Taylor Brune, bachelor of science in integrative health and ASU Online brand ambassador
Beginning a new year with the perspective that new things are on the horizon for us is empowering. A new year, a new quarter of school, a new way of doing things is established. In order for us to evolve and better ourselves, we must change our mindsets and our actions. Staying stuck in the previous year with the previous mindset will only hinder us from reaching our goals and serving our destiny.
As I enter my last year with ASU, I am faced with an array of overwhelming tasks, responsibilities, and choices that will determine the course of my future, including which medical schools I am accepted into.
Approaching my final year, knowing that from here forward, every choice matters and every step I take will impact my future, I have dedicated this year to being intentional with my choices and habits.
With that said, there are five important lessons I have learned throughout my undergraduate experience as a pre-med health student.
The first lesson I learned is that, in order to succeed with earning As in difficult classes, one must prioritize and schedule time for studies. I began my academic career with ASU Online while still on treatment full time. My full-time work was going to doctor appointments and running my own dog walking business. And after I stopped treatment, I began working full time in the medical field while closing out my dog business and still doing maintenance doctor appointments. Learning how to fit schoolwork in my schedule was vital to succeeding and exceling. I learned the value of time management and accomplishing my top priorities first before fun.
I learned that during the week I would be devoted to work, school, and health, and the weekends would be my social time and reward for disciplined work. This has worked well for me, and I have never procrastinated or turned in anything late. My grades did not suffer, and I began to see my GPA rise.
The second lesson I learned, is that one must create balance in all areas of life. Even though during the week my main focus would be on work and school, I made sure that I was nurturing other areas of my life daily as well. By creating a daily plan of healthy habits and tasks for each area of my life, it helped create wholeness and satisfaction within me. I learned to listen to what my emotions and my body were telling me it needed. If I felt restless, unmotivated, or unfocused, I would stop what I was doing, go outside in nature and just breathe in gratitude for where I was at in my journey and what beautiful things were standing before me presently. I would incorporate short breaks in between my studies to promote wellness and peace. Making sure I was being mindful of each area of my life helped me not only excel in my academic life, but in other areas of my life as well.
The third lesson I learned is that one should not compare where they are to where another person is in life. Comparison is the root of all doubt. Because I had to take time off my undergrad work to pursue full-time treatment, I fell deep into the pit of comparison and doubt. This was a struggle that only hindered me from being led to where I needed to be to thrive and feel truly happy and fulfilled. Even though I am 27 and still working on my bachelor’s degree, I have come to peace with it. I proved to myself that nothing can take away what’s for me without my permission to do so. Some people drop out of college and never go back. I chose to finish what I started, and I came out stronger than I was before. I came out with a more purposeful dream and destiny that I would have never had if I hadn’t become ill and went through that obstacle. I learned that I am on my own journey, and I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Time is just a number, not a determinant of whether I can or cannot achieve greatness.
The fourth lesson I learned is that managing one’s stress is vital to mental, relational, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Stress is another obstacle that will try and steal the joy away from everything. Stress tries to unload an unbearable burden upon you, and then because you aren’t supposed to be carrying that heavy burden, other things manifest, such as guilt, shame, jealousy, resentment, and anger. Stress can manifest into so many unhealthy and toxic habits which are then produced through choices that affect our present day and future day. I learned the difficult lesson of what stress produces in one’s mind, body, and spirit, and it does not end well.
It took drastic circumstances to truly awaken me to the damage that stress caused over me and my life. It was then that I began leading my life with peace, rather than absorbing the negative aspects that were all around me. I focused my vision more in a faith-based vision, rather than a fear-based vision.
This helped ground me in peace, even when I was being surrounded with different levels of stress. And because of this, I began to approach school differently, my goals differently, and situations differently. And that created a thriving environment for which my academic life flourished.
The fifth lesson I learned is that one must believe in themselves wholeheartedly. To believe that you are capable of achieving greatness is the game changer. Confidence is key to unlocking doors you never realized were available to you all along. Believing that you are where you are supposed to be and doing what you are supposed to be doing is empowering and freeing. Believing that you are capable of what you set your mind to is powerful and sets in motion opportunities and open doors. Believing you are worthy of goodness and greatness and abundance in this life is freeing and does not limit you from what is available to you in this lifetime. And believing you are smart enough, strong enough, and good enough for the dream you are working towards is transformational. Believe more for your life, no matter what anyone around you tells you, and no matter what the lies inside of your mind tell you. This is your journey, and if you truly harness these five tips for your life, you will see it bloom in new, fulfilling ways.