A Year of Growth – Week 6 – Proud

Four years ago, I couldn’t walk to the grocery store. Today, I’m building my career. THAT, is what I’m most proud of.

You know, I actually got asked this in a job interview recently (obviously they weren’t talking about Chronic Fatigue then…) but regardless, my answer is the same. The thing that I am honestly most proud of is how far I’ve come in the last few years. Rewind 5 years and I’m in my first year of university. I’ve moved to a new city, had to make a completely new friend group and learnt to rely on myself and not my parents. I’m ill, but I don’t really know that I’m ill. Or at least, I don’t know what it is that I’m ill with, how long it’s going to last or even how serious it’s about to get.

Fast forward a little and I’m practically house bound. The five minute walk on flat streets to University is too much. I skip most of my classes, but somehow I’m still hanging in there, still passing the assignments. I can’t help with the groceries, but I can manage to cook dinner for my flat mates once a week. Mostly I stay in my own room, some days I make it to the couch with my laptop. I go outside if a friend drags me out there or if I really really cannot afford to miss a class. Occasionally I’ll go out to a party but man, do I pay for it later.

And then I find out I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and my world changes completely. Suddenly health professionals are telling me to drop out. “Go and sleep for a year” – the actual words of a neurologist in the local hospital. But I don’t. I arrange meetings with my lecturers, I discuss my problems and how determined I am to finish my degree. I ask and I ask and I ask. Some of my lecturers agree to hold my grades for papers until I can complete the rest of the assignments the following year, allowing me to drop down to part time study without losing any of my work. The biggest achievement though? I actually managed to convince the head of school to change a couple of rules to allow me to achieve my degree without completing all of the compulsory papers. Instead, I pitched an idea to a head professor and got him to supervise me for a mini thesis, something I could write from my bed that would cover all of the necessary topics to consider me just as qualified as all those students who were able to attend the right papers and sit for hour after hour of lectures. I did it. My degree took me a year longer than most others but I finished none the less and I can now say that I hold a Bachelor of Building Science with Majors in Project Management and Sustainable Engineering Systems. Not bad for someone who could barely make it out of bed for a while there.

A Year of Growth - 52 Writing Prompts for Chronic Illness Bloggers

Now where am I? Well within weeks of finishing my degree I landed myself my first ever full time job. I’ve now been with this company for less than two years and in that time I’ve gone from a Junior to a Senior and now a Manager of a small team. Even better than that? I just landed a new position with a new company where I’ll be able to push myself even further.

Four years ago, I couldn’t walk to the grocery store. Today, I’m building my career. THAT, is what I’m most proud of.

What are you most proud of? 

This post is Part 6 of 52 in the series – A Year of Growth.

The series is a celebration of the first anniversary of The Truth About M.E and is designed to help me grow through my illness throughout my second year of blogging. I look forward to having you along for the journey! 

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2 thoughts on “A Year of Growth – Week 6 – Proud

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