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I'm not sure if uni is for me... - October 10th 2015, 12:00 PM

I've almost completed my first year of my degree and I don't know what to do. I really do love what I'm studying, I just can't cope with learning it at the pace it's being delivered. I never liked school, even though I was quite academic, and uni is admittedly better than school, I just still can't keep my head above water.

My problem here is I'm broke as shit (financial stress) and can't afford to socialise or get out of the city or do anything "fun" (social stress) which is compiling with my academic stresses. Logical decision is to defer for a semester or two right?

Second problem is deferring. If I do defer, my course is already 5 years long so deferring will only increase that before I can graduate and start practising in my field and earning a decent wage.
  1. I could drop uni and work full time and work my way up to a decent pay grade by my anticipated graduation date
  2. If I defer and go back to study I will be in my mid twenties when I do eventually graduate, where I would have had to support myself with shitty hospitality/retail jobs that are flexible with my study
  3. If I defer/drop out I will have huge repercussions regarding my family. They are all pinning a lot of pressure on me as my older brother didn't graduate uni either, however he has a successful career in the defence force

I just don't know what to do because all this stress is triggering my depression and its just getting a bit much right now and I don't know what to do to get myself out.


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Re: I'm not sure if uni is for me... - October 10th 2015, 02:37 PM

Can I suggest another option? A lot of universities will allow you to take a reduced course load, especially if you have any disabilities or mental illnesses. I had this option, and I could still be considered full time as long as I took 3 courses because I was diagnosed with ADHD. Even if you do not have a formal diagnosis in anything, a reduced course load could be very beneficial to you because it'll slow down the pace to a certain extent because you aren't having to learn as much, as fast. You could try that for a semester or two and then reevaluate. It might even allow you to work part time so that you can make some extra money to relieve the financial stress that you are feeling.

I know that university can be hectic. The traditional, formal ways of learning never really suited me. I loved learning but I hated the structure of schools.

Any ways, I think it'll be ok ultimately. If you need to take a year off to make some money, I am sure that'll also be ok.. You have to do what feels right for you. I just thought I'd share another option for you to look into, it'll still mean you are maybe doing 5.5 or 6 years instead of 5, but the set back won't be as much. You could also do things like taking 1 course in the summer to stay on track while working. It might help a lot.




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Re: I'm not sure if uni is for me... - October 11th 2015, 01:58 AM

Hey thanks for your thoughts!

Yeah even if I drop it down to 3 the work load won't be much of a difference when trying to balance a job, and will only extend my graduation. But you're right I can definitely load my summer and winter breaks with a unit or two which might make it easier.

I'm just trying to form a decision on whether or not to defer for my first semester next year or not, I'm really struggling mentally with the compounded stress of not having money and a social life.


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Re: I'm not sure if uni is for me... - October 11th 2015, 05:04 PM

Whatever you do, I wouldn't factor your family pressure into it. I know it's so difficult not to and it's easy for me to say, but seriously: this is your life and there is no shame AT ALL in dropping out of uni. You gave it a go, it wasn't for you, you've learnt something valuable. I would look for a full time job before you drop out though, as it can be quite a difficult thing to organise and stuff- make sure the option is there and reasonable.

Talking to your course leaders might also help. If it's the amount of work getting to you, that can be changed, and if it's the way it's been taught you can discuss that with them too. Remember to reach out- they really are there to help and I know at my uni you need to have several meetings with them to explore other options first.



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Re: I'm not sure if uni is for me... - October 11th 2015, 05:07 PM

Will working for a year or two gaurentee that you are able to financially secure your final years? I am not sure what you're living situation is like, I know that when I went to university I was forced to move almost 20 hours (driving) away from my home because my family lived in such a remote area, and if I had dropped out of school when I had wanted too I never would have been able to save up the money to pay for my school because I wouldn't have been able to get a high paying job, therefore I would have put all my money into my vehicle, rent, food, etc. and had nothing left over. With that in mind, maybe you should do a budget check, run a few calculations (e.g. if things cost X amount, and you may be getting paid X amount, and you need to save X amount for your school) and see if you'll be able to swing it or not.

Have you looked into scholarships, bursaries etc?

