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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Christmas trees in Schenley Plaza.
‘Christmas Day at Pitt’ gathers community for free meals, clothes and gifts
By Spencer Levering, Senior Staff Writer • December 8, 2023

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Christmas trees in Schenley Plaza.
‘Christmas Day at Pitt’ gathers community for free meals, clothes and gifts
By Spencer Levering, Senior Staff Writer • December 8, 2023

Fresh Perspective | Let’s Recap

Fresh Perspective is a biweekly blog about typical college experiences made strange by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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TPN File Illustration

As many of us do near the end of a month, we discuss what we accomplished, our likes and dislikes, what we hope to achieve in the following month and more. The R.E.C.A.P method, a form of reflection of the past month, does all of that and more while inspiring other people to implement new things into their lives.

R.E.C.A.P can stand for whatever fits best in your life at the moment. You take the first letter and share something that starts with that letter. For instance, “R” can stand for what you are reading, “E” can mean what you’re eating or what your favorite food was the past month, “C” can stand for what you are changing in the next month to better yourself, “A” can represent what lifestyle changes or mindset you are accepting and “P” might represent what you are proud of. There are many different interpretations of the word, but here is my September R.E.C.A.P.

Recommend

The one thing about my best friend is that she has a deep passion and love for watching TV. She is always talking about the new show she is watching and how I should watch it with her. As I am very picky with what show I like to spend my time watching, I usually turn down her request. 

However, I finally gave her show recommendation a chance, and I am so mad that I didn’t listen to her sooner.

If you are familiar with actor Jason Sudeikis, then you might know his show, “Ted Lasso.” The three-season show on Apple TV follows American football Coach Ted Lasso as he travels across the pond to coach AFC Richmond, a soccer team in the Premier League. Following the team’s journey through wins and losses, you will not watch this show without laughing. However, as funny as the show is, it is also heartfelt and makes you fall in love with every single character. The plot also touches on Lasso’s journey of navigating his anxiety, which touches on an important message. 

When my best friend and I sit down to watch this show, I always say to her, “Just one more” after an episode concludes, which always results in a couple of late nights. This is a show that will make you smile, laugh and cry all in one episode, so I highly recommend it.  

Embracing

Like many people experience, I have had a very shaky relationship with my body and how I look. I was constantly comparing myself to my smaller friends or girls I followed on social media. I began to think that I couldn’t date because I was bigger than most girls and worried that people wouldn’t find me conventionally attractive. I have learned, or I am trying to learn, how to embrace my body for what it is, especially as it changes. 

I am 5’9. There is no gap between my thighs and my arms jiggle when I raise them. I have a round face and short and chubby fingers. When I was younger, I hated all of those things. But I’ve learned to embrace them.

I love how tall I am and how much taller I am when I wear heels. It makes me feel strong and confident. My legs, which will always be bigger from sports and genetics, have let me dance with my friends and have carried me through really hard days. My arms might jiggle, but they let me embrace the people that I love most. I have a round face, but you see my double chin when I am laughing so hard I can’t contain myself. And my short and chubby fingers allow me to do what I love most — write. 

My body changes constantly. I am 21 years old and growing into a body that I want to love and embrace fully, and I know one day that will happen.

Changing

One thing I would like to change in October and the months to come is my relationship with alcohol and the party scene.

When I was an underclassman, I valued the weekends as they provided opportunities to go out with my friends and forget about any stressors in my life. I felt this pressure to go to bars every weekend and participate in a binge-drinking environment everyone else seemed to be in. I will admit it was fun for a while. I never partied in high school, so I finally felt like I had my chance to explore that side of college.

Looking back, I can see the damage I was doing to myself. Using alcohol as a temporary distraction from what was going on in my life was not only destroying my mental health but also my relationship with drinking and socialization at college.

Now, as a senior, I have learned my boundaries and that going out to bars, clubs or parties every weekend does not benefit my mental health, especially my anxiety. I have found new ways to enjoy my Friday and Saturday nights, such as hanging out with my roommates, watching movies or going out to eat. I still enjoy going out occasionally with my friends, but I have learned what makes my body and mind feel good as I am healing and changing my relationship with alcohol.

Appreciating

In September, I focused on making my environment reflect who I am and what I like. I now have my own room in my college house, and I spent the beginning of the school year making my room reflect who I am and what I want to feel when I enter the space. I collected posters and pictures, got pillows and blankets and filled my space with things that I love.

I appreciate this because when I come home from a long or stressful day, the second I enter my room, I feel safe. That environment is important to have in college, especially if you deal with anxiety. Many times over the past month as I have dealt with a lot more anxiety than normal, I came home to my room and immediately felt calm and at peace, which I will always appreciate.

Proud Of

Many of my friends would describe me as “too sentimental,” which I don’t take offense to because they are right. Since freshman year, I have talked about how we will be seniors and graduate college before we know it. Little did I know how fast this time would come.

So, as September started the countdown to graduation, I have become aware of how proud I am of myself and my friends for getting to our senior year. College is not easy, and we all went through our tough times, but we got to today, which means we have overcome all of our hardest days to get here.

As I am not wishing away the days — I know how fast graduation will come. But for now, I just want to be proud of myself and the friends that I love for getting to our senior year.

As the months come and go, implement the R.E.C.A.P. method into your own lives — I highly recommend it.

About the Contributor
Julia Smeltzer, Digital Manager
I'm Julia, a Senior majoring in Media and Professional Communications with a certificate in Digital Media and Professional Writing. This is my 4th  year working for The Pitt News and I hope to pursue a career in Journalism or Marketing!