Starting graduate school last year was one of the most educational experiences I’ve had about learning to let go when the time isn’t right. I pushed myself into graduate school for multiple reasons, and by then end of 2018, I decided I needed a break from university. I can’t tell your right now if the break is a break or if I will turn into a grad-school drop out.
I can tell you that this decision made me feel like I failed.
Being a teacher throughout the week is one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever done in my life. Since I’m in second year of teaching, this doesn’t make the matter any better. I still grade and lesson plan outside work hours. (I’m trying to find ways to stop doing this.)
When I was in class at university at 7:20 p.m., I wondered how my classmates were able to complete all of their assignments on time and how they they kept energized throughout the week to complete the readings, the discussion boards, and attend 3-hour long evening classes despite also teaching throughout the week. I learned that many of them were feeling the same way as me, but I couldn’t figure out how they found their determination to attend school. Was I not passionate enough? Was I just being lazy?
In the end, I had to be super honest with my self. What I craved the most in my evenings and weekends was to have time to relax and not feel stressed. I missed writing as my creative outlet. I also wasn’t taking care of my emotional and mental health. (Working out, meditating, and journaling help me with this, but I didn’t have time for it.)
The Lesson in the Failure
With January at its end, I feel so much better than I did last semester (August-December). I won’t say that I don’t feel exhausted, but I feel calmer and happier.
I have time to work out, meditate, journal, and blog again. These are some of the things that keep me centered, grounded, and focused. Instead of adding stress on myself, I now feel like I can truly relax and reenergize during the weekends. I don’t miss one thing about trying to submit assignments by the deadline while also having the stress of submitting my students’ grades and lesson plans by the deadline.
When I made my choice of taking a break from university, I felt like I was making a mistake. I wondered all types of things. Is this program right for me? Will I ever really come back to university? Is this a failure?
The lesson I learned was that it’s important to balance school and work with my personal life. If I failed at anything, I failed at not giving myself enough time to rest, relax, and have fun.
I’m sure now that if I go back to school again, I will go with a different mindset in which I prioritize scheduling in time to reenergize. This might mean taking one class per semester. This might also mean that I might never go back to school. We’ll see.
Have you experienced something that felt like a failure that turned out into a much needed lesson?