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College Is Taking Longer Because of My Disability, and That's OK

As I continue my senior year of college for a second year, I have a special message for all of you going back to school. Last year during the fall semester I went into a life-changing surgery thinking I would go home after a weekend in the hospital. Instead I stayed in hospitals for a month and had many more months of figuring out what my “new” life had in store for me. I’m still figuring things out, but I am gradually understanding how to accept my new reality.

After explaining that recovery would take longer than expected, my professors told me I had to withdraw from the courses because the semester was only 45 percent complete, and it had to be 65 percent complete to receive the ability to come back to class after recovery. As someone who takes education very seriously, this was devastating, but in the end, the situation was the best outcome for me.

I went back to school last spring; it was difficult, but doable. Since the spring semester was doable I decided to double up on my classes in the summer so I would be back on track to graduate this fall. I graduated high school early by doubling up on courses, so I figured college would be no different. I passed my courses in the summer, but had a hard time wanting to start another full-time semester immediately because I was overwhelmed from going to school and dealing with health issues non-stop for four years.

After the summer semester ended, I realized what people have told me all along: getting an education isn’t a race and life is about enjoying experiences. I am now at peace with finishing what’s left of my degree as a part-time student while experiencing life a little more. I hope my experience helps all of you understand that breaks or alternative ways of doing things are OK. You will get where you need to be at the time you are supposed to be there. Everyone has a different path to keep this world interesting.

Getty image by Seb Ra.

Originally published: September 5, 2018
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