Discussion · opinion · Personal

Pressure: Figuring Out My Life

I know I’ve told you guys before in a bit of a light-hearted way about my struggles getting my Bachelor’s, but I wanted to write this up to put words to my feelings. This way, it’s not locked up inside. Maybe it can help you too.

My Bachelor’s isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I didn’t think it would be a walk in the park to begin with. However, it became more and more of a burden as I began to struggle and suffocate under the pressure.

Especially after being told how overqualified I was. How well I did in my first year, my first observation, it all seemed so smooth.

It seemed to come in waves. One class, then two. One chance, then two. Failure after failure that I wasn’t used to because I’m used to being near the top of the class. Honor student, golden tassel, the person every teacher brags about. And with every failure came a crushing realization.

That I’m not that great. I’m just a student. I’m less than some. There are people with kids and full time jobs that do better than me and I can’t even handle it with no kids.

I gave up a lot during my schooling: writing for Hi:Asia, writing on my blog, writing fanfiction, moderating pages I run, keeping up with Asian pop, not socializing a lot with my friends, not watching anime/dramas, not playing video games.

I went to work, I went to school and I went to sleep. I felt like a robot. I was losing myself. ‘What was this all for?’ I would wonder. I want this so bad. It’s all I’ve wanted for years, it’s all I’ve worked for.

Then I got an operation on my foot and couldn’t go to work. I couldn’t even walk seven blocks to get to the bus station to get to school. Then I got an email from my school saying we needed to have a meeting.

For my next observation they wanted me to go to an elementary school, but because of my TEFL certification it had to be over an hour away, and they wanted me there the whole day. However, because of certain medical conditions, I can’t drive, so I have to take public transport, and it only comes at a certain time of day, and that only allots me about 2.5 hours a day.

Then the next issue came up. My email that I used because I forgot my school password (my business email) is connected to another email to a group I moderate, and they were concerned that I was doing…porn. That’s right. I was accused of peddling porn. And having gang affiliations (thugbear). You would not believe the shame I felt. I was spiraling. It was like an out of body experience.

I began to question my identity. Everything I had worked for outside of school. The years of struggle to make a name for myself, to work with artists, to get to where I am now. Did I really need to change all that? Even now it makes me feel uneasy. I took a picture that day and every time I look at it I remember the shame I felt sitting in the chair at my counselor’s office.

After that, it wasn’t the name thing that really affected me. At least I don’t think. But my school puts pressure to sort of graduate after two years. You do two years at community college, and two years at this university. Boom, done. But I couldn’t do it. The pressure mounted, and I crumbled. One class after another.

The last class I failed I didn’t even get to start. I tried emailing the professor and she wouldn’t even answer me.

I let go of my TEFL and just went for Teaching, but that seemed to be too much. So I took a break. One year, I said. To figure everything out. To figure out what I wanted. I want this degree more than I can say. I don’t want to quit. I didn’t quit when I couldn’t pass math on time for community college, and I can’t quit now. I’m so close.

After I started my break, I wanted to do more for my website/social media. I became /slightly/ more active, I began really making videos like I had wanted to, I became a radio DJ, which has always been a dream of mine since high school. If I remember correctly, I’ve told you guys that a local radio DJ invited me to come observe him when I was in high school. I’ve been to a lot of concerts this year, more than I could have imagined, and I’m so grateful for all this year has brought me.

But I’ve also run into a bunch of health issues. Thanks to the help of my family I stopped pretending that it wasn’t a problem and I finally got help. I feel a lot better now.

I’ve decided that, down to the bare minimum, I will finish this degree. Whether I start in January or in the spring, I have yet to decide. But I need to decide soon because FAFSA and that’s a bitch and if you put it in late you only get loans, no grants and that really sucks.

I can’t make any promises for 2018, mostly because I’m terrible at keeping them. But all I can say, is that I’ll try. I hope you can too.

-Karen

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