Before my education
A few years ago I left in the middle of my education and moved abroad from England to Dubai, UAE. My life went from being in a cosy home family environment to a completely different setting. I had an amazing time in Dubai, I met lovely people from around the world, made some great memories and friends.But alongside that, I was in a long term relationship in Dubai with my partner who I met in England. Although I was my own person and was enjoying my experience in Dubai, I was also relying a lot on my partner, my happiness depended on him. My partner was my priority and I could not imagine my life without him as my emotional dependency on him was extremely high. Prior to that, I do think I depended on my family a lot and thus never really knew how to be by myself and know what I wanted.
When it was time for me to leave Dubai, I was very emotional and did not want to go back to England because I had settled into this country, my work, my new friends but most of all the person I loved was there with me. But I also knew that for me to stay was almost impossible because of our situation at that time. During my time in UAE, I realised that without my education I would not be able to stay as that was a huge requirement and I realised the importance of gaining my qualifications.
I came back to England and moved in with my family members. At that stage, I was feeling very depressed and anxious due to my personal life issues surrounding the family and a relationship which was I was drifting apart from and did not know how to be without this person. I felt like something was missing from within me and my heart just kept aching and aching. During all this, I also had other issues going on that were affecting me to an extreme level. I became very ill as I did not realise but I was not eating, which led to an abscess on my body which was very painful. I ended up in the hospital to have a surgery to remove this. After my surgery, I had a nurse who would come to my family home to change my dressings. I could not walk well and I was very uncomfortable for a while which added to my stress and depression. I was starting to feel like a burden to my family members who had done so much for me. My depression was just getting worse and worse day by day and I was losing control, my mind was getting cloudier and darker. But then one day I remember being on skype to a friend who asked me ” but what do you want” Even though I had probably heard this many times in my life, for the first time in my life I felt the actual words, cliche? Yes I know. Those words really hit a nerve and I suddenly started to think about me for the first time and what I wanted. After some deep soul searching, I decided to move out and get back into education.
It took a lot of struggling before I could get into University as I had previously walked out on my education. It was hard to decide what I wanted to study as I knew from what I learned and seen in this capitalist society that money was very important and it was a huge issue in my life at that moment. On the other hand, I also knew what it was like to just work and not enjoy and get a satisfaction from the role after seeing people complaining. It was either to study a course for a better career financially or to go for something which I enjoyed and would enhance my knowledge but perhaps not financially. Luckily I opted for the latter in case you hadn’t guessed by now by this blog.
Why I chose to study English Literature
I chose to study English Literature at the very last minute as I was a secret bookworm in high school who would attend all the book fairs, love the reading corners, secretly enjoy my English Literature essays whilst my friends hated it. When I was eight or nine, I remember sitting in the reading corner reading my favourite book Heidi and suddenly feeling the emotions of the young Swiss and started to imagine the beautiful Swiss mountains and meadows and what life would be living there. My love for books started to grow over my teenage years and slowly that contributed into me writing poetry at the age of fifteen. I could sit up late at night writing and writing till I was too tired and getting lost in my own little world, a secret world of books and writing. At times I felt like I was living a double life as I would do my usual teenage stuff, chill with my friends and then when I was on my own I had this world of my own where I could do anything and be anyone. I could go on and on about so many different stories and secret world of mine but that is for another day and another blog.
