to give up ANOTHER degree

(81 Posts)
Objection Mon 13-Jan-14 22:33:17

background: I went straight from sixth form to a volunteering position in Africa and then went on to work in various office jobs.

In 2011 I took a part time job in an office at a University and started a full time degree at another university nearby in Media & Sociology. After 2 weeks the hour commute between work and lectures was killing me (i worked a half day, every day) so I switched to attend the University I was working at studying BA Sociology instead (I wanted to do Psychology but it was full).

I despised both the course and my job and then got hit by a car (as you do) and had to take some time out. This gave me chance to have a think and shortly afterwards I quit both.

Taking another job at the University, this one being Full Time and in a much nicer department, I enrolled on a Psychology degree with the Open University (my OH is also studying with them and we both rated them highly). I much prefer the subject and also means I can progress onto Clinical Psychology which is what I wanted in the 1st place.

I felt pretty stupid though as this was now the 3rd university I had been to.

However, I now work in a very stressful office job full time (a high level role but not management) and work in London as a weekend Nanny most weekends.

My motivation skills are poor (and clearly my attention span is too) and I am battling with an ever increasing depression and anxiety disorder as I struggle to fit study around 60+ working hours a week.

I have worked out that by quitting my office job and starting yet another degree at a brick and mortar university I could bring home £370 a week at least by studying the degree full time, working most weekends and fitting in the odd temp nanny job during the holidays.

This would give me 5 days a week extra to study and the contact time with the university would most likely increase my motivation.

I'm also confident I will be allowed to start in year 2 as I have already completed a lot of credits. so I would finish the degree a year earlier.

but I would be accumulating a lot (£25000) of student debt and would be hugely embarrassed to be changing routes AGAIN

AIBU to change universities for blush the 4th time?

Psychology in university and Psychology when it is practiced are very different. I did Psychology and worked with Psychologists and their job was incredibly interesting and rewarding. Studying it wasn't as much. Also, all the counselling and clinical Psychologists I know are VERY clever and hard-working. I don't mean that in a belittling way, it is very hard to get into.

Preciousbane Tue 14-Jan-14 00:27:37

My friend is a psychologist, she had to take a Masters level qualification. I'm assuming you know that?

sightunseen Tue 14-Jan-14 00:33:58

I have glossed over my failed uni attempts in my CV though. If you've been working at the same time as studying, you don't need to mention the study if you don't want to as you won't have gaps to explain.

I don't really see changing from OU to a different uni as giving up the course, more as a transfer, especially if you manage to go into the second year (...come to think of it, I have actually started five degrees as I also transferred to a different uni but in the same subject).

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 00:36:56

Trust me, I know exactly what to do to become a psychologist. its my job to know!

seenunseen Thank you, that's given me another perspective to look from. The financial side isn't my main concern - im just angry at myself for failing again a keeping consistent

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 00:37:36

oh, and my CV is very consistent. no gaps as I have worked since leaving school

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 14-Jan-14 00:37:58

Psychology is a very competitive field to get into. If you're struggling to find the commitment to do the degree, I'd question whether you realistically have the dedication to succeed in such a competitive field? That sounds really harsh, but I think it's a valid point and something you really need to think about.

Have you considered going into nannying full-time?

I'm a nanny (with a degree in Psychology) and it's the best job in the world grin.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 00:50:38

I was a full time nanny for a bit but found it very difficult to get a stable job. most jobs are also in London and whilst I can travel there for weekends my OH will not move from the Midlands (where we have just bought a house)

I know how competitive psychology is as it is my job. I work with psychologists and psychologists in training. I have the dedication to the job but the study style really doesn't suit me.
The other two degrees were not Psychology which was the main reason I gave them up.

Please believe me when I say that I am an expert in the are of psychology careers grin

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 14-Jan-14 00:57:55

I believe you know all about the careers. I'm not 100% sure you're being truthful with yourself about how committed you're able to be. I think if you were that dedicated you'd make the studying work. I've done long distance learning and it wasn't for me either, but I think if I was desperate to do something and totally committed I'd find it within myself to do what I needed to do.

