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Can't do this anymore

(35 Posts)
Katkins1 Tue 11-Mar-14 19:11:33

I feel as though I can't do this anymore. I am trying to bring up my DD on my own, do a degree and graduate this year.

But I know I'm not going to. Saw my supervisor today and she said my dissertation work 'wasn't good enough' and now I need to re-write the whole thing. I'm looking at starting two chapters from scratch and it's 10,000 words long; due in 7 weeks.

I just can't do it. I have other modules I've barely started. I've been struggling with depression, been secretly self-harming (no-one knows, its occasional) and now this is just... I can't do it.

I've seen my GP, am going back to get a note for mitigating circumstances. But right now, right now, I just feel as though I can't do it, don't deserve to graduate and I've let me, and my DD, down. I just don't have the time- or the energy- anymore.

I think its time to give up on this, and trying to get better.

LastingLight Tue 11-Mar-14 20:01:03

(((HUGS))) Do you have to graduate this year? Can you not spend an extra year at varsity and split the workload? You haven't let anybody down. You're trying to be two very demanding things at the same time - a mother and a final year student. You're not superwoman and that's ok, none of us are. Be kind to yourself. Get help for your depression. Is there a counselor attached to the university you can see? Depression really messes with your intellectual ability. Hang in there, you can do this, maybe just not on the timetable you envisaged.

Katkins1 Tue 11-Mar-14 20:14:55

I dropped out of a year before, so no more funding. It's 'now or never', I guess.

The GP did suggest counselling, I've just been so busy I've not had time to arrange. I am thinking of going private instead. She was nice about my depression, but now those words are stuck in my head!

Messupmum Tue 11-Mar-14 21:41:54

You need to be honest about how much you're struggling. Don't be too hard on yourself x

Katkins1 Tue 11-Mar-14 22:55:11

I just want to graduate, the same as everyone else. And get away from my past. That's all, all I want to do. But I can't see it happening for me now.

Katkins1 Wed 12-Mar-14 00:39:59

I've decided to tell them I'm not coming back now, I can't do it. I feel awful that I've put my DD through all of this, and all of the heartache, to not even get a degree at the end of it. That's it, I'm officially done there. I don't want to do it anymore.

LastingLight Wed 12-Mar-14 04:41:10

Oh Katkins, I'm so sorry. Clutching at straws here but couldn't you complete your degree parttime?

Millie2013 Wed 12-Mar-14 07:39:10

How are you feeling this morning?xx

bryte Wed 12-Mar-14 08:08:32

Katkins - Apologies if I speak out of line, I don't know your personal history.

It sounds like you have been really affected by the criticism you have been given. Do you suffer from perfectionist tendencies? If you can't do it perfectly, you would rather not do it at all? If that is the case, it sounds like you would benefit from some CBT.

In the meantime, however, you need to speak to everyone you can at University to let them know how unwell you are. It will be someone's job to figure this out for you. You don't have to hold the burden on your shoulders. You deserve to graduate after all your hard work and hope you can find a way to keep doing a little, at least, to work towards that goal.

I studied for my masters with 2 young children but a husband for support, but it is still bloody difficult. Motivation and time to study don't always go hand in hand. I had to learn to just do the minimum that was needed to get through.

ItsSpringBaby Wed 12-Mar-14 08:14:15

I was in the same boat a few years ago, I had two children under 5, was pregnant (did not continue that pregnancy) and was on my own. It was a complete disaster.

I was so completely bogged down by everything and only had about 8 weeks to come up with and finish my dissertation. I only managed to see my supervisor once during that period...and at no point did I confess that I needed extra help and support, which I regret. I'd also taken a year off to have my second child so was in the last chance saloon so to speak.

I really did feel like giving up completely because my mother was my only support. In the end I asked her to take the kids (to another room, because I was in her house!), switched off my phone, shut myself away and just wrote ANYTHING as best I could with the tools I had available...books, journals etc. It was probably the poorest piece of work I had ever produced, and I'm not proud of it. But I submitted it because I had come that far, I figured something was better than nothing. Even my evil printer conked out at the last minute so the presentation was far from what I'd hoped for.

In the end I did better than I thought! Those were really dark days for me. I think even for someone with not a single care in the world, giving up can seem almost reasonable. But once you've reached the other side you will feel so proud of yourself.

Then again, only you know what you are able to manage. There is really no right or wrong decision here, I hope you feel better soon.

piratecat Wed 12-Mar-14 08:24:12

i agree that you should let whoever is in charge know that you are not well.
you aren't a robot and you have every right to discuss your wellbeing with them.