Also, I'd just like to add that working is a lot easier than courses in some respect. You work for 4 or 8 hours and your done, no homework or anything, whereas when you go to class for 3 hours you have endless amounts of studying to do for it on the side. I found it a lot easier to take a reduced course load and work on the side, but I guess it depends on how you view things personally




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Re: I'm not sure if uni is for me... - October 12th 2015, 04:01 AM

I might have an unpopular opinion but college or uni isn't necessarily for everyone. I think it might be wise to defer your study and see what is out there. There are a number of people who have successful careers and don't have a degree. The therapist my dad is currently seeing has told him on numerous occasions that working your way up in a career is a lot better then having a degree. Sometimes I agree with this.

I've seen a lot of people work their way up in careers. My dad is actually one of them and he is now a supervisor.

Deferring you study and going out into the work world for a bit might not be a bad idea. It might help you decide that you definitely want to keep pursuing a degree because you don't want to deal with retail work or other positions you'd have to take before working your way up. You might find that you like working more then school and stick with it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with finishing your degree in your twenties. There are people that go back to school in their 30's or 40's. It's never too late to pursue a degree if you feel like that is what you want to do.


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Re: I'm not sure if uni is for me... - October 14th 2015, 05:13 PM

Hi Kathleen,

Let me give you my two cents.

If you are really struggling to keep your head above water, defer. It's that simple. However, I think you need to specifically define what you mean by keeping your head above water. If you are getting good marks, while minimizing free time, you are not struggling. Rather, you are just not having as much free time as you'd prefer. If you are getting bad marks, and spending a significant time studying, then you are struggling.

So, ask yourself, are you REALLY struggling, or are you just suffering from a lack of free time that you wish you had? From your post it seems to be more of the latter.

However, let's not minimize the importance of free time. I believe that you should have at about 20% of your day to do what you want. This does not include sleeping. That is, if you spend 8 hours studying, you should have 2 hours of free time. Eliminating this 80/20 rule has been shown to actually cause students to burn out or perform worse. If you're working, which it seems like you are, do you have any alternative? That is, is there a way you can only work weekends, or not work at all? Sometimes working is more harmful than beneficial for college students. Especially depending on the field.

Secondly, do you need a degree to get into the field you want to work in? Is it essential? If you are going to University for something like English, Journalism, Photography, etc. it might be a better use of time to write and take photos and use public resources. This gives you experience instead of learning useless information you'll just forget. Unless, however, you want to go into academia.

I don't mean to down play liberal arts, but typically careers in this field don't require university, so you're better not wasting your time. You can hone your craft on your own with public resources.

Deferring your graduation does not mean you've given up. It just means it's deferred. If you don't feel like you have enough time, etc. then maybe it's best you revise your plan to fit what YOU need psychologically. Not what your parents or anyone else thinks. If it takes you till 30 before you graduate, so what? Many people are older than that when they RETURN to school and THEN have 5 years to graduate. You'll still have the next several decades to work. In fact, I am 27. I just returned to school last year. My major also takes 5 years. I will be 32 or 33 when I graduate because I can't attend full time. But, I'm glad I waited. And even if I can't attend full time, progress is progress. Even if you take 1 class at a time. It's all forward, not regressive. I would've pursued something useless had I continued my education when I was younger. Maybe some people will graduate before you, when they're younger, or whatever. But, so what? In the longevity of your life those few years are really going to accumulate to nothing and make absolutely no difference. It is what it is. Sometimes deferment is beneficial. Not only that, but I am more mature now. I don't mind busting my ass off and working hard, because I have a definite direction for my life and a definite place I want to be. Sometimes this only comes with maturity. I'm not saying you're immature, but perhaps deferring can help you realize where you want to be. It took low-end retail jobs and being miserable at them for me to realize I need to make a difference. I promoted in retail, and worked in management. But I wasn't enjoying my life. I made a decent living, as far as retail goes, but it wasn't what I wanted. It allowed me to explore what I am interested in.

The other thing to consider is that if your degree guarantees a successful job, who cares if you don't have a social life for 5 years? After 5 years you'll be in a job you love, and you won't be in university anymore. It's only 5 years. It'll go quicker than you think.

There's a lot of factors to consider. But, ultimately, you need to do what you feel is right for you. And no one here can tell you what that is but yourself.


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