Winter Quarter at UCLA is one filled with absolute dread. The reason? Maybe it’s the cold weather, the post-holidays slump, or perhaps the ever so publicly-hated daylight savings. But after experiencing this infamous winter quarter (and the slump that comes with it) 3 times, I will be honest when I say it doesn’t get easier as you get older. In fact, I might argue it gets even harder, as the pressure to be on top of everything in your life multiples the closer you are to graduation.
It’s funny because exactly a year ago I wrote a similar post, although I was more optimistic in my approach, jotting down the refreshing sense of hope that Spring Quarter brings. As I was thinking about that post, I tried to remember what I was feeling back then that would make me write that post – what did I experience during last year’s Winter Quarter that made me so excited for the new quarter? What type of slump was I in last year, and what did I face?
I honestly could not remember no matter how hard I tried – I could barely even remember what classes I took that quarter, let alone the emotions and conflicts I was faced with at the time. And then, it hit me. I realized that this was such a tangible example of the very cheesy and tattooed on someone’s arm somewhere saying “with time, all heals.” It’s pretty strange that even the most heart-wrenching situations can become trivial things of the past.
This past quarter was quite the soul-crusher, and at one point I felt like everything in my life that could possibly go wrong was going wrong. And with each week, even each day, I couldn’t see the bigger picture. I was so focused on the current situations that – at the time – there was no end goal; my current self and all the situations I faced felt like they would be permanent, in a forever state of being. But as always, after some inner-self reflections and binge watching an entire Korean drama, I came back to my senses, remembering that current situations do not dictate our future, nor do they define our worth or override our past. It was how I reacted to those situations that determined my mood, rather than the situations themselves. And the most important thing I failed to acknowledge was that in time, all the problems and conflicts and negative feelings I faced would inevitably dissipate, making room for new problems (lol), new feelings, and a brand new slate. Cue Spring Quarter optimism here.
Life is like the quarter system (scary huh)- sometimes it’s spring, other times it’s winter. And sometimes it’s summer break. But in the end, there’s always a change in the system, and that change is what makes life, livable. It wouldn’t be life if we stayed in one quarter for eternity. No matter what, our life will eventually cycle through each quarter, changing even when we don’t want it to. So in order to combat this never ending cycle, it’s crucial we acknowledge the power our reactions to these changes hold. It’s our reactions to these shifts that matters, not the changes themselves.