I’ve tried to write this a million times. I have yet to find the write wording to express how I feel and the point I’m trying to make, but I’m going to give it a shot.

I’m not graduating on time.

My decision to spend my junior year at a college close to my hometown and then transferring back to my original university left me a few courses short of graduating this June. I’ll have to spend an extra 10 weeks in school during this coming 2018-19 school year.

That doesn’t seem like much, right? Only 10 weeks. But it’s an extra 10 weeks that I wasn’t supposed to spend in school. I’m supposed to be in my last quarter! I’m supposed to be fighting off senioritis and complaining that the homestretch is taking forever. I’m supposed to be ordering my cap and gown so I can walk across that stage in June.

I didn’t fail any classes or anything. It was my decision to transfer schools that set me back. My decision to do this was fueled by the fact that my depression and anxiety symptoms were becoming too much for me to manage on my own. I needed to go home and be with my family and my support system.

Realizing that because of this I won’t be graduating on time has filled me with a lot of shame. I’m ashamed that I wasn’t strong enough overcome my symptoms. I’m ashamed that the one thing I swore would never hold me back, did.

I’ve been going through a lifelong struggle of accepting myself for who I am. What I didn’t really truly realize until now is that this goes beyond your physical appearance. It’s accepting all aspects of yourself and being proud of what you have accomplished. It’s knowing that you’re just growing and mistakes and bumps in the road are common when you’re growing.

I may not be graduating this June but I will graduate and that’s something that I should be very proud of.

I shouldn’t be ashamed of my year at home. I should be proud of myself for listening to my body and knowing that I need to make a change for my health. I should be proud of myself for putting my mental health first and taking the proper steps to help me be healthier and happier.

I may not be walking across the stage this June, but when I do walk across that stage I’m going to be happy, healthy, and proud of myself for everything that I’ve accomplished. I will be the girl who faced her biggest demons during her college years and still made it to the end. I’ll be the girl who accepts who she is and knows she has so much to offer this world. I’ll be the girl who has accepted her own personal timeline. Most importantly I will be the girl who is ready to take on the world and anything it can throw at me.