Quitelikely Wed 12-Mar-14 09:36:33

I have been where you are. Do not give up. Are you taking any meds right now? There are definitely things that can be done to help you achieve your goals. I know it's hard to concentrate and focus but you need to take small, concise steps with regards to your work.

And re your dissertation. We all have to hand a draft in - this is the whole point of a draft. You need to tackle the feedback and go from there.

If you can't manage things you could also get a sick note from your GP and use this in your extenuating circumstances if need be.

Also don't forget everybody gets stressed and worried in their final year about passing/ getting work handed in on time etc.

Can I ask what your dissertation is about?

Katkins1 Wed 12-Mar-14 18:35:13

Thank you for the replies. Brite, I have a history of violence at home, living with alcoholism, severe neglect and abuse. I don't take feedback well; I admit that !

My Grandfather died on New Year's day, too.

I have been crying today, I just don't feel as though I can do it anymore. Have e-mailed my supervisor for some feedback, but I strongly suspect she no longer cares, although she was nice to me this morning.

She had a supervision today and made some-one else cry, told them to change their topic.

She has been my absolute support through this whole thing (she's incredible and I adore her), and now she's just being, I think, rather unnecessarily harsh. I couldn't take one thing away from the supervision to work with in any way, though I'm sure if my confidence wasn't shot to pieces, I'd find something.

I've worked for two full days every week on this piece since September, and now I'm having to re-write and start new chapters to hand in May 8th. I can't do it, I just want my life back. I just think my work has been for absolutely fuck all.

I'm not on ADS, I came off them years ago, and have been diagnosed with PTSD since.

My dissertation is on a dramatist and his theoriticol links to Auschwitz, but I just want to burn it, and I'm meant to be working on it tomorrow. I just don't know where to start.

Katkins1 Wed 12-Mar-14 18:53:57

I think even if I wanted to do this now, I just can't. I'm not going back. I tried to write a creative assignment today, but I couldn't. It was just a copy of two other people's work. I'm absolutely done there. I can't cope with another day like it. I'm not going back. I feel as though I have just wasted an entire three years. And I have nothing to show for it, and nothing to do with my life. I'm screwed basically.

Katkins1 Wed 12-Mar-14 22:25:37

Oh god, I have monumentally fucked this up haven't I? All because of my stupid illness. I'm going to e-mail them and say I'm not coming back, it's not worth it and I can't do it. My dissertation is an absolute fucking disaster, I haven't done much reading for the other assignments and I've just gone and thrown away the best chance I've ever had of making something of myself. So now I can just live in my pigsty of a council flat and watch all my more deserving friends graduate. I really thought that this time I would make it. I really fucking did. I honestly don't feel as though there's nothing left to live for. I'm on a bloody first as well. What a stupid waste.

Messupmum Wed 12-Mar-14 22:38:51

I wish there was something I could do to help, but I haven't been in your position. There must be lots of people that suddenly struggle like you're doing, and there must be some help or support. They're not going to let you waste all your hard work. Please keep trying! I know it's hard x

longtallsally2 Wed 12-Mar-14 22:48:02

You poor soul! The pressure of finishing a degree is horrible, isn't it? Do you think that your supervisor might have been harsh because you are on for a first - is she expecting too much from you? How about you ask her what happens if you don't rewrite completely? Can it be patched up and submitted at "just" a 2.2 level and free you up to do some of the other stuff?

Don't give up before you go and have another word with her. Tell her that her critique of it has led you to believe that you need to drop out now and see what she says. Give her one more chance at least, to persuade you to hang on in there for just 3 more months. It will be tough getting everything done - could you get some extra childcare for the next couple of weeks?

If all else fails, go to bed for a couple of days and see how you feel then. You have a huge amount on at the moment. Give yourself chance to heal a bit, talk to your supervisor, then make big decisions, not the other way around.

bryte Thu 13-Mar-14 09:25:42

I hope things are looking better this morning Katkins. Have you posted on the student support board? Perhaps someone else has been in a similar situation and found a way to resolve it.

Can you break this down into smaller steps? Stop looking at the problem as a whole? It doesn't have to be an all or nothing situation. If you were on track for a first, you have some leeway for fucking up, so to speak.

How many assignments, besides your dissertation, do you have to do before the 8th May? How much weight do they carry?

