Monday, April 24, 2017

I Have NO Clarity Regarding God's Will For Me

After receiving a poor grade on an assignment I worked hard on over the weekend, I felt dejected. I worked incredibly hard on the paper. I read it and reread it. Edited it and re-edited it. Still, this particular professor (or the TA that nitpicked my paper) thought it was basically poor work. I've had problems with this professor in the past -- my academic adviser and the department chair even got involved the first semester I took him and they took my side in the situation -- but I still pray for him and I still try to look for the good in him. He does missionary work and helps children in third world countries that have speech problems. He does good work and I'm glad he shares what he learns from those trips with us... even if my pride takes a massive hit when things like this grade happen.

I'd be lying if I said the thought "why continue if I'm just going to keep hitting these roadblocks?" didn't pop into my mind. This degree has been incredibly hard to finish. It's not just me; it seems like many (possibly most) of those who go through the program repeat at least one course at some point and some decide to leave the program altogether. For another class, a classmate messaged everyone who is retaking the course for the second time and some have said that they may have to repeat the course again.

The joke that SLP students are on anti-anxiety medication exists for a reason, folks. This is a tough and demanding program and field. Those of you who haven't been reading this blog long enough may not know that this is my second round trying to finish this program/degree. I had to quit and leave the program/school nearly 2.5 years ago when I worked myself so hard to do well that I ended up getting sick... and I've yet to fully recover from it.

I keep wondering if I can keep going if I'm feeling fed up with it all because I am. I want to cry, I'm so overwhelmed. Not so much with the coursework; I've, thankfully, been able to resubmit most of the work I did last semester in order to save time. I've also done much better on the exams this time around. Still, I just feel pushed and forced into this path for financial reasons and that makes me a little depressed.

After tearing up and lamenting my grade, the Holy Spirit must've inspired me to think about the great professors and support system I have because I ended up crying again (this time, happy tears) as I reminisced and felt the love and support of former teachers and professors. I can still remember which teachers always encouraged me.

My second and third-grade teacher (she taught both grades) knew I wanted to be a lawyer (back then) and she told my parents -- in front of me, at an open house -- that she thought I could do it.

My fifth-grade teacher was the biggest academic cheerleader, telling me I had the brains to do whatever I wanted to do in life.

My sixth-grade math/science and English/history teachers gave me a "busy bee" award ("always working. always reading") and encouraged my love of books.

My seventh-grade science teacher defended me when I was badly bullied (long story) and encouraged me to keep going forward despite what the "crackheads" (he seriously called them that) were saying and doing to me.

My wonderful teachers when I transferred from regular high school to independent study through a charter school cheered me on, even when times were hard. My dad had been diagnosed with cancer when I was a junior in HS and had his surgery and chemotherapy before graduation. Through their support, I was able to finish half of my junior year and my entire senior year in a single semester and they even chose me to give the valedictorian-type speech at the graduation ceremony.

Mr. H (English professor whom I wrote about last month) and Mr. G (math professor) at Santa Monica College became my first academic cheerleaders in college.

At Pierce College, Dr. B (British Lit professor who became the inspiration for Prof. Normandy in the first Will and Lina novel) encouraged me to apply to Oxford University to transfer and Prof. W (academic counselor; professor) was the first professor to ever point out my writing abilities before I had even entertained the idea of writing as a career.

Ms. Lewis (from my alma mater; may she rest in peace) wasn't a professor but a counselor who was my only ally at my alma mater. I don't think I would've survived that horrible experience without her.

Dr. K at JP Catholic was incredibly encouraging during my brief stint as a graduate student. He knew about my accident and he was encouraging about my work, giving me the first (and only) A in grad school. (side note: shout out to Dr. K who had us read the Summa and got me on board the St. Thomas Aquinas fan club).

I'm not even counting my family and friends who know me and love me despite any academic hiccups I have along the way.

Recently one of my best friends posed a question no one had before: what if I didn't finish this degree? What's the worst that could happen? I had to stop and think about it. Worst case scenario: debt-city, baby. I have nearly $50k in student loans from 1 finished degree (which I've almost paid off completely) and 2 degrees I've started but haven't finished (MA in Theology; BS in Communicative Disorders). Finding a job that I can do with my (current) physical ailments and with a BA in Religious Studies (without teaching credentials) is near impossible, folks.

I talk about trusting God and yet I still tried to control my financial stability by picking career/degree that would help provide financial stability (this one). I've also tried to do a degree that didn't offer any stability but that I loved and then had to leave because my GPA dipped slightly under a 3.0 (2.94; seriously) following my car accident, thus making me ineligible to receive financial aid. I'm technically a student at FUS (I never declined their offer of admission) so I could finish my Master's degree but I think, if I end up having to leave this degree, I'm done with academia. I'm burnt out. I'll look for a job and let God take the reins though it's been hard since I graduated 5 years ago.

I close my eyes and imagine myself taking my academic/career issues and my health issues (particularly the pancytopenia which has been the most physically debilitating), kneeling down at the foot of the Cross, looking up at our crucified Lord and saying "these are my crosses and I don't know what to do. Please give me clarity as to how to carry them if it is Your will that I do so. If any of these things are not in Your plans for me, please make it clear so that I can leave them here, with You, and focus solely on what You want me to do."

So there's where I am. As I wrote a couple of blog posts ago, I had a feeling this was a possible outcome for me; that I wouldn't finish this program or not use this degree despite all the hard work I've put in. I'm still going to try very hard to do well on my finals and see what happens (though it will take a miracle to pass both classes at this point) and leave the rest up to God. I will work hard and do my best on my end but if things don't work out, He knows why.

I must trust in Him. I DO trust in Him. I just wish God would make His plans for me much clearer so I can do just them. I'm not afraid of the possibly of His calling me back to finish my Theology MA. I'm not afraid of the possibility of not finishing either degree. I'm not afraid taking on a job that would pay very little (enough just for the necessities of life). I just want to do His will.

See what the 30-day St. Joseph novena does to a gal? lol. 13 more days to go. Clarity, St. Joseph. That's all I want; I just want/need some clarity. In most areas of my life but particularly the career and academic area for now. I don't want to act on feelings because those can fool you so I'm going to finish this novena and pray for that clarity I so much desire.

Anyway, that's it for now. I've had this blog post idea (and most of it written out), sitting in my inbox for a couple of days and since I'm taking a tiny break from studying for my first final exam (which I hope to take between this coming Wednesday and Saturday), I thought I'd post it.

I hope you all have a lovely Divine Mercy Sunday and a great start of the week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

1 comment:

PaxEtBonum said...

I would say, if you are so close to the finish loie just keep focus and complete your degree. Remember this, even girls that want to become nuns usually are asked to complete their degree if there are only few exams left and have to be in good financial stand.