Why I didn’t quit my MA.
In my last blog I spoke about learning to let go when living with ME. I looked at how I have learned to forgive myself & come to some sort of acceptance of what I am now able to do.
I spoke of the need to pause when I felt my health was beginning to waiver. I explained how I had come to the difficult decision to quit my MA – well not quit, but I chose to pause.
It took a lot of battling between my head & heart to get to that point, & I was okay with it. I had accepted it, I wasn’t hard on myself, I knew it was the right choice for me.
Well, as you probably guessed from the title of the blog – I didn’t quit my MA.
I was feeling positive about my decision, sad to be missing out on what my colleagues would be doing, but I had a plan to keep me busy for the year. I would use the time to prepare for the following year – I could even get myself ahead through reading & thinking about my next topic. The clarity I had felt was so good – I knew what my focus was for the coming year.
Then came the time to put everything in place – contact relevant people, sort out student finance, fill out forms etc. It turned out that pausing wasn’t actually as straightforward as I would have hoped, & there was a risk that future student funding could be a problem.
I spoke with (at) a colleague & pretty quickly knew that I would carry on. But it got me thinking, what could I do differently this time? With the advantage of hindsight, & the opportunity to grow from my learning so far – to help manage the workload & enable me to actually enjoy the study.
I work well when I have goals & targets to aim for, however, I am even better at procrastinating. If there is time – I can fill it. But what I have learned is that I cannot afford to risk leaving things until it gets closer to the deadline – because what if I have a ‘crash’ & I am unable to do anything? Pressure studying is my way of working – it always has been & I always meet the deadline. But I knew that I needed to change this.
Making it work for me not against me
I spent an entire day creating a plan & schedule to fit my study in around my other commitments. I am fortunate to have a brilliant & highly motivated colleague who is also studying this course, & a detailed schedule was devised to ensure that each week we made progress. I then gave myself a few days to spend some time reading & thinking about my next research topic. I felt excited again!
I am organised, & I feel on top of things. I have clear goals, & because I have an accountability buddy, I have motivation to complete the work – because I don’t want to let her down by falling behind & not being in the same place that she is with her research.
When you live with a condition like ME, prioritising time is so important in enabling you to move forward & achieve what you would like or need to.
So, my lesson from this is that I learned to let go, and that brought me clarity without guilt or shame – but when my situation changed once more, I learned to go with it & to be proactive. When you cannot control what’s happening, focus on controlling your response to the situation. This can bring calmness & clarity.
Life can often throw us curveballs, and when managing life with chronic health issues, it can be pretty scary. Take some time to sit & think about what is changing, how it will impact you, and list what you can do to make it easier for you.
If you are able to, reach out & get support. Look after yourself & break things into smaller & more manageable goals. Everything feels much less overwhelming when you take a step-by-step approach to things.
I recently saw this question: ‘How do you eat an elephant?’
A great analogy to get us to think about taking things ‘bit by bit.’
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