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benson


Member

Posted Sun Sep 7th, 2008 10:04am Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
hello
i am having a serious crisis over whether i am going to go back to college on monday or not. i have three months left until the year is over, but even if i did go back i definitely would not go on to second year. obviously my parents are telling me to finish the year, but i haven't told them exactly how depressed college is making me. my friends either ignore my pleas for opinions, or assume that even if i stop this course i will change to another one next year (which i have no intention of doing). until last night i was completely certain that i wasn't going back, but then last night i started having doubts. my head keeps jumping from going-back to not-going-back. if i go back, i know that within days i will be as miserable as i was last quarter, contemplating jumping off bridges every time i walk over one (really i am not joking). if i don't go back, i will spend a while feeling guilty and more useless than usual and wondering if i did the right thing. if i don't go back i will be saying goodbye to the opportunity of studying with a world-class music teacher. if i do go back i will waste my time avoiding practising and dread every lesson. if i do go back i will be going back to a group of students with whom i have nothing in common - don't get on with them, don't talk to them... if i don't go back, the friends i do have will automatically brand me as a dropout in their educated minds. with one friend this is a taboo topic - because in their eyes university is merely a wonderful place of learning. for me it is exactly the same as school, which i hated. and now i need to decide by tomorrow... it is literally eating into my head. please, any advice or opinions would be very much appreciated.

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Libramum


Member

Posted Sun Sep 7th, 2008 3:09pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
Hi benson.

Sorry for the late reply, I just saw this post now. I hope it is not Monday where you are!

I certainly appreciate what you have said about college causing alot of stress! I know going back for me seriously has! I am fortunate in my situation that I truly do enjoy the career choice I've made and have kids that play a safety net when I have those days I want to get up and walk out of an exam.

Try sitting down with a pen and paper. Eliminating everyone else out of the picture (unless you have kids, then they have to stayt in), write out a list of "pros" and "cons" so to speak of staying in your current program. After you're done, go over them and draw out some alternatives/solutions/choices for each point you made. This may help you sort out without the outside influence what is truly the best choice and next step for YOU.

I am very concerned as you mentioned that you fear what others will think so much that you are feeling suicidal. If you do not feel you are able to carry on with school and make clear decisions right now, is there a service at your school or option to take off 'personal' or sick time. I wonder because we have that option at my college where you can apply to essentially 'pause' your studies, and take some time off (to deal with an addiction, mourn the loss of a close one, mental issues etc etc) It unfortunately will put you behind a year, but it is a way of giving you time to sort out your thougts and not feel so pressured.

Please don't do anything as drastic as harming yourself. I check my messages as regularily as I can, so please feel free to pm me if you need to talk. I'm sure someone else would love to hear what you have to say on here too if I'm not on at the moment.

When you get the chance could you please check in and let us know how you are doing? I am a mommy and it is my nature to (overly) worry!

** hugs ** to you
Keep strong...it won't stay like this.
Tracy

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fryfan20


Member

Posted Sun Sep 7th, 2008 4:15pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
I completely understand your dilemma and I don't know what you should do.
all I can offer you is a big hug, someone to talk to if you need it (just PM my and I will answer as soon as possible) and a wish that things will get better.:)

on the moment am I not really happy about school but I don't want to give advise with the basis that I am feeling down. (hope that makes sense)

I am what I am

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helvissa


Member

Posted Sun Sep 7th, 2008 6:10pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
I left uni when I was 19, about 2 months before the end of the academic year, because I flipped out and was rather unwell (I won't go into details but it involves threatening someone with an unbrella and trying to jump down some stairs).

It wasn't an easy choice to make as i felt I *should* stay, but really I knew that it was making me ill.

So I took some time out, worked in some crappy jobs, and then went back to uni, and eventually graduated. Except it was a different uni this time.

There's no shame in admitting you're struggling. Really when I realised I could leave the uni, the relief i felt was tangible, and I brightened up considerably. Ok, I also dyed my hair black, but hey!

So hang on in there!

(and about those naughty bridges - I've have the same problem. Try to work a route where you don't enounter them).

