Before this new and different life of mine, I was studying for my Bachelor of Science (BSc.). I was lucky enough that I fell in love with my Cellular Molecular Biology major.
Before I developed CRPS, I was a regular student worrying about my grades, and trying to figure out my next step.
I know the education I was receiving was a privilege in many ways. Now I know that studying for my BSc. was a physical privilege as well. A physical privilege that I no longer have.
I took 4 years off before starting post-secondary. I had no idea what I wanted to do, or study, and apparently needed to sow my wild oats first.
Eventually, I chose to study science. One of my close friends was studying science at the time, and often told me how great it was. Mount Royal was walking distance, my dad studied physics, I had the right grades, and I considered science an employable and stable field. Everything seemed to check all the right boxes.
I did my best to learn, think, discuss, participate, and not procrastinate. Not procrastinating was touch and go. There were times of insane stress, anxiety about failing, actual failures, triumphs, relief, and camaraderie. I had a little help from my daily walk commute, caffeine, friends, and dry shampoo. Not every part of the ~3 years I spent there were amazing, but overall I really enjoyed studying for my BSc. at Mount Royal.
I’ve known that finishing my degree was a long shot for some time now. The truth is, I really had to work through my feelings before I could write this. I still have feelings about losing years of work without achieving the end goal. That doesn’t mean that the experience was a failure. The education I received came from many aspects of Mount Royal. I learned from my professors, I learned from my peers, I learned from my lab instructors, I learned from the support staff, and I learned from the people who I met walking to campus.
I’m not mad because I feel like I didn’t learn anything. Quite the contrary. I’m upset because I didn’t have a choice as to whether I could finish it. My physical state, my new physical limitations prevented me from having any say in the matter. Before I left, I reached out to Accessibility so I could have a record of what was going on. I found out about all the accommodations the Accessibility office could provide. I tried as hard as I could to keep everyone updated, when I myself had no idea at the time what was going on physically. After I withdrew, I figured out all the options and timing for when it was time to recover my degree. I e-mailed all the people I was supposed to, and was very honest and up front about everything. I was determined to finish it after I got my body “right”. None of that mattered, because neither my body or my condition listen to reason or drive.
Developing CRPS didn’t just put some barriers up. Developing CRPS resulted in me not being able to finish my degree at Mount Royal, for physical reasons completely beyond my control.
I have hope for the future, and that I will be able to meet all the physical demands of studying for a BSc. Right now, thinking of standing in a lab for 10 minutes is daunting to me. I can’t even think about the 3 hour labs I used to have up to 3 times a week. I can’t even think about the 6 hour labs I was coming up on. I am making gains, and I truly believe it to be a physical possibility again someday. I have doubts, but like the stubborn ass I am I do my best to ignore them. Fuck those doubts. Hope is more productive.
So, goodbye to my BSc…for now.