Utterly miserable at new, better university (long!)(13 Posts)
The university isn't in the UK, so many things may not make sense at first - I will try to explain.
Backstory: I started my university education last year, after taking a few years to recover from anxiety/depression (maybe this should be in mental health?). It is a hard science degree, and it soon became clear my interests weren't the focus of their research.
Sat all exams again (entry in universities here are strictly academic-based), and I got approved to a university that looked fantastic on paper: twice the funding avaliable, focus on my preferred subjects, nearer to my home town where I have a support network for my mental illness.
I have been here one month and I have never felt so down since my last bout of depression, during which I went in suicide watch. I can think of some reasons why:
1- My grades have drastically dropped: I averaged 75% on exams at my previous university with reasonable dedication. I am now struggling to score 30% on subjects I am actually good at.
2- The dynamic of student-professor is completely changed, to the point I feel uncomfortable admiting I am having problems with the content.
3- Students here are smart, and they know it. It easily leads to arrogance. They adore mocking those who could not get into prestigius universities, and how those who develop mental illness as a consequence to all the studying required "allowed" the disease to happen. Needless to say, no one knows about my long history of mental illness, which started in childhood.
4- I have lessons from 8 to 6 most days, and nighttime is destined for various assignments.
All of it combined is making me teary 24/7, completely reliant on alprazolam (I have consumed more this week than I usually do in a month).
Whenever I have a free moment, I sleep and promptly have nightmares.
I wake in the morning dreading the day, because I know there is another bad grade on my way. I dread nighttime because of my poor sleep and by knowing I will wake up and have to do it all again.
I have started binge eating again. I started losing weight this year by eating less, and it is now all coming back.
Exams are every other day, and I have lost all hope of getting a good grade or even passing these subjects.
Honestly, I am not sure how long I can keep going with this. I know that if I endure four years, it will be worth it, because it is clear those who graduate from here are much better prepared for a Masters/Doctorate. On the other hand, if I do last four years here, I will be so exhausted the last thing I will want to do is continue to study.
There is no one I can talk about it at the university. Mental illness is much more stigmatised here than in the UK, so the notion of counselling is met with laughter.
I have an appointment with my psychiatrist next week, and I will probably need to change my medication again because I am already in the highest dosage possible, but I need some advice until then.
I just don't know how to keep going.
It really doesn’t sound like this is going to work out. Find another uni that offers more balance.
You cannot do four years there, mentally you won't survive at this stage in your life.
Do you have to do a degree? Having tried twice it may not be for you. There could be other ways to work in your field without study?
Uni is not for everyone - and your health mental & physical is far more important than any studies just now.
You are not a failure for needing to drop out - take a step back, get regular counselling as well as psychiatric back up & maybe looking at getting a very basic job that gets you an income but has no pressure or stress for a while until you start to feel better.
Do you have any family support ?
for you it’s a horrible thing to be going through.
Your mental health and wellbeing are way more valuable to your life than any qualification. It sounds like a lot of pressure. Can you go to a doctor and get signed off for a few days to rest, sleep and reflection ?
You really need to put your health first and get out of this situation as soon as possible. Having a degree is not the be all and end all. Maybe you will end up going back to uni, maybe you won't, but the priority has to be your mental wellbeing. My DS started at a top uni the year before last, and within weeks it became clear that he had chosen the wrong degree for him. He struggled on for the whole term but decided to withdraw at Christmas. It was the best decision he ever made. He took the rest of the year off from education, did some temping work, travelled for a few weeks, and the following September started a new degree at a different uni. He could not be happier now, he is coming to the end of his first year and has loved it this time around. Admittedly he did not have serious MH problems beforehand although he has always been the anxious type, and I was very concerned about him while all this was going on. You really need to take a break from the whole thing and re evaluate. It may be that in a year or two you feel ready to start uni again, or you may take a different path altogether, but you need time to heal first. Good luck x
absolutely you do not have to suffer like this.
It is Spring, it is beautiful outside, you are young and there is so much more to life than you are currently enduring.
What about taking a break from all study for a month or two, staying outside as much as possible, walk read, revitalise. then possibly get an easy undemanding job, something like Workaway whilst you work out what you really want away from the pressures of academia/peers.
Often things become much much clearer when you can take a step back from the situation.
Also it sounds like your meds are not being properly supervised, could you give yourself a bit of space where the pressure is off and you can come off them gently if that is what is best/better. to be in this situation and feel suicidal...pushing yourself now is NOT the answer. There is so much more in your life ahead to enjoy. and a host of opportunities besides your existing highly academic pathway, which is not to say you are not suited to academic pathways, just not just at present.
I was recently talking to someone whose son was diagnosed with pyschosis whilst at uni (doing a science degree) He was falling apart trying to cope with social pressures, and the academic work, and the newness of it all. He was put on meds. He decided not to take them, unbeknownst to his parents/pysch (never took them in the first place) was completely restored to mental health once he actually left the wretched uni/course, they put it down to meds, but as it turned out the pyschosis was entirely linked to the pressure of the place, once the pressure was removed he was much much better. He revealed this six months in. Sometimes meds can mask the problem and how to solve it. Pyschiatrists can only treat symptoms they often do not have the answer how to stop the underlying issue developing in the first place, nor tell you just what you should do with your life, obviously.
sorry that was six weeks not six months in.
You need to leave now as you're only a month in. You are probably failing because of your health issues not because you can't do it. If you really want to pursue this academic career you need to be in the best place you can be mh wise to cope with the stress and do your best. That's not now and you'll blow it if you just carry on and flunk out. Get a note from your pychiatrist, see whoever you need to in the University and defer for a year at least.
Thank you for all the replies, everyone. I'm sorry I couldn't reply earlier, yesterday was crazy!
Nope, no pastoral care. The first time I heard something like that (in here!) I was amazed. If we are interested in psychological help, we are encouraged to join a list to be seen by psychology students. The one person hired in the university with a degree in Psychology, beyond the teachers, is there to help to organize our schedule so we can study more.
Having a degree is essential to have any work in this country. One can essentially buy a diploma if wanted (there are very crap colleges only interested in making money, so they pass everyone) but it is still required.
Thursday was awful, but I'm feeling better since yesterday: I had an exam I feel I actually have a chance to pass. All people I've mentioned my grades too confessed they are also struggling, essentially studying in all their free time to get our required 60%.
This weekend is going to be spent studying for Monday's Biochemistry exam, so not much of a weekend, but I'm glad for the break all the same.
I agree with pp, my medication will probably be changed. Additionally, my period came a bit early, so the binge eating and humor may have been PMS. I will make sure to mention all this to my doctor.
Anyway, I will probably come back miserable some time next week. Thanks for all the supporting messages.
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