Day 3: Your day, in great detail. Oh boy…
I woke up rather groggily from a restless sleep at 9:03 am, indulging in the fact that I did not have classes today due to reading break. Still under warm covers, I perform the common morning update check that young adults do, looking through and clicking phone notifications until they reach zero new messages. One email was particularly interesting and important. It was from my college registrar. This was the moment I decided I would be brave enough to make a difficult decision and start anew, accepting consequences and opportunities alike. I stretched like a cat before hopping out of bed (this is the only way it works or else the chances of refalling asleep are quite high) and doing the regular washroom business.
Put my hair in a french braid, brushed my teeth, made sure my face was tolerable to the eye, and said good morning to my mom, who was answering emails for our dance school. I helped her type a few things, being quite grumbly for no particular reason, dressed in the comfiest pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt I could find and headed downstairs for breakfast.
It was greek yogurt with apple cinnamon granola, which I munched on at average speed while thinking about what I was going to say about my current university studies. It has been getting harder to motivate myself through classes and labs and assignments. There is a contradiction in my head. I KNOW I am supposed to be excited, motivated, and curious, ready to absorb everything and anything from the university experience. But I’m not. I KNOW I had chosen this field out of interest and passion because they were my favourite subjects and that this university should suit me. But I’m hating it. Everything in my thoughts float around in this muck, and it feels as if I’m wandering along aimlessly, sometimes not knowing what to do, where to go, or in my darkest moments, who I am as I’m going about my day.
There’s a switch that flips my emotion from good to bad in a matter of seconds. It can be an event, something someone said, or something that I see. After breakfast, this flip was switched. And for the worse. My mother had a mamogram to go to this morning so we decided to take the public transit downtown together. She told me to wear a warmer coat and I ended up leaving the house in this giant, fluffy, full body parka. It was warm and sunny outside, and I became angry because I was holding this huge garment while hurrying on the bus and subway to make it to the appointment on time.
I listened to music almost the entire trip. I didn’t want people to look at me because I was fat, stupid, and about to become a university drop-out, so any conversation my mom tried to make just made me feel worse when I wanted to feel invisible.
When we finally parted ways, I left the subway station relieved to have navigated underground well enough to emerge on the right side of the street and headed towards my college, one of seven that is part of my university. My heart was beating out of my chest and I couldn’t get rid of the thought that I was crazy. Why would anyone give up a full scholarship at one of the best universities in the world? And I remind myself that I am not well. In a perfect world I would be flourishing , but right now, I am in living hell by being a student here. So I walked through the beautiful gardens lit by the noon sun in between the college theatre and old hall feeling grateful for having been a part of it, and into the registrar’s office.
It is a grey, boxy building, with stairs leading to wide open doors which makes it more welcoming on the inside than from the outwards appearance. It was a short wait as I was just on time and they are incredibly efficient. The registrar called me in and we began to talk.
She is a tall, smart-looking lady with aged but fashionable hair and a warm but firm tone of voice. We had talked before as I had concerns about my mental health but today was serious business with decision making involved. It basically came to the fact that I could drop school now, I could drop school later, or I could drop school now and restart later. And there was no clear right and wrong decision. It had to be mine to make and I had to decide what was the best for me at this point in my life.
I had to let her know how guilty I felt for wasting this opportunity. But she told me we have to remember to not anthropomorphize the university. It is an institution. It does not have feelings or judgement. And so I was left with my thoughts for a couple of hours before I had to choose something, because universities are all about deadlines, as Ms Registrar said.
I talked to my boyfriend on Skype in the student cafe across the street with the sunlight streaming through, casting a halo ring of wispy hair around my head. He was very understanding, logical (as is his trademark) and supportive towards whatever decision I made and I felt very lucky. At this point I was leaning towards giving up this semester for sure. We came up with a list of things to do to keep me busy because it is important I do not let myself waste time and feel unproductive to fall further into sadness and self-criticism.
Then I met up with my parents and we talked over lunch at a ramen place close to campus, where servers and chefs shout out orders and quick cheers for boosted morale, and where the modernized classical music is played a little bit too loud. I ordered a chicken broth thick noodle bowl with pork shoulder, seaweed, and a side of gyoza. The warm soup filled my stomach and was comforting somehow. At this point, the decision was clear.
In order to function at my full potential and enjoy the full experience of university, I must first be happy and healthy. I have always been a believer that if you enjoy something, you are probably going to do well at it. I do not know what I want, what I am interested in, and believe I have no abilities worth merit. It is very hard to function as a full time university student when you are feeling this way all the time, every day.
And so I sent an email. And that was that. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and at the same time a quiet disappointment settled on me. I was sad. But I am going to accept that. Unfortunate things happen. No one wants problems, but when you have them, you have to fix them. In this case, I have to fix myself. I was very quiet on the ride back home because I am soon going to start the process of rediscovering my joy, passion, and identity in life. I am going to find myself again.
As I sit here at home writing this I am scared about what will happen in the future. But every day is going to be better. This is something my boyfriend always says. I will find things I enjoy, things I am good at, things that make me smile, and things that inspire me. And my thoughts are going to be clearer so I can write in an organized and clear way unlike this ramble of a journal entry. But for now, this is ok. I am starting to find myself and the pieces that depression took away from me…