Mental Health, Student Life

Mind Maps and Color Coded Lists

My personal notebook is full of mind maps I create to sort out my thoughts for future writing projects and blog posts. My simple, faux black leather bound notebook is with me no matter where I go, accompanied by my dirty, striped pencil pouch and my makeup bag that almost always smells a little like weed. There are a few coins at the bottom of my bag and sometimes a loose hair tie for long nights on our campus library. I never clean my bag, just like my room, but still try to give it some sort of loose system so I don’t feel too scattered.

The majority of my life is structured like my bag. To an outsider, I look like a mess. I’m a paper hoarder, collecting every single assignment and mini quiz I get a B or higher on. I refuse to take notes on my laptop and always end up carrying two or three notebooks everyday because different subjects need their own space for notes. I haul around a huge ASUS laptop covered in stickers around campus every single day, because what if I get inspired to write something on my blog? I live in a constant state of preparedness, making sure I have everything I need, even if that means I have a huge ass backpack.

A lot of this need to be prepared stems from my own life of dealing with anxiety and debt. I worry constantly about not taking full advantage of my resources on campus, not absorbing everything I can from an instructor. I’m barely in my second year of college, and I’m already 13k in debt. From my estimations, I’m going to be around 40-50k in debt if I graduate within five years, a heavy weight imposed on my 20k a year family for the sake of higher education.

I’m stressed. I’ve put such a weight on myself and set the bar so high that I can’t breathe. The stress is starting to take over not only the messy organization of my backpack, but my entire life. I can’t sit still. I can’t enjoy my weekend. I’d much rather work in the library to guarantee the grade I’m looking for.

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