Obviously you know yourself better than I know you though! grin

I know a lot of people with a lot of debt, a lot of half finished studies and nothing to show for it so I'm probably biased.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 01:04:12

If the OU was my only option I would be 100% committed to it.

But in my situation there is the other option which not only offers the benefits of suiting my studying style far far more but also has the opportunity of reducing my study time by a year. The downside is a financial loss and the huge disappointment in myself

choice is my problem grin

wobblyweebles Tue 14-Jan-14 01:27:21

I think your plan sounds sensible IF you really will continue your studies to become a psychologist.

I'm not surprised you gave up the degree you disliked (I've done that), and I'm also not surprised you are considering giving up a distance learning degree that you're trying to do in your spare time. I don't think either of these is anything to be ashamed of.

pumpkinpie24 Tue 14-Jan-14 01:29:50

Hi. I'm on my third degree too grin. The first I left because I thought it was a waste of money (crap uni), the second (OU), because I needed a professional degree for my chosen career and I had to take the opportunity at a bricks & mortar uni when it arose.

Regarding motivation etc... I actually found it easier with the OU (I am the last person you'd expect to say that shock procrastination should be my middle name). It helped when I found the subject interesting & there was a good facebook support group (very important). What I'm trying to say is maybe the grass isn't greener...

I was having to squeeze OU study into 1 or 2 (intensive) days a month and now I miss studying that way - it fitted in much better with the demands of life. My stress levels are much higher now - having to wait while I'm being drip fed info then working too hard at assignments when the time just doesn't suit. My grades are unchanged.

Maybe assess what is happening now & how you can adjust things before making another big decision - especially as you're not excited about the new Uni. IMO only move again if you are moving to something absolutely perfect.

Assuming you have to keep the office job... Can you put your text books on your phone to read while travelling? As you love the family you nanny for maybe you could speak to them & explain, maybe offering to do one day a fortnight & evenings - evening nannying is a godsend for studying wink

Most of all I think you need to accept that you won't need a 1st - a 2:1 AND experience AND commitment is just as good. If a first happened then great, but you have so much more to offer than just that! There are only so many hours in a day and future interviewers will know that.

Don't worry about extensions - sometimes that's just the way a module goes, the next module might be completely different.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 08:38:26

my financial situation (universities aside) would be the same in both scenarios;

if I give up the Nanny job and just work the office then ill be bringing home £379 npw. I'll have the weekends to study but possibly no other time for the volunteering I need to do to get on a doctorate.

If I quit the office job, stay working weekends and work half of the uni holidays I will bring home £370npw. I'll have 5 days a week to study and have time throughout the year to volunteer.

In order to "survive" I'd need to bring in at least £160 a week for bills etc.

Another problem I had when I was at "real" uni was I HATED going out. I don't drink and im not very social at all. The other students were a few years younger but it felt like several decades!

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 08:38:55

Sorry I meant to say university FEES aside

whois Tue 14-Jan-14 08:45:55

Do you even know what's involved with doing clinical psychology? Degree,asters, working, trying trying trying to get on to a PHD, finally getting onto one, PHD, and THEN finally you practice as a clinical psychologist.

Not an easy career track.

Personally I think doing and OU degree and working ft is extremely difficult. I know lots of people do, but I think you have to be exceptionally motivated and/or have a pretty easy 9-5 job with a short commute.

Do you actually need a degree? Is there a subject you would find more useful? More fun? More interesting?

2rebecca Tue 14-Jan-14 08:47:18

Won't the tuition fees be much higher at a bricks and mortar uni or are you in Scotland?
If you're paying tuition fees then I'd be dumping one of your jobs and staying with the OU.

whois Tue 14-Jan-14 08:49:13

Ok I see you say you do know what it takes to become a clinical psychologist. So I assume you realise even if you go through everything pretty much first time, full time, and start when you're 19 you will be 30 when you qualify?

