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PeopleSpiegeloog 428: AliveThe Corridor

The Corridor: Life Lessons

By October 18, 2023January 23rd, 2024No Comments

For a good proportion of this magazine’s editors, the Bachelor years at UvA will come to an end next summer. Amidst all the (optional) nostalgia that might kick in sooner than expected, we would also like to take some time to look back in gratitude, and honour what we have learned over the last year. While our studies surely taught us a lot about our respective subjects, which will come in handy in later life (or so I’m told), we were more interested in finding out what psychology students consider their personal life lessons they learned over the last year:

 

What is a life lesson that you have learned this year, either from your own experience or someone else?

For a good proportion of this magazine’s editors, the Bachelor years at UvA will come to an end next summer. Amidst all the (optional) nostalgia that might kick in sooner than expected, we would also like to take some time to look back in gratitude, and honour what we have learned over the last year. While our studies surely taught us a lot about our respective subjects, which will come in handy in later life (or so I’m told), we were more interested in finding out what psychology students consider their personal life lessons they learned over the last year:

 

What is a life lesson that you have learned this year, either from your own experience or someone else?

Emil (third-year Bachelor’s student, specialising in Clinical Psychology)

Emil: I have learned that our thoughts have a much larger influence on our day-to-day life than I assumed. Our thoughts alone can make us feel bad, they can make us feel happy, make us feel at ease. It’s possible to change how you feel about a lot of things merely by changing how you think about them – or your perspective, sort of reflecting on your thoughts alone. So, sometimes for instance in situations where I’m just thinking about what I have to do the next couple of days, what am I busy with, I continue with my work and a few minutes later I notice that I’m feeling weirdly anxious, suddenly – and it’s helpful to just think “Well okay, where is this feeling coming from right now?”. You can go back to “Okay, it was this one thing that I was thinking about that made me feel anxious – but hey it’s just a thought at the end of the day. […] I think my life lesson is just that I’ve learned to not identify as much with your thoughts and feelings, because sometimes thoughts and feelings aren’t what you are – they are just things that are happening, they are more transient, they come and go and you are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings. You can take a step back and be more of an observer of the thoughts and feelings and that makes them go by and pass more easily. Of course I don’t mean to imply “If you’re sad, just be happy”  obviously, a perspective shift doesn’t solve serious mental issues, but it can help me deal with the small worries and anxieties and the small inconveniences of life. 

[Spiegeloog: Anything more to add?] 

Waking up early is also nice, that’s a second life lesson. [laughter]. Waking up early, going to bed early is actually quite cool, also.  

Ping-Chie (third-year Bachelor’s student, specialising in Brain & Cognition)

Ping-Chie: I think the main life lesson that I’ve learned is that… I just like how, when you’re true to yourself, then everything will fall into place. Instead of trying to be someone you’re not, or adapting yourself to different situations […]. I’m not sure if you could say integrity is very important, and then everything will fall into place.  

[Spiegeloog: Would you have a story that shows how you learned that?] 

Ping-Chie: Recently, a relationship ended and then a new one started. The previous one didn’t feel right […], because I felt like I had to change to accommodate, and that’s why I also like the phrase “Luck favours the bold”, because that applied to my break up. In the end, I didn’t have to change and I could still stay true to myself, and I feel so much better being exactly who I am. It is possible to be true to yourself and to tweak the life around you instead of you adapting to the environment.

