“Sabbatical” (My Half a Gap Year Journey)

Two month anniversary I guess?

So it’s been two months since my departure from Bournemouth and it has been a mix of emotions and activities. First off, I’ll be going into what happened and why I made my decision to leave.

I moved (back) to Bournemouth on the first of September (we moved back to Norwich in the summer) and it wasn’t the best start to my university experience, shall we say. A suitcase and bag of mine got stolen as I made my way over to my house – this was due to my carelessness and naive thinking that nobody was around at that point as the streets were pretty dead and also I had too much to carry and not enough money for the taxi so it was “dropping off stuff and coming back for them” moment for me. Which sucked. Nevertheless, I made it to the house with the other stuff that I had.

I made friends before and during the course. I took Fashion at the Arts University Bournemouth following my Foundation year there and I thought it was my only option to stay as other institutes wanted at least a merit or distinction, but that wasn’t the case for me. I stayed and I was happy to begin with.

I partied and made close friends, grew my friendship with the people that I already know from last year and had tons of fun being involved in clubs and Christian Union, now that I was free from the roof of parents’ protection and had a bit more freedom. The course itself was also fun; I enjoyed the drawing and communication unit of the first term and definitely made a few favourites to add to my collection of drawings. However, the more involved I was with other things outside of uni, the more I became disengaged with what I should put my total focus on.

I was the active student, the person who would be ticking off the nights of weekdays to attend Bible studies, student nights and weekends to organise shoots and style them. I wasn’t your typical first year student I guess – I wanted to make the most of my time there and since the first year isn’t usually the most difficult nor is it the most time consuming, I thought it would better for me to be on the look out for opportunities to collaborate and build up my portfolio.

It got pretty intense as I took up more of my spare time into university time and I got pretty stressed out. My depression also didn’t help. There was this ringing bell in my head that I completely ignored and I became restless and gradually insomniac to try and catch up with projects and make it to the small deadlines leading up to the big ones. The attempts weren’t successful. Ha! I did try though, or I did put in the effort in the start but it grew into some heartless work and discontentment.

I became uninterested and lost my passion, which was the worst. At the time, I couldn’t understand why. Why was I becoming and feeling like this? Did I choose the wrong subject? I guess in the end, I did feel a bit homesick and during the first term I wasn’t eating properly and my sleeping hours were all messed up. I continually began feeling sick, physically and mentally, and my body couldn’t take going to the university anymore so I kept missing out on important stuff. I wanted to go home.

I prayed about it. My friends prayed about it. It took longer for me to actually get the word out to my parents and I did it at the worst timing possible, the day my grandma passed away. I couldn’t take it anymore and I knew that it would be better to get something off my chest now than later. I remember bursting out in tears on the whatsapp phone call I made to my mother. It was sickening. My heart wasn’t still as I tried to bear the fact that my last grandparent left the world to be with Lord and it was, for the second time, that I wasn’t able to attend her funeral service (the first being my grandfather’s). At the same time, breaking down the news that I wanted to change universities and go home was another matter.

The conversation wasn’t easy but my friends and I put this into prayer and things worked out. My parents were accepting of my decisions and I was able to finally move forward with life.

Of course, life has its ups and downs but it is up to you how you take them. It is important that you take care of your health first before anything; there’s no point doing something when you can’t; don’t be physically and mentally unprepared for it. You can either stay down after being beaten down or pick yourself up, no matter how long that will take. The effort and faith will be most rewarded, especially during times where hope seems to be lost.



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