Jumbo Steps: Helium

2/7/16 – Medford/Somerville, MA – CAPTION poses for a headshot on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

There aren’t any clouds here in Sunny SoCal, so I’ve created my own. And right now, I’m dancing on it. Just me, myself and I. On Cloud 9.

I didn’t intend on coming home. But then I did a thing. On Saturday evening, JetBlue schlepped me to California a mere seven hours after I’d purchased my ticket. An impetuous act, sure, but a necessary one indeed.

I’ve never done something like this, so my hasty decision really underlines my reasoning behind it.

The stories in this column embody the sentiment behind its title. I write about particular baby steps I’ve taken at Tufts — those ones involving specific triumphs and challenges that most of us, including me, often sweep under the rug. To this point, some articles’ topics aren’t the most pleasant to write or read about. This is one of them.

I returned because I was imploding. I missed my family. My attempt at “adulting” this semester — by decreasing how much I communicated with my parents — utterly backfired. A recent article I wrote unloaded a hefty dose of confusion and contention onto my social circle. I ate alone more than I cared to admit. I wasn’t sleeping well. I would blast my go-to cry-fest song, Shawn Mendes’ masterpiece, “A Little Too Much,” on repeat. I began making excuses for not showing up at club meetings and events. I hadn’t visited Mental Health Services since last semester, and it’d been months since I last saw my shrink from back home.

It all culminated (of course) during midterms week: my Wednesday night homework was to write a draft essay on a novel I’d just finished reading and to start studying for my biology test (all due the next day, all just after having taken a Spanish midterm).

I ended up sulking uphill to Houston Hall and plopping onto a friend’s bed. My breakdown lasted for four hours. Everything caught up to me. I froze. I couldn’t even consider picking up my book or study guide that night.

But here comes the silver lining to my Cloud 9. I arose the next day, and, on four hours of sleep, wrote my draft on post-war consumerism and memorized how sucrose travels via phloem.

A student gave a positive review on my peer-edited essay, and I slaughtered my way through that test. The next day, I passed out on the floor in a friend’s room, awoke the next day, bought my ticket and began to make things right again.

I sunned at the beach, saw my shrink, lunched with high school buddies and told a friend some other stuff that’d been eating at me for half a decade.

I’m not fishing for any consolation with this article. So, why drag you through what my past month has been like? Simply, to tell you you’re not alone.

Keep persevering, talking, journaling, praying, hugging, tolerating and understanding. Most importantly, shed only tears of joy, lest something else makes you cry for any other reason.