It’s weird. Anniversaries can be wonderful but they can be hard. This month is a strange one for me.
September is often a time of new beginnings particularly for young people. It is a time of going back to education or starting a journey with college or university that will take them on a new path. For me, it is a time of pain, reflection and the ending of that educational (and then career) path. So at the start of September I want to remind anyone reading that the path that others choose doesn’t necessarily need to be the same one you walk.
I walked away from my PhD studies for good reason. I was depressed and anxious and had spent most of the previous year not wanting to leave the house, shaking at the mere mention of university or a connected subject and honestly wanting to just stop everything.
Now is a tough time as I see and hear about those bright minds heading off and the new PhD students eager to start or even my former colleagues (for lack of a better description) graduating, gaining new positions as academics and moving onwards and upwards. I worry for them. Don’t get me wrong, I am also so excited for them but I am concerned that they might fall down the same hole I did. One I didn’t realise I was on the edge of before it was far too late.
To the person who may read this and is struggling, please reach out and get help from someone or somewhere. To the person who quit university, no matter what level of studies you were doing, and feels like they have failed, I can tell you wholeheartedly that you haven’t. Having spent a good portion of time coming to terms with those feelings, I know I didn’t fail as I survived and I learnt. That can never be a failure. To the person brimming with excitement and happiness at university, congratulations and please enjoy yourself but check in yourself and look out for those who might be struggling.