Pursuit of Happiness: Clouded visions


A student is reading his paper on the grounds behind the Student Union. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

A student is reading his paper on the grounds behind the Student Union. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

As I creep closer to a breath of fresh air in the spring semester (AKA spring break), I can feel my vision getting clouded by the haze of midterms. Over the past two weeks, my slow, empty week has turned into back-to-back exams, assignments, events and more, until it felt like I was juggling so much at once that I could never hold one thing in my hands for long enough.

This is exactly the feeling I had for a decent amount of time last semester and may be one of the core feelings that contributed to my downfall.

Luckily, it is early enough in the semester to reassess and realign. One of the things I’ve been doing lately, which I did not do enough last semester, is taking a step back to look at what I want from my life and the kind of mark I want to leave. There are different aspects of life I consider when thinking about all my goals and the things I ask for in life.

When I feel the stress of school washing over me, it can get to the point where it feels like I’m drowning in work.There are times that I look at all the assignments I have due and wonder if there are even enough hours in the day. I take a step back and think about why I’m taking an academic journey. Obviously, it goes hand in hand with career choices, but there’s more to it. There is so much in this world that I don’t have any knowledge about, or know about but have barely scratched the surface of. Academics feel so much better when I think about them in terms of learning. Of course, it is important for me to do well in terms of scores and numbers, but what motivates me is remembering that, no matter how I do, I will always learn something new. I didn’t do this last year, and I regret it because it made the subjects I love and am incredibly interested in feel like a chore.

At times, that mentality desensitizes me to how I may be doing. That’s when the pressure of fulfilling my career dream comes into play. I adore health and medicine and dream about going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician. Here’s the catch: I slipped. My academic downfall last semester, which came from the way I handled my balance of personal and academic life, is perhaps the biggest obstacle in my way. I slipped, but I am trying to get back up. When I feel schoolwork drowning me, I catch a breath every single time I think about how I need to recover to reach my career goal. I can’t catch a breath, however, if I stand in my own way; I need to believe that I can get back up on my feet and get out of the rough waters. Last semester I gave up on myself, but my passion still carries me to push forward.

Sometimes I consider the fact that maybe my dreams are just something I am not cut out for. Maybe when I consider that, I’m right. No matter what happens, when purpose is hidden in a dream that lies in career or something material, it is essential to step back and look at the whole picture. Like any other person that is pre-med, I like to say that I want to help people. There’s more to it: I want to be someone that another person can come to for help, someone that is accessible, someone that can help another person implement healthy change in their lives, someone that brings positivity and wellness, someone that helps people help themselves.

The core of this, in my eyes, lie within the realms of healthcare because people listen to and trust the people in healthcare. Unfortunately, good health seems to be a luxury, one that only people with money can afford. Wellness is a human right, and I want to be in the health system in a way that gives me leverage to help people understand that. Maybe my dreams are too big for me, but I cannot let myself live with the guilt of feeling this way about healthcare and medicine and not do anything about it.

Last semester, I forgot how I felt about my purpose, and with that I forgot why I felt a need to pursue my dreams in the first place. Last semester, my vision was clouded and the only thing polluting the air was my negativity. This semester, I can feel that pollution coming back but I will not let that haze the view of my goals, my dreams, and my purpose.

Step back, clear your own air, clean up your vision and keep smiling!

Armana Islam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at armana.islam@uconn.edu.

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