Recently, one of their articles REALLY hit home for me - when your dream dies and you're not sure what to do next.
Back in late 2011, when I had to make the decision to stop going to graduate school due to multiple illness issues, I was devastated. My depression and anxiety picked up and I became agoraphobic, if only because I was worried about running into classmates or TAs or professors. My fibromyalgia went into a flare that only ended in the last year, and my Still's had a blast with my stressed and scared body.
Sometimes I think that if I had really been more invested in the subjects that I would have stuck with it and excelled. Then I remember just how very sick I really was - and these pictures are from the year before I quit even!
It took a long time for me to deal with those feelings. It really wasn't until recently that I was able to let go of those emotions - and really only now that I've been able to get proper medical care and get a lot of things under control.
I think I felt pressured to study the Middle East, Islam, and Arabic. Honestly, a lot of it was wanting to set myself apart from the others I did my undergrad in and choose a religion that wasn't Christianity. I often think that perhaps I should've chosen Buddhism, but I knew that wouldn't have the potential to be a real income maker like Islam. I was raised with the thought that I would be a diplomat in the UN to make my mother proud. That was pretty heavily pushed on me. With all the conflict over there, the Middle East seemed like a great area to start that career in - especially since I was so used to conflict and fighting every single day of my life.
In the course of my studies, I found out so many interesting and beautiful things about that part of the world. I shared frustrations with my TAs about how the university had us learn words related to terrorism before we learned colors - something that would never happen in languages like Spanish. I tried Arab coffee, sweet treats, held conversations in Arabic, and spend times discussing the similarities between Arabic and other languages.
We've now reached the point where I would've graduated and probably had to move to a different state for a job. The nice side of that is, as much as Wisconsin sucks sometimes, Madison is beautiful. I do miss the west coast/north west scene, but this is good for now.
I've been able to channel all of the energy I had put into school work into my activism, redefining what I wanted, and that's helped me tremendously. It feels sometimes like so many of the things I've done have been more behind the scenes type of things, which can be frustrating when I want to have bigger roles. It makes it hard when people in those roles make hurtful comments. I have to step back and really analyze not only what is going on but if I'd want to be involved anymore when that's what happens.
I wish things were different. I wish that I had really thought about what I wanted to do after college, aside from me and my roommate having a backup plan of living in a van or hanging out with basketball players.