Forgive me for writing this letter good two months after it was due. I was resting and recuperating or, in other words, doing exactly that what this letter is all about. I made myself a priority and that is what I want to remind you about. You!
Yes, you, my dear GLOCAL (even if you aren’t officially a GLOCAL student, if you are reading this, you are a GLOCAL). You are the main and, frankly, the only person in your life to who you should give 100% of your love and attention. And after a year of what wasn’t supposed to be a stressful Master’s program, I advise you to do it as much as you can. And I am not exaggerating.
Self-care and mental health are typically not a priority for an ambitious, thirsty for knowledge, adventure-seeking graduate student like you. Trust me, I know. I know that it’s much more fun to party till dawn, go out most days of the week and write the final paper the night before the deadline. Trust me, I know. And I am not saying you shouldn’t do it, I certainly did. Maybe not this time around, but back when I was doing my Bachelor’s degree. Ah, those were the days. What I am actually asking you to do is to give yourself a break from time to time and rest. Like, for real. Not that artificial kind of rest when you’re scrolling Instagram for hours on end or binge-watch a TV show you don’t even like that much. But when you ask yourself what is it that makes your heart sing and your head go woohoo. When you forget all about the studies and deadlines and papers to write and textbooks to read, turn to yourself and listen to the inner wisdom that knows exactly what you need to do to take care of yourself.
Owls are cool and grandmas love you unconditionally.
Do I sound like an old owl or your grandma? Owls are cool and grandmas love you unconditionally. So I’ll take it. But honestly, my dear GLOCAL, rest and prioritize yourself. At the end of the second semester, so many of us in Barcelona were completely drained. I thought I was the only one with a horrible burnout, but no, so many of us, if not all, were tired, sleepless and started having health issues. It took us a while to realize we burnt out. Indeed, the program is demanding, but please don’t forget that the whole world is COVID-fatigued and then there’s the additional stress of changing mobilities for us Erasmus students. Packing, looking for new flats and changing countries every few months might not seem like a big deal to you, but trust me, it’s a big deal for your body and your nervous system.
I don’t want to be nagging, so I will make it short. My big wish, my dear GLOCAL, is that we go into the next semester not only equipped with the understanding of varieties of capitalism and creative sectors, newly acquired insight into family business and emerging economies but with very clear awareness and dedication to prioritize ourselves over anything and everyone out there. Sounds heretic for an academic? Let it be. I am ready to take the blame as long as there will be more empowered, happy and mentally and emotionally healthy GLOCALs at the end of this program ready to go out there and change the world. Or even better, mature and conscious human beings focused on changing themselves first. Am I asking for too much? I will let you decide.
That’s it from me.
Photo credits: Nika Dulevich (follow Nika’s instagram happiness.expedition if you want to see more of her amazing photographs and read more about her journey)