Before you read this I hope you all know that although this was my experience it does not mean yours will be the same. I hope that my experience may show you that no matter what happens, you always have a choice. That there are possibilities and nothing in your life is or should be defined by a piece of paper or what other people say you should do.
I don’t think I ever liked school. I think it all stopped being fun when they got rid of arts and crafts and nap time. In primary school I was bullied. I hated maths and I got anxiety even at a young age when we would have tests on our maths tables. I used to tell my mom I felt sick and then she would take me out of school and bring me home where I felt safe. Eventually she found out about me being bullied and I moved schools. Then I moved schools again a couple of times between living in the United States and a few more times when I came back to Ireland. And then I even moved universities. I could bear primary school and most of secondary school. It was the last 2 years of secondary school I couldn’t bear, my 6th year and repeat 6th year.
6th year final year of secondary school, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I was putting so much pressure on myself to get good points in my leaving cert that I drove myself crazy. I put so much pressure on myself that I reached a point where I just broke down and didn’t even try any more I didn’t bother with studying or anything and then that would lead to more anxiety and depression a vicious cycle really. I had lost weight and was already slim it wasn’t healthy. But then I got my results I was going to college. Trinity College Dublin, to do Intellectual disability nursing, which was not my first choice, it was my fourth. But I went anyways thinking ah give it a shot. I went to trinity stayed in student accommodation and went to a few lectures and knew straight away it wasn’t right for me I decided to repeat my leaving cert.
Repeat year, weight gain, bullying and more depression and anxiety. I went from a size 6-8 to a size 14 due to everything that was going on. If it were not for a small group of girls who were my friends that year and some still are I don’t know where I’d be today. I stopped showing up to school I literally had to be dragged out of my house into the car a few times because I would just be in hysterics about not wanting to go. I hated being there I hated the pressure how all anyone talked about was subjects and classes and points and anything and everything as long as it was related somehow to the leaving cert. Seeing all my friends having the best first year in college of their lives felt like a punch in the gut to me. I got my first choice after my second leaving cert. I went to the University of Limerick and did general nursing and loved it, my Granny who used to be a nurse, was SO proud.
In university I started having health problems with my ovaries in second year although there had been some complications in the past, and ended up in hospital a few times due to pain and then being prescribed lots of medicine that didn’t help.It again took its toll on my mental health and I couldn’t cope enough to show up to college anymore. I began to hate my course. I had never liked the college lifestyle anyways it’s just not me. And decided no I can’t go anymore, I was miserable.
I left college in April I think but I’m not sure, as I stopped going properly before Christmas exams. I spent so long trying to do what was the done thing and the norm. I was telling my parents I was going to college but I was really hanging out with my bestfriend Shannon and having her calm me down from my anxiety attacks and she really helped me stay positive and do what was right for me. Only when it had pushed me to my limit I realised, no, I can’t do this this path is not for me. I don’t plan on returning to nursing for the foreseeable future as I have too many doubts about it and if I were to go back and then leave again, I would feel horrible. I need more time to discover if that is what I want to do with my life, but for now it isn’t.
I am now in a place in my life where I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m healthier after taking time to look after myself, my mental health is a hell of a lot better, I’m travelling, I’ve got rid of any toxic relationships I once had with people, I’m comfortable and not stressed and just living my best life. I’m more present and less angry, I now have proper conversations with people instead of only pretending to listen while stressing out in my head. I’ve grown much more as a person. Now I must say this is my experience my story. I’m not saying that if you repeat your leaving cert you’ll be miserable or if you don’t get your first choice you won’t be happy. That was just my experience. But my experience lead time to where I am today and made me a much better person so I’m grateful for it. You will have your own experiences.
So if you’re getting results and don’t get what you want don’t worry, it’ll either work out brilliantly for you or it wont and if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. What’s for you will not pass you and who knows not getting what you want could be a blessing in disguise. You may take a year out and discover another path. You might repeat your leaving cert and mature as a person and not hate it. You may not go to any college and start a business and succeed. You may do a course that leads you on to amazing things and opportunities. The possibilities are endless. One sheet of paper won’t determine your life forever and it’s not a measure of your potential. I once thought if I wasn’t in college I might as well be dead to my family. I thought they wouldn’t be supportive at all, ut they were when I came to them with the alternative. I made it clear that even though I wasn’t going to be in college I wasn’t going to sit around home all day doing nothing. I showed them my plan for what I want to actually do and then they understood more. I’m not in college and have a better relationship with my family now than I ever did they’re so understanding and can physically see that I’m happier and that’s all that parents want for their child. If you’re stuck in a course that you’re unhappy in, leave. I know it might seem terrifying but do it anyway. Don’t waste another minute of your life living it the way other people think you should. Follow your dreams not the crowd.
Let me know what you think.