Plans, goals, dreams… How can I keep myself grounded?

I don’t post here much yet, but I promise I write at least a hundred words a day. It helps me feel like I’m going somewhere even though I haven’t broken out of my own head (i.e. Word docs). There’s a lot of things I want to write about and continue to write about and I can only wish I could just keep going and going every waking hour.

I’ve been sick for around 7 ½ years now, and this is the first year that I can actually do things despite it. I’m the kind of person who loves to work. Doing art, writing, learning, studying, problem-solving, you name it! Being sick took a huge chunk of my life away from me because of that. I’m still sick. I hate it, but I’m just so happy I can do anything right now.

Then came “College Success Skills”, a mandatory class for freshmen to take before their 15th credit in college. Maybe it would have been perfectly fine if I took the course on campus and not online. Unfortunately, transportation was a tad limited so there wasn’t much of an option.

I decided to take the second 8-week session. The first week was fine; just introductions on the discussion board and navigating the college website and Blackboard. Things went downhill with a quickness when I got into the meat of the curriculum.

It started with the workload. 50 pages of a textbook, a video, a workshop video, and a discussion board assignment… Are you kidding me? No, no, I could do it, I knew I could. I just needed to schedule my work time better. It would be fine.

It most certainly wasn’t.

Future exploration and an unpredictable chronic illness.

The online e-book and videos presented the course material in a way that shot me in the chest. All I heard was:

This is how you map your path and what it should look like when you do.

You need long-term goals to succeed.

You are doing everything wrong even though you are doing the best you ever have ever since you got ill.

I don’t have the best psychological condition, and this course proved how unstable I really am. The longer I stayed at it the more depressed and withdrawn I got. I was losing motivation to study, to write, to even do my volunteer work! How weak is that?

Once I started getting suicidal, I just NOPED right on out of there.

I’m still disappointed in myself. I shouldn’t be, I think. Maybe. I’m just glad I withdrew from the course before the deadline and receive a W. I can’t afford an F or to wreck my health.

I’d say the lesson here is that disability accommodations are more of a “must have” than “I should prepare for shit” in my case. I didn’t think it would come in the form of depression and anxiety though.

So, how can I look to the future without wanting to kill myself?

Well, for one, I’m not going to take that class. I’m definitely not going to receive 15 credits in my first year if I can only take a course or two per semester. There’s an exam to receive credit for the class, but I’m a first-time college student under 24 so I can’t take it right now. The college’s website has some conflicting info on it, though, so I’ll have to talk to my advisor to confirm that.

The main thing that keeps my chin up is to take things one day at a time. I have dreams for far off in the future but I can only plan for so much. My long-term goal to get into a STEM career is realistic for me with the skills and interests I have.

Every day, I force myself to do something that brings positivity. If that means pushing myself to read those 25 textbook pages so I can feel good about getting my homework out of the way, good! Volunteer work? You got it. Write? Draw? Ha!

Completing things keeps me grounded. That’s probably the biggest change I’ve made. I’ve always had a habit of starting things but never finishing them – even when it came to games. Now, I hold myself to my projects and only let myself start something if one of them is finished. It’s like a double reward system; on one hand, I have a tangible finished product of some kind and in the other, I get to begin something new.

I don’t need a class to tell me how to do things when I already have a system that works. Especially a class that makes me feel like I’m not good enough, that my foundation isn’t sturdy enough. Life is too short for me to force myself into this mold they had set up when I’m not even going to fit.

My life, my hands.

What about you? How do you find your goals and how do you keep yourself on your feet? Feel free to spoil that little comment box!

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