Ups and Downs of My First Week Back in Boston

Remember that cocktail of emotions that I was feeling right before leaving for Boston?

Well it has heightened, for better and for worse. I am filled with so much gratitude and joy seeing my friends and preparing for another year of learning, but for a few days I was also losing sleep over emotions like excitement, nervousness, anxiety, and fear. I know that’s normal for starting a new year of school, but it’s oddly intense. And I’m not even a freshman!

At first, I was just so excited to see everyone that I had to sorta numb my feelings or else I might have exploded with joy.

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But for whatever reason, I was going through a phase where my sympathetic nervous system was just ON. My heart was beating uncomfortably quickly for a few days for no good reason, my stomach felt tight, and I was breathing from my chest more than from my belly (a sign that my body is stressed).

I didn’t know what was up, but prayer, movement, music, being with good friends, and big deeeeeep belly breaths from my diaphragm all helped. Also, I’m thinking back to my own tips on how I deal with anxious feelings.

(Talk about a way to make my parents feel GREAT.)

The real medicine this time around, however, was letting go of hypersensitivity to what others thought of me. I have no idea why, but I became so preoccupied with trying to impress people (who I know and love from last year). However, as soon as I remembered that I have one person— God— in my audience, I started feeling better.

In the words of Tori Kelly: “Take it or leave it, babe, I’m not gonna change. If you don’t understand I don’t need you anyway.” <— please listen.

Now that that’s off my chest. Hello, lovely folks ♥

Despite my very minor heart palpitations, this weekend was pretty darn awesome.

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dorm breakfast feat. the breakfast trifecta

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bodyweight exercises in the great outdoors of Boston

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dorm snacks

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monster chicken, tomato, lettuce, avocado, sundried tomato, pesto pita wrap = lunch and dinner

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some steep ($5…) pistachio and nocciola gelato for the Feast of St. Anthony celebration in North End

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first dining hall meal! classic breakfast that I scarfed down because I had attend a meeting

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first dining hall dessert! they did not fail with this delicious carrot cake

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second dining hall dessert the night after — vegan apple cider oatmeal cookie mousse parfait — pretty luxurious and delicious

Lots of food. Some humans were involved too.

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It was also a productive weekend, getting lots of tasks done before classes actually start.

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including getting a head start on human physiology reading #nerd#geek#lame#sayittomyface

I genuinely hope each of you is doing well and that you have a wonderful week ahead! Today is my last Monday off before the grind begins woooooo.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
— James 1:2-4

So tell me:

Do you ever find yourself breathing from your chest more than usual?

Do you ever feel unusually sensitive to how others might perceive you?

What is your favorite kind of cake? Carrot cake all the way (WITH raisins).

What did you do this weekend? 


26 thoughts on “Ups and Downs of My First Week Back in Boston

  1. Do you ever find yourself breathing from your chest more than usual?
    Hmm… Yeah. I think it takes a mental discipline to get back to breathing deeply and reminding myself that God is in control, and I have no need to worry. ❤ I'll be praying for you that you continue to have peace as school proceeds. :))) <333

    Do you ever feel unusually sensitive to how others might perceive you?
    You bet I do, and I think what you said is the best reminder. God is our only audience. It doesn't matter ultimately how others perceive you.

    What is your favorite kind of cake?
    Chocolate Cake with peanut butter frosting! I do like carrot cake too.

  2. Love what you said about not having to impress people. It’s something everyone struggles with and so important to remember. Um how is that your dining hall food!?! I wish my college had stuff like that when I was there. Carrot cake is 100% my favorite kind too 🙂 I always request it on my birthday.

  3. Yes to all of this!!! I also have a rough time with change but if you think about it it’s all about just embracing it and knowing that in a little while this will become the new norm. Also that if we’ve survived the past xx years that surely this will pass. And all this will only make us stronger👍🏼👍🏼
    In the words of Beyoncé, “keep doing you boo” 😘 and have a great first day!
    Love you!