And if you haven't the motivation for doing an OU degree where will you find motivation for doing a PHD in 6 years time?

wonderingsoul Tue 14-Jan-14 09:04:39

i t hink you should quite one of your jobs? prob the nannying tbh.

you need down time aswell.

i did a ou course, and found it hard.. not the material.. but the motivation to sit down and learn and not having that teacher there or others to talk to about it, very different from a class room setting.

you need to give youtr self a break, i would personally quite the weekend job, see how that goes. then if you still want to change unis then do it then.

wonderingsoul Tue 14-Jan-14 09:07:56

change that to quite the weekjob and keep the nannying if it brings in the same over fewer days!

My Dsis is now on her 3rd attempt at a degree. She's loving this one,so hopefully she's going to stick to it.

However she has had major problems getting funding from student finance for it. The first year of this degree her parents have had to pay for as student finance have already funded 3 years and 2 different degrees and refused to hand over any more money until she can show commitment. If she can prove that she will stick to this degree then they may fund her 2nd year, the 3rd year of study is up in the air at the moment.

kaizen Tue 14-Jan-14 09:23:26

These are the factors i would be considering - As you probably know, your main aim will be to get a first class degree in psychology (or a very high 2:1 with a Masters too) - this should be your first priority whichever way you achieve it

You will probably have to field questions also about why you went on so many different courses, and saying you weren't motivated to do self-directed study probably won't go down well.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 11:31:06

Whois - do YOU know how to become a Clinical psychologist? you complete an accredited degree and then complete a Clinical Psychology doctorate. places on the doctorates are competitive but I have a strong background in psychology and will have a year of FT relevant experience before applying as per the requirements.

you don't need a PhD to become a Clinical Psychologist and I would appreciate it if you believe me when I sat that I know exactly what is involved - it is my job to know.

Thetallesttower Tue 14-Jan-14 11:39:45

Yes it is at least a 6 year track, plus many people don't get on in their chosen place for the clinical psych doc- if you are limited in terms of mobility this could be a big issue, I know people who tried to get in two or three times in a row (even with one year experience).

I agree something has got to change, I still don't quite understand why you don't give up one of your jobs, and I think you will find studying all week in a very ploddy way with lectures/self-directed study also quite difficult if you are busy all weekends nannying/seeing partner.

I would definitely see if you can get into the second year. However, as you know, the BPS registration means that you have to take set courses in all years, so unless you have done the specific courses, then this might not be possible. My first step would be to get more info from the uni you want to study at about the possibilities in terms of entrance requirements, as info is power in this type of situation.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 11:45:08

sorry, that reads sharper than I intended it to. I just knew the moment I mentioned Clinical Psychology there would be a lot of "you know that's hard to get into" smile yes. I know. As are a lot of careers.

I was only at "normal" university for 6 months so student finance isn't an issue as they will fund up to 4 years. The OU is self funded.

Swanbridge Tue 14-Jan-14 11:47:42

(You do realise a PHD and a doctorate are the same thing, don't you Objection? Not sure why you're emphasing the doctorate part?)

Thetallesttower Tue 14-Jan-14 11:53:45

The only other thing I'd say is that you do need to get on top of your anxiety/depression now, because doing clinical psychology is extremely psychologically demanding, for example, rotating around specialties such as mental health (inpatient) or child psychology which can include very distressing situations. It is not for everyone and I have several friends who did this and now no longer work in such full-on roles as they find it mentally traumatic alongside bringing up a family (the good news being their qual in clinical does allow them to find other roles).

It sounds like I'm being horrible, but imagine in a few years time, a mid-twenties person came into your office, saying they had an anxiety-depressive disorder and were working 60 hours a week with two jobs and studying on top- what would you advise them to do?

Then take that advice!

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