It’s an awkward conversation to have, telling someone that while yes, you do have the high school grades and financial means, you aren’t sure that you want to pursue a lengthy post-secondary education. That you fought for it, you really did give it all your all, and nearly lost yourself in the process. That you spent so much of high school fighting to just be alive and functional that you barely know who you are as a human these days. That when you did get to school, unsure of your passions and values beyond being able to do more than shower in a day, you did everything you could to fit the mold that your environment imposed on you. That, when struggling to be something you aren’t finally started to break you, you uprooted your life for the second time in eight months and told yourself that you would pursue a similar path in a different environment.

It’s so hard to explain that when the time came to pay for the new plan that you told yourself you would pursue, you couldn’t bring yourself to do it. That you couldn’t bring yourself to pay so much for a situation that repeatedly had not worked out in your favour.

There’s no simple way to make someone understand that in the face of an inability to meet the rigid demands of a structured institution, despite some accommodations, you felt that you needed to step away from institutions as much as possible. You can’t just tell someone that spending the better part of your adolescence within complex systems that were supposedly designed to help you nearly broke you, and you don’t feel ready to return to any of them.

So you smile and say something that isn’t quite a lie: you’re just taking some time away to figure yourself out.

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