Disabled and in Grad School

You are probably sick of hearing about student loans, and more interested in hearing how Grad School is going.  Well . . . it’s stressful, is the short answer.  The long answer is I’ve been disabled and out of work and on disability for a few years and I am still getting used to the pace of this thing and I really don’t know what I am doing but I do know I am passing everything according to the graduate level standard of “Nothing below a B-“.  I’m torn between wanting things to go back to the way they were before; having totally free days to practice my art; but also I know there ARE things I am getting out of this time in school.  For instance one class, our Media Production Lab, is focused on individually directed learning through workshops and I’ve learned a lot of new skills in production and post production already in this short time.  Like Adobe After Effects, which I can already tell is gonna open up my skillset to a new level.  On the other hand, classes with really dense readings are wearing me down.  And I like writing, I write in this blog all the time, I write scripts and stuff, but I don’t really like doing academic writing.  And in the next six weeks I’m gonna have to do a bunch of it, AND make it graduate level writing.

A while back a friend started his undergrad and asked for advice because he’s got a disability, and I said go to the disability office and ask about accommodations.  Which was easy for me to say, but personally I have not made it down to the disability office.  And I really should, just to see what I can access and if there is any help for me that would be useful.  For instance, a counselor might be nice, because there are things I think that I don’t tell people.  Nothing evil, just general imposter syndrome feelings.  And getting up early is hard.  I’m trying to figure out a fool proof way to wake up and get to class on time.  Lucky for me there are only two days that start at 9am.

Having my dogs with me is helping a lot.  I’m pretty much constantly taking pictures of them and posting them on Instagram, and Posey is my lock screen picture, and they are super cuddly of me and when I come home they cry and snuggle and Little Mister will nuzzle my arm to make me hold him and pet him.  So for emotional support that is pretty awesome.  Also I do have some friends here who I have known for a while, and that helps.

I found a doctor through a Doctors Seeking Patients website, so I am feeling a little more secure.  I still need to get a new drivers license, health card, and a psychiatrist.  And my doctor says she doesn’t prescribe Risperidone which I have learned from experience and my past pdoc, Dr. Conacher, that it is a med I require.  If I don’t have it weird shit starts happening again, like hearing singing in the white noise.  And eventually singing turns to voices straight up trying to tell me shit and that is really annoying.  I mean, they do say things in context of what is going on, but it’s distracting and kinda freaky and if you talk back to them people around you can get really worried.  And it’s been a nice long time, years, since my last BIG manic episode happened and I’d like to keep from going nuts in another city.  ANYWAY my point is simply that I need a psychiatrist, but first I need an Ontario healthcard.

The funny thing is that the struggle with student loans sort of distracted me from my real feelings about school. But now the struggle is over.  And I’ve realized I am totally in this new struggle of being a student.  I’m poor, I have homework all the time, I’m expected to contribute to class discussions (something I’m not the greatest at), and I have to do this major project.  It’s a lot to think about.  BUT I also know I won’t quit school, because of several reasons, a few of which are:

1. I want to get used to doing stuff besides just my art.

2. I want to get a job with my new skills.

3. My Grandma gave me her Personal Credits from her Residential School Settlement and I am not gonna waste them by getting them then quitting!

4. I got a $5000 fellowship to come here and I am not gonna waste that either!

5. This is a really good time for me to live in Toronto and get used to it and connected to people and adjust to where I hope to live for a while.

6. Actually I can’t think of a sixth thing besides I am super stubborn and not willing to give up.

OH! 7. It is only 12 months of my life, and I hear the second semester is a lot more fun!

So that is my short and long answer to how grad school is going.  This next week is gonna be super busy, and ImagineNative is happening, so that will be fun.  I hope to see lots of people I know.  I’m back to not having much money, but I did get the essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, dog food, and toothpaste.  And some food.  Tomorrow I am going to Canada’s Wonderland after class.  Hopefully it will be Wonderful.  I’m still squeezing fun into my life!

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