  4. it’s always an adjustment going back to school- i actually found that my sophomore year i had a harder time adjusting because i was more stressed out and had a lot on my plate. so make sure to be good to yourself (a la billy joel, haha) and don’t forget to take time for YOU and to destress! and breathe. breathing is always good 😉


  5. I felt the exact same way before school started up last week. Unusually anxious. Thankfully, it didn’t last through the week. And yes, I have to remind myself it’s typically all in my head and why should I care about what others think of me anyway?

    Give me a good chocolate, red velvet or carrot cake and I’ll be happy! Glad to hear about your weekend, Alison!

  6. Reading your words just brings me back to how I felt before every new year at uni – it is completely normal don’t worry!
    I have those feelings all over again now about pleasing people etc – we have left all our friends and family and now have to make new friends in Australia – it’s hard, I have no idea where to start but the main thing I keep telling myself is to just be me. Any friends worth having will want my company because of who I am 🙂

  7. Lol, I am not in tune with my body enough to notice where I’m breathing (not enough yoga yet I guess ;P ). I pretty much always feel sensitive to what people think of me, but there are most certainly times where I’m more anxious than usual. Especially when seeing someone after a period of time. I play all sorts of mind games with myself about what might have happened during that time to make them not like me anymore (heck, at that point, maybe they never really did!). I’m trying to get better, but it feels like an uphill battle sometimes! 🙂
    I’m not a cake person, but chocolate-chocolate-CHOCOLATE all the way for me.
    I had a mixed weekend as well. It started with my phone crashing and having to wipe it, restore from a backup that wasn’t able to completely restore, and adding back all the stuff that wasn’t backed up (music, ringtones, etc.), as well as the emotional aspect of losing several precious journal entries and other little things. On the bright side, though, my grandparents treated us to dinner at a “fancy restaurant” (in our family fancy = sit down restaurant of any kind), where I got to try lobster for the first time! And spent some quality time with my grandparents, brother, and the rest of the fam!
    Hope the first day of school goes well!

    • Agh those mind games. Sometimes I just have to tell myself that a) others might feel the same insecurity about themselves; b) people aren’t THAT invested in me, so I need to not be so invested in myself either.
      Aw man, crashing technology sucks! I’m so sorry to hear that. Hope everything rebuilds itself!

  8. It is hard for me to admit but I to am so hyper aware of how others view me. I am trying to not let it get to me as much, but it is definitely a hard task.
    Sometimes I end up not being able to sleep because my heart is racing and I am feeling anxious. There isn’t much I can do those nights except wait it out.
    But on a brighter note, I LOVE ice-cream cake, sponge cake, chocolate cake, did I mention cake? I don’t really like the store bought safe-way type cakes with the overly sweet frosting, but I do enjoy their ‘aesthetic’ ;)!

  9. Yes, yes and yes to the chest breathing! I think somewhere along the lines of having anxiety issues, it became my default. I have to consciously ‘reset’ myself, especially when I’m stressed. Hope you feel calmer now. Definitely when seeing people after a long break, I’m quite self-conscious. I love that you reminded yourself of your identity in Christ 🙂 Any kind of cheesecake, because cheese + carbs + sugar = basically all the good things in life.

    • Mhm— I totally agree with the “reset” thing. It’s like: “How do I get back to that peaceful state where I was before?..” But I try to let that happen naturally, rather than forcing. Yes, I do feel better now, thank you! ♥
      Gah cheesecake is another fantastic choice.

  10. I actually notice myself not breathing -enough- when I get super anxious, which leads to me feeling lightheaded and panicking even more because of that. Deep breathing and prayer always help, though 🙂 And I used to care a -tonne- about what other people thought of me, but it’s something that kind of goes away as you get older and become more comfortable in your skin. Sending you all the good vibes for this coming year! ❤

  11. Your poor heart! I’m glad you’re starting to feel better, friend. I can be easily rattled too… I’m a sensitive soul and sometimes I get completely wound up over NOTHING. I love carrot cake too – I actually thought of you while I was going to down on a massive slice a few weeks ago. Mmmm cream cheese frosting…

  12. I hope the anxious feelings go away totally soon 🙂 It’s great that you recognized what was causing them and could start feeling more normal again. I hope you have an awesome first week back of classes!

    And I know you’re not a chocolate person, but my favorite cake is definitely chocolate. The darker and more chocolate-y, the better!

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