Welcome to Everything But The Bagel, a weekly space to make you feel a little less stressed, and a little more grounded, just with writing instead of cream cheese. By diving deeper into the reality of life as a (remote) Trojan, Everything But The Bagel will help you get through the ups and downs of your college experience. Through relatable anecdotes, interviews, and my curated edit of recommendations, this newsletter will remind you that you are at this school for a reason, further helping you make the most of your time at 'sc.

Dear Beautiful, Imperfect, Intelligent Humans,

Hello hello!!!

Welcome to Everything But the Bagel Season 2, week 15 –– you have no idea what this season has in store. Saying I have missed writing to you all about our shared struggles with a hint of sarcasm is an understatement. But I’m recharged and ready to write with a new perspective, gained while in “the Q.”

If you are a new “bagel-er,” (Yes, in season two we have a team name) welcome! If you have been reading my column since February of 2020, welcome back. As a reminder, Everything but the Bagel is a space designed to make you feel a little less stressed and a little more grounded.

QUICK REMINDERS: you are never alone, even when you fail the test or don’t get the party invite, start thinking of your emotional well being like your physical wellbeing, set boundaries, study efficiently and take care of yourself during a time when self-care has never been more important.

Whether you are reading this in your childhood bedroom or in the confines of your comfy, communal couch, whether you are a first semester freshman or graduating in December, all of us, collectively, are trying to settle into this new form of the college experience — even though this change was pushed onto us in uncomfortably short notice. Like really really short notice.

Let’s unpack that for a second. I have a few questions that I want you to think about: Have you taken time to reflect on the past six months? To accept that essentially everything you knew, from the way you worked to the way you shopped for groceries to the way you care for a loved one has been dramatically changed and will probably never be the same again? That the quality of our relationships, how we prioritize mental health and our contributions to society have never been as vulnerable as they are right now? Personally, processing this new normal, and more specifically these new daily realities, has been extremely difficult and a rude awakening. But that’s perfectly ok.

While I have learned a lot about myself and the world around me over the last six months, one thing is for sure: the only constant in life is change. This idea isn’t new, the philosophy of constant change dates back to 500 BCE. Change is an inevitable reality that can be hard to process, as it is only human nature to get comfortable being comfortable. Not to mention that change can be terrifying and extremely difficult. Sometimes even painful.

But I also try to remind myself that any challenge leads to an opportunity for growth. That adversity leads to advances, both personally and professionally. And knowing that reminds me to trust the process. To trust change and push myself to go with the flow.

But life as a remote Trojan presents a new type of challenge, a mountain that nobody has seen the other side of. As such, no one can give us the road map and tell us how to efficiently summit the peak. It’s not heartbreak or grief, it’s not divorce or weight gain or failing a test or struggling in a new city. So while there isn’t a formula of how to get through a global pandemic, yet, there is a universal awakening and shared uncertainty in the works. We are all navigating this uncertain time together. And there is something beautiful about collective growth.

But keeping our mental sanity intact requires more conscious and committed effort than it did last semester. When both work and play happen on the same 13-inch screen, every boundary we have ever had gets kicked to the curb. Because we go from yoga to class to an extracurricular to a FaceTime all in the same room, we have to make an effort to set boundaries.

To not check our phones for the first hour of every day. And to turn them off for the last hour before we go to bed. To move our bodies as much as possible and eat well and hydrate, we have to set effective and consistent boundaries.

This semester, together, we will explore the life of a remote trojan.As I hike up this mountain alongside you,we will talk about how to make social media a positive and encouraging space, how to embrace the detours of. We will discuss the theory of a weak link, how you can go into any career path no matter your degree and so much more.

So while we may not be able to see the top of the mountain yet, if we take water breaks and just keep putting one foot in front of the other, we will get there. I promise. Oh, and I packed plenty of bagels for the road.

Wishing you all a week full of perspective, beautiful nature and laughter.

-Ella

Now here’s some of my favorite things from this week:

Quote of the Week:

“Stop choosing what isn’t choosing you.” -We’re Not Really Strangers.

Quote Analysis

With less places to go and people to see, this pandemic is challenging us to scratch below the surface and think about the people and places that really fill up our cups. Because connection requires more energy (and WiFi) than ever before, it is important that we invest in the relationships that are genuienly serving our wants and needs –– as opposed to the ones that leave us drained or require too much effort. While chasing people or opportunities in life who don’t want us are often desirable, self-validation is powerful, in that it allows us to not seek external validation from anyone ––– especially from people and opportunities that don’t give us the time of day. I invite you to do the same.

Digest of the Week (An Article/Podcast Episode/Book that stood out to me and why I liked it/ it inspired me/helped my mental health this week/ Include Hyperlink)

Entrepreneur and Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington has pushed the envelope in bridging the gap between emotional wellbeing and burnout culture in the workplace. In her weekly newsletter “On My Mind,” Huffington links productivity to people, debunking the myth that “there can be no ‘Great Reset’ unless people are able to hit the reset button within themselves” along with many other eye-opening and worthwhile epiphanies. Give it a read!

Something I am working on this week ( because we are ALL a work in progress):

I know this is nothing new, but this week I have been making a conscious effort to move my body as much as I can. Even if it is something as simple as a 30 minute pre-breakfast walk, afternoon hike or bike ride down the strand, I try to break a sweat every day. Adding movement to your routine also really helps. Intentional activity, whether by lifting weights or taking a dip in the ocean, releases endorphins which will make you feel like a new person. Trust me, it works. And California is the easiest place to get up and get out, so you have no excuse!

Question of the Week:

Every week, I welcome any questions or concerns you may have that could spark discussion/ bring awareness to our community. I will respond to the best of my ability, consulting outside scientific resources to answer them to the best of my ability. Just click here to ask your question! And just remember: No question is a dumb one. If you have it, I’m sure many members of our community have the same one!

Story Ideas? Questions? Need a Hug? Write to me here:

IG: @srirachamayoenthusiast

TWITTER: @ellakatz20