Let’s talk about leaving France.
Before we get started on this week’s post, just a reminder that this is the third part in a three part series. Part one was posted 2 weeks ago (found here), and part two was posted last week (link here).
Last week I detailed all the many reasons that I decided to move home. Now I get to tell you about what it was like to do so.
I cannot even begin to describe the relief that I felt when I decided that it was ok for me to drop out of school and move back home.
I, of course, knew how big of a decision it was. After all, I’d put in months of effort to get into the school that I was attending and get enough money to move to Paris. And I knew how much I’d fought, tooth and nail, to get through the semester to that point. And I knew how difficult it was going to be to swallow my pride and admit that I’d failed at something. Letting all of that go was really, really hard.
But so totally worth it.
When I finally settled on the decision to come home, I suddenly felt as though I could breathe again. At last, I saw an end to the suffering, and it was one of the greatest feelings of all time.
The first thing I did after deciding to come home was to tell my friends and family. Michael, my boyfriend, was easy to inform. I’d been discussing it with him for some time. My friend Taylor was also easy, as I’d mentioned the possibility to her as well, to get her advice.
Under other circumstances, telling my parents may have been more difficult, but I knew that both of my parents worried about me constantly, living so far away, and I knew they’d be overjoyed to hear that I was coming home. I was right.
The hardest people to tell were the friends I’d made in Paris.
Most of the friends I’d made had drifted away, partially because we all became busy with classes, and partially because I’d become more and more reclusive as the depression and anxiety became worse. That didn’t mean that there weren’t many people to tell. Even if we didn’t hang out all the time, I still had several classes with a lot of them.
And I couldn’t just tell them, “I’m going home,” and have them be happy, like with my family and American friends.
Everyone wanted to know why, and what was I supposed to say? “I have severe anxiety and I can’t handle it here anymore? I think that what I – and in extension all of you – am studying is pointless?”
There were of course other, less social details to work out, as well.
I had to contact my landlord and let him know that I was leaving. I was going to have to pay the rent until he found a new tenant, but fortunately he found one very quickly and it wasn’t a problem.
I had to cancel my cell phone plan and my metro card. I had to work with the bank to get all my money transferred back to my bank in the US (a far more complicated and expensive process than you may expect).
And of course, I had to actually drop out.
I still finished all of my classes, including our final projects and final exams. I simply didn’t care as much if I passed or not. (I did pass almost all of my classes, except for economics. Economics will always be the bane of my existence.)
The process of dropping out was actually extremely anticlimactic. I had to fill out and submit a couple of forms and send an email or two. I received a confirmation that my information was processed, and that was it. I was done.
I will never regret the months I spent in Paris. It was a time of incredible self-discovery. I realized and changed so much about myself in the process of dropping out and moving home, but I’m proud of all of it.
It took a lot of courage to admit that what I thought I’d wanted for so long was not what I wanted anymore. That’s why I’ve chosen to embrace my failure.
I am a Grad School Dropout, and this is my life.