Sunday, April 30, 2017

Not a "Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200" Situation

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm officially done with my SLP program. No, this doesn't mean I'm graduating. It's complicated but not a "do not pass go; do not collect $200" situation. I'll try my best to explain. Cue "Done" by The Band Perry playing in the background.

Long story short: the program requires that I earn a B- or greater in my courses before I can move on. I will be stuck with a C+ (after failing my final exam last night; I needed an 80% to pass the class) for one course (B in the other) and thus I'm done. I can repeat the course for the third time like some of my other classmates will be doing but I've chosen not to for two big reasons. (side note: there is a lot of griping and speculation amongst those in the program about the changes that have been and will be implemented this summer. Let's just say that there are apparently many courses being repeated 2-3 times before a student can move on and/or graduate and this wasn't an issue when I began the program three years ago.)

First, I don't want to add to my student debt. I'm about $40-45k in debt for one completed Bachelor's, another nearly completed Bachelor's, and one year of a Master's degree. I'm almost done paying off the loans from my first BA (yay!) but I still need to pay off the rest and it's going to be a little hard because I haven't been able to work. As you guys know, I've been sick for a while and I've spent a lot of time at home, in bed or just sitting as much as I can, and I haven't been able to physically do much which rules out a lot of potential jobs. I've been wanting to work for a long time now because I hate debt. My parents taught me not to use credit cards or get myself something that I can't pay off right away but my education was always sort of the exception. The longer I go without a job, the more money I'll owe (especially with the interest rates from the graduate loans; holy cow!). Mom and I are in a good place, financially, right now but we don't know how much longer she'll be able to work because she's physically slowing down and we literally cannot afford for me to keep going in school without a job. I can't do both; I've tried and it's affected my health so it's not an option.

Second, and most importantly, I haven't felt called to continue down this SLP path for several weeks/months. In fact, I broke down and cried all afternoon, evening, and about 11:30 p.m. on Friday because I hated that I felt stuck doing this (due to responsibilities). Yes, I actually cried (on and off) for about 8 hours. It was bad but it was also good because it made me realize that I was doing something that I don't feel God is calling me to do because I was trying to please others and trying to take matters into my own hands.

It was during that emotionally taxing time that I had this beautiful yet painful revelation that I was crying because I knew I wasn't doing what I feel God is calling me to do. I do trust Him to lead me down the path He wants me to take, but I was still letting others (including the most important person in my life) influence what I was doing and then making an excuse that God would still provide because I was sacrificing a lot for the good of another. That was the whole reason why I kept going down this path; because I wanted others to benefit from what I was doing even though I knew, deep down, that this wasn't what I was meant to be doing and even though I was utterly miserable doing it. If you know me, you know this isn't new for me... and that it's something I feel God has been wanting me to address for a long time.

Over the last couple of days, I've been gaining a little more of the clarity that I've been praying for. I've realized that I need to, first and foremost, take a little break (perhaps the first half of the month of May) to take care of myself and my health. It's something that I've been working on (and have been seeing good results in recent days) but I feel like I need a little bit of time to fully immerse myself in prayer, fasting (in ways others than food), and recollection while I physically take care of myself. This also means more Mass (daily, if I can), more time in silence, and less outside noise. Also, more sleep (you should see the bags under my eyes right now), a healthier diet (I've been slipping in this area lately), and giving my mind a break from all the memorization craziness from the past 8 months.

Following this little break of maybe a week or two, I plan on writing full-time until I can find a job that I can do at home or one that allows me to be seated for the majority of it... at least while I continue to get healthier and recover from the health issues I've had lately. I do have a ghostwriting assignment (a memoir) that's been in the works for months that I can now fully devote myself and my time to. It's not too mentally taxing but it's enough of a challenge that will keep my mind occupied, which I like. I was wondering why St. Francis de Sales kept popping up in my life lately (especially since Lent) and I think this might be why. We'll see. ;)

I don't feel disappointed in this new development. It's weird but I felt elated when I saw the 52% exam grade last night. I felt relief... joy... a lot of excitement... and peace. I think I actually said "oh, good. Now I can do Your will, God" out loud. lol. I now have the excuse (because, yes, in my weird little head I needed an excuse to get people off my back) to pursue whatever God is calling me to do. I'm so excited! I've been praying the 30-day (day 23 today) St. Joseph novena and I did another novena for St. Catherine of Siena's feast day for this particular intention and I guess I received my answer. I know people will be disappointed in me. I know some will think I'm lazy or that I'm a quitter. Frankly, my dears, I don't give a darn.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm just so excited that I can finally focus on finding out what God wants me to do, to actually do it, and not have that obstacle anymore. I don't have any more excuses not to and it's incredibly liberating and a little daunting because I have no idea what's in store. I used to have a major problem with (and get anxiety attacks from) not knowing what's ahead. I used to (and, okay, still do -- on a smaller scale) love to plan things out exactly how I wanted them to go. Thankfully, now I plan but I also recognize that plans don't always go the way you want them to and that's okay. I'm getting better at going with the flow which is something I used to do very well when I was younger but became a control issue when anxiety hit in my mid teens. God's plans are better than my own. Also, is it weird that this is somehow feels like it's connected to the 54-day Rosary novena I did last year?

I have no idea how I'm going to pay off my student loans. I've been keeping my eye out on jobs that I can do from home -- i.e. freelance writing, managing a brand's social media accounts, etc. -- for weeks now but nothing yet. I have no doubt that God will help provide at some point. I'm not going to stress out (even though at least one person in my life is freaking out over this). If God provides food and shelter for animals, surely He will help me find a way to pay for my loans and for the basic necessities of life. I'm not above doing menial jobs if that's what He wants to do. I would be perfectly happy cleaning a church or doing something that is seen as lowly if I knew it was what He wanted me to do. Sure, I will continue pursuing my longtime dream of being a writer but if another path becomes clear for me, I'll pursue that instead. You and me, God... let's do this!

Alright, I think that's long enough. lol. I don't know when I'll be able to blog again. I've been experiencing problems with my laptop this past week (I almost wasn't able to do my exam last night because of these problems) and I don't know when it'll finally bite the dust. I'm trying very hard not to read into the symbolism of this situation; I bought the laptop specifically to start the SLP program three years ago and now it started to break down completely as I'm finishing my last semester in this program. I've had problems with this laptop since day one. I even had to return the laptop 3 times because they were all faulty. I see what you did there, coincidences... ;)

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

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


AnneMarie said...

Wow! I am so happy for you, that you have this peace and openness!

Emmy Cecilia said...

AnneMarie - me, too! I have yet to figure out what to do but I know God will show me when the time comes.