I'm pretty certain that there is someone at your university who cares a lot that you may not graduate when you are clearly a talented student. I'd bet money on it. Have you contacted student welfare at your university? Please do that. Let someone else be burdened with finding out how to help you complete your degree.

I get that you feel overwhelmed and have been dealt a mighty blow. Anyone would feel a sense of desperation if they'd been working as hard as you and had been told they need to do a lot of re-writing. Did your supervisor give you a clear indication of what you need to re-do?

Katkins1 Thu 13-Mar-14 18:04:17

I spoke to my tutor, she said in response, well, this (on e-mail), which I think sounds a bit better than I first thought. I also went back over my first chapter/ intro and managed to get almost 3,000 words out of what I'd already written- but re-worked. I also got invited to a PhD interview, and am presently trying to work out how I can not go over my overdraft (its not looking good). I do think that I need to go the GP though.

Anyway, this is what she said. She is quite nice, really, just sometimes, a bit harsh:

It would be such a shame if you didn't achieve all you are capable of - which is considerable in my opinion - because of flagging energy levels. Your first draft I thought has great potential, but is very much still a first draft; I felt I needed to impress on you that there's still quite a way to go with it to get the marks it deserves - I certainly didn't mean to make you feel its hopeless and to give up now, so I'm sorry if that's what you took from our meeting. The ideas are there, beautifully-researched, but not very coherent - at this stage!

She also sent me a couple of other things saying the second draft will be easier because my ideas are powerful, but I'm still a bit shaky and worried.

longtallsally2 Thu 13-Mar-14 23:03:08

Oh that's good news. smile Tutors are there to push encourage you to do your best, but sometimes they get it wrong and give too much, or too little direction. Of course you still feel shaky. Your confidence took a huge knock. You have invested a lot into finishing your degree and, hopefully, in doing well in it too, whilst raising a dd too. That would be a huge achievement and something you will be able to be very proud of.

Yesterday you were giving up. Before that you were applying for PhDs, and aiming very high. Academically, you clearly have huge potential, but you do need to balance that with your needs, your energy levels, and your dd too. Do see your GP. You need to be honest about what you need to support you through the next few months and maybe beyond, and to grab every bit of support you can.

With support from your tutor, your GP, with some planning, some panic, and lots of looking after yourself, maybe you will be able to finish your degree. You may need to take a step back from expecting the very highest standards from yourself: keep talking to/emailing your tutor. It sounds as if she is very much on your side. And make a start on the other modules too - if that means that your final dissertation isn't as brilliant as you hoped, at least it will all be done.

Any employer worth their salt will recognise that someone completing a degree, whilst raising a child, will have skills and abilities in abundance. This can be the start of the next stage of your life and open a whole variety of doors for you and your dd, whether you get a 1st, a 2.1 or lower.

Hang on in there - one day at a time. You could apply to the University counselling service too if you think that it would be helpful (get your application in now - they get very busy, as finals approach) to talk through your recent bereavement or how stressful life is, or whatever it is that you want to talk about. And do keep posting here. You aren't alone in this. smile

Thinking of you.

bryte Fri 14-Mar-14 08:59:31

Good luck Katkins1. You can do this. longtallsally2 has given great advice.

Katkins1 Fri 14-Mar-14 09:36:37

I stayed up and re-wrote almost half of the work. Just doing a bit before I need to go and get a train to another city, and have made a plan for doing it over the weekend.

In one way, its good to have been told while there's still time to do it. On another, the feedback was incredibly hard to take- although I'm sure tutors are well used to giving it, and their students not being happy about it!

Thank you for the advice.

evilsquirrell Fri 14-Mar-14 12:00:08

Well done Katkins1. I am also struggling to complete my dissertation (due in 10 weeks) but am lucky enough to have both support and time to do this as my DS is at nursery most mornings.

Saying that, I've been staring at a blank screen for weeks now and the words just won't come! Not sure I can read anything else as my brain is already in meltdown. Tutor is quite supportive but doesn't give any direction atall.

Hats off to you for not quitting. I've been tempted to walk away more than once but as I've passed all the other modules I can't let myself stop now as its just this left to do. Reading this has helped me no end. Stick in there & best of luck!

Katkins1 Fri 14-Mar-14 20:39:22

Ah I have two other modules and this- all due in 7 weeks, and I'm facing an entire re-write. The words will happen, there is some time left. I know it's easier said than done, but try not to worry too much. If you have passed everything else, that's ace!

Good luck with it

LastingLight Sat 15-Mar-14 06:07:32

It's good to hear you sounding so much more positive Katkins. You go girl!

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