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DS has decided to leave uni in year 2(14 Posts)
Long story but DS has ASD and also depression/anxiety. Got through Year 1 just about, but has struggled this year, and now decided that university isn't for him. He wants to get a laboratory technician job in the same field instead.
We aren't going to interfere in that decision but just want to help make the best choices. My biggest fear is that the job will be hard to get and he will end of unmotivated and fall into depression. He has also finally managed to get a social life and thinks he can stay in the university town and work but the reality is that that won't be affordable and he will have to come home.
Anyone got any advice?
Hi Op. Hope your DS is okay.
Can you persuade him to stay until he has found a suitable job or is his mental health not up to it?
Advise him to make an appointment with student services to discuss the problems he is having and the disability team if he is registered with them.
If he leaves, obviously his loan will stop - and he will probably have to pay some back for the weeks remaining of this term - one good reason to stay until Xmas. Obviously his rent will need to be paid for the whole year (assuming its a private rental) but if he remains in it as a non-student, he will have to pay council tax I would think.
As he is in his 2nd year, if he leaves he cannot get full funding for another degree (if he changes his mind and decides he wants to try again at some change), unless he has ill health etc. I think. So check with SFE and make sure your DS gets an appointment at the doctors etc. so it is all documented (if it isn't already) - just in case.
Many thanks for that useful advice. Yes rent is paid unfortunately - but I am trying to persuade him to come home anyway. Good point about staying until Christmas, and about health reasons for leaving if he ever decides to go back.
He is seeing his mentor tomorrow who I hope will help him access support services and liaise with his tutor.
Be aware he may not be qualified to be a lab technician without a degree or significant relevant experience.
Hope things work out for him.
from what I've heard anecdotally, Year 2 can be the year when the adrenalin leaves you, and it just all feels too hard. I went through this myself.
Personally, I think supporting him to stay is much better. My son with dyspraxia and autistic traits had very fixed ideas about what he is was bad at, and at least twice during A levels was convinced that he wasn't going to manage the subjects he had picked and that he was going to pack it all in. we convinced him to stick it out and he came out with respectable grades, once we explained that he didn't have to do well he just had to get through, and there was a considerable benefit to sticking it out for his own self esteem.
But he needed that period of offloading and questioning and doubting to be able to continue. He went back to his studies aware that just plodding on was fantastic and it was not second best.
We also found he had Vitamin D deficiency and that was making him very low and miserable, although he still had the underlying dyspraxia asd profile too. He feels much better on 1000iu a day now (25mg) from any pharmacy.
Ds would have sworn till he was blue in the face that he was definitely not going to manage to get through his A levels and he needed to change to another subject (which was a Btec fine, but the wrong Btec) I think he is glad he didn't listen to his own inner voice at that point.
Which is not to say that later on, we haven't let him make his own decisions and he is now doing a course that he has chosen. It is just at that LOW point, it was his low self esteem that was talking not his genuine ability or skills to manage.
There might also be an option to do the degree part time, so less overwhelming, and he could work in the meantime to defray the extra cost - that might give him more overview on what it is like to be in a work situation rather than a university "treadmill". It might make him feel lighter about those university demands.
It is great he has a social life too. Often the clash of the two can make you feel anxious, what comes naturally to everyone else, feels like incredible extra pressure you put on yourself to be fun and get all the work done.
Nettleskeins thanks for your suggestions. A good part of the problem is that DS doesn't have very flexible thinking (to put it mildly) so tends to see things as "either / or". Also gets a little behind with work, then completely stressed, more behind and then unable to see a way forward.
I'll suggest the part-time option tho, if that's available.
And I have been banging on about vit D deficiency for ages to no avail - it wouldn't surprise me at all if he was deficient.
Orangejuicer - I think he may have to find that out for himself, unfortunately. Says he is happy going into an entry level job for the timebeing but even then I know, even if he doesn't, that getting a job is going to be very hard.
Has he looked to see if there is an apprentice pathway into a lab technician jobs?
Thanks Red - we had a good chat yesterday, applied for a few jobs. He also agreed for me to email support services and update them (he would just postpone doing this until it was too late). I really don't want him to leave without something positive to go to.
An apprenticeship might be a good idea - intellectually he is really clever but on many other levels has a lot to learn!
I have to agree with the previous posters who mentioned that a lot of applicants for the Uni Technician jobs will have degrees!
Could he speak to his tutor or the technicians in his lab for any pointers? It would be great if you could get him to engage with the support services.
I hope it works out for him.
I know a few who have done apprenticeship and you get a degree in the end so it might suit him better as long as he has the right support. Hope he gets sorted soon.
Just an update. He has withdrawn from the course - leave of absence on health grounds until next Sept in case he wants to re-join.
Applying for jobs - looking at apprenticeships too.
It is a shame, but there is no point banging your head against a brick wall if it isn't going to get you anywhere. I have been encouraging him to consider his strengths (attention to detail, dextrousness, quick learner) and his weaknesses (over-perfectionism, poor planning and lack of flexibility) when looking at jobs.
I do worry that the autism is going to make this all very hard. Many thanks for everyone's helpful suggestions.
There is an organisation called Employ-ability ( www.employ-ability.org.uk) which specialises in supporting students and graduates with job hunting if they have disabilities both physical and MH and learning difficulties. They run courses to assist with job hunting as well. Might be worth a chat.
Thanks Daisymay - I will get him to look at that.