An Attempt to Recap the Year that was

I have been purposely delaying this piece.

Why? Honestly, I’m not even so sure myself. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to look back on the year that was, process every intrinsic moment that has happened from September to now, or maybe it was simply because I was too lazy and after a year of school I just needed some time off.

But what a year it has been.

Looking back at it now, here in May, I can say without a doubt I have learned so much about myself in these past nine months.

From opening up about my struggles with mental health, to earning opportunities to write here for MyUVicLife and the Martlet, I feel so grateful to every single person I have met in my short two years here in Victoria.

In September, when I found out that I was selected to be a student blogger for MyUVicLife, I knew this was my chance to share my story of battling mental health. After my post on How Counselling Changed My Life was published, I received numerous texts from old friends from high school, family friends, track teammates, coaches, you name it. The words of support honestly brought tears to my eyes. It’s hard to put into the words the feeling I got that people felt comfortable sharing their battles with me.

However, I think this speaks to a larger issue unfolding right now in the international media landscape. In the spring, NBA all-stars DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love both put forth their own bravery to share their own demons of panic attacks and anxiety.

With professional athletes, who sometimes seem like invincible in the eyes of us ‘regular people’ that simply watch them dunk and shoot on TV, coming out more and more about dealing with issues we go through, too, makes me believe one day in the near future there will be no stigma around mental health. 

On a slightly different note, later in that month, I earned a Staff Writer job with UVic’s independent newspaper, the Martlet. Writing articles for a newspaper, working in a newsroom with like-minded people that love news and reporting it, was a dream come true.

Ever since I was a little kid, I pictured someone sitting at a coffee table, newspaper in hand, seeing my name in the by-line and reading my story every morning. Now, the Martlet doesn’t publish every day for that childhood vision to come to fruition, but the constant two week cycle of developing story ideas, interviewing or gathering material, and writing the story itself was thrilling.

Not to mention when you get to work with the best student journalists (yes, I’ll say it) in the country, it makes the job even more fulfilling. One of the things I learned about myself working at the Martlet was how much I need time alone. It’s not to say that I don’t get along with co-workers, but I get scared.

It’s a trend I’ve noticed about myself across work, school, or sport. 

I’ve noticed that I tend to get overwhelmed in prolonged social gatherings, and after an hour or two I find myself wondering how I can leave the event to re group my thoughts.

The constant pressure of facilitating discussion, having self-conscious thoughts about what I’m wearing, or what I say, and nerves I get about trying to enter conversation I find overwhelming.

After a story meeting, editorial meeting, or track practice, this year I found I need to get specific time alone to collect my thoughts. Most of the time I just sit in my room, with the lights shut off, and listen to music, write, or think alone. It’s a peaceful time that I learned this year to help me combat my own anxieties in social situations. 

Finally, on, I guess, a more happier note. I couldn’t have penned this piece without mentioning running. Yes, I wrote an article recently for MyUVicLife that chronicled our trip to CanWest Indoor Champs in Winnipeg, but I think the main points need to be mentioned again.

The success I’ve had, the breakthroughs I’ve seen, all have been made infinitely sweeter with the teammates on the Vikes. As the calendar turns to outdoor track season, from watching them in practice I know without a doubt, all my teammates will see breakthrough performances on the oval this summer.

I look forward to racing in Ottawa at the Canadian 10km road race nationals later in May, and continuing to write over the summer!

In the meantime, I wish you guys have a great summer, and hope to see you on campus in September.

  • Josh

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