Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Just over halfway through the year and if you're surviving, congratulations you are doing better than me.
Yes I exaggerate
Just to recap what these past few months have brought me:
New roles at work
A new dog
Plenty of 21st's
A heater for my bedroom
A new foundation that is the wrong shade
Christmas in July
Yes the things I have listed are not necessarily all tragic, however one serious change has happened that was by far the biggest decision I have made:
I left university.
The relief I feel is incredible.
The stress I feel is also unimaginable.
When I say I have no idea what I am going to do with my life, I am not lying. I have not got a single clue as to what I want to do and I am completely and utterly lost.
Do I find a new course? but what if I hate that too and I have to start all over. again.
Do I travel? but what if I am wasting time, time that is better spent studying or working
Do I do something that makes me happy? of course, but sometimes you have to push past the hard stuff to get to a happy place. Remember, the grass is always greener on the other side.
So how can I not decide on which cocktail to order but I can make the decision to leave uni? It was simultaneously easy and seriously difficult and I would just like to walk through it a little bit. I've been contemplating leaving Uni for about a year but I didn't know what I would do instead so I just stuck with my degree. It became so difficult for me to remain motivated and resulted in a semester-long slump. (might I just add that I was only studying part time, imagine what I would've been like if it was full time). This semester was the first experience of placement which I did at a primary school. This so interesting because I thought the kids were fabulous and my peer that I was partnered with was so wonderful, however, the rest was pretty dreadful. It is rare that I give myself any praise but I administered two assessments on ACTUAL children instead of a teacher posing as a child. I did these assessments twice and I became better each time. You can imagine how degrading it must feel when your supervisor tells you "I've seen worse" after completing these assessments. That was just the beginning of what felt like an eternity of scrutiny. I don't think I ever heard so much as a "Well done". People may think You don't need praise or validation but I did! As a student I need to know what I have done correctly and whether I am on the right path. That's not to say I can't handle criticism, of course I can. It's as important as praise (when done constructively which in this case was very rare).
After being picked on, criticised and given unfair treatment, I became resentful and I slowly lost more patience every week. My peers who went to different locations for placement spoke so positively of their experience and how they are treated. It was seriously so different to what my group experienced. We had near impossible deadlines and I felt I had lost control of my work.
Isn't it incredible how one person's behaviour can spoil an entire experience. Especially when this person was supposed to be a mentor. A regular Mr. Miagi or an Obi-Wan Kenobi if you will. How disappointing.
I used to face a serious kind of anxiety during high school, specifically in year 8 and 9. This anxiety was so bad I was incapable of going to school and would spend my days hiding in my room. I would sob every morning begging my parents to let me stay home. This was the kind of anxiety I was facing with placement.
Finally the tip of the iceberg...My end of semester review. This went horribly wrong. I was told everything I did wrong and maybe one or two things I did right. What I did wrong was unjustified. I am often intimidated by others easily and therefore I do not question their judgement, however I simply had to stand up for myself and try to understand exactly what I was being told. Just to summarise:
I didn't collaborate well with others (sounds just like me)
I vocalised my nervousness to my supervisor (which apparently is an unreasonable emotion to feel on your very first placement)
I didn't complete work on time (No, I completed it on time. Anything I didn't was discussed prior to the deadline)
Needless to say, it made me sad.
It was a slap in the face that I did not see coming and one that I certainly did not need (Or maybe it was the exact sign from the universe I needed)
Also did you guys realise it was unreasonable to try and work 2 short shifts during placement? Ha! I didn't either. How dare I try to earn money like every other 20 year old who has hopes and dreams beyond my degree. Hopes and dreams about travelling and having a life.
While my experience in general was unpleasant, I did discover something. I like working with kids. For years I was somewhat scared of them but now I can see myself participating in a job that involves paediatrics. Who knows. I also know I am a people person and I can say it is a strength of mine, one that I will always use no matter where my life takes me. Remember, you have to play to your strengths.
I need to give a shoutout to my best friend who listened to me sob on the phone and proceeded to bring me maxibons. She's the bomb. (Yes I am aware nobody has said 'the bomb' since 2006 but too bad, I say it)
After making my decision to leave uni, I was so upset. I was angry that I had wasted two and a half years but I knew that I would still have two and a half more years of complete agony. It simply wasn't worth it.
When all is said and done, I am still thankful that I attempted such a challenge and suffice it to say, I have learnt from it. I am lucky to have discovered what I don't want to do and what I don't want in my life. Many people don't get this opportunity, let alone take time to figure things out and potentially have a second or third chance in this ever-changing world.
I've had watered-down discussions with other people about my decision and what I intend to do next but honestly my words aren't entirely true. I give an impression that I have confidence in where my life will lead me and in return, I get positive responses "Yeah just take some time off and figure out what you want and you can always go back to uni" "It'll be okay, heaps of people change degrees" " Don't worry, I have this friend who...". Little do they know that my stomach is turning with each word I am saying and hearing. It's easy to forget that these things are easier said than done.
I can appreciate these words and how supportive people have been and it wouldn't be fair if I didn't give them credit. I am thankful to be surrounded by such kind friends.
I preached at the beginning of this year I would take on new adventures and experience new things, however, I am in a slump and I have let myself down. I know what stopped me from pursuing these dreams. Fear. Plain and simple. Some may argue that I was 'lazy' or I have no 'drive' and there may be some truth there but I can honestly say that it is a pure fear of failure. This is so tragic. I thought I would leave all of this insecurity behind in high school, yet here I am. How do I let go of these thoughts and voices in my mind that tell me 'You are incapable of doing this'? I don't know, therapy maybe?
Fear of failure is so prevalent and I can understand why. I can only imagine how embarrassing it must be to put all of your effort into something only to fail. You have no idea how much I wish I was someone with resilience. Someone who can take hit after hit and still come back stronger than ever.
I use to think I was such a confident person but I look back and realise so much of it was a facade. I reckon I'm a bit of a fraud.
I have never experienced this feeling before and I suppose this feeling comes with adulthood. I feel 100% lost. I feel like I don't have any purpose, I'm sort of just...there.
If anyone has a solution to this problem, I am all ears.
Even though I am feeling anything but optimistic I would like to try and end this post on a positive note. 'Some one always has it worse than you'. I don't know whether that is overall positive but oh well it's still true.