Before I get too far, I want to warn you that this is a long post. If you’re at work, it may be a good time to take a break (or wait to read when it is a good time to take a break). You can also just read the gist now and come back for the full story when you have time.

The Gist

The past year or so (September 2011-June 2012) has been, in all probability, one of the lowest and worst periods of my life. I had problems in school, I had problems at work, I lost family, I stopped exercising, and the list goes on. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure how I made it through without even more wounds than I did. But somehow, I am on the other side of the chasm, and things are starting to look up for the first time in a long time. I’m not ready to be optimistic just yet, but I am hopeful.

If you’re short on time, this is the part where you minimize the window and go back to what you were doing. If you have some time to spare, read on.

The Full Story

I have already covered much of the first part of the story, which involved difficulties I had with teachers and school during the Fall 2011 semester. I spent nearly the entire semester fighting an academic misconduct charge, only to be told that I was “guilty” of misconduct because I didn’t protect my exam well enough. I went without sleep more times than I can even remember, and I nearly lost the will to even stay in school. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. My scholastic problems affected much more than just my performance in classes. This spring I received my first negative performance evaluation I have ever had (at any job). My boss was sympathetic to my situation and we both agreed that the primary cause of my decline in performance at work was school-related stress. But he couldn’t overlook the fact that my work ethic and productivity continued to decline over the fall months. The only “good” part about my evaluation is that, for the third (or maybe fourth?) year in a row, state employees aren’t receiving any raises. So my evaluation did not affect my pay like it would in a “normal” year.

This spring, I had hopes that things would be better. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. I don’t know whether I was just emotionally and mentally weakened by all of the crap I went through in the fall, but the spring semester started off worse than I was hoping for.