Med School drop out

Well, I was hardly in ‘med school’, it just makes for a better title. I was in my first year of university. I got a great ATAR, and everyone told me not to ‘waste it’, they told me I needed to go and do medicine, or law. So I put aside my strong love of music and performing, and moved to Sydney and began to attend The University Of Sydney, as a student of medical science. All was well for my first semester. I had moved out of home, I was making new friends and loving my new found independence, so I didn’t have too much trouble ‘grinning and bearing’ the calculus and the chemistry.

I began to feel very down and depressed during exam week. I had no prior experience in calculus, chemistry or psychology – and these were ¾ of my subjects. I assumed that this feeling of distress and sadness and constant anxiety was normal. I thought “I’m at university now, this is what its like”. I finished my exams and went back to my home town the next day, and I was so happy. I was completely euphoric at the idea of not thinking about my subjects or uni work for a month. I passed my subjects, all with credits, and I felt rather accomplished. I had all the time in the world to play my flute, write songs, sing, lead on camps, and do all the things that I loved doing. I felt so happy and close to God.

When uni went back, I packed my bags and went back to my dorm in Sydney. I was happy to see my friends again, but this depressed, anxious, sinking feeling was washing back over me. I was finding uni extremely hard, it was an insane amount of work. I was taking the same subjects, and I was struggling. I got to a place where I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t get out of bed, and I didn’t want to see my friends. By week 3 I had dropped a subject, and by week 4, I was in seeing a GP, who diagnosed me with clinical depression, and got me to start seeing a psychologist. Everyone was telling me that it wasn’t the degree that was making me depressed, it was the depression that was making me hate the degree. But as I went about being treated, I realized that uni wasn’t getting easier. It was still making me so anxious that I was shaking, I was still struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I had stopped running, I had stopped playing my flute and I had stopped enjoying my life. My GP was recommending antidepressants. (Just to be clear, antidepressants are a good thing, they pick you up from the chemical low in your brain and help you to begin feeling better, they don’t have to last forever, and eventually, you begin to feel good again without them).

I finally decided to go part time on the university census date (the final date that you are allowed to drop subjects without paying for them). I dropped all my science subjects and just kept my elective (fundamentals of music). I felt like a huge failure. I had essentially given up on medical science. I felt as though I had let the depression win. I had no clue what I was going to do with my future. All I knew was that I didn’t want to be depressed, I wanted to get better, and that was never going to happen while I was doing those intense subjects and hating them.

As I was praying through the decision, the craziest thing happened. When the subjects were gone, I immediately began to feel better. I started playing the flute again, I started connecting with God again, and I even started running again. I felt so free. I felt as though God was really directly letting me know that I wasn’t meant to be a scientist. I still have days where I feel downcast, but they are not as frequent as they once were. I now feel excited about pursuing music and ministry, the things I am most passionate about.

I don’t regret my first semester. I learnt a lot, and I believe God sent me through that storm for a reason, I know myself a lot better now. I am certain, that even if I amount to nothing by this worlds standards, I still have a savior who loves and, and who died for me. I think that mistake is what I needed to give me the courage to pursue ‘the arts’, something that people with ‘good marks/ATARS/grades’ are encouraged not to do.

I hope this story has inspired you to chase after something you love at uni. It can be stressful putting in UAC or college preferences at the age of 17 or 18, when you have no clue who you are or what you want. But, I hope my story inspires those of you who are getting ‘good marks’ not to be pressured into doing medicine or law just for the sake of it. Do something you love. God gave you your passions and talents for a reason. ‘Smart people’ should pursue the arts, and good marks don’t mean that you are limited to medicine or law.

Love always,

Sunniejean xoxo

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Semester 1 – done and dusted

That’s right past self, you survived your first semester of university, congratulations! You finished with average marks, but, it was your first 6 months living out of home, your first time in a new city, and your first time being completely and totally independent. You learned loads, drew nearer to God, and made a whole heap of amazing, lifelong friends, and you had the best 6 months of your life.

If only my terrified past self could have read this. I was absolutely terrified at the prospect of leaving my home town all by myself, and the idea of attempting to get into (and survive in) a huge, prestigious university in Sydney. I was so close to just giving up, going to the local uni, living at home, continuing my part time job, and staying right in my comfort zone, but I am so so glad that I didn’t. I am thriving in this new environment, and while it was a scary leap of faith, it has been so rewarding.

Sure, I didn’t get much better at cooking and ate roasted sweet potato for dinner and lunch on more than one occasion, and sure, I considered dropping out of my degree a couple of times. I cried (in public), had anxiety attacks, forgot to shower, wore the same outfit for a week and broke down on multiple occasions, but I survived. I have given up on trying to be some model, aesthetic university student like the ones I see on Youtube, and thank goodness! Those perfectly organised desks, unrealistically healthy (and expensive) foods, and perfect makeup and hair every day was just too much for me to live up to. Protip for first-year university students, just embrace the beautiful mess that you are, daggy clothes, messy hair, no makeup, you do you! All those people that look like they have it all together are just faking it too!

