I am a person who believes that everything happens for a reason. I have to with everything that has happened to me. If I didn’t then the universe is just cruel and unfair and what’s the point in struggling against the tide? But in stead of hopelessness, I chose to believe that, although I may not know why, and may never know why, the things that occur in my life have to happen in order for some other event to happen that creates balance in the universe. This belief brings me peace of mind and allows me to carry on trying when everything is telling me to give up.
5 years ago I went back to college to do an Access course so I could go to University. Halfway through my college course I got a very severe flu-like illness and never fully recovered. I got M.E. I was still able to complete my course (just about), but was unable to get the work experience required for the University course that I wanted to do. I was rejected from all four of my University choices and left pretty distraught. I was on the verge of giving up when my favourite University offered me a place on a different course. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it was close and it could lead me to what I wanted to do, so I accepted and went to University.
1 year of that course and my health had deteriorated to the point where I was almost completely bedbound. I was still managing to get the work done (and was getting good grades) but my tyrannical course leader said that if I didn’t show up for class then I would be kicked off of the course. If I was kicked off of the course then I would be kicked out of my campus accommodation, making me homeless. I somehow managed to get a meeting with the leader of another course who said he’d be delighted to take me on. I ended up loving that course and that department and they supported me with my illness so I was able to graduate this year with excellent grades.
If I had been accepted onto the course that I originally wanted to do then I wouldn’t have wasted a year on a terrible course and I would have graduated last year and been in work this year when the virus hit. And what was that course that I wanted to do? Child nursing. Yep, if I hadn’t gotten M.E, I would currently be a Nurse in the NHS right now.
Just saying… everything happens for a reason.
Firstly, apologies to my followers who have had to wait twice as long for this post. I was awaiting some good news to share with you all (for a change), but unfortunately that news hasn’t come yet. So, I’ll talk today about university in stead.
I’ve just finished my second week back and although I love being a student and have enjoyed my classes, I’m still terrified that this pace is not sustainable. This past week has been a particularly stressful one and I feel as though a crash is inevitable, it’s just a question of when.
I attend university three days a week. Two of those days are half days (9-1 or 11-3) but the last day is a full 9am-6pm. Over the summer I also moved home so I no longer live on campus and have a 2 to 2 and a half hour commute each way, depending on traffic. This means that every Friday I have to get up at 5am and I don’t get home until past 8pm. My days are spread out across the week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but second year expects much more from us than first year did, so even on my days off, I feel like I’m not able to fully rest since I have studying to do, not to mention the few household chores I can do and keeping on top of my general health and hygiene.
I’ve also recently begun to worry about what I’m going to do once I finish my course. I won’t be able to hold down a full time job, but who ever heard of a part-time graduate position? Sure, if I already had a job I could negotiate a reduction in hours but how am I supposed to go into the job market at the same time as the rest of the UK’s graduates and convince a company that they should take me on even though I can only do half the work of their other candidates? And the kind of work I want to do is not the kind I can do from home. I mean, there’s always paperwork to be done and I could probably take that home with me, but lab work needs to be done in a lab, under carefully controlled conditions.
So in conclusion, I am stressed. I don’t know if I’ll make it through uni and even if I do, my career prospects look bleak. I feel as though the best I can do is just keep plowing ahead and hope that I find some treatment that allows me to live a half-way normal life.
I am a university student in a popular field. The jobs that I will be applying to when I graduate will also be applied to by a large number of similarly qualified graduates. The extra things that I do now, the extra time and energy that I put in, are the things that will make me stand out from my fellow classmates. This is a widely known fact here. Our peers are our future competition. I want to be a competitor but I also want to graduate.
There are a number of students in my class who couldn’t care less about their futures and those are the people I don’t need to worry about, but there are also a significant number of students who take their education and future careers incredibly seriously. These are the ones who spend extra time in the library, who ‘network’ with older students and other members of the profession, they pick up extra work experience and meet with lecturers out of hours to learn how to improve their grades.
These are all examples of things that I would love to do, and would be doing, if I could. But the extra energy it would take is extra energy I don’t have. Sometimes it takes all the spoons available just to go to scheduled lectures. I do my best to do what I can, but my health always has to be first priority. If I pushed myself to do more than I am doing I would crash and fall behind, making me worse off than I am now. So I have to settle for being an average student and hope that some employer will take pity on me or be won over by my enthusiasm or organisational skills. This is hard for me. As a perfectionist, I want to give everything 100% and be the best. Unfortunately, my body has decided for me what “100%” actually consists of, and I’m afraid it’s not enough to compete.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know I sound sour but, I’m not angry at the overachievers for overachieving. In fact, I applaud them for being so dedicated, as I would be myself. My issue with the overachievers is when they have to make sure everyone knows just how much better they are than the average student.
Go ahead and be the best you can be, that’s wonderful, but do you have to make me hate myself for not being good enough in the process?