"I no longer feel afraid of myself"

 

In the past, I was accustomed to overcommitting myself to work and often neglected my health. When I began my undergraduate studies, this tendency led to a series of burnouts which left me desperate to put an end to them. I was constantly exhausted and found it very difficult to focus on my studies and anything else for that matter. My mind always wandered off, often into doubts and fears. This lack of energy and focus reflected in my academics and made a huge dent in my confidence.

Thus, I started working with a therapist in the summer before entering my second year. And although she did help me to understand my situation better, I still felt that I was lacking something. I finally reached a point where I didn’t know what to do, so I searched online where I found Ji-Youn’s story and her work.

When I read about Ji-Youn’s past experiences and the service she offered, my intuition told me that this was it. I knew that I needed someone who could teach me how to not only identify and practice my values but to also guide me in rebuilding my confidence. It was undeniably uncomfortable bringing it up to my dad as he was rather skeptical if this was the right investment to make as he, like many, did not understand why I wanted to focus on my personal growth and not on my professional development first. He was also unsure of how my work with her would compliment my work with my therapist and be distinct and unique in its own way. Fortunately, he was willing to trust and understand my intentions in working with her.  

At the core, Ji-Youn helped me optimize my energy and focus by guiding me through tools and step-by-step strategies to implement daily. I learned to set boundaries and prioritize the important things in the present moment. I learned to become aware of my needs and attend to them habitually. As additional benefits, I began to cultivate a growth-mindset, practice self-compassion, and love learning again.

During finals, my ability to focus was tested on another level. An incredibly challenging interpersonal incident left me feeling so broken right before finals. I was so disturbed by it that I didn’t know if I could even recover in time from it, let alone study and do well on my finals. Fortunately, learning how to manage my energy and becoming aware of my various needs helped me to remain calm and focused in spite of the immense stress I was facing. In the end, I surpassed my academic expectations by using what I learned with Ji-Youn.

Today, I have become more confident and grounded. I no longer feel afraid of myself or my health challenges because I know that I will take good care of myself. Working with her has helped me to see that self-care is an essential part of my life, as that will be what keeps me going through rough days. My focus has also increased significantly after practicing the strategies I learned with Ji-Youn.

 
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Dear students: Please be open to seeking help. You’re in good hands, really good hands.

The self-development work will make a huge difference in how you see yourself and that’s going to show up externally in your life.

 

My therapist has been very supportive of my work with Ji-Youn and views our work as phenomenal. I’ve come a long way from when I first began working with Ji-Youn, and that makes me feel very glad and hopeful - hopeful that she will be able to help more people who face or are facing similar challenges as I did.  

Ji-Youn is attentive, flexible, and very accommodating of people's’ different needs. I loved how she tailored her service by taking into account of how I felt and what I was experiencing every week. Our everyday check-ins kept me feeling grounded and heard. I knew I had someone to trust and be vulnerable with on a daily basis. I also think that her personal experiences of setbacks and her wisdom enabled her to not only share empathy but to also provide useful advice for moving forward.

I would definitely recommend Ji-Youn’s service to other students. Students who recognize that they could use some guidance on navigating/optimizing their energy, time and focus and especially for those who have experienced or almost experienced burnout and are uncomfortable enough to do something about it. My work with Ji-Youn has literally prevented me from another round of severe burnout and depression.

So yes, I plan to continue our work because I want to continue growing. And I have complete faith in Ji-Youn’s ability to help me navigate through that.


Olivia Lau
Simon Fraser University
Vancouver, Canada

PraiseJi Youn Kim