I have well and truly given up on trying to be some model, aesthetic university student like the ones I see on Youtube, and thank goodness! Those perfectly organised desks, unrealistically healthy (and expensive) foods, and perfect makeup and hair every day was just too much for me to live up to. Pro-tip for first-time uni students; embrace the beautiful mess that you are. Embrace your messy note taking, daggy fashion sense and lack of makeup, just do you.

This has been my review of my first semester of uni, hopefully it inspired you in some way,

Love always,

sunniejean xoxo

Amateur Uni Student

Tomorrow, for the first time in 13 years, school is going back and I won’t be attending. This is a scary thought. I hasn’t really struck me until now that this chapter of my life is closed.

This year, I am doing a Bachelor of Medical Science. Along with this I am also leaving home, and going to a big university in Sydney. I’m leaving my coastal town and exposing myself to something completely unknown, and to be honest I am more nervous than excited at the moment. I will probably do more growing than I can predict right now, and more crying than I predict, but I want to focus on the positives, instead of the things that are making me nervous. So, get excited for blog posts about an awkward introvert trying to survive in a student share house, and a huge university. Maybe it will help some people to feel that they aren’t alone.

Right now, I am reminding myself that Jesus died for my sins, and I did nothing to earn or deserve this – so if I don’t thrive in a huge uni, and move home, I am still the same person, with the same eternal promise. What else really matters? God doesn’t care if I’m a doctor or a toilet cleaner at a tourist park (yep, that’s right). So, to my fam from regional/remote areas hitting the big smoke this year, hopefully you can hold on to that too.

Love always,

Sunniejean xoxo

Miss Lonely

‘Loneliness’ is a word. Mostly associated with negativity (think nursing homes, prison, a large dark room or even sadness). Today I pondered why there is so much negativity attached to the concept of being alone.

For me personally, being alone can be a gift. Being home alone means whatever channel I want (a no judgement dance moms marathon), music as loud as I want, interpretive dancing in the lounge room and talking to myself to my hearts content.

Tonight I drove home from my dads after having dinner with him. There is a street on the way home with the most magnificent Christmas lights, and I wanted to drive down it, but hesitated. Why? Because normally driving down that road is a group activity, last year I drove down it with I guy I fancied, and the year before with my mum, sister and cousins. But I decided that this year, since I am quite alone, I have two choices; I can brood and not be festive, and wallow in my lack of companionship or I can drive down that damn road, look at those fantastic Christmas lights and for once not be afraid of being alone. Seriously! I am actually so uncomfortable sitting at a table in a food court by myself, of swimming at the beach alone – I constantly keep my nose in my phone to show the general public ‘hey, I may be alone right now, but I do have friends in cyberspace’.

Well, im done being uncomfortable with my loneliness. I am going to use my loneliness to pray, read the bible, blast my worship music, sing out loud, dance freely and enjoy the company of my own thoughts instead of worrying about how alone I look.

Love always,

Sunniejean xoxo

Christian Feminism

So, I am looked at strangely when I announce to any of my Christian friends that I am a feminist. Why? Probably because of how the word feminism is so often taken out of context – so before I begin this ranty blog post, let me clarify what feminism is (in my opinion): the stance that men and woman are equal, both entitle to the same jobs, pay, opinions and lifestyle. What feminism ISN’T: a bunch of cranky women who refuse to shave their body hair and set fire to their bras because they are holding on to anger at an ex boyfriend, collecting cats and hating men, while listening to only female bands.

So – why am I a feminist? Well, firstly it’s because I am angry that as a christian girl, I was taught that marriage is a compulsory, completely necessary part of my life – that my wedding day would be the pinnacle of my existence and that my purpose is to raise children. Thank goodness I didn’t believe this lie that I have been told. I think that getting married and having children is a noble pursuit, but personally I get angry when I see young girls being taught that this is what they should strive towards – while young boys are taught to strive to be preachers, and ministers, and doctors and lawyers.

Lots of people say to me “you will change your mind when you meet the right man” – yet another lie that Christian girls are told; that there is a perfect, handsome man who is going to find us, and complete us one day, and that when we find this man, our relationship will be perfect and romantic and beautiful and we will never have a trouble for the rest of our days. They say to me “you will be glad to submit to the man that God sends you”. Lets get one thing clear – there is no such thing as a perfect man, or a perfect relationship. Every relationship is going to be flawed, have challenges and need a lot of work. I’m not perfect, neither are you, and nor is any man that you will ever meet.

So, onto my second reason for my feminist views: Christian men in particular, seem to think that women are supposed to be quiet, gentle, peaceful little flowers who don’t speak, go to them for everything, can’t open a door by themselves and need to roll over and submit to them in order to be wife material. Thank goodness my goal in life isn’t to be wife material. The amount of christian husbands I hear quoting ‘wives submit to your husbands’ completely out of context and blatantly ignoring the whole ‘husbands love your wives’ part really infuriates me.

