Let’s just get it out there: I’m currently redoing my second year. It’s all good, I’m chill with it.
I turned a 4 year degree into 5 years, and I’m glad I did it. I was doing ok in my second year, until a mass of things all hit at once. Injuries coupled with mounting stress made it hard to write decent essays, and my academic standards were slipping fast. With the help of my amazing department, personal tutor, mother and an incredible boyfriend, I decided to intermit in the spring of 2016. This meant suspending my studies and starting the academic year again in October. Officially, I took a ‘leave of absence’ for the academic year 2015-16. What actually happened was I studied until April before deciding it was best to give it all another go in the Autumn.
The implications for my year abroad were one of the most significant factors in my intermission. Had I continued, I wouldn’t have been prepared enough to study in another country. It would have been detrimental to my entire degree to attempt to finish the year the way things were.
Intermitting has its complications; it’s not just deciding to give up for a bit and then come back when the mood takes you. I had to pay back some student finance funding, and jump through a series of hoops to make sure my medical reasons for intermitting were recognised. I’m lucky to have a great support system, and often received pep talks from a comforting mother or concerned friend that were invaluable.
I’m not ashamed or embarrassed though. In fact, I think that in my case retaking the year has benefited me. It’s allowed me to approach my modules in a different way. You can’t resubmit any work you’ve already submitted, even if you technically were ‘absent’ for the year. I’m taking some of the same modules I did last year again this year, so I’ve had to venture out of my comfort zone and write about topics I wouldn’t first choose. This was hard at first because I’ve found myself drawn to essay questions that I’ve already done, but ultimately it’s pushed me to broaden my horizons. I’ve been able to be critical about how I work, and realise where I went wrong before. I met some great people at a new job, and it’s also allowed me to become closer to people I wouldn’t have otherwise. I also discovered ISEP, the route I’m taking for my year abroad this time around.
My mother always tells me that ‘everything happens for a reason’. I’m starting to believe she’s right.