Grad School Just Became Real
As many of you know, the whole goal of my life has been started by deciding to go back to school and earn my Masters of Social Work. In hopes that I can learn to create a government funded art therapy program that not only helps those associated with the military cope with the very real stressors their service entails, but one that utilizes all spouse Art Therapists, Counselors and Artists. My dream would be to forge an art program that is specifically designed to help active duty, dependents and veterans work through the very real mental and physical traumas acquired through service of this country.
The first hurdle to jump through was the admissions process and trying to decide what online program best suited my personality and growth track. Then you get that acceptance and you are hit with the realization of payment. Followed by the oh so ever taxing purchase of USED text books costing hundreds of dollars. And finally, receiving said text books in the mail hopefully by the time the course syllabi become available.
I am at the step after the one above. The step where I realized one syllabus alone was 25 pages long. The step where I saw all of the work posted for the term and how in-depth all of it was. The step where I felt that tightness in my chest followed by what can only be described as a mixture of excitement and terror. The step where I realized how big of a commitment this truly was and that I hope to God I can learn to write papers in APA Format despite my failing of the writing assessment. (Thankfully, this wasn’t graded; it was just for personal use.) The step where I quickly put my toddler down for her nap so that I could take a moment for myself to calm these thoughts. The step where self doubt reared it’s ugly head again.
I am currently sitting on my bed, with no pants on, writing this as the printer screeches and shakes trying to produced my most current demand. I am sitting here, thinking about every possible scenario that may come up. Thinking about all my weaknesses: how exhausted I already am, how Christmas is on it’s way as will many orders, how I will be having hand surgery next week, how I will be staying up WAY past my embarrassing bedtime of 8:30 p.m. to attend class, how there is no possible way I could do this.
Little steps of faith are just as important as the huge leaps. Take a little step today and experience the magic!
Sitting here, typing my feelings out into the world, I then realized how far I have come with my mental health. How when I first started to have severe anxiety and depression symptoms at the start of high school, I couldn’t get out of bed. I wouldn’t eat, then overeat. I would do many unhealthy things just to get a few seconds of relief from the internal torture. I think about my family life, my friends and my career and how exhausting it all was for me at times. That despite experiencing things that were meant to tear me down, to make me live below my potential and believe all of the lies that everyone has at some point or on a more frequent basis; I am rising up as an advocate. Everything that I have experienced has molded me into the kind of person who will fearlessly fight for what she believes in. Who will demand more out of humanity than complacency. Who will live life radiating with kindness. Who will engage in human connections despite our turn to more aloof forms of communication. I am someone who will change the world for the better. I am someone who never gives up, who’s life is all about adapting to change, who has gone through a wide range of life events and who is really in touch with emotions. I was made to impact this world through my creativity.
The funny thing is, I am just like you. We are more similar than you can imagine. WE can do miraculous things and are meant to lift each other out of the constant mental anguish. Sometimes you just have to jump in, arms open and eyes closed. That is what I feel like I have done with my life this station. I am choosing to believe in myself—finally. It only took 29 years and many peaks and valleys, but I am here. Many of us don’t realize the power we have in simply choosing to believe. When we chose to believe, to hope, to strive to be better, that is when the magic begins to happen. That magic could be just getting up in the morning or making it through the infant/toddler phase of life, surviving a trauma but working to cope or eaching out to a stranger who may have just needed a conversation to turn their whole day around. I propose we make that magic contagious! See what happens when you choose to believe that you can get better, that there is hope, that you have the potential to really impact this world for the better. I believe that if more of us did this, the world may not seem so overwhelming. There will always be hardships, struggles, and major life circumstances, I am not saying that we ignore how difficult that can be. I am only asking to start to turn the tide; if not for us for our children.
So, yes. Graduate School reality hit me like a freight train this morning, but you know what? I am good now. I am confident. I know there will be ups and downs but I will succeed. Do you know why? Because I chose to lean on you readers, to be transparent and real in a way that ignited a fire with me. That is what happens when we are honest about difficult things; you find a way through them. You walk tall and you choose to live up to your potential. To those out there struggling, you can do this. Little steps of faith are just as important as the huge leaps. Take a little step today and experience the magic!