When the going gets tough… the tough occasionally need to take a break

You may have noticed that this blog has been a little quiet recently, and mostly this has been due to my heavy workload at the moment combined with all of the extracurricular stuff I’m doing (there’s a reason directing is meant to be a full time job).

However, life also has a habit of throwing you a curveball just when you think you’re managing to hold everything together. My mum found out recently that the cancer she had had previously has come back, and that she will need to undergo chemotherapy for the next few months.

I’m not putting this on my blog for attention or sympathy, but because I have promised her that we won’t dance around the issue or use vague words. I’m writing about it because this is a blog about student life, and these are exactly the kind of problems that can come out of nowhere and disrupt it.

No one tells you when you are applying or arriving at uni what to do in these sorts of situations, but they must happen to thousands of students every year. I’m lucky that UEA has a very supportive Student Union which runs a regular drop-in clinic where you can ask questions, and all of my seminar leaders have been very understanding. It’s far better to have a ten minute chat with them about it, than to try and hide at the back of seminar which you haven’t been able to do all the reading for and hope no one asks you a question.

I have also been blessed with kind and supportive housemates who I am eternally grateful for.

My advice to anyone going through a similar situation is that you shouldn’t be afraid of taking a break. I woke up one morning last week with only half an hour to go before my first seminar started. Normally I would have sprung into action and accepted that whilst I would have looked worse for wear, it would be worth it; however having been ill the previous few days on top of everything else, I knew I didn’t have anything I could particularly contribute. For the first time in my student life I skipped a seminar, and therefore I had the time to get up and prepare for the rest of my day, and the other two seminars I had. And to my surprise, the world didn’t come crashing down. I felt better because I wasn’t pushing myself when I was already down.

Now this certainly isn’t going to be a regular occurrence and I’ve made sure that nothing vital was missed, but it was an important learning curve for me. Sometimes you just can’t do it all, and as long as you’re honest with those around you it’s fine to take a break for your emotional and physical wellbeing.

Hopefully I’m going to be back on track from this week but if I need to take things a bit slower, I know it’s not the end of the world.