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Graduate School Tubthumping – I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a Ph.D. in English. This past year part of that dream came true as I began my degree in Technical Communication in the department of English at my local university.

My degree program quickly became my happy part of my day, and consequently, my year. As my body deteriorated my brain was polished squeaky clean and I was learning. I earned As in my classes and for the first time in forever, I felt like I had something to show for myself.

I have always been a nerd and the bookish schoolgirl. Academia was the goal and I knew this was where I belonged, what I was meant to do.

However, my body was a medical mystery. Doctors became more perplexed as time went by over winter break and I was bed bound or horizontal couch bound most of the time after my honeymoon. Most of my writing on this blog was done on my smartphone because I can’t sit upright in a chair for more than 30 minutes.

Can you see where I’m going?

School started, and I had a 3 hour long debate and lecture class. Not to mention my incompletes I needed to make up, and a 3 hour long lecture class every morning, four days a week. I was in too much pain. I couldn’t work on anything. I would go to class and not say a word, giving me a zero in the class for that day despite doing all the reading.

Distressed, I forlornly considered withdrawing. It seemed like the world came up to swallow me. Before I did, I called my academic advisor who was sympathetic to the fact that I had a problem sitting upright. (I often excused myself and laid down somewhere for 30 minutes.) She guided me in how to take a medical leave of absence and that my incompletes could be turned to W’s with her help with a doctor’s note.

I am extremely thankful for her kindness and willingness to help me.

Through being open about my struggles, I was able to get help. And I’m down, but not out. As the wise Chumbawamba say, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.”

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