Reason One: Because I’ve had the Shittiest Semester in Recent Memory
I am doing something completely unprecedented: this summer, I am not going to school.
All my life, I’ve been a student, right from when I started preschool at four years old. As soon as I graduated high school, I started university. The only time I took time off from school was when I absolutely had to, so for me to choose to make something besides school a priority is really big.
So many times I’ve heard people say, “Give your all.” and I’ve come to realize that if I’m giving my all, I’m giving too much. I have given my all. I have sacrificed my health, my finances, my friendships, my family, my hobbies, my job, my faith, my hope, my joy, and my very sanity on the altar of my education. And it didn’t even improve my grades!
This is one of the worst semesters I’ve had. The last time I had this bad a semester, I dropped out on a medical leave. But this time I stuck it out, because I didn’t want to be “a quitter”. I took two courses, which is lower than the course load I had without disability, and despite pouring hours and hours and hours into it, I’ve failed one of my classes.
The other one I’ve had so much trouble remembering things that I actually cracked open a textbook for an online midterm (which is called cheating. And yes, I got caught. Thankfully, my professor let me off with a warning, so I can still continue my education, but seriously, never, ever cheat in university, people. It’s like having a criminal record and will follow you wherever you go, academically and professionally. I’m not exaggerating when I say it can ruin you.).
And I’m so humiliated by that and sometimes feel the urge to bash my head against the desk going “Stupid, stupid, stupid! Such a stupid thing to do! And don’t you have any moral standards whatsoever?! Argh! Stupid, stupid, stupid!”
I’ve had to take time off of work to pass this one class, resulting in basically cutting my hours in half, hours I need to make a living off of. I’ve stopped exercising, stopped hanging out with my friends, wound up almost missing family events like my brother’s thirtieth birthday, I haven’t read any books or written any music or even touched my piano. I live off of fast food and microwave meals. I don’t even do my laundry until I have nothing left to wear.
Basically, I’ve hit a new low.
And I don’t know what happened to me, or if I’ll ever get better. I used to have an excellent memory. I could read through a textbook once, just once, and if I were to write an exam counting for the full 100% of my grade, I wouldn’t be the least bit intimidated by it: I would just walk into the exam room, sit down, ace the hell out of that thing, and walk out. Now, it wasn’t a perfect memory: it’s not like I could memorise all my body parts in Latin or anything (and that’s why I got a B in high school Biology). But still, it was pretty awesome.
And I remember my best friend’s mom and even my own mom saying how frustrated they were with how they’d have to study so hard just to pull a C in school while their kids got As without even trying. And now, for the past year, I’ve been in their shoes, working my ass off studying for twenty hours a week just for one class and not remembering anything for the final exam and becoming terrified of tests.
And it kills me that I’ve done so poorly in school. This was something I used to be so good at. I was so determined to become a straight-A student, something that I’ve never done before but still felt like it was within my grasp “if I really tried and stopped being lazy”.
It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even know who I am without school because I’ve never really been out of school before. When people asked me what I did, the first thing out of my mouth was always, “I’m a student.” It was so weird when I got my job and had to introduce myself to clients as “the office manager” instead of “a student”.
And I see people like my mom, who hasn’t been to school in over thirty years and doesn’t even have a particularly fulfilling job, yet she knows who she is. I feel like I need to rediscover my intelligence, what it is outside of school.
And I’m so fed up with all the bureaucracy and red tape that has interfered with me getting my education, red tape that none of my friends have had to deal with because they aren’t in poverty and aren’t mentally disordered in the way that I am. (I’ll save my thoughts on that for another time.)
Really, I’m realizing that I need to take a break and get in touch with myself again. This semester has felt like this smothering haze and I’ve just been slogging through it one day at a time, not knowing how it can get better but really counting on it getting better just to get my weary body out of bed. It’s like I’ve passed out of space and time into this limbo dimension and can’t believe that this is my life but here it is, this is my life and holy cow the past four months have disappeared into oblivion. And it’s about time I’ve joined the world again and found some balance.