Sunday, 12 March 2017

My return to higher education


I'll be damned if I ever thought I would be doing this again. It's a big change. School eh?

At the beginning of last year I made a conscious decision to return to higher education. Part of my decision was to take up a Psychology course at Uvic, in a bid to learn more about my mind, it's workings, and of course disorders. It is allowing me to read further into my illness and hopefully with time, I will find better ways of managing it.

I never imagined at 28, after 12 years in one industry, that I'd be taking a step back from what I've known for so long and diving head first into something new.

Mostly it's great for me. I get to learn new things every day, how can that be bad? The structure and routine is very calming. I also have a new sense of purpose, which is nice. Uvic has a plethora of mental health resources and I feel extremely supported in all that I do.

There are however, flaws to my new plan. I never thought I'd feel so old, so young. I try to get past it but it plays on my mind. Another thing is the class sizes. They can be intense with 200-300 people per lecture. I think I have it down pat though; arrive early, get the exit seat at the back of the room and keep my head down. On the odd occasion I'll have a panic attack. On a bad occasion I'll have 4.

In terms of having a mental illness, all of the above can be challenging. I struggle with memory and concentration, partly down to the illness but honestly I think the other part is due to medication. There was a time when my meds were being tweaked every other week and I found it extremely hard to deal with school. Anxiety levels can go through the roof for anyone at exam time, even more so for myself. I can't say this enough, but it really is all about balance.

I chose to drop out half way through last semester, mostly because the panic attacks were getting way out of hand. That seems to have subsided for now and I am rocking out A's in my most recent midterms. I can only hope it continues.

I still often think I am dreaming. It's such an exciting change.

Recently I added English into my curriculum, with the hopes that I can continue writing. . and who knows, maybe even someday become a great writer.

I don't know where this course will take me but right now I only see good things.

Love xo

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