I almost didn’t do this semester. I almost temporarily dropped out of school and focused on work, a decision that I know would’ve been heavily supported by my family and probably my friends too. My mom told me almost every day for weeks leading up to school: “You don’t have to do this, you know.” By “this”, she meant both the semester and college as a whole. I could take a break or I could drop it altogether. All in the name of keeping me mentally and physically well, since last semester took a toll I couldn’t imagine.
But I didn’t want to be the person who gave up. If it was going to take a miracle for
me to succeed then so be it. For about two and a half weeks I went to group therapy every single day. I came home exhausted each afternoon but by the time my classes started, I had a really good foundation to stand on, and some new friends from the group, who took me out for mock-tails when I finished the program and were such a blessing.
I became a lot more active. I went back to work after some time off (my students were happier than ever that I was back), even photographed a wedding with my friend AND an engagement. My work with both my students and with photography grounded me. It kept me focused, useful, busy. So did my classes.
I had some more medical testing done and learned that my heart is healthy 4 years post chemo (yay!)
I made a lot of new friends, and had a ton of adventures I never expected with old ones. There was some anxiety, some sadness, a lot of stress and fear, but I found a lot of moments to breathe easy and that was what made the difference.
I know all good things come to an end, but I miss this short semester already. I worked hard for it. I EARNED it. I feel like we all did, and it was stolen away from us. And it's hard, because when the good things keep getting messed up, you start to feel like the bad things are your fault; not so much that you caused them but that you should've seen them coming. In other words, you were naive to be happy. You were stupid to think this would work out.
But if this is what being naive gets me- if it allowed me to enjoy my time this year with friends and work and family- then I think I'm fine with getting caught off guard. And even though this good thing ended, I wouldn't do anything differently.
Here's to my second year of college.