My third point is that people act as though having children is the most important thing I can ever do. My own father told me that I shouldn’t do medicine because I’ll be 28 by the time I get a degree and by then my ‘biological clock’ (this crap makes my skin crawl) will start ticking and I’ll have children, so I shouldn’t strive to be a doctor, while my hypothetical husband could strive to be a doctor because he isn’t expected to stop his life to have kids – so of course every male wants children – because they don’t have to carry them for nine agonising months, birth them (which is even more agonising), and then leave their career for years and years to take care of them. Only for women, at the end of it all the children don’t even get your last name – seems legit. I personally see the value in singleness – I could be a successful doctor – serve God on the mission field, if I got a call “hey, we need you in Zambia” I could get up and go – girls, you don’t have to get married and have kids to be made ‘complete’, you are made complete in Christ.

So I guess my message here is that I think Christian’s (girls AND guys) CAN be feminists. Us girls can aim to be doctors, lawyers, missionaries and whatever else you can come up with. Don’t undermine yourself just because your ‘biological clock’ might start ticking, or because you are single – God made you, and He loves you just the same as any man.

Love always,

Sunniejean xoxo

Fish out of water

Life being a Christian isn’t always easy. You are continually carrying a cross, a cross that drives you to live differently, to work with your heart and soul at everything you do, love others, have a positive outlook, and follow the Lords commandments the best that you can, striving to live like Jesus every day. This isn’t easy. Sometime’s it is really hard.

Even if you aren’t a Christian, choosing to not conform to the pattern of this world is a hard decision, swimming against the tide is far more challenging than riding with it. Other people notice your differences almost as soon as they see you. Some are intrigued, some hate that you are free from the expectations of society, and some are jealous. People will look at your life from the outside, and they will try to tear you down; tell you that you aren’t good enough, that you aren’t skinny enough, that you aren’t ‘on trend’ or that you are a dag. They will try to degrade the progress that you have made throughout your life, and belittle the values that mean the most to you. They will laugh at your convictions, tell you they are stupid, or that you are ‘wasting your time’.

To all the Christians, Vegans, musicians, artists, and non-c0nformists everywhere, feel encouraged, just because the crowd doesn’t like that you are going against it, doesn’t mean you should stop. Just because someone doesn’t like your goals, doesn’t mean you should stop striving to achieve them. Just because someone doesn’t like you, doesn’t mean you should change. At the end of our lives on this earth, I hope we can all say; ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith’ 2 Timothy 4:7.

Love always,

Sunniejean

Formalities

Formals are something that I think need to be talked about, because quite frankly, I hate them.

My first formal experience was year 8. We all got dressed up and went out to dinner to celebrate finishing ‘middle school’ (mean feat, I know). I showed up in a black dress that mimicked a tutu, that my older cousin lent to me, and some cute black ballet flats with rindstones on the toes (I guess you could say I liked the ’emo ballerina’ vibe). My mum braided my hair and I wore my favourite bracelet, and I was horrified when she tried to put mascara on me. When I arrived my friends were wearing gowns, and high heels and they had gone to the salon and had their hair and makeup professionally done! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Arguably, I had a better time than most of them, because I could dance and not worry about sweat marks on my ball gown, and I could smile without worrying about lippy on my teeth.

My second formal was year 10. I really don’t know why I had a year 10 formal, but our school was on a camp in Katoomba, and the formal was after a long day of bushwalking, on a boat in penrith. The girls in my grade were horrifed, and complained that they couldn’t have their hair and makeup done properly. That was honesty my favourite experience with my year group. I wore a Tshirt dress, and a pair of bright orange heels, did my own makeup, and had a go at putting makeup on a few of my friends. I danced and ate too much food (why not?) and had a really good time.

Now that I am at the business end of year 12, all my friends can talk about is the bloody end of school formal. They made a facebook page where we can post our dresses so that no one wears the same colour (god forbid), and they have already booked their hair and makeup appointments.

I did some math and calculated that on average a girl will spend around $450 on her year 12 formal, after the hair, makeup, dress, shoes, clutch, fake tan and fake nails. When I suggested we have a ‘jeans and jumper’ formal and donate the money we would have spent to charity  (which would have ended up somewhere around $19,000!)- they all nearly died, they love being charitable, untill it means giving up 2 hours of looking glamorous?

I don’t want to go to my year 12 formal. I know that’s the wrong attitude and all, but it is going to be a giant ‘which girl looks the best and spent the most money’ competition, no one will dance, or eat food, and I will probably feel a bit awkward and out of place posing for hundreds of photos. Then everyone will leave early to go to an afterparty that I more than likely wont be invited to, and i’ll go home to watch harry potter and eat ice cream with my best friend, and maybe even do some study for my HSC. Sounds like a magical night.

So, there is my opinion on the notoriously overrated ‘Formal’

Love always,

Sunniejean