The title of this article is self explanatory. I had a friend in college, and although she wasn’t always around, we were pretty close. One day she comes rushing down the hallway in a panic exclaiming “College are trying to chuck me out because of my attendance!” Now this friend, we will call her “K” for the time being. K had a serious case of Endometriosis. For all of you that are unfamiliar with this specific condition, simplistically put, cysts form around a woman’s uterus that cling to other vital organs within the body that cause immense suffering, problems conceiving , and eventually results in surgery to remove the cysts that will in time grow back. This disease is the gateway, the invisible noose and chair.
For an eighteen year old, carrying the weight of exams, university applications, family issues, unemployment and the natural insecurities that come with being an eighteen year old is crippling, but this disease is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. K would often miss numerous important lessons because she was at home taking copious amounts of tramadol and other pain relievers that prevented her from curling up into a ball like a fist protesting the condemnation she had to endure.
The college at the time was fully aware of her disease. Fully aware of the triumphs she would make in order to catch the train and end up throwing up on the platform through sheer perserverance. Fully aware that she battles with herself on a day to day basis, trying to convince herself that one day in the future she will be able to have children. And fully aware that this disease has already destroyed social opportunities, employment opportunities, and educational opportunities already.
Even after numerous parent-teacher meetings, the college was still attempting to push K out. To marginalise and alienate her because her suffering affected their statistics and reputation. The college has shown no compassion, no understanding of K’s condition and no help in which student policies promise.
I have great admiration for K. She has been stronger and shown more bravery than I ever could. This article was only slightly about how the education system is reluctant to feel for the less fortunate students, but about how through all of this K still proceeds to be excited about getting better.
One day I aspire to have K’s mental stability and positive attitude, and K, if you do read this, know that i’m fully behind you in everything you try.