When I first got accepted into college I was more excited than anything in the world. I was accepted to my first-choice school (CalArts) as a result of my efforts to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. Back then I lived in a very different world compared to the world I live in now. Even though I had experienced transitions and hardships growing up, had participated in college programs, and had lived far away from home over long periods of time during previous summers, I did not expect what was to come when I first started school.

Most of my struggles had to do with my wellness being out of balance, and even though I could be hard on myself, I was able to accept me and my mistakes in order to get through them, one step at a time. Adjustment is a process. It requires experience and patience with oneself no matter how long it takes. In my blogs throughout the remainder of my school year I’m going to be talking about some personal struggles that I have overcome, struggles I’m still dealing with on a regular basis, how I’ve dealt and still deal with them all, and provide a sentence at the end of every blog that my fellow acceptance ambassadors like to call an “acceptance statement”.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Okay. Back up. What’s an acceptance ambassador? I am proud to be one: a student-leader who creates platforms of wellness, joy and acceptance for the students at my institute and anyone else who wants to listen! There are two platforms or communities that each acceptance ambassador creates for the I Am Acceptance community: an online-based one and a club-based one. If you’re reading this, then you’re getting the very first scoop from my online community! I’ll also blog about my club community as soon as it launches next school year. I am going to be trained this summer to create my own curriculum for this club at my college and I’m super stoked about it! But let me get back to my first year of college so far.

New Environments Are Bittersweet: My Personal Experience with the Wellness Triangle

It seems that whenever I am placed in a brand new environment, I forget all of the positive rituals and experiences I’ve previously had. I moved 3000 miles away from where I used to live (NY>CA), and as I entered this new chapter in my life , I had a hard time making the transition and getting used to being on my own. It was really hard to get on track right away or even in a short while in this new environment; everything around me was different than before.

I began to realize that this was the beginning of my becoming a grown-up (or something like that). Joking aside, this really IS how I began to learn how to take care of myself, because I started to live with the fact that I am the only one who truly knows how to take care of myself. Still, in many more ways than I would have guessed, I’m still trying to find a good balance among everything I have to juggle, and I’m learning once again that wellness is the key to it all.

I mean, can you really do your best every day if you’re not taking into consideration your own wellness? My discovery with this question is that I may have been able to get by without noticing what was wrong, but I definitely was not in top gear. So what’s one way to see where you’re at with your wellness? There’s something I use called the Wellness Triangle. I didn’t come up with this term; I learned about it in health classes in high school, but I’m going to explain it to you my way.

So this wellness triangle I speak of – it’s one third social health, one third mental health, and one third physical health. I know that these thirds in relation to our daily lives sound general, but they make sense when you think about how they all play a role in your life, where you think you’re lacking in any of them, and where you think you’re comfortable.

It may be hard to accept the things you lack, but no one is telling you to change who you are here. I just want you to acknowledge your true feelings and learn to accept that you can get better in the areas where you feel weaker. I want you to be as healthy as you can be, and to keep that in check as best you can. It’s all a process. Trust me when I say it is okay if you feel you’re moving at a slow pace. As long as you get there eventually, that’s all that matters. I’m not about to say “You have to do this or you won’t be healthy,” because I don’t know your life. I don’t know who you are or why you’re even reading this, but I DO know that you want to be happy, and that this is one way you can keep your wellness in check. Here are some things I’ve been doing to slowly get my gears running again, and to identify what part of the triangle they fit into:

  • Adding new music onto a playlist every day or so (mental)
  • writing/learning a song every day (mental)
  • working out 3-4 times a week for at least a half hour (physical)
  • making a weekly schedule with a white board (mental)
  • seeing friends at least every other day outside of my dorm room (social)
  • cooking my own food more often (physical)

These things have all helped me adjust to college in one way or another because they work for me. They cause less chaos in my life and help daily activities go as smoothly as possible while also helping me be as happy and healthy as possible every day. The best part about this all is that they are helping me to be more consistent. This doesn’t mean that you should do things that make you feel uncomfortable. Over time you may decide to try those things.

Adjusting to college is very bittersweet, because at times you will think nothing is going your way while at the same time you’re going out, probably to do something new, fun and exciting. You end up saying “WOW! I need to get my s*** together” more often than you ever have before, because you’re juggling a million things at once, or not doing much at all, or being somewhere in the middle when everything still doesn’t feel right. But eventually everything really does feel right, and you owe it to yourself to get to the point of feeling healthy and happy in many aspects. Do this for you, because you deserve the best and you deserve to be happy. My heart goes out to everyone struggling with their happiness right now. You’re not alone. Adjusting has definitely felt more bitter than sweet a lot of times this year, but thanks to some really amazing people in my life, my music, and some self awareness about wellness,  I know I’m going to be okay. You will be, too, friend :). No matter what.

I accept myself for not adjusting to college quickly because I know it takes time for me to adjust to new environments and I will be okay because of my will to pursue happiness, the amazing people in my life, and my passion to pursue life as an artist even if I am struggling.


-Bart Z.F.