Milestones

Every large enough project needs to be split into several phases: Each phase ending with a milestone. A kind of sign post that tells you: This is done, let’s move on.

And as life itself is one of the largest projects there are it does have some as well. As it ranges from childhood, over the teenage years, up until adulthood and beyond.

When you are young you don’t really care about your milestones. You just care about things children do, like playing, your favourite food/toys, etc.. But your parents care. They celebrate every little thing you do. Your first steps, your first words, the first birthdays and so on.
The first big milestones you have as child is entering/leaving nursery school, kindergarten (In some places in Germany you have two parts of the nursery school: “Kinderkrippe” and “Kindergarten” that’s why I split it) and entering elementary school.
From then on out the steps become bigger.
When it only took weeks, months or a few years to accomplish them before, it now takes three to six years and more.

Explaining the German school system is tricky. Especially as a lot has changed since I left it. But when I went through it I passed three milestones: Finishing Elementary School (“Grundschule”), Secondary School (“Realschule”) and Grammar School/ (Vocational) High School (“(Fach)Gymnasium”).
Those years weren’t really what a kid/teenager would have liked to experience, but that kind of made me who I am: A pessimistic, weird loner. 😉

An always interesting thought process is that when you are still in the system you want to get out of it. But when you have actually left it, you understand that those years were way easier than anything life throws at you when you’re done with school. And you realize all these adults that told you “One day you will miss school!” were right. Well, I don’t really “miss school” I just miss the spare time I had thanks to the short schedules and stuff. You could do so much more in one day…

Since I started studying in a dual-mode course of study in 2009 spare time was (occasionally) there, but so was stress. Studying in this system means you don’t have semester breaks. Because if you do, you have to work. Work for the company that gives you your paycheck and also pays for your education. That leaves you with 24 to 30 vacation days a year to recuperate. Direct studies aren’t that much different to this by now, but I still think it is different though. As you have a company that wishes to see good – if not the best – results of you. Both in studies and at work.
And with a certain amount of stress neither is really achievable – at least not without paying a high price for it. And I don’t mean bribing the lecturers. 😀

Throughout those years I had to re-experience things that I hoped would have gotten better as the people would be more mature. But I was soon proven wrong. People prefer uniformity and despise everything that is different. It had looked well in the first semester, but it then went downhill.
I had a pretty low phase in my fourth semester, where I didn’t want to continue and in the end failed 4 of the 6 exams that term. Being used to school standards with somewhat easy and divided possibilities to gain your final mark this feels like a stab in the chest every time you see the red mark in the overview.

Failure was my steady companion throughout this time.
I needed a second try in quite a bunch of exams unfortunately.
But I think most of it was because of my mental state and the little time we had for learning and during the exams. Five exams in one week is not really the nicest thing to push onto a student.
I’m not proud of my failings nor the marks I got in the end, but I managed to pass every last one of them.
It is what you gain from failing that forms your character. You can rise from your ashes and manage to do it the next time or just stop trying and let the whole thing drag you down even further.
Even though I have the tendency to drag myself down for a while after a failure at some point I start doing what has to be done regardless of that. As I am too stubborn and proud to just give up.
And I wanted to at several points.

But failure wasn’t my only company.
There also were people that stayed with me every now and again.
I am horrible with making friends and staying friends with people I meet and like. It takes time for me to actually trust people and see/refer to them as “friends”.
They’re mostly pals, fellow students, colleagues and whichever other word you can use for describing a non-friend.
But that’s just how complicated a person I am. 😉
And regardless of how I refer to them, those that are dear and important to me know that they are, at least I hope they do.

But what do people have to do with milestones?

People help us accomplish our milestones. They show us a different path or put obstacles in our way, make us re-think our strategies or assist us in overcoming our troubles and most importantly give us new strength to carry on.
As much as I despise the treatment I had to ensure throughout the years.
There were always a few people that stuck with me.
That I could talk to for hours and not get the slightest bit bored or annoyed.
People that I really enjoy/ed spending time with.
As I said, I am not that good at keeping friends, given my pessimistic nature, but I try.
So I am grateful for all the people that crossed my path and walked with me for a while.
I don’t know how often I will be able to meet some of them again and not lose track of them. As I kind of did with so many other people.

But those few I am currently thinking of helped me through the last semesters (and exams).
They talked some sense into me when I was down or unrealistic or just provided entertainment, great conversations and company. They helped me to strive for better marks again, so that I managed to even get some really good ones in some of the last exams.
And given a little more time I even might be able to achieve what they already managed to do recently – my next milestone:
Obtaining my Bachelor’s degree.
One day I will have it as well!
Without the fancy robe and the official ceremony, but I will have it! 😀

And all this above is the reason I should not write blog posts when I’m feeling down….Sounds far too cheesy… 😀

PoiSonPaiNter

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