At the end of April, I joked with Dr. Samuel that I was telling my classmates that I wasn’t sure if I was returning for the fall term. I was tired of people asking me what my plans were and if I was dong such and such, so I just told them that I had no definite plans regarding the fall. Dr. Samuel looked a little horrified and said to me, But you are coming back, right? I told him that it was the plan. But beside that, I didn’t have any further details. I hadn’t even registered for class.
Since then, I’ve registered for class, but the thought keeps racing through my head these days. I’m really not sure what to do. I hate that having a chronic illness means that your future is really uncertain and even more that it’s not in your control.
My end-of-term meeting with my adviser included this interesting observation: we don’t think you’re sufficiently present in the program. It’s a fair assessment, but I don’t really know what to do about it. Plus, this is the same adviser who told me earlier this year that it’s not sufficient to work hard and make good grades. (What more does he want? For me to have the potential to succeed in the program (or something like that).)
I have three things in my life right now: (1) medical stuff, (2) church stuff, and (3) school stuff, pretty much in that order. I really wish I could spend more time on (2) and (3), but I simply don’t have the energy. I’m not willing to overextend much either because that robs energy from multiple days to come. Plus, of course, said adviser keeps asking if I’m making concrete medical progress. I am, but not in a way that gives me more energy. I am working very, very hard and pushing myself as much as possible. I have very high grades because I produce high quality work. It’s discouraging to be told over and over again that that isn’t enough.
All in all, this means that I’m not sure about going back for the fall term. I really want to & I am getting what I want out of the program. But all the pressure really isn’t helping. I’m really scared, and I wish I had a better option.
Part of me feels that the situation is akin to trying to satiate a ravenous lion. No matter what I do, the lion will still get hungry. If I feed him a little, his stomach won’t be full and he’ll want more. If I feed him a lot, his capacity will increase and he’ll want more. Rather than run around the world trying to collect every single particle of food I can, maybe a better strategy is to ration food & feed the lion periodically. That way, he will have enough food to survive, and he won’t try to eat me when I feed him. And, that way, I can meet my goal of feeding the lion without expending all my resources trying to satiate a ravenous lion who will always be hungry for more.
The problem is this: great example but how does this translate to real life????
Confused & in need of advice,