Summertime, Summertime, How I Miss Summertime!

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by Leslie Rott |

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After getting two masters degrees and a PhD while dealing with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, the reality of what it means to be a chronically ill student was transformed into the reality of what it means to be a chronically ill worker.

I have been in my current job since February 2016, just two months after moving back to Michigan from New York and dealing with massive life upheaval. So, needless to say, I am working my first “real” job since being a chronically ill student, and it’s also my first “real” job as a chronically ill person.

Part of me is relieved that after 13 years of regular school, four years of undergraduate school, and six years between two different graduate programs, I have my school days behind me. But part of me is kind of sad.

Aside from the things I loved about higher education, such as the intellectual stimulation, the ability to conduct my own research, and the opportunity to learn from amazing teachers, there are practical things that I miss, as well.

First, I miss not having a scheduled commitment every day that allowed me to schedule doctors’ appointments when I didn’t have class, so I didn’t have to take time off to go to the doctor.

Second, I miss being able to take naps in the afternoon. Having a class a few hours a day, a few days a week, allowed for freedom, and freedom from having to stay awake for eight hours at a time was one of the benefits.

Finally, I miss summertime. I miss not having any time off. I miss being able to go on vacation whenever my time and body allow. I miss the excitement that comes from the anticipation of going back to school and all that the new school year has to offer.

Truth be told, there were many difficulties to being a chronically ill student with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and I will address many of those issues in future columns.

Don’t get me wrong, I am unbelievably grateful to have a job and be well enough to work full-time, but there is a large part of me that misses being a student and all the things that came with it.

I think we often don’t appreciate the seasons of our life while we are experiencing them, and it’s only after they are over that we realize how good we had it.


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