Updated: Jan 5, 2020
After a two year break, I am finally going back to school to finish up my B.S. in biochemistry. People are often scared of taking time off of school because “it’s so hard to go back”. I never fully understood what that meant until I went through it myself. I mean, it makes sense… It’s hard to get back in that learning mindset, it’s hard to give up having an income (especially if the alternative is living off of student loans), and it’s hard to completely change careers when you’ve invested time in a different field. That’s where I’m at right now, but my current plan is to keep the job and make it work.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS | August 18, 2019
Monday, August 19th, 2019 is my first day back to school after two years off and I’m so excited to be going back. It means so much to me because the past two years have involved a ton of unexpected turns and I ended up taking a couple of years off of school so I could deal with life for a bit…
spoiler alert: the main character of this story somehow ends up in Japan
WHAT HAPPENED WHILE I TOOK A BREAK?
I’m not saying I endured any major hardships. I didn’t go homeless, I didn’t start drinking or doing drugs, and I didn’t find myself in any amount of debt… but over the past few years, I experienced an unexpected turn of events, took on responsibilities I wasn’t prepared for, and grew up a little quicker than I expected because of that. For a moment there, I related more to middle-aged women than girls my own age.
photographed: young couple discovers marriage isn’t easy
Let me put that another way – I related more to my friends’ moms than my own friends. I was desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage as my husband became increasingly detached from reality and attached to video games. At one point, I felt like I was his mistress and the games were his real wife… I was skipping classes so I could read marriage counseling books and talk to him about what was going on, but he withdrew and spent more time with his games. There’s a lot more that went into it, but I’m not sure how much detail I want to put out on the internet.
I put together this entire gaming setup for him! (check out that flawless cable management)
One one hand, I want to put it all in the past and forget about how his video game addiction affected us. It wasn’t the best time of my life, my husband has significantly changed for the better since then, and we’re more focused on the future now. On the other hand, the entire experience helped mold me into the person I am today, it would be cathartic to write about what happened, and I might be able to help someone by talking about how we overcame it. I know that many other women my age are dealing with the same thing (every word is a link to a different story…). Addiction – be it alcohol, drugs, gambling, and even video games – can end a relationship, and it nearly did the same to us.
So… how is this even relevant to my two-year break from school? At one point before my husband and I realised what was going on with our relationship, I told my doctor about my situation at home, and she prescribed me antidepressants to help me get through what was a very stressful time in my life. Unfortunately, this medically disqualified me from joining any military service… I was on a full-scholarship with Air Force ROTC, so that meant I had no way to pay for school.
At 21 years old, I didn’t have any money saved up. I wasn’t getting any help with paying for college since I was on scholarship (but now my dad is helping me pay for this semester! yay!). I was also terrified of student debt, so I dropped out after my junior year of college to work, save up some money, and eventually go back to school.
I did a horrible job of saving that money, but I definitely worked hard and we were able to stay afloat for a couple of years! For half a year, I juggled three jobs. I worked part time at a donut shop/cafe and Costco during the week, and I refereed soccer games at the YMCA on the weekends. It wasn’t uncommon for me to work 16 hours in a day, and I would oftentimes come home, sit down, and cry because the pain from standing/working on my feet all day was so severe.
After six rough months of working menial jobs, I got a job at IBM in December of 2017 and things got easier. I made more money, I got to sit down a bit more, and I felt like I was learning again. I worked the overnight shift which was hard on me, but I felt much less stressed. I climbed up the ranks as a datacenter technician, passing the test for our highest tiered technician role in September of last year. I was contributing to a team, which was rewarding… but I quickly realised that I was just working an entry-level blue-collar IT job.
All the while, my husband fell deeper into his video game addiction and I was reaching a breaking point. I won’t go into all of the fine details, but we separated in July and I filed for divorce in October… but we were back together by November. When we separated, my husband stopped playing video games entirely and he became so much more present in life, he started to appreciate everything I had done, and he was willing to talk about emotions – something he never did before… so I decided to give him another chance, and I’m so glad that I did. (There’s a happy ending, I swear.)
He left for a six month assignment in Okinawa, Japan (he’s in the Air Force Reserve). Although we had nearly divorced, we were back together and we wanted to make things work, BUT it’s pretty hard to repair a broken relationship when you’re on opposite sides of the world. As a result, I requested a three month leave of absence from work and I spent 90 days with Aaron in Japan so we could work on fixing our relationship.
It was exactly what we needed. We were able to focus solely on our relationship, explore a different country, and experience new things together. It was the perfect environment for us to reset and work on ourselves. I feel like our relationship got to a really good place and even though there are tons of things for us to work through still, I now feel like it’s completely worth it to work through it all.
I also reflected on my work situation and decided on going back to school in the fall… I realised that I wouldn’t be able to easily change career paths without earning a degree first. I also decided that I would train for a fitness competition – The Alamo Showdown Classic! Over the course of the past four years, I really neglected myself – I stopped working out, I started stress-eating, and I gained 40 pounds. I thought it would be great to have a defined goal with a deadline to work towards. As always, I’m back to pushing myself and juggling more than I probably should… but I’ve really come to enjoy being busy.
BACK TO SCHOOL!
Starting tomorrow, I’ll be working full-time, going to school part time, and training for a fitness competition… all while spending time with my husband and two dogs. I’ve already been working, training, and meal prepping for just over two months, so I know I can make it work. I’m excited to see how I end up balancing it all once I add school to the mix and I’m excited to see how my relationship with my husband develops through this phase of our life.
I’m jumping into my senior-level courses after a two year break, so it’s going to be difficult but I’m ready for the challenge. I’ll be taking physical chemistry, genetics, and a research methods class. I intend on posting here whenever time allows…
who am I kidding? there will never be time for anything!
PLANS FOR THE SITE!
I have come to enjoy taking pictures whenever I do something new, writing little posts about it, and publishing it on my own personal corner of the internet. Even though I feel that only a small amount of family and friends will ever see this, life seems to have a little more purpose when you capture it and reflect on it. Plus I’ll have something to look back on when I’m older!
I still want to catch up on my Japan posts, I have a ton to write about since I got back to Texas, and I want to start a log of my fitness journey… but I also have a lot of life to live, so I’ll just do my best and take breaks when I can.
I changed my site name to busybree.com (it used to be breeslife.com), because busy is the only constant in my life and Bree is my name. I’m planning on redesigning the theme/layout, but that’s all just how this is packaged and it’s kind of like online scrapbooking to me. Now I’m just rambling and putting off sleeping because I’m excited for my first day of school so I’ll wrap it up here!
To anyone who is still reading at this point, thank you for your interest in what I’ve got going on and I hope you have a lovely day. 🙂