Overcoming the Odds to Graduate || A Message of Hope

It was ironic that on the day that I planned to write this, Facebook popped up with this status:

“I see the graduate caps and wonder if that will be me in a years time… really don’t like making this decision I have found myself in”
– 2015

See at the time, I was in my first of two years studying on foundation contemporary arts degree, which was fulfilling my creative passions but not that I was living life to my full potential. This is where I made the decision to become a self-employed personal trainer.

Like so many of us, it was drilled into me from a very young age that we need to follow a certain academic career in order to seen as successful, a high achiever, and have a good reputation. So since I was ‘behind schedule’ by two years already due to suffering from an eating disorder for five years, the idea of giving up on getting a degree tore me in two.  Although I can’t say it doesn’t pain me to this day,  I once found it extremely hard to forgive myself for not following the normal route, and that I have had to miss out on so many things because of my mental health issues. I knew I had to make a decision that felt right for my own best interests, not what someone else or society says.

Throughout the darkest periods of my illness, my mum would always say to me “you can and will go on to help others one day because of what you have been through and overcome”. Obviously, I had no comprehension of the future, nor did I have any faith in myself to ever recover. I have always had a desire to help, support, and encourage others to believe in themselves, to love who they really are and follow their heart. But all my life, I hadn’t been doing the same thing for myself. I hadn’t been my own best friend or cheerleader, I had always neglected and punished myself for being who I was inside and out.

But my mum was right.

Not only would I manage to find a way for me to escape from the entrapment of my eating disorder and begin to grow a more positive relationship with myself,  but on Tuesday 9th July 2019, I graduated as a bachelor of psychology and counselling.

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It was and will always remain one of the most surreal moments of my life for all the right reasons. To get the chance to through my cap up in the air and celebrate achieving a first-class degree felt incredibly elevating for my soul. Up to that point, I had doubted my own abilities to succeed at anything no matter how great or small it may be. Yet that day proved just what I am really made of when I allow myself to take a risk, trust my gut instincts and pursue my dreams.

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To have made my family so proud of how much I have overcome to be where I am right now, it probably the most special achievement of all. Without their unconditional love and support, I would not be writing this post, nor would this blog even exist. They remind me constantly that it has taken so much determination, persistence and courage to transform my life, so I owe it to myself to be proud and to continue building on those foundations in order thrive beyond my imagination.

This post is meant for those who find themselves at a crossroads or unsure of how they could ever find the right path to take. There may seem to be no hope, but I promise you all that you are the hope that you need to make it through anything. You are stronger, courageous, brave, and more resilient than you realise. You are truly worthy of fighting for. Life doesn’t have a set format, it is up to you to create your own map and discover the right coordinates to fulfil your own calling, purpose and dreams.

Sending my love and best wishes to all my fellow graduates in the class of 2019!

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