Cancelling Classes

I met with my advisor at school yesterday. I told her that I was following my psychiatrists orders and we began cancelling classes that I was scheduled to attend this Fall. We cancelled them all except for English 101. That’s it. Just one damn class. That’s all I apparently am capable of.

I thought I was ready. I thought I could finally take classes full time. I was stoked until my pdoc told me I wasn’t ready. I thought maybe I could cut back a class. Maybe even two. I never considered That I could only handle one. So, I talked to my friends and family about it. To my unpleasant surprise there was unanimous agreement that my pdoc was right.

I figured I was on a ten year plan. Get my BA degree in Religious Studies. Two – three years at seminary and then one – two years of internship. But what now? How long is it going to take me to get through school taking one class at a time. My advisor and I had drawn up my action plan towards graduation. I started to ask her if we should redo it, but I didn’t. How can I create an action plan when I have no idea how many classes I’ll be able to take each semester?

Does this sound like a pity party? You bet your ass I’m having a pity party. I’m going to allow myself to wallow in it for a day or two and then, I guess, I’ll work on acceptance. It ain’t going to be easy.

18 comments on Cancelling Classes

  1. Wallow away today. Throw yourself a pity party. Sometimes recognizing our current limitations really sucks. There’s no way around it.

    Then, when you’re ready to start with acceptance, here’s something that has helped me a lot. Maybe it will help you. Probably you already have something similar, being Buddhist.

    “Everything is temporary.”

    It was a mantra I repeated over and over when the babies were small and I was spending 16+ hours a day nursing and the rest of the day trying to feed myself, sleep, pay attention to how beautiful they are and I felt like I was drowning in exhaustion. It’s a mantra I tell myself now when I overcommit or when I want to realize all my dreams at one time. It’s a mantra I remember when I get so caught up in work or responsibilities that I don’t take time to laugh with my family and just be.

    “Everything is temporary.”

    I need to see what is before me today. I need to remember to cherish this time. And when I feel like I am not able to realize career goals because 90% of the day I am only able to harness 10% of my brain and attention, I remember that life will not always be as it is today. There will be a time in my life when I can take on more. And there will be times in my life when I need to take on less. And my trajectory will be a windy road. I can not do everything at once. I can do a hell of a lot over a period of 10 or 20 years. I just have to remember that.

    And you will too. Right now, one class is the best thing for you. Partially because of what the pdoc says, and partially because of your decisions to live a full, rounded life with friendships and committees and volunteer hours and a beautiful relationship with your husband. You are living a full life and you are doing a lot. Today. It’s just not the life of fresh out of high school college student who has more energy and verve to run on nothing and whose life may not be in the same place as yours.

    “Everything is temporary.”

    One day you may be able to handle more. I anticipate that day will come. And when it does, you will know and you will be ready because you were wise enough to set yourself up for success today.

    “Everything is temporary.”

    1. As a Buddhist, the last thing I should be doing is wallowing in it, but that seems like it’s all I can do for today. I should be chanting my heart out and praying. I’m focusing today on my current class (speech) because we have another speech and then our final exam in less than two weeks. You are right. Everything is temporary. So it’s pity party today then back on the horse tomorrow.

  2. I know you want to take on more classes, but doing what is best for you is a good thing. And, by taking one class, you can enjoy the rest of your life too – like the committee commitments and your walks on the beach and that wonderful husband of yours. Taking one class may not be what you want, and that does suck, but this might just open some doors or windows of opportunity that you wouldn’t of seen otherwise.

    You will get there. This is just a temporary set back that gives you more time to enjoy the journey. And the journey is often the most important part.

    1. “And the journey is often the most important part.”

      I know this to be true, but sometimes I forget. Thank you for the reminder.

  3. Brad, I ache for you today. I know how grim it can feel looking around and see everyone around you living “normal” lives and feeling like you’re in some parallel universe where things other people take for granted, like knowing which version of you is your “real” self, or being able to count on your brain working when you need it, feels like it’s beyond your grasp at times. It sucks. It just seriously, seriously sucks.
    I do have a question – is your goal in life to have a ministerial degree, or is it to minister? I ask because you don’t have to have one to do the other. I guess I’m saying you don’t have to wait 10 years to live your dream. You don’t need a piece of paper to minister. You need a heart that compels you to it. So I’m asking, is the degree even the way to get to live the life you really want to live?
    Just to put a bug in your ear – did you know that in UU a congregation can designate one of it’s members a minister? I believe that person is a Reverend only within the congregation, but he or she is a real minister. If you’re curious about it ask Reverend John. There are other avenues to pursue, but I don’t want to write a novel here.
    Love you babe

    1. You are correct, Lora. A congregation has the right to go “poof poof” you’re a minister. It’s allowed but very frowned upon. In fact I know of one instance when a man did become a minister that way. He was given the opportunity to speak at some function and when he was announced several ministers got up and left the room. If I thought it was a real option I would consider it.

      I really would love to be an ordained minister and that will take some time. There is a chaplain’s certification that is an option, but most institutions won’t accept it and do require the degree.

      I am considering changing my major to something else. I don’t know what. I am getting older and am concerned about retirement, etc. If I go that right there are other ways to minister as you said.

  4. Sometimes, but not all the time, we just have to accept that we can only do so much. Tomorrow is another day, so if you wallow today, make sure you get up and do some changes tomorrow.
    When you’re feeling good, it feels like you can conquer the world, but when you’re feeling bad, it reminds you of how much you have taken on. I wish you the best Bradley.

    1. Thank you, Rum Punch. Tomorrow is another day and I plan to take full advantage of it. I’m just allowing myself some heartbreak today. Thank you

  5. Looking beyond the disappointment, imagine the satisfaction you could have in Eng 101. You’ll surpass most, if not all, the other students, you can use imagination in your essays and astound the prof., you can have fun with assignments. As a former univ. academic advisor, no class is a waste of time if you buy into it, and there’s always something new to gain even from an incompetent teacher (which I trust you won’t have).

    1. I believe I will get a lot of satisfaction from my English class. The word is already out at school that I am an excellent writer. Eng 101 will only improve upon that. The Prof for the class I’m taking is very well respected and liked so I am looking forward to that.

  6. Ok. Ok.
    First of all Id like to say: All parties should have cake, even pity parties. Lots of it!

    And also, it might be a good idea to start slow.
    No body runs a full 10k the first time they tie on the shoes and leave the house.
    And I have a feeling you will kick ass in the english class!

  7. Be here now. Listen to your friends. It is about the journey, not the destination. You are doing great, be proud of your accomplishments. Love you!

  8. Hello Bradley, this is the first time I’ve read your blog!

    What sucks more than losing the ability to do things that are important to you? Not a hell of a lot. I’m experiencing it a lot at the moment so I can really emphathise with you. I have pity parties quite frequently!

    Other readers have left such helpful comments that I’ll leave it at that. But I do love the sentiment “everything is temporary” and wow, look at all the belief people have in you.

    All the best,

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