This year– being all about doing new things and finding balance–I thought I would go for the guts early on…

I returned to university last May to complete my undergrad degree (why I didn’t finish it 20 years ago is fodder for another post). I am a part-time student at Wilfred Laurier University and am thrilled to have the chance to finish my degree. I am only taking one or two courses per semester and it is going to take me a considerable amount of time to finish. My goal is to complete my degree before my eldest son gets his (he is in grade eleven at the moment) and there odds are pretty good that he will finish first! That being said,  I am studying psychology and  I love everything about it.

Today I have done something that I have never done ever before in my entire life.

I dropped a course.

I was registered in two classes this semester–one on-line and one lecture. I LOVE the lecture. It is Sports Psychology and it is fabulous. The Prof is engaging and I am learning so much about motivation and sport…things I can actually apply to my own personal journey in athletics. I will write more about that later.

The other course I am was taking is Developmental Psychology. I chose it because it is be a pretty easy one for me: pregnancy, childbirth, infant and child behavior. I have lived all of this. The kicker is, I have not had the time to read the 8 chapters of the text-book  (that cost me $100 USED), nor have I had time to memorize which psychologist proposed what theory–Freud, Piaget, Erickson etc. It has been stressing me out. Plus, the final exam period goes right through the time I have already committed to speak at the Navigator conference in Baltimore, MD and I am told that even being a bridesmaid in a wedding party is not a good enough reason to be granted an exception to the exam time. I have been desperately trying to eek out a few hours to study for this class, but to do this I have had to fore-go work-outs and actual paid contract work. In the last few weeks some circumstances have arisen that require me to take on MORE paid work, not less and giving up things I love (tri training and yoga) make me very cranky. So, when the thought of dropping a course flitted through my mind and I immediately swatted it back out again with a “I can’t do that!”because, you see, one does not drop a course; one does not admit that one may have taken on a wee bit too much this semester; one just buckles down and gives up things one loves and instead feels overwhelmed and stressed and locks one’s self  in one’s bedroom and works/studies all hours of the day and night.

Or does one?

Today I had an epiphany. When the thought of dropping Developmental Psych flitted through my brain I did not swat it away. Instead I asked, “Will this make me happy?” “What will happen if I don’t do this?” I got a stomach-ache thinking about it and then I answered my own questions.

It would make me happy to drop this course because that will allow me the time to do the things that I want to do (work out, get a good mark in Sports Psych, not have my kids hate me, earn some much-needed money). What will happen if I don’t take this course is…I will feel relieved to have the pressure off. I can take this course next semester. In the grand scheme of things, the sky will not fall if I don’t take this course right now and one .5 credit is not going to set my degree back a whole lot, but killing myself trying to balance an unmanageable pile of demands may well actually cause me actual harm.

I took me four weeks to realize that I simply did not have to take two courses this semester and that to drop one course would not, as my friend reassured me today, reflect negatively on my character, nor would the sky start to fall. And it would, in fact, be a step toward the balance that I am trying to achieve in my life. Once I truly took a while to be mindful and sit with myself and allow myself to consider all of the ramifications, this decision was easy. What was most challenging for me was to give myself permission to ask the questions and really, truthfully answer myself. So today, I logged into the Laurier website and….

I feel fantastic! Instead of spending the day spiraling, trying to catch up on an insurmountable amount of tasks, I got completely caught up on work because I know I will have enough time to focus on the one course I have; I had a really helpful appointment with my new chiropractor; and I had a super fun evening watching a movie with my daughter and her friend. This is the balance that I seek and for today, I made choices that allow me to find that balance.

I am left wondering why it was so hard for me to allow myself to make this decision? Once it was made, I knew immediately that it was the right one, but I would not allow myself to even consider it for a long time. Who am I trying to impress? What am I trying to prove? I think I need to re-define these things and hopefully this will allow me to hit the hard decisions straight on instead of trying to make things work that really don’t.

So I have completed the second of 42 new things.

I am a drop out…and I am pleasantly okay with that.

p.s. I just checked the Laurier website. The final exam schedule was published today and the Developmental Psych final is schedule for the week I am away at the conference and the Sports Psych exam is while I am here. All the confirmation I needed!