Back to School

I signed up for a “World Religions” course which started last week but it didn’t really start off as well as I had hoped for.  Last weekend I came down with yet another urinary tract infection.  When the symptoms started coming on Saturday afternoon I was not a happy camper.  I have gotten a UTI now every month for the past three months and I am quite sick of them.  On Sunday I was not feeling good at all and wasn’t sure if I was even going to make it to my first day of class.  I decided I really didn’t want to miss the first day so even though the class wasn’t until 11:30 I woke up at about 7:30 to take care of my “business” and such.  I still wasn’t feeling well, but I took care of what needed to get done and I headed off to Central Piedmont community college with my aid for my first day of class as a disabled individual.

Once at the campus I had my aid walk with me to class to make sure I could get there and everything.  So far the campus is very accessible but it is rather annoying having to go back and forth up a ramp several times as other people simply take a few steps as I continue to wind my way up the short incline.  Upon arriving at the classroom, my aid departed as he is not allowed to sit in the class with me, and I entered what has now become a foreign social situation.  As I rolled into the classroom and the eyes all turned in my direction I did not feel the sense of confidence I used to have when strolling into class for the first time.  Instead I felt the weight of self-consciousness.  The situation still seems so wrong to me.  Me, a disabled student surrounded by able-bodied kids all curious I’m sure of why I am the way I am.  It’s like some alternate reality separate from the life I am supposed to be living.

I come across as this very confident and outgoing person but I’m actually very self-conscious and hang onto a lot of nervousness and anxiety.  I tend to anticipate future events and brood over what the results are going to be rather than just being confident in who I am and knowing that I can handle almost any social situation.  I don’t know why I always worry things are going to go horribly wrong because they hardly ever do and I have had repeated experiences that display my ability to get along with people.  However, each day I went to class last week, I found myself more and more nervous.  You would never know it once I’m in class as I participate in discussion and speak up with forthright ability.  Once I’m fully absorbed in the social situation I had been anticipating I’m completely fine.  Hopefully one day I will learn to trust that everything is going to be OK and my nervousness is completely pointless.

All in all, I am enjoying being in the classroom.  The time leading up to arriving in class has not been fun but I find myself very interested in the subject matter while present and I feel a new sense of accomplishment after its over.  Is not the same sense I’ve gotten after working out or water skiing.  It’s a feeling of overcoming my fears of participating in a life of normalcy.  I’ve done a great job of jumping into activities which I’ve never done before but I’ve yet to fully embrace activities that were once normal to me such as being in the classroom.  Embracing more activities of normalcy should help me feel like I’m living a more balanced life which is necessary for my overall health.

Last week also finalized the beginning processes of all three of my possible future endeavors.  I am on the waiting list for Beyond Therapy, I have a trial visit scheduled for Project Walk on July 24, and I got my MRI taken care of for Portugal.  The MRI results will confirm whether or not I am a candidate for Dr. Lima’s surgery.  The other day I was hearing some uncomforting stories about the Portugal surgery saying that some people have actually gotten worse.  It made me feel a little less confident about pursuing the surgery but my participation is far from set in stone.  Right now I am much more excited about Project Walk and I am very much looking forward to checking the place out in July.  The woman I talked to over the phone for Project Walk sounded very enthused and told me from what she was hearing she thought that they would be able to help me make some progress.

As the air around here is getting more and more humid and the temperature is rising up into the 80’s, San Diego is looking pretty nice right now.  My dad is getting really excited, my mom is nervous about the whole thing, and I’m somewhere in between.  It seems the more I hear about San Diego the more I like the idea of living there.  Hopefully it will meet all my expectations.

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4 Responses to Back to School

  1. Patricia says:

    Colin! I\’m so impressed constantly by the way you set goals and follow through.  The progress that you have made on all the options is fabulous! Yes, San Diego sounds delightful.! I have heard that living there is wonderful and enjoyable and peaceful as well. A friend of mine has a villa there and we\’ll be travelling out there at some point. If you need some help trying to find a place to stay while you visit I could possible ask her if you\’d like. Project Walk sounds like such a great enthusiastic environment! I\’d love to imagine you around all that positive energy!
    Golden rule about social situations that I\’ve learned is simply that if you are comfortable, so will others be around you. I used to be fairly shy, and now that I lack that capacity due to the injury and being more impulsive, I have made the mistakes that people fear making – maybe saying the wrong thing or making an idiot out of myself and actually those things that I feared weren\’t really half as bad I thought they\’d be – they actually turned out fine in many situations and led people to feel completely comfortable around me. In fact, I have made friends truer, easier and more honestly since my defenses have been down. You are so likable, so intelligent, smart and good looking that really!!! one thinks what could he ever be worried about!!?!
    I wonder sometimes if that surreal feeling is because we have changed in body but our spirits are still the same of course, wonderfully and amazingly—  I contemplate this partly because of my reaction to the death of my horse – which seems irrelevant but I was annoyed in a way by how life seemed so changed to me and yet how ordinary it still was with everything going about as usual. There was discomfort but also beauty in the continuation of familiarity despite my changed sense of it all. But I felt as if I was living on some alternate plane for a bit watching it all. I\’m not sure if it is my tendency to overthink things because I can turn it off by simply requesting of myself not to think it. I love the beauty that we remain ourselves – that there is a soul to a person that is there consistantly and constantly – I remember a friend of mine teaching me this and the relief it brought me. That something was okay and a sure thing in a world that has so much change. That that safe place was within me and as you taught me so too was God. I think with that that everything is OKAY.
    You are okay Colin. I know I crave to hear those words sometimes myself – and I know that you are okay so I\’m telling you. So trust – trust in everything – you shine and I know you already know all this but I thought I\’d write it anyway. – patti  
    I\’m sorry to hear about the UTI and hope you are feeling better – I had them very often as a child and it was hard.

  2. Patricia says:

    oops I forgot to clarify that of course I knew you would follow through with your rehab goals -what I was referring to in my mind really at first was going back to classes this summer – good for you – you rock!! 🙂

  3. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin!Just returned from San Diego myself on Monday.  What a great place!  You will certainly love it there!  Not only because of the weather, but because there are so many things to do.  To me, there is just a great feeling about that whole city.  I love it there. 
    Im glad to hear you are getting back in the \’school groove\’.  Im sure you will feel more and more comfortable as time goes on.  And it sounds like a very interesting class.  Different religions have always fascinated me.  What is even more fascinating is how so many of them have such similar bases.  Its hard to believe that although so many religions stem from the same beliefs, they still cause so many problems in the world today. 
    Well, take care and good luck with your new academic endeavors!  Im anxious to hear the outcome of your MRI and of your eligibility for Portugal!

  4. Keith says:

    UTIs are no fun.  Hope its killed soon.
    Just being in a classroom is going to help you immeasurably.  It\’s slow at first, I know, but all those people who stare on the first day – and they all do – some will become good friends.  Within a short time, you\’ll feel like \’one of the guys\’.  You\’ll see and hear what they do during the weekends, too.  Trust me on this one: things will improve for you dramatically, just by being on campus.  It made a HUGE differece for me.
    Take care,Keith

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