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Alliah Zsarnett is a communication major who seeks herself by penning down her thoughts.

Hanging on the walls are certificates of sleep deprivations, tokens of countless doubts, and medals from a tired body. Instead of being proud, it stimulates a feeling of dissatisfaction as those were mere papers and metals—they can be torn off and go into rust. But they are reminders that I am once a favorite child, an achiever, and a dreamer.

Eighteen is a start-off phase in seeking the answers to whats and whys. It is where curiosity becomes a driving force until inevitable life changes are made. The simple "What am I living for?" multiplies into dozens of thoughts that stir a shift in mindset.

Last night, I had a 30-minute call with my grandmother about what it was like when she's at my age. From that, I concluded that humans have two choices to make: seek out the unknowns with the probability of losing track of path or remaining in the same bubble while having regrets.

She said that opportunities were limited at the time because of financial instability, and women had a designated becoming, only to be housewives. With no degree, she thinks of being unfit for any job; that is why she never tried anything and remained stuck with the socially constructed role of being a good mother.

Did she ever think of penning a different narrative of her story? The answer is no. Her fears swallowed the act of trying—of dreaming, should I say. It is sad to comprehend that I am also in the same state, afraid and overpowered by anxiousness.

The pandemic made me think of the unthinkable, contemplate, and uncover realities. My sense of achieving things is different from how I viewed it two years ago. Before, it was all about maintaining a high average and pushing myself to work harder. Now it is solely based on barely hanging on and appreciating the small wins.

Achievement is about getting out of bed and taking showers; it is about clicking the unmute button when told to speak in synchronous classes; it is about passing the requirements on time and remaining calm when the internet connection is unstable. My concept of real achievement is surviving every day.

This change of mindset also changed my goals. I remember having a two paged to-do list in my journal. It is funny how idealistic those were, a set of plans out of comparisons to people depicted as having the best life with their successful careers and luxurious Instagram feeds. Approval of people is my least priority.

Maybe, I drifted away from my sixteen-year-old self. I do not want to allow myself to be put under foul pressure and equate my sanity just to attain the congratulatory comments in a post. I want to seek the unknowns without making them known.

© 2022 creativezsatt

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