The educational break

In just a few weeks post-secondary students in this province will be gearing up to complete assignments and write final exams. End of March and beginning of April is not only a busy time for university/college students, it’s also a stressful time… something that I don’t miss.

Do I miss being creative and learning new things? Absolutely. But I surely do not miss the stress, the studying, the cramming and the commute to and from campus every single day. I guess you can say the two-year suspension has been a blessing in disguise. It has also allowed me to sit back and think and put things into perspective.

I’m a very smart girl and I’ve been told this time and time again, so when it came to failing that one course over and over again, I became worn out and frustrated with myself. I could feel the stress evolving into this giant ball of horribleness (is that even a word? I think I just made it up) that was about to explode any minute. I was turning in to something I did not like and if it continued, I would have become a very unpleasant person to deal with. I was scheduling many vacations just to de-stress and de-clutter my life and I saw a problem with that. Sure it’s nice to get away, but when trips are becoming more frequent just so you can escape stress… there lies a problem within itself – too much stress!

I was one credit shy of graduating and I was crushed when the university wasn’t going to give me a break and pass me along (even though I was 3% away from passing… how frustrating). I was looking forward to finally graduating (and graduating with some high school classmates once again) and starting my new career as a Criminologist. While my dreams of being a Forensics Investigator was still a bit away, I was excited to start working with the youth in my community and helping them realize their potential when society sees so much less of them. It’s become tragic that society has given up on some youth in some particular areas… all kids have potential and I felt it was my job to help them realize it. And I still do. In the words of Unique II – “Ain’t nobody gonna break my stride, ain’t nobody gonna hold me down. Noooooo!”

Emotionally September and October were extremely difficult. In September I had originally planned to start planning my graduation party for mid-October. I would have begun that job search and start selling myself to potential employees. October 19 would have been my graduation day and my parents would have finally been able to see my cross that stage and receive the diploma I’ve been working so hard to obtain. Do you know what sucked even more? Knowing I was on track to graduate, take graduation photos and then have the university tell you couldn’t graduate. Now I have sample graduation photos hiding somewhere because I can’t bare the thought to look at them.

In September I was able to fill my days with working on a proper schedule even though I was still employed as a casual employee. My availability was much better than the previous year and I was keeping myself busy with a lot of work assignments. The best part was I was able to work in the elementary school I attended as a child, and that raised my spirits. September was quite the busy month and even though it was emotionally tough, at least I kept myself from dwelling on what could have been.

Surprisingly enough I received more assignments end of October straight through December. Although it was enough to pay bills, my spirits were raised and I became happier than I ever was. I was in a work environment that loved me, I was volunteering in a former teacher’s classroom and mentoring her students; I was working in a place that I loved and really enjoyed being in. My weekends were filled with time for myself and I wasn’t worrying about rushing to complete errands and then hurry home to study, complete an assignment or even start one. My weekday evenings were mine as well and I could sit down and enjoy my television programs that I loved to watch, without scheduling time to watch them.

Shortly before Christmas break I received some wonderful news – I was being offered a term position within the school division starting the middle of January. Not only would this help me financially, I was finally getting somewhere in the division and I would have steady full-time employment for a length of time. It was a wonderful Christmas indeed!

Not only we’re my emotions finally in check, I’ve been able to think things over and evaluate where I’m going. I was able to volunteer as a youth cadet leader at my former elementary school, start a blog raising awareness about the good things happening in my community; tutor children in my community and re-evaluate my career plans. My dreams of becoming a Forensics Investigator are still alive and well but in the meantime, while those dreams are being worked on, I decided that even without a complete degree, I could still work within my community helping at risk-youth. I have plans to start job hunting for a job where I can work with youth in my community while I’m on summer break with the division. I might not get paid as much as someone with a complete degree, but money isn’t an issue. I love my community and I want the kids to have the same amazing opportunities I had growing up. Why should their dreams and opportunities be halted simply because of their race, socio-economic status, living/family situation or what area they come from? It shouldn’t matter… all kids should have equal opportunity to shine, no matter their situation.

Sometimes you have to take a giant step back in order to eventually take that giant leap forward. The time off has allowed me to clear the brain, de-stress the body (and mind), spend more time with friends and family and think about where I want to take myself when it comes to my career. Things happen for the strangest reasons and I’m glad that I was bestowed a two-year suspension. Take things like a champ.

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