I started my course as a “mature” student as the term used by Universities. I was now living on my own for the first time and everything was very scary for me for few months. My family had helped me out so much already financially and student loans would not cut it for me to survive on. So luckily I got a job where I could choose my days and working hours and it fitted in perfectly with my uni timetable. Although I knew that I could choose to do few hours, I also knew that I had a lot of my own financial responsibilities to take care of and therefore I needed to work as much as I could. I started working and attending uni on the same days, work on my days off. This meant that I was waking up at 5 am and working on my Uni essays and then heading to uni or work and later come home and cook, clean, work on my essays and research and getting very little sleep. I was always busy with my university work or my actual employment. But somehow I also managed to fit in time to go out with my friends and try to live a little too, although I am not sure if they knew of my hectic schedule behind closed doors. I made some good friends at this point and I was meeting students from all over the world which really opened my eyes to new cultures and experiences and opened my mind. There were times I would get annoyed at some people around me who would complain about uni work and not having enough time. This was frustrating as I was someone who worked very hard for my everyday expenditure, sometimes doing up to 35/40 hours a week, battle through my dark days and still find the time and force myself to do uni work. Yet, there were some individuals who were luckily supported financially by parents and had a lot of spare time to do their work but chose not to. But this was minor and I could see past my own frustrations and tried to better my own understanding of others from different walks of life.
A battle with myself
Alongside all of this, I was also fighting my own personal battle with myself which my closest friends and family did not know of as much. I had discussed and shared my feelings of anxiety and depression with my family and friends but never to the level of how it actually was.Throughout my studies there was this dark cloud just lingering on to my mind and thoughts, affecting my everyday life. There were days when I would wake up and just not be able to move until I needed the bathroom really badly. I would feel this heavy hearted achy pain and this horrible feeling emotionally and physically and not know why it was there and how long it will stay for. I would at times call into my work and say I am sick and Cannot come in or make an excuse when really how could I describe depression?. I would at times skip or not attend my seminars at uni because I could not bring myself to get out of the house. There were days I would switch on the television from my bed and let the white noise come through and fill the silence in my room. But it could never fill what was in my mind, it was just a background noise. There were nights where my eyes were closed but my mind was awake all night. I could not close my mind, the head, the thoughts, how I wished for an off button. Even with counselling and self-help, I would feel useless, hopeless, like no one could help me and that it is never going to go away unless there was a miracle. The emptiness and void would come and go. Some days I was me again, bubbly, positive, motivational and cracking a joke regardless of my own pain. But then there were days where everything would escalate and I felt like I had no control and choice to the point where I felt like I did not want to live anymore and felt like a failure at work, at uni, in my personal life, everything.
But I made it!
With my life spiralling out of control, I did manage to battle my way through somehow by forcing myself every day. I do believe my own faith, self-motivations, daydreaming and writing down my thoughts into my little iPhone notes got me through my last few years of education. I am not saying this is my miracle or that I am totally happy now. I still have my days where I feel the dark cloud all over me but I know that I am a fighter and I have been through too much to give up now. Because for the first time in years I have thought about me, and what I want, what I like. And what I like is to live. I like to carry my passion for writing and travelling further, but baby steps first. I intend to live as long as I can and enjoy life and appreciate every single day of my life and what has been given to me. Which brings us to the present and now I can officially say I did not give up, I fought my way through and I did it! I graduated in Bachelor of Arts with Honours English Literature at the School of Cultural Studies & Humanities July 2017. I can look back now and know that when I am old and grey, I went to university to follow my passion and not just because society pushed me into it. Coming from where I came from, I am filled with gratitude that I had this opportunity as I know many who only dream of this and even the most beautiful words cannot do justice for how grateful I am everyday for everything I do have.
I know it will not be easy and there will be many more trials and battles with the world and myself but I also know that I can make it through and I will. I have learnt how to be on my own and learn to like it and be comfortable with myself and my thoughts. As a woman, I have learnt to be independent and not depend on others for my happiness and learnt the value of what it means to be a woman trying to make it on her own in a world that is not so nice at times. If anything, I think it so important for anyone, in particular women to know how to be independent and balance things in life because having a partner or family is beautiful and a great network support system but God forbid you never know what tomorrow will bring and our circumstances can change any moment. It is so important to know how to be able to cope on your own emotionally and physically and to work on ourselves before we rely and depend on someone else for our needs.
So here we are to the conclusion of why my graduation is not just a degree and a paper to me, it is a sign and symbol of many of my struggles and trials of my achievements. I know that now I can close this chapter or ( the book even) of my life and move on to the next.