Ponderings on a Chronic Illness Uni Life

March 31, 2017

So, I began studying again about a month ago. It's been interesting and it's been tough. I'm loving it. But hating my body and its limitations even more.

Thought I'd jot down for you some ponderings thus far...

1. It's a full time load...well, for me it is. I'm doing one unit. The equivalent to 1/4 of a full time load, and what a lot of the people around me (including me in the past) do on top of a full time work load. Yet, it's indeed very full time. I come home from a two hour seminar beyond shattered and at the point of tears...and I wonder why I am doing this. 

2. Two hours of study will take me all day. 
The other day I had four or so 20-30min blocks that took me all day to get through. My body wouldn't allow it any faster or any more condensed. It is a slow process.

3. Dry subject matter is still as dry as it was the first time I studied some *(cough)* years ago. Theory (to me at least) is lost with out practical application. But then I pick up an article about something in the field I am passionate about and have been working in for the past couple of years and I am finding research is coming to life.

4. Assignments are much better done in a short and sweet time periods...not dragged on for weeks. My busy life approach was much better than the well(ish) paced process of now. That being said, I was so excited to just submit my first assignment today.

5. Firsts are hard.
Walking into the first seminar I was as nervous as I was *(cough)* years ago heading into uni for my first ever degree...a pasty naive 18 year old. My first assignment has also been as stressful. This huge barrier that I have just needed to get past. As a friend pointed out over the weekend, you have done plenty of assignments in the past. Which is true. So true. So it is the getting back on the bike and giving it a go.

6. Study is for all ages
I feel young walking around campus. I can wear my cons. I can drink my coffee. And the thought that I may not finish my phd before I am 40 is a minor issue. Kindof.

7. Accepting your limitations and help is hard
I am registered with disability. I have chatted to my lecturers. I have some special provisions. Yet, accepting the help is hard.
Though, as I was driving away from uni today I realised how thankful I am for my magic disability parking permit that makes accessing uni possible. Without it, I just couldn't get there.

8. Uni students have it so easy these days
Back when I first studied we had to format reference lists manually.

9. Brain fog isn't pleasant in the middle of seminars...especially when you are in the middle of a really good argument with someone who really has no idea...and then you go and lose the word, the point, the flow. Ergh!

10. Life still goes on whilst you spend all this time investing your energy in something new as you try to find the balance. 
You still get normal people sick. Your modem goes up in smoke. You have appointments. You have Centrelink dramas. You have life to still balance. You still have little energy
Uni and life look so different to what they have in the past. I feel overwhelmed. I feel pushed to breaking point. I am learning so much beyond the classroom in this process...and loving every minute of it. (mostly!)

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