Leaving Grad School

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Hi there, and welcome to My Chic Simplicity! I’ve been on a hiatus from blogging for quite some time, but now I’m back with some big news to share. After months of going back and forth and literally torturing myself, I finally decided to leave my graduate program. It’s by far been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m terrified about my future. However, I know that it was something that ultimately needed to be done.
Despite this fact, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve made a terrible mistake. I keep thinking about how close I was to graduation and how much I’ve given up. People around me, especially my family, can’t seem to understand my decision to leave. All I kept hearing was to just push through it, but the harder I pushed, the more things fell apart and the more my mental and physical health deteriorated.

I’m currently in one the deepest depressions I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I’m fully wallowing in self-pity. I feel lost, confused, bitter, and I’m simply trying to make sense of this past year. My life has been slowly crumbling around me, and it feels like I’m losing everything. It has been one disappointment and obstacle after the next, and I can’t seem to catch a break. As an extreme Type A person, you can imagine how much of a nightmare this whole experience has been. The timeline and lifestyle I envisioned for myself are becoming more of a mere fantasy.

I would be lying if I said my relationship with God hasn’t suffered during this process. I’m struggling to hear his voice among all the opinions of others and my internal desires. I know that this may sound spiritually immature, but I’m tired of struggling. I’m tired of trying to do the right thing and always coming up short and being disappointed. I find myself wondering if God hears me, or if he even cares. I look at myself in the mirror and barely recognize myself. I’ve completely let myself go, and it’s almost like I don’t know where to pick up the pieces.

I’m not going to pretend like I have the answers or even know where to start because I don’t. However, I’m going to allow myself space to grieve, be angry, and not have every detail planned out for once.

 

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Thoughts about Leaving Grad School…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.-2

 

When I graduated from College last spring, I was excited and passionate about my future. I was sure that everything had fallen into place, and that I would be pursuing my true calling in the field of counseling. Now that a year has almost passed, I find myself questioning everything. Although I’m doing well academically, I’ve never felt so inadequate and miserable in my life. I’m struggling at my job and I’ve realized I’m not as well spoken or charismatic like some of my peers. Some may call it the growing pains of adulthood and even imposter syndrome, but I have to wonder if it’s simply a sign that I’m doing the wrong thing with my life. I have been forced to ask myself WHY AM I HERE AND WHY AM I PUTTING MYSELF THROUGH THIS?

I’ve had less than a stellar experience in my program (for a variety of reasons I care not to discuss at this time) and I have also become completely disenchanted with the work I envisioned myself doing for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have experienced some wonderful moments where I’ve seen growth and small breakthroughs with my clients. But then, there are those dark and heavy days when I can’t shake off the pain and distress my clients seemingly unleash within our sessions. On those particular days, I’m left feeling lost and completely useless.

The rational and somewhat sane part of me is telling me to stick with it. I have full funding, and it would be silly of me not to take advantage of the opportunity. However, the mental, physically, and emotional toll this experience has taken is becoming unbearable. All I constantly hear from my friends and family is to pray. But to be honest, praying is the last thing I want to do at times. I often have to stop myself from getting angry with God and questioning his plans for me. Sometimes I even wonder if this is all some type of cruel joke. Why would God take me thousands of miles away from the comfort of my home just to see me miserable? Why did he choose me to help carry the burden, shame and innermost thoughts and feelings of those in need, when I can barely help myself?

I came across the following verse a while back:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

– Jeremiah 29:11

In the moments as I was reading this, I felt like it was a direct message from God telling me to persevere. However, the comfort I found in these words were fleeting. It’s like a constant tug of war in mind. On some days I feel optimistic that I can see it through until the end. But then, there are many moments when I just want to pack up all of my things and never look back. I’m uncertain of what my future holds, but as for now, I plan on taking things day by day and staying true to myself.

Loneliness & Grad School

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Graduate school is not only one of the most challenging experiences you will ever face, but it can also be one of the most isolating as well. Over these past few weeks, this fact has never been more apparent to me. I have spent more time than I would ever like to admit in complete and utter solitude. Don’t get me wrong, between my assistantship, classes, and internship; I have more than enough on my plate to keep me busy. However, in those quiet moments when everything has settled down, I can’t deny the pang of loneliness I feel when realizing I have no missed calls, text messages or even an invitation to go out. The fact that I am also an extreme introvert has only served to make matters worse. I’m often torn between the desire of wanting to give myself the much needed time to relax and rejuvenate, and wanting to go out and have fun like everyone else my age.

The most frustrating part of this whole situation is the fact that people continually misinterpret or take offense to my introversion. They automatically assume that I’m standoffish or a snob, which only further serves to limit my interactions with others. In the end, it all just creates a vicious cycle of perpetual loneliness. In spite my desire to be more social at times, I have found that there are a few perks of being more on the reclusive side. For one, I have developed a deep and genuine sense of who I am as a person, and have the ability to make time for the things I love. Furthermore, being alone for the majority of my free time has forced me to learn to appreciate the simpler things in life.

However, on those lonely and slightly depressing days, here are some of the things I do to cheer myself up!

Reading// Reading has always been a personal escape for me. I can easily immerse myself in a good mystery novel or a classic romantic period drama. I recently discovered the lovely Penguin Classics Clothbound Editions and have shamelessly amassed quite the collection.

Movie// When I’m not binge watching my favorite shows on Netflix, I like to settle in with a sweet treat or glass of wine and watch a good movie. The movie Bridesmaids still makes me laugh uncontrollably, and I would also highly recommend Florence Foster Jenkins for anyone who has yet to see it. Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant….need I say more?!?

Pinning// Pinterest is another creative outlet for me and has basically become my giant vision board. I pin anything from recipes, outfits, grumpy cat memes, to my dream home (and wedding, Ahem…).

Praise & Worship// When the loneliness does become somewhat unbearable, I rely heavily on my faith to soothe and lift my spirits. I truly believe that God takes us through different seasons in life for a reason. In as difficult as it may be at times, I try to remain patient, trusting that he has something greater in store for me.