5 Life Lessons Learned This Week

This week has been insane. A freakin’ roller coaster of emotions and adventures and lessons learned. This week started in Bryce Canyon Utah. As you know, my body hasn’t exactly been functional lately, but on Sunday, it allowed me to hike in some of the coolest country I’ve ever seen. Walking around giant hoodoos and excited tourists, I found myself amazed at how incredible this world is. Fast forward to Monday night, I reunited with some of my best friends in my old college town. Food was had, jokes were made, it was amazing. It was honestly the happiest I’d been in a long time.

Now let’s fast forward again to Wednesday. Getting ready for my thesis defense, emotions were HIGH. Crying for no reason, feeling sick to my stomach, and just anxious as all get out. It was crazy, and honestly not very fun. And honestly it taught me so many lessons. As hard as it was to get through this week, I’m grateful for the experience. I’m grateful for the strength I have found and the support I’ve been given. And I’m grateful for these lessons.

lessons hike

5 Life Lessons I Learned This Week

Shit happens.

As I was getting ready for my thesis defense Wednesday morning, I came to realize I’d screwed up the scheduling. The computer had interpreted the time for which I scheduled my defense to be 2pm PST, when I really meant it to be 2pm MST. So, everyone on my committee received the wrong time! I didn’t realize it until THAT MORNING. Needless to say, I freaked out. Luckily, my adviser is incredible and helped me through the situation. Also, having friends in the administration department doesn’t hurt either! So the lesson is, shit happens. We all have to deal with it. Sometimes we deal with it well, sometimes we don’t. But it always has a way of working itself out.

Have faith in yourself and the universe.

In the days leading up to my thesis defense, I (surprisingly) was not incredibly anxious. I had the support of my family, friends, and faculty. I knew I had done good work and the defense would go okay. But, the morning of, I freaked out. Not just because of my scheduling faux pas, but because I was second guessing myself. I was scared what kind of questions they could ask. What if I didn’t know something? What if I freaked out in the middle of the presentation? Then I reminded myself: it’s okay to not know the answer to a question. I also reminded myself of all the presentations I’ve given that have gone WELL. I also thought about how, again, things always have a tendency to work themselves out. And that’s pretty darn cool. 

It’s okay to cry.

Wednesday morning, I was a wreck. Although I thought I was doing okay at first, but then I sat down to breakfast with my mom and had to hold back tears. I wasn’t sad about anything. I was scared. And I was nervous as hell. My anxiety was not only wreaking havoc on my mental state, but on my body as well. I HURT. So bad. Every part of me. And heading into a big presentation, that’s really not the state you want to be in.

On top of all of that, I had screwed something up, and that’s the worst thing to happen the morning of. So, when I got back to the hotel room by myself (I’m don’t like crying in front of people), I broke down. For a good 5 minutes, I just let it flow. Then, I felt better. I got back to business and started taking care of things that needed to be done. Crying is how my body reacts to stress. It doesn’t make me weak or crazy, it’s just how I am. So I honored that, let it happen, and moved on.

There is more to life than school or work.

Through all of this planning and freaking out, there’s one thing that stuck in my mind: this isn’t life or death. It’s a presentation. THAT’S IT. Nothing about it determines my value as a human, my character, or my life. I saw a pair of babies in the lobby of the hotel that morning, and that was a great reminder. I’m 24, single, and have the rest of my life ahead of me. Literally this whole thesis defense thing was maybe two hours of my life. That’s nothing in the grand scheme of things. So, unless you’re a heart surgeon or something (if you are, you’re incredible), your job or school stuff is really just stuff. It’s not life or death. It doesn’t determine your merit. You are incredible simply because you are YOU.  

At least you’re not Mark Zuckerberg.

I don’t know if y’all say, but Mark Zuckerberg was under some HEAT this week. Understandably so, but seeing pictures and video of him testifying in front of congress really put things into perspective for me. Specifically that picture of him almost completely surrounded by journalists. Talk about pressure! I think ole Marky could stand to learn a few lessons himself.

Honestly, seeing that really helped me feel better about my own stressful presentation. His company affects and the mistakes it makes affect billions of people! That’s pressure. My little Master’s thesis, while incredibly important to me, doesn’t affect billions of people. And I’m super okay with that.

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52 comments / Add your comment below

    1. Congratulations on going back to school! That’s not an easy decision to make! I’m not sure I would’ve gone back if I’d taken some time off after undergrad, so I’m in awe of those who decide to go back! It’s incredible! Good luck!

  1. Agree with all 5!! I used to stress out over everything and I’ve slowly learned to just take it easy and go with the flow.

    1. It’s definitely a process! I’m glad you’ve figured it out, because it’s not easy! Thanks for reading! ❤️❤️

  2. This has definitely been a shit happens week for me and tears dropped! I learned not to take yourself too seriously. Life throws too many curve balls!

