After 4 years of university coursework, I finally have my bachelor’s degree. While I expected to feel exuberant I find myself more daunted than anything.
It may be because getting here wasn’t easy. I find myself winded, much as one would be after climbing up a mountain trail. While most find the road to a degree challenging I found it quite arduous.
This is due mostly to the number of roadblocks I faced throughout my academic career. It was like playing extenuating circumstance bingo and I was winning every quarter.
In the beginning of my academic journey, my appendix nearly burst, and I was on bare minimum insurance. That is a whole post in and of itself but suffice to say, it put me out of commission for nearly two weeks.
Then there were the heartbreaks of life. We had a loss in the family due to cancer around the same time we were expected to move on short notice.
The last year of my career was the hardest by far. We knew we wanted to start a family after graduation, so my husband and I stopped using protection. I didn’t realize it would happen so soon, but just as the new journey began it ended. I had a miscarriage and I was devastated. I started a spiral I couldn’t seem to stop.
It was at this time that I truly started to wonder if it was all worth it. This was supposed to be my ticket out of the cycle of poverty my family was facing. I spent so many hours working on my degree and my career simultaneously. I was exhausted and worn down and I knew something had to give. On paper my GPA was suffering because of everything that was happening and I found myself wanting to quit.
So, what changed? Well, it wasn’t long after my loss that I got my rainbow. In March, near my anniversary I found out I was pregnant again and things looked promising on that front. However, I was being pummeled by “morning” sickness that wracked me at all times of the day. It was time to do some soul searching. Between clients and school, I needed a break somewhere to take care of my little family – including myself.
I took a quarter off. I only had a handful of units left, but I needed to practice the one thing I had always had trouble with; self-care. I sacrificed one of my clients (on good terms of course) and only worked sparingly. I took care of me while getting my ducks in a row. I had a healthy baby girl and got to spend the first two months with her.
It felt like no time at all until I was back in class, but now everything was different. Obviously, it meant more to me to get my degree with a child. Statistically, my children are more likely to pursue academic success because I have, and I possess more earning power.
What I didn’t expect was the back and forth my emotions would have. I found myself just wanting to be done and get home to her. When I was home, I found myself easily distracted due to her needs. What would life be if there wasn’t on more curveball though right? Throughout this quarter I also suffered excruciating gallbladder attacks. I went in to get tested and my doctor suggested surgery – for the first week of class! I managed to schedule it for after finals, but that meant if I ate the wrong thing I would be up all night in agony.
It wasn’t easy, but I managed to do well in all my classes (though there was a C+ that could’ve been a B in there).
Looking back, I am glad that I finished. I loved my course of study and I’m looking forward to continuing to work in my field. As for grad school, I think that I can wait.