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Considering dropping out of uni - anxiety :((12 Posts)
Hi everyone- long time lurker and first time poster here.
I have no idea what to do. I'm studying for a masters and I'm really unhappy - the university is unsupportive and the people on my course are really competitive and always asking what I'm getting grades wise - which aren't great and I got a 2:1 in my undergrad which is making my crap grades here feel even worse. My anxiety is a real issue for me and this is making it unbearable I just feel doom and dread all the time.
I'm considering dropping out of my Masters but I know my family will be disappointed and I'll just feel like a failure. I'm working three days a week alongside doing it because I need the money and it's all just getting too much for me that I'm just wishing it was over. The thing upsetting me the most is how much pressure the people on my course are putting on me to tell them my grades and I just hate it.
Has anyone else dropped out of something like this? How did it work out for you? Thanks xx
I don't have experience to answer your question. But one way to deal with the grades issue is just to tell them the facts but to remember the 'never apologise, never explain' phrase.
Talk to your supervisor and course leaders, asap. They are there to support you. A Masters course can feel a bit lonely, as you have such a short time to get to know who's who, but there will be people whose job it is to make sure that you're on track. They may also be able to direct you to other avenues of support - for example, if you're struggling with writing, there may be workshops or sessions to help.
I'd be really cautious about assuming other people are doing better than you, or that their grades can tell you much about how you'll eventually do.
I got a 2:1 in my undergrad and spent the first bit of my MA worrying like crazy. And there were confident people who would breezily ask everyone else what marks they got, and I did feel I was doing badly. In fact I failed a component and had to re-sit.
But, in the end, some of the people who came in with firsts feeling all confident, didn't do so well, others who had 2:1s like me did brilliantly, and we all ended up on very different trajectories through the whole course (not to mention afterwards).
People do drop out of MA courses (I supervise courses, and I've seen some of the very different reasons why students do). But your university will want to do their best to help you stay on, if that's the right thing for you, so do make sure you access support before coming to a decision. Bear in mind, too, that it may be possible to intermit for a year and to come back.
You certainly won't be a failure, whatever decision you take.
I don't know why you should have to share your grades with others... I would perhaps say something along the lines of ' I'd rather not say'. Your grades are your concern and not theirs.
I'm doing a conversion for an MSc at the moment; it is online so no questions about each other's grades.
You say you have a family and are working three days a week too. Perhaps this is the problem? I am finding that time demands are huge and I am spending at least twenty hours a week studying. Is there any way you could take longer to complete your Masters?
Is the anxiety purely around your course performance or does it impinge on other areas of your life? Reading between the lines in your post it sounds as if you feel that others have expectations of you and that you aren't going to be able to fulfil them. Can you talk to your family about this? I am sure that they wouldn't want you to feel like that. Is your Masters essential for career progression? Could you take a break from it and do something else, returning to it at a later date?
Sorry- I've asked loads of questions...
Thanks for all of your replies everyone I really appreciate it.
I could ask for support but whenever I talk to tutors I don't feel I'm getting the support I need from them.
I'm also doing an MSc conversion but I'm doing it in person (wish I was doing it online!) and my commute to uni is 2.5 hours each way twice a week. I might think about giving up work just for this term and seeing how that goes. I'll be broke but I'll have more headspace.
My anxiety is more than just this - I have an anxiety disorder and things like this make me feel such dread and impending doom even though my rational mind is aware there isn't any danger looming. I'm starting CBT again soon though so hopefully that will help.
My family are v supportive but my Masters doesn't particularly fit in with my career, just something I was v interested in and wanted a more academic post grad cos my undergrad was theatre.
Really don't want to defer if I can help it, think I would rather drop out and reapply somewhere better where I feel more supported.
I wish I could tell people to mind their own but I'm so shit at confrontation and sticking up for myself that it gives me even more anxiety just thinking about it. What I think I'll do is say I don't tend to share my results cos it makes me anxious and leave it like that.
Thanks again I really appreciate it xx
Who else can you contact other than tutors, then? There should be a course convenor, student support, probably a student representative for postgraduate students, and maybe other options. It might be one of these will give you more help than your tutors.
Don't say it makes you anxious. If you don't want to share them, say 'I don't share my results' in a neutral tone and then just pause. Being succinct is a useful strategy.
Wow - you are on a punishing schedule; it's bound to show somewhere. If you tend to suffer from anxiety, that's the well-worn channel the stress will follow. Make sure you prioritise eating well, getting enough sleep etc. Really look after yourself. It might help to take up yoga/meditation or some kind of sport/exercise. You may be right; a reduction of work hours will give you less money but might compensate with less stress. Have a good look at your priorities and don't do anything just to please other people; work out what you want to achieve and what support you need to get there. You are allowed to change your mind or to be quite self indulgent and single-minded.
Does your students union have a postgrad group? It might help to meet other postgrads outside of your course.
The first people to speak to are your tutors. If they arent being helpful, then there should be a pastoral care team to help. My ED had a fantastic head of her halls, who helped her out with a few things when she was finding her uni unhelpful (Bristol). She eventually left due to health reasons and is now at another uni, doing a course she loves not just a subject she excelled in.
Do not ever feel you are letting anyone down by leaving it, though. You can defer for a year until you feel more able to go back, or maybe look at other unis, which are closer so the commute isn't as bad, and who have a more understanding approach to their students.
Who cares what marks the others are getting? You really don't have to tell them - turn their competitiveness back on them, but making a joe of it.
The MAIN thing to think about is:
Are you learning what you set out to learn?
Remember, learning is hard - absorbing and understanding new ideas is bloody difficult. So your grades might reflect that difficulty. But grades are grades are grades. If you're passing that's all you need to do if you are learning what YOU want to learn or even other stuff you didn't know you wanted or needed to learn.
No learning is wasted. Just ignore your grades, or use them as pointers to where you need to find different ways of understanding the material.
I wish we could just give students a Pass/Fail and a heap of narrative feedback. Students get fixated on the numbers, and there is a point at which this is counterproductive.
joke not joe!
Mock them for their competitiveness. It's ridiculous - they're only being insecure immature idiots.