Year one of graduate school complete! I don’t get much of a break, but I can breathe a bit. I know year two will be more challenging due to thesis work and more difficult courses, but I have learned a lot about life and myself in the process to feel confident. I truly feel balanced. I went into grad school not knowing how I would fare. Prior to grad school I had spent a lot of time physically healing from back surgery and mentally healing from the eating disorder. I had a few classes and completed some important certifications, but ultimately this time was focused on recovery and building a solid foundation. Jumping back into the real world was both exhilarating and frightening. It hasn’t all been perfect, I know it’s not supposed to be. In fact, it has been a bit messy. Messy and beautiful. Difficult. Agonizing. Tiring. Wonderful. Amazing. All of it. I haven’t written in a long time because of this last stretch of projects and tests. Also because I was trying to stay afloat. I should have been writing and reading and coloring and using all those self-care techniques, but stress got the better of me. I have enjoyed not being paralyzed with stress and able to do some things not related to school. This is important for me to remember and realize going forward that taking time to myself and putting school work aside is not selfish. Stopping to go out to eat and put down the journal articles is not selfish. Going to bed early is not selfish. I am so grateful for the people in my life and grateful for my life itself. My field of work can be difficult some days, but it has taught me a lot about patience and a lot about making your life worthwhile by doing things you love. So for me, please stop today and take time to do something for yourself. Reflect on the past few weeks, months, years, and think about if your life is in alignment with your passions and desires.