Broken. The word sounds so final doesn’t it? As if it is over forever, as if there is no going back. But in reality many broken things are temporary, they break and we fix them. Often they come out stronger than they were to start with. But what if we can’t fix them? We throw them out right?
Okay, maybe right… sometimes. But what if we could re-purpose that broken thing. Give it a new meaning in life. One of my favourite examples is actually in my Mum’s little fairy garden in her back yard. A broken pot. Terracotta pots can be expensive things, especially the large, nicely designed ones. So when wind catches it, knocks it over and smashes it into tiny fragmented pieces, you’re not exactly going to be thrilled. But think about it… there are soooo many different uses for a broken terracotta pot. In my Mum’s case – the pot has been turned into a home for little porcelain fairies, the different pieces making pathways that climb up the side of a terracotta and soil garden. At my own house, a broken pot was turned into a lizard house, an idea of my partners in attempt to encourage native skinks to make our garden their home. But there are so many other uses, a quick google search tells me I can do a mosaic, build candle stands, create labels for my herb garden and so much more!
But I’m not here to ramble on about my terracotta pots. A few years ago, I thought of myself as very broken. It’s hard not to when you are supposed to be sitting in a lecture theatre but instead you’re stuck in bed literally unable to lift your legs long enough to stand. I thought that Chronic Fatigue would ruin my life, I was very mistaken. In reality I was able to finish my degree and am now working full time in the related industry. I had to make many adjustments to my plan and everything took a lot longer than anticipated but I got there. I re-evaluated and have ended up exactly where I want to be.
The first evaluation came when my doctor suggested that I stop study. I know it made perfect sense to her- I was too ill to get out of bed, I needed to stop study, go back to my parent’s house and look after myself (or rather, be looked after). But that wasn’t in my plan, and it wasn’t something that I was going to do unless I had literally no other option. I knew that if I quit study that was it. I wouldn’t have the motivation to start again. I had to keep going, but I couldn’t keep going at the same rate that I had been. So I emailed my lecturers and made a plan. One of my papers just had one more assignment to go, an assignment I had already begun so there was no point in stopping that. Another paper had only a small amount of work left, and it was timed well so I could easily leave it until after I finished the first assignment. The third lecturer agreed that he could save my grades from the two completed assignments and I could complete the two I hadn’t yet done the following year. So that just left one paper which I had to drop for the moment and try again another time. I was also a class rep at the time and so handed the position over to another student with the ability to be more involved.
I made it through those final two papers with a lot of struggle but it was an incredibly rewarding feeling to have proven my doctor wrong and made it to the end of the year. The following year, I fought studylink with everything I had and won the right to receive a student loan despite only being a part time student. Without that loan, there would have been no way I could afford to be at university but it took a lot of convincing before they believed that my part time study was justified and that I was genuinely too ill to study full time. I finished my degree as a part time student and thankfully, only added one year more than originally planned onto the total time.
To be continued…