A Reflection On Self-Improvement

Last night, I imported all of my Wordpress blog content over to the blog section on this site. As I was browsing through the archives, I came across an unpublished draft from December 2006, and it just struck me to see how much I've changed from age 20 to age 29. To give some context, that post was written a month before leaving to study abroad in London (which was also my first overseas trip). I was just wrapping up the first semester of my junior year of college at USF, where I was rooming with my friend Steena, who I had known since high school. 

This was a really difficult time in my life. I never really found my place at USF, and I was also dealing with a lot of health problems related to an untreated thyroid disorder. That's part of what sparked my decision to study abroad. Three years of college had passed by without me really making an impact on anything or anyone, and I had this romantic notion that getting far away was the only way to shake up my life and help me figure out my path. Here's an excerpt of the post:

Not only do I want to change myself physically, I also want to change my attitude about certain things. Steena has made a TON of new friends this year, and I guess in a way I’m a little bit jealous. Or maybe not jealous, but just sad/mad at myself that I didn’t put myself out there like she has. I really admire the way that she’s just gone out there and has been very outgoing with people. Last year and the year before, we were in the same boat. I just wish that I had the balls to be like her. I have made some new friends this year, but not that many. And not the kind I can just call up and say, “hey, wanna do something?”

I’m sure people would probably want to do something if I asked them, but I can never bring myself to do it. I have the mindset that people are already in their own cliques and that there’s no room for one more. It’s probably not really like that, but it feels that way. Once people introduce me to their friends, however, (like with Steena’s) I’m perfectly normal/outgoing with them. It’s just that somewhere along the line, I have lost the ability to make good friends without the middleman.

I suppose that, in a way, I’ve always been a little bit shy about meeting new people. But it was never to the point that I felt the inability to simply introduce myself. It’s like my social skills are dwindling. We’ve tried to meet people at Popscene, for instance, but I’m not usually the one who instigates the conversation. If I am, it’s only because I’m pushed to. I hate that. I want to be the one who is at ease with everyone, who is everyone’s friend.

I’m hoping that I’ll be ‘revitalized’ in London. I’m looking at is as a way to start anew. Since I will be going there completely alone, I’ll sort of be forced to be social with people. I really want to meet a lot of locals as well. I want to explore London as much as possible, unlike what I’ve done at USF. It’s my third year here, and I don’t have much to show for it. I don’t feel like a local. I don’t feel like I know the city at all...it’s just a casual acquaintance. I haven’t really given it a chance, and I don’t want to do that with London. I want to find some sort of independence there, but at the same time, I want to develop new friendships. Not to replace my current ones, but as a supplement.
Steena & I during college

Steena & I during college

In the nine years since writing that post, I'm proud to report that I've nearly become the person that 20 year old Amanda hoped she would be. I'm so much more confident, social, and outgoing, with an amazing network of human beings all over the world. 

Coachella 2015 crew

Coachella 2015 crew

It was by no means a quick/easy process to become present-day Amanda, and I still feel like there are a ton of things I can improve about myself, but the point of this post is to put it out there (to whoever's reading this, friend or stranger) that you have the power to make big changes in your life if there are aspects that you're unhappy with. And it's OK if that process is a gradual one. Find the people who inspire you, and try to emulate what makes them successful. To that point: Steena Villamil, thanks for being such an inspiring friend and roommate over the years. :)

Steena & I in Mumbai, 2014

Steena & I in Mumbai, 2014



My Freshman Year Of Life

I just wanted to take a moment to give a huge shout out to Nathalie Cazeau over from the amazing website, My Freshman Year Of Life. Earlier today, she reached out to me with the most heartwarming LinkedIn message I've ever received, which was prompted by my post from a couple days ago.

Seriously, I was on the verge of tears myself after reading this! So I took a look through her website, and saw what an incredible resource it is for those of you who are still on your journey to figuring out post-college life/your career paths (a.k.a. the dreaded quarter-life crisis). As she says in her About section:

This blog focuses on embracing the journey to your success. Whether you are pursuing your dream career, trying to build a business, or relocating to a new city, the first couple of months out of college are not easy. In fact, they can be downright unbearable. But don’t fret! The highs and lows of life make you stronger and they make the journey all the more memorable.

It's definitely worth following, no matter if you're unemployed or have already established a career path. There's always room to grow, and to be inspired by what other people are doing in life. I dunno about you guys, but oftentimes when I hear about extremely successful people who are at the top of their field, I feel completely intimidated; like I'm personally not capable of achieving that level of success.

What sets My Freshman Year Of Life apart from other career-focused blogs, and what excites me the most, is that it's all about being transparent about the struggles you have to endure to become successful, while simultaneously giving intelligent and manageable solutions to work through those struggles.

And to end this on a semi-unrelated note, I was listening to Porter Robinson while reading her message so I thought it'd be fitting to dedicate "Fresh Static Snow" to My Freshman Year Of Life :)