Home Psoriasis The reality of earning something you’ve always wanted

The reality of earning something you’ve always wanted

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I’m supposed to be ecstatic about graduating a year early. I’m supposed to be a 20-year-old college graduate with a bachelors in journalism and a minor in art studio. I’m supposed to be building my career as we speak. I’m supposed to be boasting my scholarly achievements. I’m supposed to be all of these things, but I’m not.

I have cold feet. I’m purple and tough to the touch, frozen through.

I read the email from my graduating advisor confirming if I take two classes in the winter and six classes in the spring I will get my degree. At first, I was elated, screaming with joy, until an unfamiliar ailment intoxicated me as I processed what graduating college really meant.

Sitting in my thrashed, barely-held-together home work space, staring at the email, the back of my head is on fire. A constant reminder of the overwhelming stress I’ve subjected myself to, the hidden psoriasis on my scalp flares and I unconsciously itch until there is a tiny bit of blood under my nails.

Could I do this till June? Did I want to be done in June?

It’s a Wednesday. My busiest day of the week. My feet hurt. I’m gaining weight from the late night stress eating and the mere hours of sleep I get in between. I don’t think about what I look like anymore. I’m too drained to care.

I just need to get through this semester.

I eat a bowl of Lucky Charms, if I remember to buy milk that hasn’t expired, and I start working on the homework left over from the night before. I’m tense as I watch the notifications on my phone pile up and drown me.

10 a.m.: I look down at the lockscreen of my phone, Burney Falls. I drift away for a fleeting moment, the cool mist against my dry skin and the unbelievably green moss in between my toes. Then I remember the column I forgot to write, that was due yesterday. I write until my 11 a.m. class.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: My unreliable internet rattles through my two-hour Zoom class. I emotionally keel over, turn my camera off and listen to my professor lecture as I do homework for my 2 p.m. painting class.

Class ends at 1 p.m. I speed to work to borrow a staple gun, last minute assembling my canvas for my painting class. I make it home at 1:35 p.m. and give myself a pat on the back. Maybe I can manage a little snack in between classes.

2 p.m. – 6 p.m.: This is the worst part of my day. I have painting class from 2 p.m. till 5 p.m. My professor calls my collage a family scrapbook project and not in a good way. Then I have an overlapping journalism class from 4 p.m. till 6 p.m. From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. I am in two Zoom calls at once. Stretching my internet thin. Then I have an overlapping work shift 5:30 p.m. till 10 p.m. I miss the last 30 minutes of my journalism class. Confusing, I know. My psoriasis flares.

This is about the time where my roommate, Erin, cheekily says, “You might be spreading yourself too thin.”

“You think so?” I smile as I run out of the door with half of a shoe on, three-day unwashed hair, a growling stomach and some homework to work on during my 15-minute work break.

Every semester since my freshman year, I have taken six classes each in the spring and fall, on top of junior college summer school. I can’t remember the last time I went longer than a month without school.

Graduating early is the only thing I ever wanted out of college.

I wanted to say I was a first generation college student that graduated in three years, while working my way through college, all on my own. Eventually moving to a big city to be a young hotshot reporter.

Now, it all seems so trivial. I love the people I’ve grown close to here. I love Chico. It is my first home away from home and I am terrified to leave.

I pull into Home Depot’s parking lot, minutes before I’m supposed to punch in for work, the looming email haunting the back of my mind.

I underestimated the terrifying reality of building a career at 20 years old. Am I robbing myself of cherishable adolescent years or am I rewarding myself with the opportunity of young success?

It is one last semester, but for the first time in my young adult life, I don’t know if I can handle it.

https://www.orovillemr.com/2020/10/22/the-reality-of-earning-something-youve-always-wanted-north-state-voices/

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