I am going on twenty-two soon. When I was a child, my mother never hesitated to tell stories of her wonderful time at college, and she often voiced her excitement for the day that I would be a part of the camaraderie, the day that I would meet a close-knit group of friends and we would grow old together like the Golden Girls and I would likely be the Rose of our group. Never could I have imagined that I would be in the situation that I’m in now; 21, just released from an inpatient health facility, up to my ass in bills and a temporary college dropout. Needless to say, things didn’t go the way I thought they would.
I 100% plan to go back to college at some point, but for now, I wear the label of ‘dropout’ heavy around my neck. It weighs me down, especially when my mother pulls on it. Recently she told me that seeing me around the house reminds her of all the things she did wrong. And then she made us go to the gym together, and cook dinner together; they’re the one calling me bipolar, mind you.
The college experience; a bunch of people sticking their thumbs at you against a white backdrop. Unrelated, but doesn’t the woman in the blue shirt look sort of like Gillian Anderson?
The expectations of my family weighed on my back heavier than this new label of ‘dropout’. I was expected to get amazing grades while juggling a job where I worked 20 hours a week while being involved with extracurricular activities to boost my resume. Shockingly, I managed to maintain this facade for about two years, but I wasn’t ever happy. I wanted other people to be happy, so I shut my mouth and adorned a mask and never gave anyone a clue that I was feeling so horrible until a bottle of pills and the intention to end it all landed me in a psych ward. My body and mind were fried; I was incredibly lonely, I was hurting so bad and all for the fact that I took care of other’s first, and never myself. All for the fact that I thought that I would be able to handle these things on my own. This was not the case. Obviously.
Thank God this was not me, my inpatient facility was very nice and the staff always got me some hot chocolate. Now that that’s out of the way, what the hell is going on with this picture?
‘Dropout’ is a heavy label to wear, but I’m not worried about never going back to college. I intend to, and maybe this time it won’t be Syracuse, my original university. Maybe I’ll end up moving far away from the chaos of life with my parents. It’s a nice idea, moving a thousand miles so I don’t have to interact with shitty family. And it gives me some comfort to know that only about half of all students graduate with a bachelors within six years, not four. I know many people who took a year break, or took some time to save up for college, or people who are taking community college classes. It’s not an ideal situation that I’m in, but I feel about a million times better than when I was forced to pretend that I was living the college experience, when I had to pretend that I was happier than I really was. Maybe someday I’ll go back and maybe someday I won’t, but for now, I have to concentrate on getting better enough to even entertain receiving my Bachelor’s in a reasonable amount of time. Your health always comes first, before anything else. And if you’re feeling hopeless in college, speak up; the worst mistake i’ve ever made was thinking I could suffer through this alone.