On Taking a Leave from University;

[Collection of Misconception]

When I first decided to take a leave of absence from the Bachelor of Nursing program, I felt like an outcast. I recalled back to first year when my friends and I would discuss the pointlessness of finishing three quarters of a degree only to leave. I knew I was one of those people. You know the people: they’re the ones your professor refers to at the beginning of university when they gesture to each side and states that x amount of students will be gone by the end of the degree. Why did I feel this way? Stigma. But not the type that is so often frowned upon; the judgement of those who are different. We’re talking about the stigma of failure. There is an abundance of stigma surrounding individuals who do not complete university within the specified amount of time (or at all). It is this stigma that makes parents ashamed and students unwell. The pressure to carry on despite desperately needing time away can be irreversibly detrimental. Even with strong support systems and resources galore university can be overwhelming beyond one’s willpower. We often confuse the concept of persistence in academia, yet grasp it easily in other variations. Runners make a wonderful example. When a runner is training or competing, they push themselves beyond expectations. Yet, during any point if the runner becomes injured, collapses, or cannot continue safely they are encouraged to abstain from continuing. In academia however, there is societal (and thus academic) expectation to persist throughout it all. Sure, the runner may tear a tendon and be escorted away with an applause. But if the brain becomes overworked and depleted to the point of breakdowns is there really anyone clapping or advising the person to abstain from academia?

[Stepping Back]

I believe that I could have completed my degree in the expected time frame. However, I made it through my third year with a crappy GPA and a desire to never go back. Nevertheless, I began fourth year with the mindset to persevere.

Just. Finish. It.

So what changed exactly? I chose to actually live my life. I decided that being miserable in order to avoid judgement from others was not worth it; but that I was. And with that I embarked on my year-long journey to finding the happiness inside of myself. I tried a bunch of crazy stuff, including: attempting different jobs which I may or may not have been qualified for, raising my puppy, starting a business, eating everything I wanted, exploring new places, finding new friends, discovering spirituality, and learning to play chess to name a few. I realized that I can retain what I learned in school so that I could take time to experience other aspects of life.

[The Return]

They say that too much of something is never a bad thing. That may be true for chocolate or puppies, however, I certainly had overwhelmed my mind with school. I have announced my return to university in the fall 2017 to complete my nursing degree and could not be happier. I feel confident in my decision to continue my pursuit in nursing now that I have experienced other opportunities. I have went from disliking healthcare and feeling hopelessly trapped to a being filled with excitement for what is ahead. If I had not walked away when I did, I most likely would have completed the program only to never become a registered nurse.

It’s okay to take time away. The future is bright friends ^.^


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