I should have been graduating today in English and Creative Writing (BA), but I didn’t. Since the second semester of year two, my studies have been a struggle for me – to be honest, my whole life has. But that is not what I am going to talk about here today.
When I realised I wasn’t going to be able to finish all my assignments on time to graduate this year, to a standard that would be satisfactory to me, I thought that the best option to me be would be to repeat this year and graduate next year. When I made that decision, I felt a huge relief, it was like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders and my mental health felt better straight away. I even started reducing my medication. I thought I would spend the summer reading books just for pleasure and not for coursework, developing this blog and just enjoying my family life before going back in September for a fresh restart, more focused and ready to actually enjoying studying my course. It seemed the best option for me because I came to a point where I felt exhausted, really, really tired of running to catch up, without time to deal with grief and other emotions and feelings fighting for my attention. Anyway, I needed a break and felt that I deserved it as well as a second chance at giving my course my best shot. I was happy with my decision.
Thanks to the power of social media, I have been seeing all my university colleagues in their gowns and accompanied by their families and friends celebrating their achievement. While I am ever so happy for all of them and proud to have witnessed the journeys of some of them, I am also a little bit upset because I am not graduating. It is a mixed emotion because I still think, there was nothing else I could have done and I think I can do it next year. However, in a remote place inside me, there is a voice whispering self-doubt thoughts, wondering if I will ever finish my degree… Yes, these voices still come back to me from time to time, but I have silenced them before and I will do again. I know I can finish my degree and graduate next year. I am absolutely capable of it.
I thought I’d share this year because it might be someone out there facing similar emotions and I would like them to know there they’re not alone. But, because I believe that this experience and all I have been through in the last two years of my life have made me stronger and better prepared for future challenges, I would also like to end on a positive note with the wise words of James Joyce:
Mistakes are the portals of discovery.