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One of the biggest realizations that Emilee Simicich has ever made was one I think we all should be mindful of:

“I don’t have to do what other people expect me to do. I’m not lazy if I stay home one day and watch a movie because maybe I need that to reset. Taking care of myself does not make me unproductive.”

Taking care of myself does not make me unproductive. 

Emilee, a recent graduate of Boise State with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies, is looking at her undergraduate experience with a new perspective.

Emilee works as a customer service representative in the Undergraduate Admissions office, where she helps new Broncos through the Admissions process. This important work gives room for a lot of reflection on her own college experience.

But before she spent her days helping other Broncos, Emilee found her way home to Boise State like a lot of us by coming on tour and falling in love with everything Boise State on the spot. It’s this love of our university and city that’s kept her here.

“I’ve built a life here. I definitely started fresh after graduating from college.”

And if there’s one thing that’s consistent about Emilee, it’s personal growth.

While she says, looking back, that her undergraduate time as a Bronco was, “some of the best times of [her] life,” it was also not without its trials and tribulations, a sentiment I think we can all relate to in one way or another. She talked a lot about how all the new things of college life quickly became overwhelming and very emotionally taxing. When she thought of the college experience, it was full of not only academics, but clubs, friends, and community. If she didn’t “show up” in all of these ways, she thought to herself, was she really living the college experience? Was she doing college right? 

In her first year, she met friends with similar goals and beliefs and aligned herself with clubs and organizations which supported her personal journey. All of this felt fulfilling, for awhile…

As her sophomore year moved along, with a busy schedule and tons of people to lean on, a much larger pressure started to unfold, a pressure that Emilee described as feeling, “like I needed to find my purpose. I had to be something. I had to make a difference. I had to have it all figured out.” It was an idea that riddled her with a lot of stress and anxiety and while encouraging her to take on even more to her already active life, also made it all seem, ironically, void of reason or purpose.

This oftentimes made things not so fun. Emilee described many restless nights and a constant fear of missing out, not really giving time to herself to fully recharge and be present.

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic and what Emilee described as a, “full reset”.

Where her life in college before the pandemic was packed from sun up until sun down, she felt herself slowing down to truly just “be” for the first time in years. It was here that she was able to realize all the things she was taking on in her life may have been doing more harm than good.  That filling up life with things to do (and things to be) can deter from enjoying life with things you need or want to do. At the same time, she also felt a greater appreciation for those in her immediate social circle, healthy family, and some much needed self-care techniques that became invaluable as the world started to reopen.

In a world that can often feel like a race, perhaps this is something we could all use as a reminder. A reminder that it’s perfectly alright to slow down and give ourselves some grace.

Emilee went on to finish her degree in a healthier, happier way that emphasized her needs first and foremost, while also not worrying about larger things out of her control.

She describes her life now post-grad and still at Boise State as, “the most content [she’s] ever been.”

I asked Emilee, “What would you have told the younger you now that you’ve been able to see the whole thing through?” (and Broncos at all stages for that matter?)

She replied, “It’s okay. You don’t need to worry. There’s no possible way you can prepare for every outcome. But you can strengthen yourself to prepare for, maybe, tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. But there’s no possible way to know what you’re doing in ten years. Life’s too crazy for that.”

We don’t need to have everything figured out. Maybe we can try to take things one day at a time.


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