Going to university with a mental illness (and even a physical illness) in the year 2001 is very different than going to university nowadays. It is much better now but we do still have a long way to go. Everyone has a tutor now. I was never offered a tutor in my chem degree on an LOP. Maybe because on my LOP I got A’s and B’s in most of my classes, so they thought I did not need it. My parents knew little about university, so it was me, on my own, with a mental illness, figuring it out. Since the beginning of my illness in 2001 I have had concentration issues, my psychiatrist is and has been fully aware of this from the beginning. With time I have been able to figure out how to manage my concentration issues (I am told I am a pretty good listener if that means anything).
On my LOP, I ended up taking more courses one semester and that is when I failed the one course and when an Academic Advisor told me I would never graduate. You know what I did, I graduated. I did not let one person determine my outcome or dissuade me from my goal.
So, I graduated. If that is not determination, I do not know what is. It took me 7 years after my breakdown to complete my degree, and I did it. I was determined to get my first degree, and I did it, with no tutor, about 20% concentration, parents never involved, a serious mental illness and some accommodations.
And then, in 2010, I went back to school to get my four-year degree.
I was admitted to a four-year degree in 2000 but because of my illness and because I was on an LOP, I was not allowed to do a four-year degree. Long story. Complicated story. That would never happen nowadays.
My twenties did not include a four-year degree then building up my career and my network. I would have liked the same opportunities as everyone else, but I did not get that. Even though I do not have the same work experience as most people my age, I have a lot more life experience than most people my age and even older, which to me, is valuable. I have a unique outlook on life, sure I work, I try to succeed, but in someways, I know this world makes absolutely no sense, so you cannot take it too seriously all the time. I take my charity work and mental illness and mental health advocacy very serious at all times, but the rest of the stuff is just noise to me. I would say more but I do not want to trigger anyone.
Life is not all about success, the pursuit of money and even the pursuit of happiness. Sometimes maybe it is just about being a decent person, treating people right and spreading joy and love wherever you go. I feel lucky and blessed that the universe did not agree with my plan, because I might not be the person I am today, and I would not have the perspective on life that so many lack. Life gave me a different perspective and a better perspective and maybe, the perspective we all need.