What Helps

Even for “normal” people, it is really important to have tools and stuff to do that calms you down. Here are mine, and if you want to borrow any of them feel free.

1.) DOGS. I’ve grown up with them and honestly I miss my dogs more than I miss a lot of people sometimes. Up here I got involved in the Dog House, which raises guide dogs for Susquehanna Service Dogs. I was a puppy hugger, so for three weeks, twice a week, I just got to sit and hold four week old puppies. It was right after the play had ended, so I was bored and stressed and honestly just wanted Thanksgiving break to happen already. The dogs were comforting and they reminded me of home.

2.) My friends, both here (see To My Fellow Dickinsonians) and from home. No matter where y’all are or how weird our conversations are, know that I miss you like crazy and I’m so happy to know you.

3.) Exercise. Endorphins are good things. They have even done studies that prove exercising reduces stress and helps relieve symptoms of depression. Also it’s a good break to get outside or listen to music and just mindlessly do something besides work for a while.

4.) Music. It’s a great distraction. Since I was 8 it always helped me calm down, whether it be listening, playing, or even just singing to myself or serenading my friends. I also sometimes sing to myself without knowing it which my friends often call me out on. I often just walk and listen, and thing about good things.

5.) Think of a happy place. More on mine later, but think of some place you feel 100% safe and happy and imagine you are there and try to remember how it feels. Focus on it for a little. Make a picture of it your background.

6.) Breathe.

7.) Remind yourself that you are safe and that people love you.

8.) Find a mantra. It’s only a few words that you repeat to yourself when you feel not great. Some of mine are, “just for today,” “I am safe,” and “I got through it before and I can do it again.”

9.) Reach out. Talk to someone. People want to help you and no one should have to go through this alone.

10.) Treat yourself. I’m really into coloring. Like the adult mindfulness coloring books? I have a box up here with markers and pencils and books, and when I’m stressed my friends and I will just watch movies and talk and color and eat chocolate and lime tortilla chips (not together). We’ve spent many Saturdays like this. If you need recommendations on coloring books, I’m an expert.

Noli timere, friends. Stay great.

~ Addie

 

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To my fellow Dickinsonians

This might get insanely sappy and emotional but I absolutely have to write this post, so I apologize in advance.

As I was packing to leave for school, I brought all of my favorite books and a ton of nail polish and a ridiculous amount of movies. One of my friends called me out on it, and I said it was because I was going to be alone and not make friends and I would have to sit in my room all day. Naturally, she told me I was dumb and a total catch, one of which is true.

I came to school three days before actual orientation for an event called pre-orientation, which is where you sign up for an interest group in something that you like, and you spend the whole three days with your group. I picked theater, and spent that entire week with the performing arts groups. A month later we were talking about living together sophomore year, and we spent every waking minute together. After only a few weeks, it felt like I had known them my whole life. I felt more close to them than most of the people I had known since kindergarten.

The first semester is hard. No one can really tell you what it is going to be like, because everyone is different. I know people who were fine after a week, and then people who still weren’t sure after winter break if they wanted to come back at all.

But know this. You are never the last one to miss home, and everyone gets sad and lonely and scared. Everyone adjusts at different paces, and just because yours is longer does not mean that you are crazy or less worthy of being there. The first time I visited Dickinson I had the feeling that I was meant to be here. And I got involved. I know being alone and doing nothing makes me anxious, so I joined choir and the student-run theater group and made amazing friends. The people I met made it bearable because I wasn’t alone, no matter how much of a burden I thought I was going to be.

So to my squad, thank you. You helped me out of my slumps, held my hand through the “periods,” and sat with me while I cried. You told me it was okay, and that no one was going to leave my side. And you didn’t. And it worked because I¬†will always do the same for you. You all made it worth staying, and it terrifies me to think where I would be without you.

Love always,

~ Addie

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