Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Backpack Full of Boulders

Grad school is hard.

I knew this going in.  Especially entering a field as intensive as social work.  You've got your homework. You've got your field work. You've got your homework for your field work. Classes. Commuting.  Commuting with a broken CD player while the same 5 songs play on the radio. Your part-time job.  But all of this is in addition to the heaviest work of all--your diabetes.

Having diabetes for so long, I hardly think twice before starting on an endeavor about how it will affect me.  I just assume that it will fall into stride and I will figure it out as I go along. However, this isn't always as easy as it sounds.  Driving home from central to north Jersey at 9pm is annoying at best, but when your blood sugar has been running low all day and you don't know why, it becomes downright aggravating and even dangerous.  Without a sensor I am constantly wondering if my blood sugar is going to drop while I am driving, so I test like I nut before and during.  And the last thing I want to do is wait 15-20 minutes to make my hour drive home, when I have to wake up at 6am the next day for field work.

On one of these late drives home, I was thinking about how tough grad school felt. I'm typically a good student, and I love social work and love what I'm doing. So why did I feel like I was crawling through the mud by the end of the week?

It slowly dawned on me that going into grad school, I already had a heavy load.  I pictured a backpack stuffed with rocks, with straps that were sutured into my shoulders. Sometimes we forget about how heavy diabetes and other things can be, and how when we start a journey, we can't take the backpack off to lighten our load.  We just have to adjust to the extra weight. Maybe do some squats. Or whatever the mental equivalent of squats is, to strengthen ourselves. 

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