I feel as if I am doing the whole college thing – the good, the bad, and the ugly – from start A to Z except I am 6 years late. But am I late? Who is it that made up these rules about when we had to accomplish things, at what age all the milestones should be at? I am finally living in my own apartment, a junior in college, going to bars, meeting new people, new guys, cramming for tests, fighting a hangover in a morning class or two…and I am 24-years-old. Who cares?
I am “late” in receiving my B.S. because of my rocky start at Georgian Court University and then after that, waging a war against myself while trying to cope with my Bipolar Disorder (which hadn’t even been diagnosed at that point in time). I held numerous jobs, many of which ended in disaster as I had another meltdown that constantly put me back at square one. This was the cycle for the following 4 years or so of my life after dropping out of college after 2 semesters (only 12 credits actually completed) – feel good, get a job, work said job, start to crash, meltdown, leave job, suffer for weeks in my pit of despair and self-loathing.
I suppose you could say it was at least a decent reason for being “late.”
After I had been diagnosed and spent several months not working but trying desperately to regulate my moods and get back on my feet, both figuratively and literally (I had worn a dent in the couch and could tell you the outcome of almost every Dr. Phil out at the time), I began to think about my future. This time, though, I had a clear mind and I had begun to find myself. I realized at this point that I hadn’t ever been me. I had been this shell of a girl walking around, doing the motions of life, but not actually living (pardon the cliché but it’s true).
Things were coming into focus now and the first thing I realized is that I didn’t want to be a social worker or a clinical therapist as I had gone into GCU prepared to do. It takes a special kind of person to wear that hat and I knew I didn’t have it. I found my passion for writing again and I suddenly had more than just a passion to learn, I had developed a need for it, for new information from any discipline. And somewhere along the line, I found what I was meant to do, and now, here I am, living in my little apartment 6.5 hours away from everything and everyone that I have ever known , completing my B.S. in Technical Writing. I will be 25, almost 26 when I finally graduate. And that is OKAY!
We all have different paths to take, choices to make, and mistakes to be made. Don’t let your parents, your teachers, or society dictate which way you choose. Life is harder for different people at different times for different reasons and having a mood disorder or mental illness can definitely complicate things. Take your triumphs and never forget them. Accept your mistakes and move on. Be proud of the person that you are because chances are, you didn’t get to this point by waving a magic wand and making everything flowers and rainbows along your way and therefore, reaching this point is a success worth celebrating.
So, take a moment and pat yourself on the back because today, I CELEBRATE YOU and your wins and losses because you had to go through them all to get here and to be the person that you are and THAT is an accomplishment!