It’s summertime. For first-year IBCoMers, we have had a good 3 weeks of not having to study. It’s a time when international students come back to their home countries and spend the summer with their loved ones. I also chose to go back to Vietnam. But unlike other students planning to leave the Netherlands at the end of June or during July, I’m not going until the 20th of August…This means I get to spend my summer here, which is fascinating to think about, but a bit lonely, considering that the majority of my friends already left the Netherlands. It’s ironic that while I was still in term 4 of my study, I yearned for the summer break to come. But when it’s already there, I feel quite lost about what should be done to make my summer meaningful and productive. It’s not that I don’t have any plans, it’s just that lately, I’ve been indulging myself in an unhealthy lifestyle that I no longer feel like doing according to my summer plan. From having an unhealthy eating diet, staying up late to rarely working out, I gradually fall into negative emotional spirals and lose motivation in keeping up with healthy routines and habits. After reveling in some good night outs with friends, I am again left with my own problems that I’ve been procrastinating to deal with. Yes, I even procrastinate dealing with my procrastination problem. What a lovely mess to come home to. This summer is supposed to be filled with motivation, new discoveries, and new friends, but so far, it hasn’t lived up to any of my expectations.
But if one thing, this summer has taught me the meaning of self-love. As much as people romanticize self-love, saying that you should not care about what others think of you and love yourself more, it is not an easy process. It is more than treating yourself nicely, eating whatever you like, and watching Netflix whenever you want. Self-love is establishing boundaries and letting go of people or things that no longer help you grow which can be painful. Therefore, only when you acknowledge your own flaws, do you feel comfortable enforcing new behaviors in your daily routines.
As hard as it is to pull myself together and gain control of my life again, I’m making small efforts and trying to keep that momentum going every day. I start by cleaning my own room and planning a ‘project30’ to keep myself occupied this summer. Inspired by one of my friends, Project30 compiles the main things you want to do a day. It can be drinking 1.5L of water, exercising for 45 minutes, or reading a book for 30 minutes. Keep doing that for 30 days and you’ll be surprised at the results that you may get. All I’m trying to say is that the summer has just begun, and there is still plenty of time for you to curate it the way you want. But it would be helpful if you track your progress along the way as well.
Finally, for those whose plan is to have the best summer ever, keep up the good work and enjoy your summertime!
Author: Quynh Trang Le
Editor: Phoebe Elliott
Visuals by: Alisa Mahaletska