I’ve either shared this or alluded to it before on this blog, but I am currently a post-graduate student. I am working full-time and doing online courses on my evenings and weekends. It’s certainly hard but very rewarding. I am doing this not just because I believe in the pursuit of knowledge but also because I want to put myself in the best possible position in the future. I am young and only just beginning my career, but I feel it’s important to posture myself so that I can have options in the future. This is why I decided to return to school.
I’m about 7 months into my program so far. It’s a full year so I expect to have 4 or 5 more months to go. Up until about Christmas I was having the time of my life. I was having fun in my courses and learning some really interesting stuff. Most of all, I was doing very well – much better than I had ever done in my undergraduate degree. My undergrad didn’t go as well as I hoped. I graduated with honours but didn’t exactly have marks I wanted to brag about. Oftentimes I felt like I was barely hanging in there. This is partially because I chose the wrong degree and did terrible until I switched. Unfortunately you just can’t erase bad grades, they linger with you until you are finished.
So here I am, a student again. In January I started what has to be the hardest course I have ever taken. Suddenly my evenings and weekends were really consumed. I felt like I had no time to myself at all. I worked all day and immediately sat down at the computer when I got home. I would stay there for hours, until I was too tired and had to go to sleep. Those were my days, sleep, work, school, repeat. I skipped meals, felt awful and lethargic all the time, and weekends were the things I dreaded the most. It was depressing to listen to other people talk about upcoming plans and know that from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep, I would be sitting a computer studying. If I could tear myself away I was able to do groceries and tidy up a bit. Fortunately I’m a clean person but I literally couldn’t even seem to find time to vacuum and mop my entire apartment – I would just do the places that were absolutely necessary.
I ate awful, felt awful, slept awful, thought life was awful. That’s when I realized that this was probably the biggest test I had ever been through. How I handled it would define who I would be in the future. There are so many stressors and situations in life that can be far worse than what I have been through, so who am I to complain? There are people who live such unfortunate lives, yet they manage to live happily. This might be stressful and difficult, but it’s also only a year of my life.
If you every find yourself stressed out and tired, just remember that each day will only happen once. There is so much beauty in our world, so many things to be happy and thankful for, sometimes we need to step back and remember that. I don’t want to sound cliche or preachy, but I really wish that I had read or been told things like this. Sometimes I wished that someone would just sit with me for a few minutes and remind me that I have so much to be thankful for. We all forget this sometimes, no need to think you are an awful person because of it.
For all of you going through difficulties, I hope that you get the chance to step back and appreciate. Remember what you are working and living for, and if you can’t then take the opportunity to discover it.
As for me? Once I started uplifting myself things began to turn around. I remember at one point being so frustrated with an assignment that I called my mom in tears. She took the time to listen to me and after we hung up she took her time to help me search for the materials I needed, despite not knowing anything about what I was doing. I was so touched by this, that she could take her time after a long day at work to help me. I started communicating better at work and explaining that I was exhausted and stressed out, and even though I was trying my best I simply couldn’t handle the same capacity that I could in the past. We worked out a plan to allow me more time to study.
Suddenly the assignments seemed easier. I made sure to make a little bit of time my day to enjoy cooking or going to the gym. I changed my diet by buying healthy and easy to cook foods so that I didn’t have to rely on takeout. In the evening before bed I took a few minutes to stretch, I set a cut-off time for myself so that I could relax. In the end, I’m proud to say that I did very well in the course and received an amazing review from my Prof. I learned that my true friends were still there for me and always happy to have me around. Most importantly, I learned that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes you have to keep wandering in the dark and believe with all your heart that it is there because you can’t see it all the time.
I am so blessed and happy to know that I succeeded and am growing into a better person because of it, but most of all I am happy to share this with you in the hopes that I can lift you up a little bit. Keep walking down that tunnel, you just might find that light around the next corner and if not there are always more twists and turns to explore.