A blog on a Sunday, you might wonder why!
Weekends should be time to relax, yet there is enough to report on for today.
Yesterday was an eventful day. It was the second open day of University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, and the only one I was able to attend due to my temporary sickness. The day lasted from 8.30 till 15.30 for me, a VERY long day considering my physical state. However, due to scheduling necessity, I would also have a dinner appointment with a group of friends afterwards around 19.00pm. A full day, even if I would be functioning to my liking.
For this open day, I was scheduled to work together with a dear teacher of mine to give/present the “student for a day” presentations for the whole day. Four rounds in total in which the teacher gives a short class on one of the first-year subjects while the student adds a bit of student perspective to the conversation. I was very happy with this scheduling and very excited to work closely with a loved teacher and have a proper schedule and purpose during this day! I made some proper preparations to reduce my chances of coughing throughout my talks and everything went surprisingly smooth!
While standing in front of these full classes, I was able to voice how I truly felt about this study and what it means to me. I purposefully did not prepare any type of speech and decided to speak from the heart. It was a very freeing experience for me as it helped me to put a lot of things and feelings about this study into perspective. With every new group that arrived, my talk changed piece by piece. I found what truly mattered to me and parts of this study that truly excite and challenge me. I was able to listen to the concerns of the first group and change my talk to match the needs of these prospective students more.
At the end of the open day, I was truly – in the full meaning of the word – exhausted. Physically and mentally I had pushed myself too far and was almost unable to stand at this point. However, the sense of fulfillment that I felt was intense. I felt like I had truly stood there with purpose and that I was able to excite those students who needed a little push, while providing clarity and perspective to the students who showed a lot of scepticism. I felt challenged by these critical questions in the best way!
At the end of the open days, I had a small conversation with the teacher I had the pleasure of working with, and she gave the exact feedback that gave a little spring in my step (maybe not literally, because there was no spring left in my body). Her paraphrased words were “you knew exactly what to say in a clear and concise way, and I would not have been able to say it better”, and I know from experience she meant those words with every fiber of her being.
I felt incredibly validated and loved for a skill that I pride myself on. I left that open day with a little bit more confidence and purpose.
Now, of course, this is not quite where the day ended. After taking a nap on a picnic blanket in the grass, which I prepared for, it was time for the dinner! This is where the title of this blog comes in to play.
In the past, I would go to this dinner and wait for everyone to take the initiative in saying “it is getting late, let us ask for the bill!”. I am not the type of person to inconvenience others and would rather power through it to make others happy.
Today, I had decided I needed to respect my own boundaries just as much as I respect those of others. I have been overworked leading up to this self development period to the point where I was having intense intestinal and stomach issues. I was not able to eat properly for months, getting nauseous at the first bite when being too overstimulated or stressed (of which the threshold was VERY low).
During this dinner, I decided to put my own health first. I knew I was extremely tired and “stressed”, so I decided to order a salad to keep it light. Unfortunately, as always happens, they were out of salads and I settled for chicken saté. Though I was not able to finish my plate, I was able to eat half of it and give the rest to one of my friends. I internally celebrated this victory! It was HUGE to me.
Right after everyone was finished and had 2 or 3 drinks, I explained to the group that I would be leaving as I would not be able to enjoy the evening any longer. I told them they could stay if they wanted to, but that I would rather meet up some other time when I was full of energy to properly enjoy their company.
This was the first time I ever cut a get-together short.
I expected disappointment, yet most seemed perfectly fine with the situation after I explained why. No hurt feelings, no “aahhh come on! Just one more drink!”. I felt good.
And to me, THAT is social responsibility. To show you care, to show you want to be there, but not push yourself to the point where you lose yourself for the (expected) joy of others. It paid of.
Yes, I am EXHAUSTED today. I am fully drained and healing on this Sunday. Yet, I did everything exactly how I felt was right, without having to deny anything.
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