AM 125 Nuvigil, 10 Adderall
afternoon 10 Adderall
PM 10 Zyprexa, 20 Prozac
I was in college, full time, for seven years before I earned my degree.
I changed my major seven times:
I collected seven transcripts along the way:
The Art Institute of Chicago
The University of Southern California
Santa Monica College
Irvine Valley College
The University of Colorado Boulder
In the seven years, since I graduated, I attended three more schools:
The College of Notre Dame
The University of Baltimore
Baltimore School of Massage
Working on three more majors:
Creative Writing and Publishing Arts
I deferred enrollment to Pine Manor College twice, Montserrat College of Art once, left Otis School of Art and Design after six weeks, and I skipped town just before my orientation at UCLA.
This sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it's not. It's the truth.
My stripped down, dirty truth.
I do understand it is a bit amusing - the fact I actually acted on every hopeful or impulsive whim to change majors or schools. I could say I was trying to find myself, but that seems like a bit of a cop out. The truth is, I'm just crazy.
I took a career class in college, and met with a career counselor between my short stints at The College of Notre Dame and The University of Baltimore. I read, What Color is Your Parachute, and The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People.
However, what I really needed to read was, A Crazy Person's Guide to Surviving College, and Choosing a Career When You're Crazy. The only problem is that those books doesn't exist.
If they did exist, they would simply say sometimes being crazy is hard.
When you're bipolar you might have a depression that is so debilitating you won't be able to go to class or complete your work. You may, instead, stay tangled in your sheets, the days melting away and the work piling up, until you have no choice but to withdraw. You may find yourself, laying on the couch, watching the complete six seasons of Sex and the City, in a row, without taking a break to study, go to class, eat, or sleep. (Oops, I did that.)
Luckily, for me, D's get degrees. I'm not proud of those D's, by any means, but I did, eventually, seven years later, get a degree with my fair share of D's.
In college, my mania's saved me from what my depressions destroyed. The intense bursts of concentration, energy and gumption, pulled my F's straight up to D's and sometimes A's. But let's be honest, more often D's than A's.
In the seven years since I have graduated I have also had more than my fair share of jobs. Ten to be exact. I have worked at a paper store, a mental health agency (very ironic, I know), at the Boy's and Girl's Club, at an optometrist's office, at a gym. I have been a dog walker, a personal trainer, a yoga teacher, a nanny, a substitute teacher, an optician, and a laughter yoga leader. I also went through a phase where I signed up for the mail carrier exam, and we certainly can't forget when I tried to have a professional gift wrapping company, Wrap Star, and my attempt to make animal crackers in the shape of yoga postures.
I never took my mail carrier test, never wrapped a single gift, and all my cracker recipes were a bust.
I do, however, feel very grateful there was a rainbow after that relentless series of storms. I have been at my current job for almost three years. I finally found a job that suits me, that is good for my mental health, and that I love. I literally skip and jump with children every day at work, and I sort of use my seven years in the making degree.
So what's the point of this story?
The point is I want you to know...
If you have not found the job that suits you yet, keep looking. It does exist.
You can be successful despite being crazy.
If you are struggling in college, keep going. You can do it.
You can be successful despite being crazy.
It has been a long windy path, with umpteen pit stops, that has lead me here, and boy have I learned a lot the hard way. But that's the trick. I learned. We all learn. We learn from each roadblock every detour.
Until someone writes the much needed A Crazy Person's Guide to Surviving College, and Choosing a Career When You're Crazy, check out The Joy of Being Bipolar: Everyday moods that destroy your day Chapter 26: Trust Me. You can do it.
Until next time...