40 weeks ago, if you’d asked me if I could manage as a pregnant student, I would’ve laughed at you and said “That’s not something I’ll have to worry about. I’m not stupid enough to get pregnant right now” If you’d asked me 20 weeks ago, I’d probably have curled into a ball and whimpered something about “I reckon I’ll drop out by Christmas”, because for a very long time, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it.
Ask me now? Absolutely, it can be done. I’m doing it right now. that’s not to say it’s easy – it’s been a struggle, and there’s been times where I’ve cried on D’s shoulder and told him that I can’t do it anymore. And yet now, as I get closer and closer to the end, I feel like I’ve crossed the brow of that hill. I found out I was pregnant two weeks before the start of the uni year. I’ve done the entirety of my second year so far as a pregnant student – what is a few more weeks? More than that, what’s a few more weeks where the practical requirements on me are virtually nil except for ‘turn up’. As long as I am there, and working, I’m doing what they need me to do.
The tough bits have been very tough. At the peak of rehearsals for the Christmas show, when I could feel the pressure building and wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it through the shows, I felt down and out. I was convinced that it was the end, not just of the year, but of my time at uni – there was no way I’d be able to come back after dropping out. There was no real practical reason for that – it was a matter of my own pride. In the end, swallowing that pride and confessing that I was struggling is the best thing I did, because I wasn’t bottling anymore. I could tell people, yes, I’m finding this tough – and people were more supportive and helpful than I could ever have imagined they’d be.
Writing the email to arrange the meeting with my lecturers to tell them I was pregnant took two days on and off of writing and deleting, nearly pressing ‘send’ and losing the courage, saving to drafts, deleting outright before finally just writing it down and pressing send in a blur of panic and a few tears – and that was just asking for a meeting! The days leading up to the meeting were similarly hellish; I didn’t sleep much the night before through panic – and yet they were, and have continued to be, incredibly supportive, and, along with D, it is their support and encouragement that has seen me through this year. The university as a whole, actually, has been such a positive, encouraging environment – I can’t write this post without mentioning them by name, as Glyndwr University does deserve to be recognized for the support their lecturers offer.
My friends have been incredible too. At times when I thought I’d stop my studies for the year and re-sit second year in September, it was the thought of not graduating with my friends that kept me going and made me persevere. I can’t predict the future; I still may not graduate with them. But the same could be said of anyone; anything can happen without warning and change things. The important thing is that each and every time I have considered dropping out of uni, the thought of being able to graduate with the people I sat in the studios with on that nervous first day; the people I consider my closest friends, saw me through and gave me the motivation to just push that little bit harder to get through every obstacle.
The point of this is that it is entirely possible to continue your studies – it’s just proved what I said right at the start; that this pregnancy will never be a stop sign – it’s a speed bump. It’s a team effort though – and I know I’ll never forget or be able to repay the people – not just those mentioned in this post but also D, and my family – who have supported me to get through this. I’m on the home stretch now – although trust me, sometimes I can’t quite believe it!