When did it start―the unraveling, like an accordion or a previously coiled ribbon? When did the unfolding commence? When did you explode, the universe within you hurtling into its own big bang?
There were signs: the perennial sleepiness, the exhaustion which wouldn’t be cured by rest, the infrequent laughter, the frequent bouts of sadness. You felt the change in your bones, and you tried so hard to fight it. You tried so hard not to become the failure you’ve always feared.
But on you slept, each night, thinking there would be time, there would be time. To study; to practice; to get yourself together; to be happy. You slept more, even more. Until you realized you weren’t so much sleeping to rest as you were sleeping to escape. The unbearable burden of being. Sleeping was your release, your relief, your freedom. Sleep lifted the burden off your shoulders, if only for a short while. Five hours during weekdays, ten during the weekend. But it was never enough. As soon as you woke up, you wanted to go back to sleep again. Until you can no longer fight the suffocating need to fulfill your own responsibilities; that’s when reality snatches you back, claiming you for its own.
You wonder if you are mentally ill. Perhaps you are. Yet you are sane enough to know that this whole affair is not working. And you weep. Not one week goes by without a well of tears. How can you be so weak-hearted?
It has not always been your dream, and now you know for certain it isn’t. Yet you weep for the loss of comfort, of familiarity. You grow sad at the thought of leaving, despite everything. But you steel yourself, as much as you can―you steel yourself enough for you to be able to leave.
So this is it. This is your goodbye, isn’t it? To the crippling experience; to the relentless mosquitoes in the college; to the sound of high-speed handpieces; to the professors; to everything you’ve ever known. Right now, your brain is letting go of everything it has ever learned in the college, little by little. It is emptying itself of the knowledge you could’ve used but instead is dead weight in your head. But you are grateful. Things did not turn out the way you’ve imagined they will be. Instead of being two years away from graduation, you are farther. You are back to the start, but older, regretful, afraid. You might even leave the University itself.
And you ask yourself what the whole experience has taught you―and you are speechless. Perhaps it has taught you perseverance? Working smart instead of working hard? Being perfect?
No, none of that. You just lost faith in yourself, that is all. You no longer know if you are capable―of anything at all. And you wish you could undo this fiction: you know you can do better. You know you will recover. You know you will fall seven times and stand up eight.
But right now, you are frail. Right now, you let yourself fall. You have decided to take the fall, remember? You have chosen this.
Sometimes you wish you never passed the UPCAT. Because wouldn’t life be easier that way? It would have hurt, but you were expecting to fail it anyway. Sometimes you wish you had something more to give. But what is left of you? What is there to give, when you have lost everything?
But this is me telling you that you have so much more in you; that your years are ahead of you. You are 18, and the night is still young. There is so much in store for you. This is just the prologue of the story, the prelude of the act.
This is just the beginning. Do not be afraid of starting over. You have spent almost 4 years in the University; you have learned so much.
You are not a failure.
I know that it hurts, especially to leave the friends you love so dearly. But I will say this to you―something I should’ve told you a long, long time ago: You have to go your own way. You have to stand up, to be independent. You have to step out of your comfort zone.
You have to go on.
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway. Mother Teresa, “Anyway”