Always remember that everything happens for a reason. A year ago I packed up my life and moved to East Tennessee; 5 hours away from everything I have ever known and loved. I got accepted into graduate school and was offered an assistantship that covered tuition and served as employment throughout the school year. At the time it was the best thing that could happen, and I was elated.
I spent much of my first semester after the move adjusting to the difference in cultural climate and trying to learn how to live on my own for the first time. It was seriously a challenge. In addition to those things I was of course in my first graduate level courses, still trying to manage my mom’s care back home, and dealing with a less than exemplary work experience. About midways through the fall semester, the height of my hell began. My mom was admitted into the hospital and it seemed like she would NEVER get out. Her health had taken a turn for the worse. I missed about two weeks of school, and from that point forward, my experience never seemed to be positive again.
My grades that semester were not those that represented a student that works as hard as I do. Nor did they represent me and what I aim to achieve. That sent me into a spiral of emotions that led me to want to move back home and rethink my entire situation. But I made the decision to return in the spring because I don’t quit. That’s what I tell myself…
As the spring semester began, I had this bit of self-doubt that had taken root in my being. I didn’t feel good enough, I didn’t feel smart enough, nothing I did was worthy in my opinion. To make it worse I wasn’t getting positive feedback in many areas of my life and I was continuously feeling picked apart and knocked down in my endeavors. At the time, classes were going well. I was spending all of my waking time making sure that they were. Even though, I wasn’t giving myself the credit for that and felt as though I needed to work harder, more.
Spring break came. Then it went. That’s when my house of cards began to tumble down. The stress of not feeling good enough turned into anxiety that I needed to do better and then finally into depression because nothing I did was good enough. The A’s that I’d been holding on to all semester became blurry as I tried to fight off the dark clouds of depression that were closing in on me, and I almost lost the battle. It became increasingly difficult to function normally and I found myself unable to leave my apartment, unable to find the energy to cook, unable to motivate myself to complete assignments. I was completely overwhelmed.
At some point during this time, I’d seen an email about an internship in Nashville and decided that I should at least apply. The worst they could say is no. But if they said yes, at least I would be able to get out of the mountains and my misery for the summer. To my surprise, they said yes. Not only did they accept me to the internship, they placed me on a special project that aligns well with my background and current studies. It was like a light at the end of an extremely dark and scary tunnel.
Fast forward to now. I’m transitioning from being an intern to being a full-time employee. My beloved belongings are here in Middle Tennessee with me, and I won’t be going back to that job that was driving me crazy, nor the town that made me uneasy.
A few things that moving away taught me:
- Sometimes you can’t force yourself to stay in a situation for the sake of a single goal; you can meet your goals without making yourself miserable in the process.
- Every negative situation yields a positive lesson; it feels awful right now, but you will look back and realize that you changed for the better because of it.
- You are always good enough; even when your subconscious is telling you something different.
- EVERYTHING happens for a reason; the sadness, heartache, and bad experiences will be worth it in the grand scheme of things. Just keep going.
- Moving on isn’t quitting; there is a difference between quitting and removing yourself from a situation that’s unhealthy. Sometimes you need to move on, and that’s not the same as just giving up.
I never would have imagined being where I am right now a few years ago or even last year. And though it isn’t what I imagined, I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. The past year, was undoubtedly one of the toughest I have ever experienced. While I’m sad to have had such poor experiences, sad to have lost hair, and sad to have doubted myself so much, I can say I am surely grateful for all that has come of my misery. I am gainfully employed and still a student, and back in a city that I can at least be comfortable and surrounded by people that love me.