Tag Archives: Graduation

Ten Reasons I’m Glad I’m Done with School

September 1 marks the official start of the school year in the Netherlands. Though I still take classes through the Open University, I’ve been out of high school for ten years this year and dropped out of full-time univeristy in 2007.

One of Mama’s Losin’ It’s prompts for this week is to write a top ten list of reasons you’re glad you’re done with school. Though I was good at academics, I hated most of school. Here are my top ten reasons why I’m glad it’s over with.

  1. No more homework. I do get to do assignments for my Open University classes, but they’re all self-directed.

  2. No more finals weeks. I haven’t taken an OU exam in years, but plan to at the end of this year. Then again, that’s only one exam. I hated finals week, when the weather was usually bright, my birthday was coming up and I had to study for eight+ exams.

  3. No more carrying my heavy backpack everywhere I go. Of course, my computer and Braille display are much lighter now than they were back in the day, but I still don’t like having to carry them. Not being in school anymore means I only carry my backpack when I go to my husband’s – and actually even then it’s most of the time my husband carrying it.

  4. No more student theses. I hated the high school graduationt project, which my father described as similar to his first research in college. My husband took a few weeks or maybe even days doing all the research and writing for his, but my graduation project took me a year full of stress. I did it on a subject my supervising teacher hadn’t even heard of, namely the philosophical movement of British Idealism. The Internet didn’t have much information on this – so little that my project, once it was up, was for a long time second in Google -, and I couldn’t read eBooks yet. My mother did scan some material, but it was hard work overall. I’ve never done student theses in college. Though I’d like to have one finished, I imagine I’d hate the stress leading up tto the finished product.

  5. No more deadlines unless I set them myself. That isn’t entirely true, of course, since my treatment isn’t indefinite. However, the deadlines we get here are a lot less strict than those set forth in school (or in work, I imagine). I did just set a goal of writing a blog post every week day in September, but I set this goal myself.

  6. Less pressure. Sure, we have social media and the competition amongst bloggers, as well as the pressure from peers and staff to recover from our mental illnesses. As I write this, I’m crying my eyes out because I was just told that going at my own pace isn’t possible in this era anymore. However, the pressure to go far beyond my limits was worse in high school.

  7. Less bullying. I was both a bully and a victim in elementary school and a victim again in secondary school. Though I can’t say bullying has been totally over with since I left school, it’s far less. Also, people are much more likely to stand up for the victim now.

  8. More time to unwind. When I was in school, I’d often had a six-hour school day followed by three to four hours of homework, sometimes more. I was slow at doing my homework, so it probably wasn’t meant to be that much. At least, I’ve heard that a normal homework load is ten minutes for each grade (ie. ten minutes in first grade and two hours in your senior year of high school). I do of course not have a job, so this allows me more tiem to myself, but even when I did the intensive blindness rehabilitation program, I had more time to unwind than in school.

  9. I don’t feel as lonely anymore. This may not have had to do with school per se, and may’ve been more due to my age. I have grown to a ppreciate the interaction that I do get and not constantly grieve the fact that I don’t have any friends (other than my husband).

  10. No more graduation ceremonies. I hated my high school graduation ceremony. My father and tutor convinced the principal not to create a whole circus glorigying the school for having helped a blind student graduate. Nonetheless, I just hated the implicit expectations of excellence that come with graduation. The evening I got my foundation in applied psychology certificate was much more laid-back.

What do you appreciate most about not being in school anymore?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Everyday Gyaan

Ten Achievements of the Past Decade

Today in Blog Everyday in May, the prompt is to list ten achievements of the past ten years. Now I already did my 28 Before 28 post in February, so it’s an extra challenge not to repeat myself. I am just going to write, and if I don’t get to ten, well, screw it.

1. Graduated from high school. This happened just shy of a decade ago. I am not particularly proud of myself for graduating, probably because my parents were super over the top proud of me and I still can’t let go of a little parent-defying. I forgot most of what I learned in high school anyway.

2. Learned to clean and cook semi-independently. I went to an independence training home for the disabled in 2006 and 2007, where I learned many skilsl ncessary for independent living. I lost most of these skills again, but the fact that I learned them once, makes me confident that I can relearn them.

3. Overcame a mental crisis. It surprises me that, in the 28 Before 28 list, though I did include my diagnoses, I didn’t include the actual achievement of overcoming the darkest of aspects of mental illness. In all honesty, and I hope this doesn’t get me kicked out of care before I’m ready, I can say I’m much better able to cope than I was back when I was first hospitalized in 2007.

4. Finished two Open University psychology courses with a passing grade. IN 28 Before 28, I did mention that I took five courses in total, but the achievement of passing two of them in 2009 was largely overshadowed by the fact of the three that I didn’t pass.

5. Was able to let go of some of the darker trauma-based emotions and perceptions. As regular readers might know, I’m a childhood trauma survivor, which largely came to the surface when I was at my old rehabilitation unit in 2010. Though I got no evidence-based treatment for PTSD or dissociation, through a lot of talking and some work done on my own, I overcame most of the classic PTSD symptoms. I still have attachment issues, emotion regulation difficulties, etc., but I am confident that I will overcome the debilitating effects of these too.

6. Got married. I don’t usually credit myself for our relationship success, but then again it’s a mutual effort I guess, so I should deserve half the credit. If not, then well, I’m still happy I got married, so this fact still belongs here!

