I started studying Health Sciences in Maastricht five years ago, full of enthusiasm and positive thoughts. Today, I’m still a bachelor’s student. Unforeseen circumstances have caused quite a delay in my studies. This all started a few years ago, when my mind stopped working the way it should because of some mental illness. I couldn’t study for several months. That’s why it’s taking me much longer than I wish it would to finish my courses. My friends who completed their studies years ago are now pursuing master’s degrees or working, whereas I haven’t even thought of a topic for my bachelor’s thesis yet.
More than once have I blamed myself for not being a good student, not doing the very best I can and basically just being a total loser. Over the past few weeks and months, however, I’ve learnt that I can still be a good student even if I didn’t receive that one piece of paper within three years; that I actually am doing the best I can, within my abilities, and that I’m not a loser at all. My study delay isn’t caused by laziness, even though I do think I’m lazy on a regular basis. It doesn’t have anything to do with “I don’t feel like studying today”. It’s not because “I’d rather sit in the sun”. I don’t skip tutorials “just because I think it’s fun”. I don’t drop practicals because “I don’t feel like doing them”. There’s a reason why I miss class.
Whenever things aren’t going well, I try to think of times when things were easier and to remember that those times are lying just ahead of me. Studying can be hard when you have so much more on your plate than just your studies. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether it took you three years or seven years to get your degree. As long as you remember: everything will be OK in the end. Just be patient.
Jo Haas, second-year student of Health Sciences