Monday, September 18, 2017
Why I Decided to Share This Decision With You
I returned to Utah State to finish my second Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education late last month. It was not a decision I made on a whim nor one that I took lightly. As some of you may remember, I felt like I had no clarity about what I was meant to do with my life at that time. When I made the decision to take a leave of absence in early May, I thought I was done. I thought I wasn't going to return to finish the degree... yet something in me didn't want me to leave the school completely. I asked for some time off while I figured things out. I didn't want to burden myself with more student loans and I had a slew of other reasons to not continue... except that I had one good reason to continue: it seems to be what God is calling me to do.
I actually took nearly an entire month to be sure that it was what God was calling me to do. I did a couple of novenas but the one that really gave me a huge result was the Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati novena Mom and I made for both my health and my clarity of mind since both were answered within a week of each other.
It started with getting those amazing health results towards the end of May. Then I had this big "Eureka!" moment during which I felt like God opened my eyes. I was honest with myself about what I wanted; what I felt called to do. It was when I honestly said (and told some of my closest friends) that I felt like my future will be me focusing on my family and not so much a career that I figured everything else out. In order to do what I feel called to do, I need to pay off my student loans... and what better way to do that than with a career that is in demand, especially for someone who is fluent in both English and Spanish? Not only that, I will learn to work with children, with whom I don't have a lot of experience with since most of my friends have moved away and I don't get a lot of time with my nieces and/or nephews.
I forgot who said it -- possibly St. Francis de Sales or Bl. PGF -- but I remember reading a saint's own words about how sometimes we need to do what feels like a chore in order to be able to get to what we feel called to do. St. Therese of Lisieux had to wait a while before she could enter the convent. Other saints have had to do other things before they were able to begin fulfilling their vocations. I am no saint (though I aspire to be one someday) but knowing that those much holier than I have had to wait and have had to do work they didn't want to do (and offer it up along the way) in order to achieve their goal made me want to push forward.
I'm not going to pretend that my career path was chosen solely out of selflessness because that would be dishonest. Don't get me wrong, I actually like this career path. I initially chose it because I wanted to help children with speech impediments and it's still a big reason why I'm going forward. I enjoy giving the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation (probably my favorite thing to do in the assessment process). The big kid in me loves being able to incorporate play (like, actual boardgames and toys) into therapy sessions that help a child learn how to speak more clearly. I loved my little group of 3 to 5-year-old little guys when I did some of my observation hours at a private practice. However, I also know that the (current) biggest motivator is being able to pay off my student loans. It may make me sound terrible but that's the honest answer. I love the path God has me on now... but I'm working on something greater than a career.
I still believe that God is calling me to be a wife and mother someday. It is still a dream of mine to educate my future children at home if it's God's will. I don't feel like I'm called to make speech-language pathology a long-term career (I feel like God has other plans in store for me in the future; plans that involve writing and/or being a speaker) so I won't be pursuing a Master's in this field. Once I finish this degree and do my state-mandated hours for my license, I'm calling time on my academic career. I do, however, feel like this is where God wants me right now so I'm just going to go forward and see what else God has in store for me in the future.
I wasn't lying when I said this was a new chapter for me. It is a new chapter since I'm doing things much differently this time around. I'm not ashamed to say that I have disability accommodations due to my PTSD. These accommodations allow me to get extra time on my exams so that I don't have a panic attack and blank out during exams. Oh, yes, that's been happening since I started the program 3 years ago; the little time we're given during exams trigger the fight or flight response in me. The memories of teachers (yes, teachers) and fellow students harassing me in front of everyone will always be in the back of my mind when I start feeling anxious/trapped in something school-related so the extra time allows me to take a moment to breathe and relax so I can continue taking the exam without worrying about not finishing it on time. I already witnessed how helpful it was when I did my first big exam this past weekend. I didn't do as well as I would've liked but, considering how poorly I felt (I had slept almost all day the day before and the day of the exam), I'm grateful for the grade I received and for the extra time which helped me focus on the big essay portion of the exam which was worth the most points.
Yes, I'm re-taking a class for the third time (y'all should see how many of us are repeating this one particular course) and that's humbling but that's okay. I needed to be humbled after how proud I was of my past academic successes. Perhaps that's why I also felt called to share this with y'all; to make sure I didn't fall back into that pride... and because, yes, I will need all the prayers I can get this and next semester.
This semester I'm taking three courses: the second and third hardest courses in the program (the hardest course is scheduled for the Spring semester) along with another one. I'm already incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of work and the amount of memorization I've had to do in the first couple of weeks. It didn't help that I was out of it for three straight days -- the entire weekend -- when I had my first big exam which made it difficult to recall the lectures I'd watched and the notes I'd taken. This is going to be a tough road -- one that I hope to finish (with a completed degree) in late April-early May (depending on when my final exams are scheduled).
As I told God before my exam on Friday night, I won't insult Him by asking Him to perform miracles if I don't put the effort to study myself. I'm not going to say "Oh, please let me pass... even if I don't study." No. That's why I've accepted my 64% on my first exam. I wasn't able to study as I would've liked, partly due to procrastination and some distractions but also because I've been sick. However, I do have the motivation to do and finish well now that I've gotten that score. It was the thing that kicked started my motivation because I had practically none for the first 2-3 weeks of the semester.
I know what I'm capable of (when I'm healthy) so I'm going to try to take care of myself and study as much as I can. This is where prayer comes in. I was somehow able to focus on the essay despite feeling as crummy as I did and I did so much better than I was anticipating. I know it was all God (thanks to the intercession of the Holy Spirit and St. Jude) because I actually felt alert that hour it took me to finish the exam. After that? Back to sleeping all day. In fact, I've still not recovered. I've still been sleeping all day (or barely sleeping like last night) and I have another big exam this weekend and 5 quizzes so, you know, back to praying that my health cooperates with me for this upcoming Friday's big exam/quiz bonanza... and the two big exams I have next week.
If it's His will that I finish this degree, I will. If not, I won't. St. Francis de Sales has been popping up in my life a lot in recent months and, despite not continuing with the third novel, I still have the ghostwriting gig (which, thankfully, the woman whose life story I'm writing is telling me to do when I have free time from schoolwork). I think more writing is in my future but, for now, my focus is on this degree and whatever comes from it.
So, there you have it. This is the big secret I was carrying around with me that I'd alluded to these past couple of months. In your charity, I ask you to please keep me in your prayers. Like I said, my health decided to mess around with me again (and it just began going down again only two weeks before the semester began after an unusually healthy summer -- lightheadedness and dizziness excluded) and this may just be my toughest semester (coursework and exam wise) of this program.
I may not write again until I get caught up with my studying and exams (I completely lost the first 3 weeks). After the 30th of this month, my coursework schedule should slow down a bit but I probably won't blog more than once or twice more before then. We'll see what God has in store for me.
I hope you all had a lovely weekend and have a great week. :)
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D