Plans Change

I’m a planner. I try to be go-with-the-flow, but I like to have things planned. This is fine until something happens that sets my plan off course. As a result, I usually get super overwhelmed and emotional about even the smallest things that change my plans.

One of my goals for 2018 is to get better at handling stress and problems that come my way. However, unlike some of my other goals (like updating my blog every month), this one is not really measurable. Nevertheless, I know for fact that I have improved on this area.

That does not mean that I don’t still have bad days, and that I don’t still get emotional when my plans change. I definitely do, but those things occur less frequently than they did last year. One major factor that makes those happen is my emotions. I feel everything so deeply that if I have a lot going on, I’ll lose it at the smallest thing. I think I plan because it’s something I can usually control, unlike my emotions. That’s probably why it bothers me so much when my plans go awry.

Again, this is something I’m learning to manage. This semester, I was tasked to planning the field trip for the History Club. Well, based on popular vote, we were going to downtown Indianapolis. So, I planned it out. However, when I was officially scheduling things, there were some setbacks. One of them was entirely my fault, but the other one was uncontrollable. So, instead of getting super upset over it, I worked my options and my angle. We ended up having a really fun trip. We toured the Indiana Capitol building, the James Whitcomb Riley house, the Indiana War Memorial, ate lunch at City Market, and climbed the stairs to the top of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It was a super long but productive day, and I had people of the group tell me that they had fun. It wasn’t my original plan, but I was able to go with it, and we all had a great time.

This wasn’t my original thought for a post this week, but hey, plans change ;). I didn’t really have something scheduled, but I felt this needed to be written this week. Things don’t always go the way you expect. While that can be rough, I’m here to remind you that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel, to be upset, to get overwhelmed. But it’s also okay to cancel plans or make new ones. Honestly, it was not my original intention to come to Ball State. But this has been one of the best change of plans. I love where I’m at, the people I’ve met, the classes I’ve taken, and the things I’ve done.

As much as I enjoy writing advice-type posts, this post is as much (if not more) for me than for anyone else. I need to give myself a constant reminder that things happen. It’s okay to be upset about them. But it’s more important to continue to carry on. Learn to adapt to the change, and maybe even be excited about it.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, including plans changing. Even if you don’t like something at the time, it can be used to teach a lesson or build experience. Last year when I wrote my Life Update blog post, I had an internship but not the scholarship I was wanting. This year, I have neither of those things. After the end of last summer, I thought about applying for the same internship again. But then other things came up, and I changed my plans. I’m open to the idea of interning again next summer, but we’ll see how things go.

It’s so difficult to be in control. There are so many things that can change, go wrong, or even just not work. Being adaptive to when those things happen can help you overcome them easier. Just because something goes wrong does not mean that everything is wrong. In fact, it is in those rough moments that you need to remind yourself how fortunate you are. You have the opportunity to make a mistake, take a risk, whatever it may be. Yes, something went wrong, but at least you did something. You put yourself out there. So learn from your mistakes and improve on them.

Am I less stressed overall? Probably not. I am a college student with a full course load, a part-time job, and extracurricular responsibilities. However, I am learning to take planning less seriously and be more adaptive to change. I still have my weekly to-do lists of things that need to be done, but I’m not running myself ragged doing a million things every day. I have a pretty busy week, so I wrote myself a little Post-It note of one thing to focus on for each day. Then, if I accomplish the one main thing, I can relax or move on to something else. This gives me a form of control, but still allows me to adapt and do other stuff as well. And who knows? Depending on how productive I am on days, I could take care of multiple main things and have my plans change. Maybe I’ll just go with the flow then.

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