On burnout, and moving on (which, I have to convince myself, is not the same as “giving up”)

Here’s something I need to finally acknowledge about myself:

I started to feel burned out at twenty, during my third year at SVSU.  I took on too much that semester: a heavy courseload, an editorship, and an internship (funny how I started to lose my ability to stay afloat once the “ship” suffix attached itself to so many of the things that I was doing).

But instead of listening to my body, and getting some rest, I pushed through it, transferred, and have stayed in school all this time.

But now, having recently celebrated my twenty-fourth birthday, I just can’t fucking do it anymore.

Since I’m obviously getting real personal here, I may as well also admit that some days, I wish I hadn’t transferred.

Living in Saginaw drained me; every time I visit, I’m reminded that leaving was a really good idea.  But at least when I lived there, I felt connected to what I was doing.  I made wonderful friends, with whom I’m still in touch.  And, most importantly, I moved there as an eighteen-year-old college freshman.  The energy and optimism I had at that point in my life was enough to make me forget that Saginaw can be a really shitty place to be a feminist, atheist, environmentalist  and lesbian.

My younger sister, meanwhile, enrolled at Macomb Community College upon graduating high school in 2011, because “that’s you’re supposed to do once you finish high school.”  But she dropped out after a semester, convinced that it just did not suit her.

My parents were not pleased.  She spent the next year or so living at home, working various restaurant jobs, and feeling unsure of what she wanted to do.

This past summer, she decided to move to Windsor, Ontario (we’re dual citizens of the U.S. and Canada) and pursue a hospitality management degree.

She’s finally happy and productive, and I’m jealous.  I admire the hell out of what she did, mostly because she did it even though everyone she knew (myself included) gave her shit for dropping out of MCC.

It’s really hard to get up and do things if the people you care about don’t believe in what you’re doing.

Which, ultimately, is why I transferred to Wayne State instead of dropping out of SVSU– so that when people ask me what I’m doing, I can say that I didn’t give up, didn’t quit– that I “did the right thing.”

But I’d much rather just be able to say, “I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing.  I’m scared shitless, but I’m also just too tired to do anything with this fear but hide from it.”  Because that’s the truth.  As Americans, we are not encouraged to ever slow down and think about the choices that we’re making.

This is a really difficult thing for me to talk about.  I can’t bring it up without wondering if I’m really just too lazy to do my homework.  I’m an undergraduate, after all.  Who the hell am I to talk about burnout?

But I’m not lazy.  I have to repeat this over and over and over to myself.  I am not lazy.  I get my ass out of bed and go to school or work when I have to.  I’m genuinely curious about and interested in so, so many things.  And I agonize a lot about the decisions I made that got me here.  Those choices alone have cost me so much energy.

This is why I sometimes wish I hadn’t left SVSU.  Because I don’t think anyone understands just how exhausting it can be to transfer schools, and make new friends, and new connections.  I’ve finally done those things, but it wasn’t easy.  My first year at Wayne State was a horribly lonely one.  Like most college students I know, I had a side job that kept me away from campus whenever I wasn’t in class.  It was very hard to meet people.

My parents are, understandably, wondering when the hell I’m going to graduate.  But, while part of me is tired of school (I’m finishing up my sixth straight year of undergrad– yikes!), another part of me really isn’t ready to leave WSU, because I worked so hard to finally reach a point where I feel at home here.

I’m in school this semester because of student loan money, basically: I took out financial aid for the 2012-2013 school year, so have to use it.  And, to give myself a break, I’m purposely taking classes that interest me.  My thinking that doing this would hopefully serve as a reminder that school isn’t as terrible as I think it is.

But I’m already realizing that it’s just not going to work, which is why I’m writing this here, and admitting it on some public level.  I looked at the reading schedules for my classes and shuddered.  I just can’t do this anymore.  I so hate that one thing I love–reading–has become such a chore.

I feel like I’ve been keeping a lot of truths from people in the interest of appearing stable.

So I’m here to say that I am not stable.  I am not okay.  I don’t know what the fuck is going to happen next.  What I do know is that something has to happen, or else I am going to literally lose my shit. And I can’t afford to do that at a time when I’m really going to need to step up and make some serious decisions about my future.

I had lunch with a friend the other day.  She, like me, is an undergraduate, and she’s two years younger than me.  Like me, she won’t be graduating on time, and she told me that she has no idea how the hell I’ve kept this up for so long.

I don’t either, actually.  I have no idea why the hell I’m doing this.

So I’m not going to do it anymore.  Because I value my sanity.  Because, for some reason, I have an extreme urge to run off and do something else.  And, as another friend pointed out, school will still be here if and when I ever decide to come back.

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About Amelia

feminist, seafood enthusiast, bookworm, blogworm
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On burnout, and moving on (which, I have to convince myself, is not the same as “giving up”)

  1. Luisa says:

    ❤ I wish you only the best. Hang in there and do what you have to do.

  2. Katie says:

    It’ll be OK, Walter. *Internet HUGS*

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