling absolutely guilty that I am here and not working on my assignments, but also recognize that doing something non-university related is a needed catharsis.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do much (leisurely) reading at all. The only time I get to read is when I’m on commute or at 2am at night after I’ve finished my work for the day (and by then, I’m asleep after 10 minutes of reading)! But, I’m doing my best. I can’t say I’ve had time to blog – I’m only allowing myself one hour every Sundays to do any and all blogging work, but I’m trying to achieve a balance. I’ll get there.

Deep breaths. Let’s go.

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Books read this month (and my thoughts in three words)

1. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay – brutally powerful, haunting

2. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – great kinda weird

3. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza – a fantastic debut

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Reviews and posts in March

1. REVIEW: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonA memoir told in verse? Beautifully written? Emotionally engaging? If you say, ‘yes please!’ to all three, Brown Girl Dreaming is a must-read.

2. FEATURE: Diversity Thursday Spotlight #8 – To commemorate Black History Month (sorry it was a little late!), I featured three books by black authors!

under-painted-sky

3. REVIEW: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee – A stellar historical fiction book that feature diverse characters – it also has a grand adventure across the Oregon Trail, sisterhood, friendship, and poignant moments of loss and hope.

4. LET’S TALK ABOUT: Characters With ‘Difficult’ Names – This was a little bit of a personal post of me because I struggled with my name for the longest time. This discussion posts highlights the importance of name diversity.

5. BOOK RECS: Feminist Reads – In honour of International Women’s Month, I recommend four fantastic books about feminist – ideal for those who want to learn about feminism but have no idea where to start!

6. FEATURE: Diversity Spotlight #10 – With an exciting release, I had to had to feature three books with Muslim protagonists!

7. REVIEW: Into White by Randi Pink – Enjoyed this because of its subversive and heartfelt writing, but there were some problematic elements that were very disappointing.

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Life Update

The importance of self-affirmations

My first month of university has been rough and I wasn’t in a good mental space for the first two weeks. But, I don’t want to talk about that today. I want to talk about self-affirmations and how they got me through my month thus far.

One of the things I tried to do to circumvent negative feelings was to 1) acknowledge them as valid, but also 2) tell myself an affirmation and try and see things in a more grounded way. I wanted to share some with you all, and, hopefully, share them with my future self for when I need them again.

How I felt: I feel lonely and alienated from my peers.
My self-affirmation: I haven’t seen anyone in awhile which is why I feel lonely; I have people who love me and care about me.

How I felt: I’m gaining weight/gaining cellulite/becoming unfit.
My self-affirmation: There’s nothing wrong with gaining weight. Cellulite is normal. I will go for a walk when I’ve been in the lab for too long. I will spare time to exercise – not to lose weight and return to my ‘peak’ body, but to clear my mind, feel good, and be healthy.

How I felt: I have no idea what I am doing, I am barely keeping my head above the water, I’m not going to be able to cope with the stress.
My self-affirmation: I am working hard. I am doing your best, and that’s all anyone and I can ask of me.

How I felt: I can’t do postgraduate study anymore, I don’t enjoy it, I don’t think I can do it.
My self-affirmation: I am still adjusting. Give it a chance. It’s only one year, and whatever happens, it’ll be a positive learning experience. I can do it.

How I felt: I am terrified of seminars, I’m going to make a big mistake and it’ll be so embarrassing.
My self-affirmation: It’s okay to be scared. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

How I felt: I don’t know if my new friends are friends or convenient acquaintances, and that terrifies me.
My self-affirmation: New friendships are scary and not all work. And that is okay. And it is okay to hope that a new friendship will grow with time.

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I’m afraid that’s all I have time for today. I hope all of you are doing splendidly, and that you are all well. I miss so many of you. I haven’t been using Twitter much (I found out that Twitter and browsing it sucks up so much of my time so I’ve blocked the website) but I hope I’ll be able to be active eventually.

Until then, I hope you all reading amazing books. (Read them all for me!)

