I totally left this unbuttoned as a fashion statement...whoops!
Cardigan, thrifted H&M | Button down, thrifted | Skirt, thrifted Hollister | Shoes, Keds | Necklace, Love Nail Tree
Photos by my brother
If my hair looks a little shorter and my smile more carefree, it’s because I shot this look just over a month ago, when I was still on break.
I never thought I’d be this homesick. Before I left for second semester, I told my parents not to buy me a plane ticket home for spring break. It’s not a holiday, it’s expensive, it’s only a week, and it doesn’t align with anyone else’s breaks, I reasoned. And after all, hadn’t I not even wanted to go home for the winter? Hadn’t the change I observed when I returned for Thanksgiving unnerved me so much? I was sure I wouldn’t mind waiting until May to return.
I was wrong. I didn’t realize how much home had grown on me over that short month between semesters. I didn’t realize that I had come to terms with the change, accepted this new definition of the town where I had spent most of my life. I had overestimated myself.
I miss home. I miss the days when my biggest stress was getting to work on time or agonizing over whether the vegan muffins I had baked would turn out okay. I miss the boisterous Asian holiday parties with beautiful food and intense rounds of mafia and ERS. I miss catching up with friends in coffee shops and local diners. I miss watching the blue sky through the second story great room window while lying contemplatively on the beige carpet of my house (yeah, I do weird things like that). I miss my family. I miss the familiar.
This semester hasn’t been the kindest. The classes that caused me the most pain last fall I now reflect on fondly—round two has been so much more demanding. Anxiety is far from a foreign concept to me, but it’s never been this paralyzing. There were moments I was so stressed about my work, I couldn’t focus enough to actually do it. When I couldn’t do it, I only stressed more. It was a cruel paradox. I was a tangle of tension, sleep deprivation, fear—I was terrified of failing to meet my expectations.
The storm eventually broke. Time was my remedy—I didn’t feel better until I emerged from the pileup of exam dates and essay deadlines.
I wish I could say I emerged with new clarity, or some surefire way to conquer all my worries. The truth is that it’s an ongoing struggle. I can’t control what life throws at me. But I can take a deep breath and tackle everything one a time. I can pray for strength to meet my tasks. I can talk it through with friends. I can dress up, belt out Julie Andrews' My Favorite Things, and remain perceptive to everyday inspiration, like the quotes on magnets I stumbled upon in a bookstore this weekend:
A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.
I may be homesick, some of my classes may terrify me, but I’ll be okay.
After all, there’s no growing without growing pains.