7. Started and restarted yoga. I took yoga classes in 2009 or 2010, but eventually quit because the emotions it brought on were too overwhelming. I recetnly restarted and am becoming quite successful at basic poses and exercises.

8. Was able to participate in group recreational therapy. In my old institution, I used to get individual day activities only. Due to budget cuts, I couldn’t get these for a long while in my current institution so I tried the day activity group. It’s still quite hard, but I can at least usually keep up.

9. Was able to enter the recovery stage with regards to my eating disorder. That is, I comletely stopped purging and recently was able to reduce my binge eating significantly too. I gained lots of weight in the past decade and have only started losing it again little by little over the past couple of months, but at least I’m improving. I also haven’t self-harmed in a few months, but that has not been a conscious effort as much.

10. Am generally much happier than I was ten years ago. This pretty much sums up all of my achievements. I didn’t earn the Ph.D. or get the high-profile job I thought I envisioned for myself ten years ago, but so what? I’m generaly less angry, less hostile and also less anxious than I was in 2005. I’m still not the shiniest example of positivity on the planet, but I’m trying to keep a positive outlook, and that’s what matters!

Found Love. Now What?
The List


A few days ago, I read a post on grief as it applies to parents of special needs children. I am a disabled person myself, not a parent, but I can relate to a lot of what is written in this post.

Having been born with most of my disabilities, I didn’t have to face the sudden loss of a normal life, as people with acquired disabilities do. I did have to face the loss of the remaining sight I had growing up, and this has been tough, but I’ve never been fully sighted. I’ve also never been non-autistic, but in this light, I can relate to the issues faced by parents getting a new diagnosis for their child, since I wasn’t diagnosed till adulthood.

Grief never really ends. You can not feel it for a while, but something can always bring you back to the grieving place. For example, I thought I’d accepted my blindness after I had lost my last bit of vision when I was seventeen. I grieved this loss for a while, but then I picked up the pieces again and thought I was fine. But I wasn’t. When, in 2013, I had surgery that could’ve restored my vision but didn’t, I was brought back to the grieving place all over again. I knew this could happen, as I knew the results of surgery were uncertain, but still, it was tough.

Sometimes they’re the bigger life events that take you back to the grieving place. Sometimes, it’s an anniversary or special event. For example, I’m taken back to the grieving place now that it’s high school graduation time. I did graduate high school, but never succeeded beyond that and never had a good high school experience anyway. I also grieve when my relatives are talking about their college endeavors, because I realize I’ll likely never even get close to finishing college.

Sometimes, they’re the tiny nuisances of life that make me grieve. The Internet is becoming more and more visually-oriented, and this makes it tougher for me to get by. When I see a great crafting idea but can’t seem to reproduce it because I can’t see the pictures, I grieve. When I join a blogging community and 99% of the members are Moms, I grieve. And as for real life, when the weather is beautiful outside but I can’t go for a walk because the staff don’t have time to accompany me, I grieve.

Some of my grief involves current inabilities, like the inability to go for a walk whenever I want to or the inability to see pictures. Some grief involves the loss of dreams, like the dreams of a college degree or a child. Some grief involves the loss of freedom and independence. Grief, in short, comes in many forms and shapes. How to deal with it? I wish I knew.


In the U.S., May is the month of graduation. In the Netherlnds, high school students are currently in the midst of their final exams, which will determine whether they will graduate or not. I still have nightmares about final exams, even though I graduated grammar school with above-average grades in 2005.

As Ginny Marie points out in her spin cycle prompt for this week, graduations can mean many things. People can graduate from preschool, elementary school, high school or college, but they can also graduate from certain life events or habits. For me, high school graduation marked my graduation from pretending to be normal. Two weeks before the graduation ceremony, with me already having had my final exams, I E-mailed the student counselor to let her know I wasn’t going to Radboud University to study English after all, but was instead going to my country’s blindness rehabilitation center.

The high school graduation ceremony was okay. The principal had planned a lot of pooha about how great my school had been to accept a blind student – I was the first and so far only blind student at this school – and how wonderfully they’d helped me graduate. When I heard of these plans, I was pissed. I argued that I didn’t want to be singled out. This was one reason for my objection. Another was the fact that grammar school had been a bad experience right from the start. In September of 1999, I wrote in my diary that I knew I’d rather graduate a grammar school in six years than a low-level special education high school in four. I don’t know how much of that was truly wanting to, and how much was needing to in order to please my parents.

High school graduation marked my graduation from doing what my parents and teachers wanted me to, which was (or seemed to be) pretending my invisible disabilities didn’t exist. Even though it was my high school tutor who had arranged the initial intake interview at blindness rehab, he half assumed these people could push me to go to college better than he could. In reality, they ended up recommending the basic rehab program. My parents were initially not amused, because the program lasted only four months, but they eventually accepted that I needed to work on myself first before going to university.

Even though I graduated from parent and teacher-pleasing, I didn’t graduate from dependence. Till far into my stay at the acute ward in 2008, I did just do what my social worker or doctor wanted me to. Even though this lessened a bit when I got to the resocialization ward in 2009, I’m now at once at the opposite end of the pendulum, defying my staff constantly, and at once I’m still dependent on them. I ultimately end up doing what they want me to, after all.

Now I know that no-one is truly independent. Then again, parent/child relationships, schools and institutions instill more dependence on the child, student or patient than does ordinary adult life. Next year, it’ll have been ten years since my high school graduation. Will I move towards true interdependence then?