  • How was your March? Did anything new or exciting happen in your life?
  • Did you discover a new favourite book in March?
  • If you have posted a recap post, send me a link! I’d love to check it out, read it, and drop a comment. 😊
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27 thoughts on “March Recap: I returned to university & my new life of having no life

  1. Hi CW! What do you study in post-grad? (And a side note: do you know which university in NZ has the best biology programs for undergrad? (Since I’ve gotta choose one sometime)) Anyway, while I bet you have way more work than me, those self affirmations sound really helpful :)
    I also really liked Under A Painted Sky. I feel like there are very few historical books with PoC MCs. :)

  2. Please don’t feel guilty- it sounds like this has been a really big adjustment for you. Focus on what will get you through this year :-) You’ve still read some amazing books (I adore Difficult Women) and creating amazing posts. I hope you’ve not been too stressed, and if you need anyone to cheer you on, just let us know ok? I know I don’t know you as well as I would like, but I honestly think you’re incredible for doing all of this, and I wish you the very best of luck. <3

  3. March was definitely a long month! It sounds like the books you did read were fabulous, though. Audiobooks might help your struggle? Perhaps?
    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time! I’m glad you’re getting through it. I’m always here (or your can email me) if you need to talk.
    And hey, Twitter is a black hole! If you don’t want to use it, no need. :-)

  4. Hi CW! I can’t believe that you’re actually don’t have time for blogging, your posts are still as amazing and thought provoking as always! I love your self-affirmations, sometimes they’re needed to get us out of our negative thoughts :) Good luck with your studies, I hope you’ll find balance soon :)

  5. Hey CW! I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a long month, but I absolutely love what you’re doing with self-affirmations. I’ve been talking to my therapist a lot about mindfulness (basically being aware of your thoughts and their connotations), and implementing self-affirmations sound like something I definitely need to try in order to be kinder to myself. As far as school/blogging/reading balance, don’t worry too much about it! It will come. <3 Also, "great kinda weird" is such a spot-on review of Every Heart a Doorway, haha. Best of luck to you with university! I'm rooting for you! :)

  6. I really loved reading these self-affirmations, it’s so encouraring to read that and I hope it helps you – I think I might copy this idea for every single day in my life ahah. <3 Best of luck for your classes, sending you lots of love <3

  7. Aww cw this is such an honest post and I love it <3 I could relate to so many of them because that's how I felt at the beginning of the year (and still feel sometimes) and it still is valid and okay. I wish you all the success and happiness, boo !

  8. Take as much time as you need for yourself. Blogging can wait. That post about names was amazing.

    My March was great and very full. I did work experience at Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House. Ended up reading loads of manuscripts and learning a lot about the industry. What’s your course called?

  9. Missing you dearly, my friend! Always remember that we’re rooting for you. Adjusting may take time, but do know that I am here if you do need someone to talk to. My thoughts were similar when my thesis hit me in the face then. But these things will always make us stronger.

    The blogging mojo will always come back when it wants to, and it will be the most awesome feeling when you get everything balanced. You can do it, and I hope you have more lovely months ahead, CW! 💙

  10. So glad you enjoyed Every Heart A Doorway! I’m hoping to read Difficult Women this month so it’s good to see such positive things about that one too!!

    Sorry this month has been a bit hectic for you ♥ definitely try not to feel guilty about not being around. Uni definitely takes priority and I’m sending you all the good vibes. I absolutely love your self-affirmations and that’s definitely something I want to try and work on.

    • Hi Lauren <3
      I'm glad I enjoyed it too! I'm really looking forward to the second book. :D

      Aw, thank you so much. I'll try and remind myself that. Things have been better lately, so I'm more optimistic right now. :D
      Aww, I hear you. Well, I am here for you if you ever need some validation and affirmation. <3

  11. It sounds like you’ve got a really healthy, mature approach to dealing with those negative feelings, which are totally natural and normal! Change can be stressful, and it’s totally normal to get stressed and feel down, but sometimes all you need is a change in perspective to help you get your mood back where you want it to be! :)

  12. Loving those affirmations <3 Good on you!! It's been hard to adjust to this year of uni for me as well, but my hour-long commute each way at least gives me plenty of time for reading. Sending you good thoughts!

  13. I think it’s wonderful that you’re so aware of your feelings and making an effort to focus on self-affirmations! If it helps at all, I basically spent the first six months of my master in psychology wondering if I’m cut out for the course (and a job in the field). I relate to the fears you listed here so hard. They come with the adjustment and take a while to fully push aside, but I hope it’ll all get much better once you’re settled in. <3 Here is my March recap post: https://pavedwithbookss.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/rewind-february-march-2017.html — it was swamped with university work, unfortunately! I hope you get some break this month!

    • Hi Cilla!
      Oh gosh, thank you so much for your comment. It’s very comforting to know that I’m not the only one who experiences this. Things have been much better since I wrote the post, so I’m optimistic again. <3

      Ahh thanks so much for sharing your recap! I'll visit right now. And thank you – I hope you have a splendid April; one that's not too busy!

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