I have never dropped a subject before in my academic life.
I only dropped a whole degree program which I regretted for almost two years, and I’ve somehow come to terms with it.
I was in third year accounting back then. That was the time when I first thought I had an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It was a horrifying experience. Most of the time I was confused, and I couldn’t remember things. I know my short-term memory is poor, but when my long-term memory, and academics start to get affected, I know there is something wrong. My chest would often hurt, and I had difficulty in breathing. I often found myself spacing out or on the verge of crying for no reason at all. I was high-strung most of the time, and I struggled to keep the facade of being calm and rational because of my responsibilities. I was aware of all the doors so I could easily exit, and I knew the location of the nearest comfort room to dry-heave for a few moments and pretend nothing happened. I would often stop in the middle of a corridor, thoughts muddled, not knowing what I was supposed to do, feeling weak-kneed and lost.
The worst thing, as an idealist, was that I couldn’t see myself as an accountant during those moments. I couldn’t imagine my life where I would be happy with accounting. I felt sick to the heart. I could lose myself but never my dreams, rarely my dreams. It was one of my childhood dream to become a certified public accountant, and I’m so sorry to disappoint you younger self.
I was also afraid at that time. I thought I was unfortunate enough to have a type of dementia at a young age. More than that, I was scared of disappointing and being a burden to my family. I grew up believing that if I fail at academics, I would cause my family to fall apart and be useless. I still believe that subconsciously somehow, it’s hard to get rid of such notions. I suffered in guilt and self-hatred.
Dishonor on me, dishonor on my family, dishonor on my cows, dishonor, oh wait where was I, oh yes, dropping.
I didn’t know what to do anymore, so I confessed to my parents and ended up in a hospital where I got diagnosed. Luckily, it wasn’t Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, I was sick with another disease.
I didn’t want to quit. I was already in second year when I started to feel that accountancy wasn’t for me, but I just fought and held on, to the point that I reached my third year in that state. I tearfully asked permission for my parents about my decision to shift out of accountancy, to which they graciously accepted considering my circumstance.
Long story short, I intentionally failed my final exams to shift out. I knew I could have exited gracefully by passing 114.1, a do or die subject for accounting majors in my school, but I failed it by being honest and telling my professor there was a mistake in counting of my scores. I failed by one point. The required grade to stay in the accounting program was 2.75 for 114.1. I got a 3.00 because of the correction.
Stupid right? Why did I do that myself? Well, because honesty is the best policy. Also, I knew that if I passed I would have foolishly fought and held on.I would push through believing that it was a waste of opportunity to have passed the subject and yet shift out to another program. So yes. Self-sabotage was my answer.
I was happy with my decision initially, then a few months after that I beat myself up badly. I thought that I was weak for letting go, for not studying and intentionally failing that subject. Thankfully, I have moved on.
It’s only recently that I have come to accept that I’m the type of person to know my limits. I mean it when I say I don’t want to anymore. I mean it when I say I can’t do it.
Now I’ve come to face a decision, yet again, of dropping a subject or dropping law school totally.
Again and again, life is forcing me to rethink my choices.
I have a certain degree of trauma over decision-making. I don’t trust myself fully. I don’t trust anyone. Contradicting, I know.
At first I was scared that I was doomed to repeat my mistakes. Shifting, shifting, failing, getting forced to settle for something, not that there is something wrong with settling.
I know what I want despite all that. I could still imagine myself as a professor teaching political law, or maybe a lawyer in an office helping out clients to calm down and to hear their story. I could see myself getting somewhere in the field.
So what’s my problem now? A lot, mostly stemming from self-issues.
I am on probation, I failed certain subjects because of my stupidity, and bad luck. I cannot afford to fail this time. If I don’t drop and I fail this certain subject, I will get kicked out of law school. Sure I can transfer to another law school and begin anew, but my guilt wouldn’t let met waste anymore time and resources to that. I would sooner kill myself by letting go of my dreams than be a burden to my family. My guilt is already harping on me, how could I waste more money for my tuition and my medicines.
I got another checkup before the start of my second semester, I wanted to take a leave of absence to work or to rest. Was I willing to continue at the cost of my sanity? I was starting to doubt again.
I was told by my doctor I was just confused and immature. Law school would be good for me, it would help me mature. The caveat? I have to continue drinking my medicines (which I thought I stopped for good) while studying. I was told that I would get sicker if I quit law school, and I agree with that thought. I want to continue law school, but I don’t want to be a burden anymore. Medicines are expensive. My good parents gave me another chance, told me to continue law school, and they continue to pay for my medicines. My guilt is still internally eating me, but I am happy somehow, thankful but exhausted.
I started the sem with a bang (or at least tried to), this year’s motto was #Fighting. Susuka pero ‘di susuko. (I will vomit but I will not quit.) Funny enough, I fought for a subject last semester but I failed anyway. I think it scarred me somehow, and it’s affecting my decision-making right now.
It’s not about what you deserve, it’s about what you get.
I’m proud of my decision to fight for the subject that I failed, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t fail another subject unless I want to be kicked out, like what I did with accounting.
I’m naturally a risk-averse person. I don’t like taking risk unless I know the chances are in my favor. This time I’m not sure if they are. The teaching style of my professor is really incompatible with mine. I dislike memorization with a burning fervor (I don’t know how I’m surviving law school this way, still praying though). My professor wants us to memorize each provision in verbatim. I love how we are taught to decide in favor of the laborers and in favor of social justice, but I just hate, hate, hate having to memorize paragraphs of law and labor code. I have no problems with memorization, it’s just that it had to be verbatim.
I tried. I recited, and I failed to meet the standards of the class. The midterms exam was catastrophic. I couldn’t enumerate certain (most) provisions, most of my answer had no legal basis, it wasn’t written in verbatim. I knew nothing about wages. I wanted to bash my head in. My self-sabotaging habits kicked in before the start of the semester.
I can still continue and fight. I just don’t want to anymore. I am emotionally and mentally exhausted. I want to be selfish and to still have a fighting chance of staying in law school while keeping my sanity, or at least what’s left of it.
Drop the subject, or dropped from the rolls. False dichotomy? I don’t think so.
A part of me is thinking, am I only delaying the inevitable? Won’t I get kicked out anyway despite dropping this subject so what’s the use? What kind of lawyer hates memorization? Is law really for me?
I don’t know anymore. I am torn, what’s new. I know what I want, I don’t have what I need. I realize that I have fallen in love with law school, and it’s making me irrational. It’s making me selfish.
The point of this all, was merely to ask for affirmation, that what I’m doing, and what I’m going to do is right. I also just made some realizations, which might not be useful to you, but perhaps it may have opened your mind about the importance of mental health to avoid being like me.
Quoting again my favorite character Captain Levi Ackerman from Shingeki no Kyojin:
I can believe in my own abilities or the choices of the companions I trust. But no one ever knows how it will turn out. So choose for yourself, whichever decision you will regret the least.
Here’s another one from Captain Levi again:
The only thing we’re allowed to do is to believe that we won’t regret the choice that we made.
I’m going to regret failing another subject more than dropping it. I’m choosing my battles. I’m going to retreat, and live for another day. I’ll regret it somehow, I often do, it’s just a matter of acceptance and moving on.
Either way, what will happen will happen. I’m just hoping for the best, and praying for God’s Guidance.