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benson


Member

Posted Sun Sep 7th, 2008 6:57pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
thanks for replying all yous

helvissa: welcome - you are newish? i think i am in a situation very similar to the one you had. i haven't threatened anybody (yet) , but i am "unwell" sometimes i think. as for the bridges... they go across a... um... railway line. so unless i walk around it.... X-D

fryfan: thanks for the hug. i understand what you mean - and i hope that whatever is making your school not-so-nice evens out soon.

mrtmum: it isn't monday yet (luckily). that's great that you are happy in your career choice. unfortunately i do not have the faintest idea where my interests lie. i mean, the sort of careers that come into my head run along the lines of hot-air balloon pilot (never even been in one) - game ranger (terrified of spiders) - guide-dog trainer (scared of dogs) - and so it continues. i have very few practical ideas...

there might be an option to take leave... i sincerely hope so. i am not thinking too clearly at the moment and whichever way i turn in this decision i swing to the other side within five minutes. thanks for your concern. it really means a lot that people on the other side of the world can care!

thanks all
benson

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acidcat


Member

Posted Mon Sep 8th, 2008 12:53am Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
Benson,

I'm sorry to hear about your problems. The other posters comments seem useful particularly MRTmum's. I'd like to echo her comment that taking time out without losing the work you've already done seems like a good idea to me. You might be surprised quite how helpful the administrative people are. For instance: it may be worth taking the remaining year "out" and restarting next year (if possible). This would give you the time to get your thoughts in order, avoid the people who are currently making your life miserable, have a chance to get new friends and possibly do something worthwhile with your remaining chunk of year. It does depend on your course. I've done something similar (took out about three months when my head wasn't screwed on right) and it did me a lot of good. If I can help at all drop me a pm.

And if you've had suicidal thoughts maybe it would be a good idea to get some professional help (I think you post on the SLOTMD board, but I'm a big fan of getting support from places like that and advice and treatment from the professionals).

The very best of luck to you

AcidCat

PS I can sympathise with the not knowing what to do. I've just started my third major career change last week, having spent my life training and very little time working. I'm hoping this one is the right one this time...

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Libramum


Member

Posted Mon Sep 8th, 2008 4:53am Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
Benson....thanks for checking in!

I hope your school offers that opportunity, they certainly should! It's a BIG investment going to school, you deserve to be happy with your choice of path.

You will find something you like to do and could see yourself doing for a long time. If you get a good chunk of time off, I recommend doing some volunteering in different types of causes, or if you decide to work, try to get temporary positions so you can try different things (I don't know if this is possible, but it's an idea lol)

Best of luck to you! Let us know how it went today ok?

PS Thank you Acid Cat and good luck with your career change! It's extremely challenging to keep restarting when one's life is already far beyond the starting line!
You obviously have a lot of determination & perserverence!

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helvissa


Member

Posted Mon Sep 8th, 2008 12:45pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
Hi Benson, I only joined yesterday.

Do you have a "personal tutor" or something similar? Also, there should be something like "Student Support & Counselling" as well. I don't know what your health system is like in SA, but have a read of the "Emergencies" thread as well, in case there's something you can pick up from there, info-wise.

(I've had similar problems with a bridge that goes over a railway line! Have an emergency "happy space" in your mind so that when you go over the railway line, think of those happy things and try to put your mind off it. I know, easier said than done....).

Sometimes I find myself feeling angry at the lack of help I got when I was having my problems. I mean, some people did try to help, but it was so hard to get the right information and at the end of the day, I had to get out of there as quickly as I could because I was completely losing it.

The woman I threatened was in housing services. She was this awful bovine type, who'd stand at the counter munching a sandwich and really not giving a toss what you said. All I asked her was what I needed to do to check out of my student room, and she splurged all this bureaucratic nonsense at me. You know, the "you've got to do xyz before you can do abc." How do I do xyz? Oh, you've got to do abc first. Normally I'm very polite, but I freaked out and screamed at her and waved my metal-tipped brolly very close to her face.

I thought my reaction was completely normal, but judging by the rather frightened looks on the faces of the other people there... it wasn't...

But hey, looking back, that silly moo deserved it!

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benson


Member

Posted Mon Sep 8th, 2008 1:55pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
hi acidcat, mrtmum, helvissa

i do have a one-on-one tutor/teacher, but the problem is my unwillingness/inability to talk to her. the prospect of having to communicate to people should i not go back or ask for leave is almost as bad as the thought of going back anyway. i do go to a psychologist, despite it being decidedly unhelpful, and my parents keep suggesting getting a letter from him to ask for leave for reason of depression or something. i'm unsure whether that would be accepted: firstly, i am not ill, and secondly, he isn't a doctor... and this is an exam term, which would mean i would literally have to be dead to have exams deferred.

your experience with the xyz/abc woman reminds me of what i had to do to add a course last semester. eventually, having carried notes and forms to half a dozen different people, i got registered - for the wrong course.

half of my problem is that i fail to see the wonderment of university. to my mind it is the same as school, which was twelve years of rote learning - ultimately a complete waste. if i can't change my mind about university then i never will want to go back. just don't fit in to what society expects people to do.

today so far i have done nothing, because i am putting it off as long as possible. but i can't put it off for the whole of tomorrow also... if i could speak to people like a normal person does it would be a &(*&(%%(& huge help. :'(

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acidcat


Member

Posted Mon Sep 8th, 2008 8:22pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
Hi Benson,

Apologies if I misunderstand your post as I'm not too sure by what you mean in certain places.

i do have a one-on-one tutor/teacher, but the problem is my unwillingness/inability to talk to her. the prospect of having to communicate to people should i not go back or ask for leave is almost as bad as the thought of going back anyway.

