During my final year of secondary school I work really hard to ensure a spot on the Maynooth University Community and Youth Work course and after personal statements, written assessments, group interviews, individual interviews and achieving the right grades in my leaving cert I was lucky enough to get a spot, 1 of just 40. I was thrilled, over the moon, excited and looking forward to moving onto a new chapter in my life. I thought I had it all figured out, becoming a community and youth worker, get a job, a nice place to live and who knows maybe even move to Boston but of course not everything goes according to plan.

I made it through first year of college and had a pretty good placement which I loved every minute of and still today volunteer there, but then, then second year came along. Starting the year with another placement after two weeks preparation in college I struggled a lot to settle in, find a routine and to be honest I didn’t enjoy it all that much. It was a tough placement, conducting research which I had not previously done, moving between three different towns for groups and then of course there was the mental health aspect. Having just begun DBT and also begin the trial run off my medication the stress of my placement contributed to the downward spiral and the beginning of self-harm once again. It was a huge struggle to even make it through the three months of placement and someone even suggested I put things on hold for a while.

I can be stubborn at times and so I struggled through my placement ignoring the negative effect it was having on my mental health, there were many days missed because I did not have the will power or energy to get out of bed, there were groups which had to be removed from my schedule and there were groups which I was merely just another body in a room, struggling just to engage in conversation with the young people. Nevertheless I somehow managed to make it through but only to find out when I was back in college that I had not managed to complete my placement successfully.
Due to the requirements I made the difficult decision to move to Applied Social Studies in order to continue on in college and also graduate with my class next year, the only difference is I will not have a professional community and youth work degree. Despite being happy with my decision I cannot help but feel like I have failed, like I am a failure. I feel as if I have failed the department, I feel like I have failed my family but most of all I feel like I have failed myself. I know what my options are and I know that I still have the options of becoming a fully qualified community and youth worker but it might just take a little bit of extra time and a slight change of focus but right not I am struggling to move past this feeling of failure.

How do I move on from feeling like I am a failure? Do I just accept it and move on? Do I dwell on it until I realise I may not have actually failed? Do I get angry about the fact that my mental health issues have once again begin to impact on my life? Do I take it out on myself? Do I forget about it and just drop out of college? What do I do? Right now I’m not really sure where I stand on this but right now I’m focusing on getting through my finally year, right not I just want to graduate and move on.
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