I decided to reduce my study load after just one semester at uni. I was only doing three units but was continually struggling. In retrospect, this had a lot to do with still having migraines and having impaired cognitive function.
I didn’t follow through with that decision. It would have required a lot of mucking around with Centrelink; an organization that had taken 6 months to review my application to switch from Newstart to Austudy. I also put some of the blame on choosing psychology as a subject. It, along with philosophy, was one of my main reasons, I chose uni. Sadly, my circumstances have made it easier for me to make ruthless decisions easily. I would keep psychology as a hobby, and put my efforts into both philosophy and gender studies.
I Also Struggled During My Second Semester
My insomnia had returned. I wasn’t getting to sleep until 6am and would wake up around 3. I was falling behind on all lectures and readings; spending most of my free time working on the assignments. I didn’t have much of a life outside of studying. I was turning down opportunities to socialize with both Glenn’s family and my own. I was neglecting my health. My migraines were also increasing in severity and were starting to reach the chronic stage. My life sucked. I was either experiencing the pain of the migraine or the postdrome stage where my brain turned to mush.
I’m surprised I was able to get decent grades during this time. It was exhausting, but I also got a five-month break over the summer. My migraines increase in severity over the summer.
That Summer, I Figured Out The Cause Of My Migraines!
At the start of 2017, a doctor suggested that the contraceptive pill I was taking could have been the cause of my migraines. I dismissed her, as I had been on the pill for some time, and the severity had only increased quite recently. It turned out that the combination of the pill and Effexor, the antidepressant I’d started taking again, had led to the increase.
I stopped taking the pill, and they instantly reduced in severity. I still had heat intolerance and would get headaches if I exercised during warmer weather. But I had my brain back! I could think clearly. I returned to uni, excited about what I would accomplish.
That Semester Was My Hardest
I did three second-year units that semester. I always felt like I was drowning. I only did about two of the readings and listened to two of the lectures in the philosophy unit. I carried around a lot of shame about that. I returned to uni so I could learn as much as possible!
It wasn’t sustainable emotionally. I was also starting to feel the pressure financially. I had been living on Centrelink for the past 3 years, relying on my partner when I needed extra money. This money came from the inheritance from his father’s estate. We had planned to put that towards buying a house. Instead, about half of it went to support me. This wasn’t sustainable. I applied for a scholarship to relieve the financial burden. It was denied.
I Immediately Made The Decision To Pause Uni
I couldn’t do it anymore. I’d been dating Glenn for over 8 years, and we still lived apart. At that point, I didn’t think that working using the summer would be a viable option. I wanted us to get ahead in our lives.
I miss it. I miss it so much. There are so many units that I wanted to do and concepts that I wanted to explore. I wanted to dive into sociology. I miss how excited I’d get when learning about a new idea. But I have to be logical. I’m in my early thirties. I love studying the humanities, but my degree is unlikely to have any practical application outside of academia. I would be better off returning to the workforce and doing one unit per semester.
This whole situation sucks. I’ve been through so much in the past 4 years, though. I know I’m resilient. I know that I’ll be able to enjoy studying a lot more when I’m not under so much external pressure.
Here’s hoping that things improve. 🙂