Thought Bubbles

When “go hard or go home” doesn’t work out

on
August 30, 2019

Disclaimer: The following text is about experiences and thoughts because of my disability regarding my studies. I want to share this so that maybe other people who are stuck in a similar situation may feel less alone. I do not share this to get attention. Nor do I want to get pity or suggestions for help with this text. I am surrounded by loving people who take care of me and I get the help I need.

I had to learn that just because I take a different path than others around me and because I do not do as much as the others, I and the work I do are no less valuable.


I scroll through Instagram and see accounts of 19 year old models and business CEO’s. Young women who have no education graduation and have left school to concentrate on their social media career and already have a 5-digit monthly income and still live in their nursery. Everyone should do whats right for them and what they feel comfortable in, what fullfills them. And if you are successful in that, the better.

Then I see my classmates, who study with me after their impeccable high school graduation and are afraid that they will not be able to pass the next exam, even though they have never passed all previous examinations under 80%, with a passing limit of 60%. They are heading straight for the first medical state examination, the first of three state exams. It is said that if you create a physic, you become a doctor. Everything else is comparably easy. And then the first state examination is passed with over 80%, then flown to Santorini or Ibiza, celebrated and left the previous section of the study behind them. And they deserve it. I am very happy for you. All the hours at the desk and library paid off.

There is this student, a few semesters higher than me, the first state examination long behind her and in the next stage of study very successful. She publishes a post on her Instagram page explaining that she is interrupting her studies to do her doctoral thesis. She described how hard it would be for her now to leave behind her fellow students, with whom she has already spent more than half of her studies, and to meet new ones when she returns to regular study after the research. She told how difficult she was to decide against “studying in regular study time”. To take a different path than the “norm.” I appreciate this student, keeps track of her account and always likes her writing style. I was happy for her when she got the first state exam and now, when she got the promise for the doctoral thesis. And I would like to tell her that she need not worry about this kind of “deviation from the norm” because she does not lose anything by interrupting her studies for research purposes, but can only learn and win. That friendships can last for different semesters and that new friends will be added in the new semester.

If you are in one of the last semesters of study or are already graduated doctors, you often get the question if you have completed the study in regular study time. Then you almost only hear from those who have just completed their studies in exactly these 12 semesters of regular time. They say that it was hard but you can do anything you want. And then you hear about it from those who have perhaps studied one or two semesters longer, because they wanted to take time for the doctoral thesis, spent a semester abroad, had a child in between, or had to work alongside the study.
I have not heard from anyone that his own attitude or personal circumstances have led to a prolongation or delay of study.

I believe that they exist. Only nobody talks about it.

Because there is always shame connected to it. It is hardly possible to compare ourselves to others and then we usually chooses someone for comparison, who lives a completely different life anyway and who had different conditions and is aurrounded by completely different circumstances, then we are.

I do not want to say that problems of others do not exist. On the contrary: everyone probably has a lot of problems somehow, but these show up in different areas of life and for each person another circumstance, another trigger leads to something that the one calls a problem.

For my part: Studying is very hard to me. And it is even harder to watch everyone else completing their studies so effortlessly that their problems seem to be completing an exam under 100%.

I get physically ill just from learning, concentrating longer and being physically present in the university several days a week. Even though I have already changed some things in my everyday life as a student, so far I cannot see the successes, as I have thought so. Anyway, hardly anything has emerged from what I had previously imagined the study. I did not expect that the deterioration of my overall health in my high school graduation would affect my future so much. I thought it would be enough to go into rehab to reset my body. But apparently I justt learned how much time and energy I have to put into my health in order to function at all. I did not expect that I would always have to worry about whether I pass an exam at all or that I am no longer studying with my classmates in the semester with whom I started studying. I did not expect my body to work so slowly. And that on the one hand I get no answers why it is getting worse and worse and on the other hand my doctors and professors keep telling me that I am too ill for studying or that I will be statistically dead before I reach my doctors degree. Well that doesn’t make it easier as well.

For my part: I find it difficult to study. And it is even harder to watch everyone else completing their studies so effortlessly that their problems in their studies are limited to not being 100% in an exam.

I will be physically ill of learning, concentrating longer and being physically present in the university several days a week. Even though I have already changed some things in my everyday life as a student, so far not the successes, as I have thought so. Anyway, hardly anything has emerged from what I had previously imagined the study. I did not expect that the deterioration of my overall health in my high school graduation would affect my future so much. I thought it would be enough to go into rehab to reset my body. But apparently I learned how much time and energy I have to put into my health in order to function at all. I did not expect that I would always have to worry about whether I pass an exam at all or that I have not been with my classmates in a semester with whom I started studying. I did not expect my body to work so slowly. And that on the one hand I get no answers why it is getting worse and worse and on the other hand my doctors and professors keep telling me that I am too ill for studying or statistically dead before I reach my degree does not make it any better.

Unfortunately, today we live in a meritocracy in which higher, further, faster is only the minimum of all things. People become famous for doing something extraordinary, being smarter than anyone else, graduating in record time, curing cancer, or doing a complete business as a teenager.

Too few are told about those who are unfortunately not so efficient.

And so I think that it is inevitable to compare yourself with others. It is all the more important to realize that being different is no shame. And I do not mean to be different, because you are already successful at a young age or because you are extending your studies for research or a semester abroad. Because in these cases, these people come to their destination, do not have to worry about their future and still afford a lot, even if they do something different. And so it hurts so damn much when others talk about problems that would be a blessing to me. And it hurts even more to see others continue in their lives, while mine stands still.

You probably find this situation quite often. It depends on the angle from which you look at his situation and what has happened to you before. Probably women in other countries would think or feel the same about me because at least I am allowed to study.

In my case, I mean that being different is no shame, even if you do not fit into the meritocracy. There are so many reasons why one cannot provide this expected performance and physical and mental illnesses are just one example of this. Sometimes it is simply not enough to really want something solid. Or hard to work for. Or to give up sleep and free time, because only the success has to come from. Because sometimes that’s just not possible.

Yes, I would like to do my degree studies in approximately the normal period of study and be successful with my blog at a young age, to implement projects in which I have fun to fulfill my dreams, like everyone else. But I’m not like everyone else. And so it is a waste of energy to compare myself to other people who, while having similar dreams, have completely different requirements.

I always try to remember that I’m just as valuable as someone else, even though I do not do the same thing. That my work, passion and effort, which I put into a project or study, are also valuable and that it is small steps to the goal and not unnecessary, even though “completely or not at all” and “go hard orgo home” are the gold standard. I need to remind myself that my performance and illness change nothing in my value, my dignity and the love I deserve. I’m not lazy just because I can do less because I have more than the study and my blog I need to take care of.

And that’s my body and my health. If I wouldn’t care about my body, I would not be able do anything. So I’m not working as hard as others do and I’m busy taking care of myself. Working hard, breaking myself for success and giving everything or letting it stay the same does not work for me. Rather one step at a time, constantly updating the route to see if I’m still on track and working at my pace. Main thing, I do not stop and do not give up, even if the direction or my dream changes. And the main thing is that I stay true to myself and not break myself, just to be like the other one, that I stay true to myself and do not break myself, just to be like the others.

In the end, it’s all about being happy and not only at the finish, but also all the way there. As long as this just does not exist, I’m going on a quest to have one that makes me happy.

– Sabrina

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Sabrina
Münster, DE

My name is Sabrina and I am living with half a heart. Living with chronic illness can be challenging. That's why I share my experiences, my learnings and moments full of real emotions, love and vulnerability. In this way, I want to encourage other people with and without chronic illness to live a life they love. I am a student, a blogger and public speaker.