Is she really bad? Some people are surprisingly nice when you need help (but I completely understand it's often really hard to reach out and ask for help). Is there someone else at the uni that you really trust (preferably on the staff), eg a different teacher, a master/dean type person, chaplain etc? Just that it might be better to talk to someone who understands your position better than us SF forumites and may have helped another student and knows what helpful options are available at the uni.

i do go to a psychologist, despite it being decidedly unhelpful, and my parents keep suggesting getting a letter from him to ask for leave for reason of depression or something. i'm unsure whether that would be accepted: firstly, i am not ill, and secondly, he isn't a doctor... and this is an exam term, which would mean i would literally have to be dead to have exams deferred.

Sorry I don't really know anything about the health system in SA. Can you go to your GP (if you get on well with them)? I'm just worried that if you're feeling like you said in your first post I'm worried there might be a little bit of reactive depression caused by stress and the situation. Again, where I was studying before, depression was a reason for putting studies on hold with a doctors letter. I'd also try and find a doctor/psychologist you get on well with if possible.

In terms of having exams deferred, I wonder if voluntarily retaking the year might be worth considering. Your heart doesn't seem on study at the moment, so you might not do yourself justice on the exams. They may let you just take leave of absence and start again next year (assuming you decide you want to).

half of my problem is that i fail to see the wonderment of university. to my mind it is the same as school, which was twelve years of rote learning - ultimately a complete waste. if i can't change my mind about university then i never will want to go back. just don't fit in to what society expects people to do.

Maybe university isn't for you, maybe it's you're on the wrong course/institution, maybe it's just the unhelpful people you're surrounded by. To me it seems like there are elements you seem to like about university ("the opportunity of studying with a world-class music teacher") so I wonder if it may be worth giving it another go (whether now or after some time off.

Another random thought: I assume you're doing a music course. It doesn't sound like you're enjoying the music very much, saying practicing is a chore. Could it be that you shouldn't be doing music as a career and might enjoy it more as a hobby? Maybe another course?


Sorry for the long rambling post. Just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. Helvissa and MRTmum seem to be giving good advice, but we're not seeing the whole picture, only you know everything. The very best of luck with your decision, we're all rooting for you.

Acidcat

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Maxx England


Member

Posted Tue Sep 9th, 2008 2:04pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
I have no answers, I just know what it feels like to be at the mercy of a crowded world full of the uncaring. As I've got older, I've found that being on my own course, not taking too much notice of people who are supposed to be helping but are the actual problem themselves is the best way.

Can't say whether or not to dropout, but dropping in doesn't seem to be doing you any good. I try to do pleasant things these days, avoid stress, and I've found that although I still suffer occasional troughs in mood and ability to do things, they're nothing like as bad as they were in the past. Can you take some sort of sabbatical and try some temporary jobs just to get some cash? Not permanent, you can end up trapped again and I don't think you want that.

The only way is forward. Now where's the bar?

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benson


Member

Posted Thu Sep 11th, 2008 11:26am Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
thanks for your replies and advice. just to let those interested know that i am "dropping out", and even though i don't think it has anything to do with my health, the shrink is letting them know about my "depression". (i'm in two minds about that idea - because i'm perfectly fine)

acidcat: she's not really bad - she's a good, fair person - but it makes talking to someone really hard when A)they have categorised you as someone who never talks and B)they pick you out about not talking all the time and C)you find them very, very, very intimidating.

on second thoughts. after that 30 minute phone-call i just had... i am now stuck in going to talk to people. capitally terribly idea - but it wasn't mine! perhaps i should just move countries or something. i always wanted to go to antarctica... jesus christ.... my nightmares are coming true at last! why can't people just forget i ever existed???

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acidcat


Member

Posted Fri Sep 12th, 2008 10:54pm Post subject: Advise, please... college dilemma/crisis
Good luck Benson.

I really hope the time out works for you and lets you put everything in perspective.

I understand Antarctica was probably a joke, but maybe you could use this as an opportunity to travel? Polar bears and penguins are both fantastic, so you'd have cool stuff to see no matter which pole you end up at...

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