    1. I’m so sorry you’ve had a rough week! Luckily, it’s over and life keeps moving forward. It’s so hard not to take yourself too seriously, but it’s so important! Great point. I hope you’re doing okay now! ❤️

  3. Thank you for sharing this article! I did not know but it was actually much needed for me to read something like that! I couldn’t agree more with all 5 lessons!!

    1. I’m so glad you found some value in it! I’m sorry if you’ve been having a rough go of things lately but you’re definitely not alone!!

  4. I recalled one quote by Will Smith “The Things that have been most valuable to me, I did not learn in school”. And yes, shit happens everyday actually😁

    1. Haha I love it! Thank you so much for checking out this post! I hope you don’t have too much “shit” happening these days! Haha

  5. Love this!! I have got to go more with the flow, things will happen and life will still go on! I must let myself cry when necessary and enjoy each day to its fullest. Glad I wasn’t ol’ Mark the other day!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad you found some value in it too! Some shit is definitely worse than others, but it really seems to me that things usually have a way of working themselves out!

    1. Haha right?! I mean, things really don’t seem so bad when you look at what was happening with him and Facebook last week!

  6. Some of these lessons will carry you through the rest of your life. It is especially important to remember that there is more to life than work or school. Congrats on defending your thesis! And yes, shit happens! The only thing we have control of when it does is our reaction to it!

    1. I think so too! And I think we all continue to learn lessons all the time! Living with a chronic illness has forced me to to keep things in perspective and try not to sweat the little things. Especially the school or work stuff more than I have to! Also, thank you so much! I’m glad it’s over! Now just have to finish classes and I’m done!

  7. Having faith in the universe is something that I have struggled with over my short thirty years on the planet. About a year ago I read a book that basically said the universe delivers what you ask for and it was like something clicked. Ever sine then I have tried very hard to be clear and conscious and selfless in what I am asking the universe for.

    Lovely post with great advice! x


    1. It’s definitely something I’m still working on as well! I think it’s definitely a practice, a work in progress if you will. Thank you so much for reading and I’m so glad you found value in it!

  8. I love your optimism. I really hate that feeling of pressure and nothing seems to be going right. I just want to skip over whatever that is. But I’m glad things worked out for you, and that sometimes we really have to go through a lot of hardships because that’s what molds us into better version of our selves.

    1. I’m totally the same way! Life would be so much easier if we didn’t have to deal with those times! But, I’m a firm believer (at least, most of the time), that we’re better people because we go through the hard times! I hope everything is going okay for you! And if not, I have no doubt it will clear up soon!

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post Shannon! I found myself relating to so much! Shit definitely does happen and I love that you just owned it! I react to stress with tears as well, it’s how I release the tension build up and hey, it is detoxing too – I couldn’t agree more that crying does not make a person weak (in fact I find it takes strength to let go and just be in the moment, letting out the emotion so we can get on with business)
    I look forward to reading more of your posts, you have a fab blog!

    1. thank you so much!! I’m so glad you you were able to relate to this post! I agree, sometimes the strongest thing we can do is let ourselves actually feel and work through our emotions! Sometimes, though, I really wish I didn’t react to stress with tears haha.

  10. These are great tips! I totally agree with #2 – have faith in myself and the univserse sometimes its so easy to forget those step.s #5 I literally died laughing.. Thank goodness I am not him but than again he is rich

    1. Haha right? Like the being rich would be awesome, but I literally never want to have to testify in front of the senate! And I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! Thanks for reading!

  11. Congrats on finishing your thesis! And it sounds like a stressful couple of day, but youre so right. What’s a couple of days or hours in the big perspective? Tears are totally fine and usually, a stress relief for me too, haha.

    1. Thank you so much! It was definitely stressful, but definitely worth it! And it’s incredible how therapeutic crying can be isn’t it?

  12. You learned quite few valuable lessons this week . These views are breathtaking . In life I think it is all about perspective because as you say shit happens it is all about how we react to it. you just have to keep going and get through it however you can .

    1. Thank you so much! Hiking was an incredible way to start the journey last week, and I got to explore Arches National Park a little too at the end of the week! Perspective is key to everything, sometimes it’s just harder to keep that perspective! That’s why it’s a practice!

  13. School work can be extremely frustrating, especially if you’ve been working on it forever and you just want it over and done with. You’re right there is more than school or work and yes it is ok to cry, frustrations make emotions run high. We shouldn’t forget to have faith in ourselves especially when we are at our lows.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post! I think it’s valuable to share these lessons as we learn them, as we all have unique experiences and perspectives!

  14. LOL, you had me at “shit happens” 🙂 I also leave things up to the Universe! Do my best and whatever happens, happens.

  15. These are life lessons that I’m aways learning, especially as I’m contantly on the road travelling. You just have to realise that shit does happen and you can’t change this, and I have learnt so much more travelling than I ever did at school.

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