What It Means to be Human (11/27/05; revised
Over Thanksgiving break, I found myself depressed.
About school, mostly—how much I hated Organic Chem, how it kept me from
enjoying my life more fully. Instead of hanging out with friends, I was at
home obsessing over NMR spectroscopy and trying to ingrain in my head the
reactions of carbonyl compounds. It’s hard, and it wears you down.
I broke into tears at my family Thanksgiving dinner. My
aunt gave me very good words of wisdom, things which I already consciously
knew, but somehow let their meaning slip away from me for a time. She told
me that we each make our own reality, and the reason why I was upset was
because I was focusing on my schoolwork and stress and all those negative
feelings, when I shouldn’t be. Rather, I needed to look at the whole
picture. In the grand scheme of things, this one test, this one paper, meant
NOTHING. There are so many bigger things out there that I should worry
about. And I should focus on my blessings, and all the people who love me.
I know this. But it’s hard to keep oneself balanced. I
put my heart into everything I do. I become completely absorbed and see
nothing else, no end, until my goal is reached.
So, I have struggled. This is possibly the toughest
semester of my undergrad career—and there’s a lot to be said for not being
completely overwhelmed thus far.
My fiancé gave me the same advice that my aunt did. He
also told me that at some point, everyone feels the way I did/
At which point, I realized, that this is what it means
to be human.
We cannot achieve perfection; we are always struggling
against ourselves to reach our goals, our highest ideal self. But to
counteract these forces, we need to rely on others from time to time to pick
us up when we need it.
A hard lesson to swallow for some; it is for me, even
now. But I am getting better. And relying on others for strength when
necessary is not a sign of weakness. Such interactions make us stronger. I
was vulnerable at Thanksgiving, and my family was there for me. They all
lent their support and prayers; I felt it. It is wonderful to be loved so
I don’t even need to tell you, then, how I feel now.
There is hope, and the semester end draws near. I am happy, I am loved, and
I am blessed. If this is what it means to be human, then I will take it with