Emil (third-year Bachelor’s student, specialising in Clinical Psychology)

Emil: I have learned that our thoughts have a much larger influence on our day-to-day life than I assumed. Our thoughts alone can make us feel bad, they can make us feel happy, make us feel at ease. It’s possible to change how you feel about a lot of things merely by changing how you think about them – or your perspective, sort of reflecting on your thoughts alone. So, sometimes for instance in situations where I’m just thinking about what I have to do the next couple of days, what am I busy with, I continue with my work and a few minutes later I notice that I’m feeling weirdly anxious, suddenly – and it’s helpful to just think “Well okay, where is this feeling coming from right now?”. You can go back to “Okay, it was this one thing that I was thinking about that made me feel anxious – but hey it’s just a thought at the end of the day. […] I think my life lesson is just that I’ve learned to not identify as much with your thoughts and feelings, because sometimes thoughts and feelings aren’t what you are – they are just things that are happening, they are more transient, they come and go and you are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings. You can take a step back and be more of an observer of the thoughts and feelings and that makes them go by and pass more easily. Of course I don’t mean to imply “If you’re sad, just be happy”  obviously, a perspective shift doesn’t solve serious mental issues, but it can help me deal with the small worries and anxieties and the small inconveniences of life. 

[Spiegeloog: Anything more to add?] 

Waking up early is also nice, that’s a second life lesson. [laughter]. Waking up early, going to bed early is actually quite cool, also.  

Ping-Chie (third-year Bachelor’s student, specialising in Brain & Cognition)

Ping-Chie: I think the main life lesson that I’ve learned is that… I just like how, when you’re true to yourself, then everything will fall into place. Instead of trying to be someone you’re not, or adapting yourself to different situations […]. I’m not sure if you could say integrity is very important, and then everything will fall into place.  

[Spiegeloog: Would you have a story that shows how you learned that?] 

Ping-Chie: Recently, a relationship ended and then a new one started. The previous one didn’t feel right […], because I felt like I had to change to accommodate, and that’s why I also like the phrase “Luck favours the bold”, because that applied to my break up. In the end, I didn’t have to change and I could still stay true to myself, and I feel so much better being exactly who I am. It is possible to be true to yourself and to tweak the life around you instead of you adapting to the environment.

Alec (third-year Bachelor’s student, specialising in Brain & Cognition)

Alec: I would say the biggest life lesson I have learned this year is that changes, no matter how small they are, really add up. You don’t notice it at the time, but change is such a positive thing. I used to be so set in my ways: “I am this, I am that, I am going to be this or that, I’ll never experience this or that.” But I think – although you don’t notice it right away – if you let change in, little by little it becomes like a snowball effect. And before you know it you will feel better. You become more active in life. It’s just crazy to me, if I look back on who I was last year versus who I am this year. It is such a positive change. So, if you’re more open to change, although it is scary, it will lead you to good things.

Pika (third-year Bachelor’s, student specialising in Clinical Psychology)

Pika: Biggest life lesson I have learned is knowing and understanding your menstrual cycle. How your body reacts to you every week and to every change that happens. Learning how to treat yourself and your body at specific times of the month. Life is way easier, you’re much more in a state of flow. Working with your cycle and not against it brings you so much peace and harmony, just light. Everything becomes a dance through the month. And that is so beautiful.

Alec (third-year Bachelor’s student, specialising in Brain & Cognition)

Alec: I would say the biggest life lesson I have learned this year is that changes, no matter how small they are, really add up. You don’t notice it at the time, but change is such a positive thing. I used to be so set in my ways: “I am this, I am that, I am going to be this or that, I’ll never experience this or that.” But I think – although you don’t notice it right away – if you let change in, little by little it becomes like a snowball effect. And before you know it you will feel better. You become more active in life. It’s just crazy to me, if I look back on who I was last year versus who I am this year. It is such a positive change. So, if you’re more open to change, although it is scary, it will lead you to good things.

Pika (third-year Bachelor’s, student specialising in Clinical Psychology)

Pika: Biggest life lesson I have learned is knowing and understanding your menstrual cycle. How your body reacts to you every week and to every change that happens. Learning how to treat yourself and your body at specific times of the month. Life is way easier, you’re much more in a state of flow. Working with your cycle and not against it brings you so much peace and harmony, just light. Everything becomes a dance through the month. And that is so beautiful.

Anika Korobkov and Vadim Martschenko

Author Anika Korobkov and Vadim Martschenko

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