Reality Check

by USjournal Student Writer: Rebecca Darrup, Cross-Country Cowgirl

Timeís flying, isnít it? I was on the phone with my family today while I was working my horses, and through the conversation discovered that my siblings have just over two months of school left before summer break. On the other hand, I realized that Iíve got less than one month until I graduate from college... thatís just crazy to me! While the course work and life requirements can get heavy and stressful, it will be do-able, and although Iím finding myself gritting my teeth at certain issues, I just donít want to wish away this last month.

Whatever point youíre at in your school career, Iím sure you can relate! Each new step brings some indescribable feelingsÖ even when youíre ready to move on or to go to the next school, you start to find a knot in your stomach over leaving what youíve known for so long. I remember being so excited to graduate high school and head to New Mexico for college. While that far outweighed anything else, there was also a sense of sadness and a little bit of fear when I would realize Iíd done something for the last time. Itís that way again now, only a little more so because I love this part of my life (or at least most of it) more than I did high school. Despite the fact that stressful days seem to drag on, looking back on the years makes me realize how fast itís all gone. Then again, a forgotten but looming deadline can snap me right back to paying attention to how short a day really is! Sometimes, I get so caught in the stress and the rush that I lose track of whatís right in front of me; whatís real and whatís most important can get blurry when my emotions or my mind get racing and feel out of control. Itís not a good feeling, but I know Iím not the only one whoís familiar with it.

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

As conceited as this will sound, I like to think of myself as a pretty good goat tyer. This rodeo event has become my favorite, and while I like barrel racing and breakaway roping too, the goat tying is the biggest adrenaline rush and might take the most skill. Iím not the best at it by far, but Iíve come a long way from where I was as a freshman. Some days, though, I feel like I canít tie worth a used tissue, and that starts to get in my mind. I have to take a step back and remind myself what I am. I am a good goat tyer, and I know what Iím doing. Once I do that, my runs usually start to look a whole lot better.

There are days when I have to remind myself what I am as a human being, too:

  • I am a good student.
  • I am a caring friend and sister.
  • I am a confident athlete.
  • I am steady and responsive.
  • I am trustworthy and responsible.
  • I do my best even when itís not enough.

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

Life treats you a whole lot better when you focus on what you ARE, not on what you FEEL. There are plenty of days where I donít FEEL good enough, but I am. I donít FEEL like a good athlete or a good student, I donít FEEL like Iím a good friend, but I am. I donít FEEL like I have what it takes to finish the semester and the season, but I do.

This rodeo season has been long and itís been tough. Iíve been gone for the majority of the last month. It has played games with my confidence, and I donít like that. Some days I question going to one more rodeo. I FEEL like a quitter, like a rookie, but Iím not. I AM a finisher and I have what it takes.

Things might be a little harder right now than what you planned, and trickier than you imagined theyíd be. Thatís okay. Thatís what builds character and gives you the strength to get through the next time you feel beat. Those long-drive-home calls to your mom or to your best friend to encourage you and help you keep your chin upÖ those are what shape you as a person. Every time you walk back into that class, or show up early to practice or stay long after everyone else is gone, every single time you bite back the frustration or brush away the tears, every single time, you are better than who you were the day before. Youíre better than leaving something unfinished. Youíre better than letting someone else define you. Youíre better than letting life define you. You are who you are Ė you are not what you feel.

Take those feelings and use them. Donít bottle them up so they explode, cage them until you can use it for one last bit of motivation to finish your fight. The hurt, pain, and frustration that life will hand you with a smirkÖ that will culminate at the one moment you most need it. Itís up to you to use it wisely. Use it for motivation. Use it to be a little more fearless and a little less quiet. I was once called heartless, but after the pain I had allowed that person to put me through because I was too nice, Ďheartlessí came as a compliment. It didnít mean I was intentionally hurting that person, but it did mean I wasnít allowing myself to be hurt anymore. Use what you feel to build from. Anger is not who you are. Neither is frustration, stress, or heartache. Mastering those feelings will show you parts of who you are.

Life isnít always going to be easy. Sometimes it will be hard; sometimes it will hurt. ButÖ life will always treat you a whole lot better when you focus on what you are, not on what you feel. No matter how difficult circumstances may be, you will never look back and regret becoming stronger because you kept on keeping on and made it through the rough times.

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

Here are Rebecca's other posts, in case you missed them:

Best of luck in all your endeavors,
especially as you move forward on your college path!

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