All my life I’ve stumbled, yet up here I am just perfect.
Perfect as I’ll ever be.
Marie Digby, “Spell”
So, I finally got the last grade that I have been waiting for. After the weekend, I will be asking how I can file a late application for graduation. I don’t know if I can make it to the graduation ceremony next Saturday, but for me, to be formally declared as a graduate from the diploma program is enough for me, as it would mean I can move on to the Masters’ proper of the graduate degree I am in. There are a lot of things I need to get done, but I’m ready for it.
I’m not going to lie. I’m scared about what’s store for me once I move on up. Master’s proper will surely be more challenging than the Diploma track. The Diploma track had been challenging enough–my family and close friends have been witness to so many breakdowns along the way. But I need to remember I was able to make it.
Two years ago, I decided to leave law school and enroll in graduate school instead. I was both nervous and hopeful; I couldn’t wait to learn something new and to start over academically, yet at the same time, feel like a fraud whilst filling up application forms and looking for references. I was able to find two from work. But I was able to get in. And I vowed that I would really work overtime to prove my worth.
As someone who got used to receiving (far too many) failing grades whilst in law school even with all the effort I’ve exerted, I have to admit, I cried when I received good final grades (1.25 and 2.25) for the first semester of AY 2019-2020. Not because I feel that I didn’t work hard enough–rather, I considered it my defining moment–I wasn’t lazy. I wasn’t stupid. It was a very visible sign that I am capable. I am a hard worker.
Those grades were the best Christmas gift ever.
Then second semester rolled in. I had a pretty stressful workload that I ended up dropping one subject. And then the pandemic broke out. Then I’ve had a problem with my research proposal. I was waiting for the shoe to drop. It didn’t. Instead, I was able to retrace my steps and find out what the hell was wrong with the original proposal and how I can start over. I ended up changing the topic, and narrowing the subject of the research so it wouldn’t hard to administer surveys if needed.
Then first semester of the second year rolled in. How I managed to survive it, I can no longer remember. I got my first uno (yay)–and funnily enough, it was for a law subject.
Hell, I really am not a dunce, after all.
The second semester was more demanding than the first. I had to really start work on revising the research proposal and at the same time, fulfill the requirements of the subjects I was enrolled in. And then all the challenges strarted to come in. My medication had run out, my productivity was at an all time low, and I was struggling. I was beginning to doubt if I would ever graduate on time. I didn’t even apply for graduation, because I wasn’t sure if I could make it.
But here I am. I told myself now that if I didn’t make it to the graduation ceremony, it would still be okay. I now have the grades I need to graduate, so all I have to do is file for a late application. I am one step closer to moving forward. But you know what? It still hasn’t sunk into my system that I am capable of doing something good. I am capable of making an uno. Or a 1.25. Or a 1.75. And I needn’t worry about the shoe going to drop at some point. It wouldn’t as long as I don’t let it.
And I cannot wait to start on my new journey.
I have a few takeaways from this experience. I was able to fight my depression and anxiety out–but I had to rely on prayers now that my medications have run out. It’s possible. And never lose hope that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Here’s a disclaimer, though. I don’t exactly recommend pushing through without the help of a professional if your mental health issues are no longer manageable. I wasn’t able to get a new prescription due to the lockdowns for the past few months. Prayers are good, but one has to remember that when one’s mental health is pretty fragile, don’t wait until you reach the breaking point. Seek the help of a professional.
And take care of yourself physically as well.