Over the last few days I have been extremely busy working on an essay for university. It’s the first of my final four essays before I have officially finished the course work for my degree. Then all that will remain is that dreaded dissertation. I’m relieved to have the end in sight, and at the same time proud I have made it this far.
It was not always so obvious that I was going to be able to go to university. I haven’t had such a straight-forward journey to get here, and as my sister is about to defer her entry to pediatric nursing, I can’t help but think how my education could so easily have been deferred indefinitely.
When I was 17 I moved from Sweden to England. Over the years I have questioned what possessed me to give up my friends and education and just move. The only plausible explanation I have come up with all these years later is, ESCAPE! I was scared and wanted out.
At the time I was enrolled in the prestigious International Baccalaureate program and doing well enough to stick it out. However, life’s pressures were hard to bear and I felt I had to leave.
Arriving in the UK at 17, however, meant that all my contemporaries were already halfway through their two-year A Level program and I was going to have to join students a year younger than me to start at the beginning, setting me back a year in my educational life. Unfortunately that wouldn’t be the end of the delays: It soon became evident the move hadn’t worked. I of course could never escape myself and only four months into the academic year was too ill to carry on.
After two months home in bed, I was admitted to an adolescent unit and all hopes of returning to school were dashed. After four months and my 18th birthday, I was no longer welcome in an adolescent unit and it was time to once again sink or swim out in the “real world”.
Once again, in a vain attempt to leave myself behind and find a place called home, I move. This time from Brighton to London. By now I was too old to enroll in a normal school and decided to do my A levels in one year at a private tuition college.
The first half of the year was a struggle with my mental and physical health deteriorating by the day, but I made it to the Xmas break and in half a year completed my AS levels.
As Chanukah approached the situation was getting dire and hospitalization was once again on the horizon. However, after meeting with the doctors one day, something shifted. It was as if I had been on autopilot set to self-destruct and I had finally found the manual switch.
It was a struggle, but in the coming half a year I met my future hubby, finished my A levels and planned our summer wedding.
So now three and a half years later as I am coming to the end of my degree, those A level days seem so far away. I can’t help but be a little proud that I have made it this far. I would like to encourage all of you out there to remember that tomorrow is another day, and after you’re done freaking out and panicking, just keep calm and carry on!
Sofie Copperman is a current JewliciousU intern and is studying for a BSc in Social Sciences at the University of London.