Friday, June 5, 2009

Graduating From Rock to Hard Place

In my About Me section I wrote that I'm on the verge of graduating into life ... now I'm trying to figure out if that graduation has occurred or not. See, when I wrote that I was thinking about my literal graduation from university. I guess I based it on that idea that the "real" world begins where university ends, the thing is, I didn't graduate from university on Wednesday - and I'm devastated.

Just before Christmas I went to see the doctor and was diagnosed with insomnia - big surprise (you kind of know when you have insomnia, you know). Anyway, after the Christmas break I went into see my senior tutor and informed him of the situation and asked for help. Over my final semester I met with my senior tutor more than 10 times, he wrote me leniency letters for my professors, I withdrew from a course late under the advisement of my professor in that class and my senior tutor - everything to no avail. 11% has just kept me from graduating. Two courses, two professors, one department has kept me from graduating. Did I pass the courses? Yes I did. Did I get 60% in them? No I didn't - and apparently that's all that matters. Nevermind that I was sick, nevermind that I did everything I possibly could during the semester to keep my head above water and do the best that I could, nevermind that I was willing to do any extra work over the summer to bring those two grades up to 60% - it would "set a precedence" apparently and that's just to big a risk - imagine being known for being understanding, for helping students, for judging issues on a case by case basis.

So here I am - I should have graduated and I didn't. I now need only two courses and I have no money left to take them - no money left for tuition and certainly no money left for rent and food. So I now need to take a year off and work in some miserable job that makes my brain shrivel up and then go through the absolute Hell that was university again for another whole year. Do I do this? Do I put myself through this Hell again? Do I have a choice? Without a degree all I have is a high school diploma and these days that's not worth much - hell, these days a degree isn't worth all that much either.

There are just so many issues. I really hate university and the prospect of having to go back in a year makes me feel physically ill. Since I've been in university I've had one definite breakdown which landed me in the counselling office, numerous panic attacks and the irony of ironies, I've lost the ability to sleep at night - the exact problem that's landed me in this situation. Then there's the issue of the year in between - it's basically a wasted year. The odds of getting a good job that I actually enjoy are miniscule and then what if I do get such a mythical job - am I supposed to quit it after one year and return to Hell so that I can get a degree that will enable me to get a good job that I will enjoy? That makes sense. If I follow this plan, I delay my life by two years and not just my life but Banana #2's life as well - our life together. I was supposed to be looking for a job now so that we could save for our wedding next year, but I can't save for both a wedding and school. We can't start saving for a really nice apartment or house. And there's also the little matter of getting help fixing whatever the hell is causing my insomnia and panic attacks - yes school and stress contribute but there has to be more to it than that. I need to get driving lessons. There are just so many things now that I have to put off and all because of 11% and bureaucracy.

And I think I could deal with this if I was a bad student, if I genuinely didn't understand the works we were studying but I've never had problems with that. My problem was that I developed insomnia heading into my final semester and all my classes were at 9am. And I think I could deal with all of this even, with them saying they can't do anything to help me out because they have to think about the "integrity of the degree" if I believed that every other person that got a degree actually deserved it. But I kid you not, in one of my English Literature classes, in a university lecture, the professors felt the need to take time out and explain the difference between "its" and "it's" because so many people had confused the two on their last papers. People are getting degrees who don't even know basic English grammar and they're citing "the integrity of the degree" to me as the reason they can't and won't give me a break ... needless to say I'm a little bitter at the moment.

But even more than I'm feeling bitter at the moment, I'm feeling lost. I have no idea what do with myself over the next couple of years. Do I settle for working some miserable job for a year so that I can earn enough cash to finish my degree the following year? Do I say the hell with it and try and get a genuinely good job and forget about the degree? Do I try and save for school and the wedding or do we push the wedding back again? And where in all this do I enjoy life?

I haven't graduated university but I'm fairly certain I just graduated into "real" life. The question is - where do I go from here?

1 comment:

  1. I don't have a degree. Most of my friends do, though. And one doesn't and he makes more money than my whole family (6 brothers and sisters and their spouses) combined. AND he's not a drug dealer (in case you were thinking that!)
    I know you feel lost, but your health is more important than a degree. The job you will get doesn't have to be shit. If you can find something that makes you happy (or a place with happy people) and you don't dread getting up in the morning, this is a good thing.
    Money is such a problem, isn't it?
    But your health and wellbeing and the ability to sleep through the night is a thousand times more important than a degree right now.

    I'm just saying.