This week has been a slower week in terms of a schedule, but ironically quite a bit more hectic in terms of “big life moments.” To give some context, it’s good to know that in the city things can get really overwhelming all of a sudden if you don’t keep them in check. A late bus makes you wait out in the cold, a train gets rerouted to anywhere but where you’re going, or the weather decides that it’s going to snow in October out of nowhere. All of these were my reality at some point or another last week! In the background of all of this, I have also been job hunting for months now and, let me tell you, it’s exhausting and often unrewarding. In our Professional Seminar class we recently had a panel of Chicago Semester alumni who validated the struggle that is job hunting. Leaving that class was on one hand gratifying because I had finally felt seen in this struggle but on the other hand I felt utterly hopeless because they didn’t say this stress was going to end any time soon. That, in combination with the string of inconveniences that city life can bring, about had me strung out at the end of last week.
I’m a big believer in that perspective is almost everything when it comes to experience so I started to reroute a lot of this frustration and exhaustion into something more positive. When my bus was running late in the morning, I could walk across the street and get a warm donut and coffee from Stan’s. When the weather decided it was going to snow, I could dress a bit warmer and take the beautiful snow-covered walk through Grant Park to decompress. I’ve learned that your environment is what it is, but how you react to it can make all the difference. In a way, I feel like this positive redirection has paid off because just when I felt like throwing in the towel: I got a full time job after graduation! With this weight off of my shoulders I am more clearly able to see past minor day to day inconveniences and am able to harness them. “I can’t believe my bus is late again” now automatically becomes “I get to have a donut this morning!”.
While this may not have been a riveting read, I truly believe that relating to the world around you positively is crucial, especially in Chicago. Living in discomfort is sometimes optional and in a city that very often puts you out of your comfort zone, it’s up to you to choose it as an opportunity for growth and maturity. In the same vein, I want to leave you with a quote from Willie Nelson: “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”
Until next time!