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Old 12-01-2010, 05:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Going away to school?

Hey guys. I recently have been faced with a difficult decision and I was hoping to get some input from anyone older and wiser. I'm 17, female, and I'm supposed to be getting ready to go to college in a couple months. However, I've been battling some really bad psychological problems and they basically disable me from being productive. I get so tired during the day and I can't make myself get up. I am getting help for these, but it's a really slow process.

I barely been getting through school, which has always been easy for me. All my friends will be going off to college soon but I don't know if I should join them. I was thinking about maybe taking a year off. I know I want to go to college, but i don't know if it's something I'll be able to do next year.

I'm afraid of getting left behind or never actually doing anything with my life.

What would you do?
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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As someone who is in the middle of their college career and in the midst of experiencing psychological problems, I would really caution against going on to school, until you can at least downgrade your problems to “manageable”. Because it gets really really hard sometimes. And the first year is its own special kind of tough. Because even if the classes aren’t tough (I find that varies semester to semester, anyway) the first year of college will be stressful.

And seriously, taking a year off to get better isn’t losing momentum. Hopefully (and I do hope this), you will come out of that year better off psychologically and with better coping mechanisms for stress than you would if you went off to school before you had your problems manageable.

“Losing” a year really isn’t a big deal at all, lots of people take more than four years to graduate these days. And I put “losing” in quotes because it’s more like an assurance that when you do enroll in a college, you will get more out of it than if you hadn’t taken the year to get better.

EDIT: Also, I might add, (and to reiterate the point of my post) not being productive in college is the best way to totally trash your gpa, which messes with your transcripts if you ever need to transfer... and besides, I would imagine that labeling yourself as a "dropout" if things don't work out would not improve one's condition. First year is hard to manage and improving your mental disposition should be your first priority in assuring you academic success.

Last edited by amikaligula; 12-01-2010 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Disclaimer - I just turned 20 and am in my second year at university.

A year out is probably the best option as long as you have going to university being the end goal, alot of people take a "year out" go on the dole (I think the American equivalent is social security, free money when you can't get a job) and never bother going to uni.

If you are serious about going to uni check what their on-site student support is like, for instance my university (University of Ulster) makes a big deal about mental health and will set you up with therapy and give you extra time on deadlines to accommodate you.

Going to university is a big step but also a great place to meet people and have fun, having psychological problems their would greatly reduce the amount of fun you have and how much you learn.

My honest advice would be to take the year out and get yourself into a head where you can make the most of it, a year wont get you left behind and will let you see how your friends are finding it.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'll just start by saying that like greggcarson I'm 20 but I'm in my first year of university.

I ended up dropping out of high school during my last semester because I was in the middle of a major depression and I couldn't get out of bed anymore. I spent about two years getting myself together and figuring out what I would even be interested in taking. I don't regret taking the time at all, I'm in a way better place now than I was.

I definitely agree with the advice that's been given, if you feel you might need a year off take it. Use the time to get your problems under control and to figure out where you want your life to go. Like amikaligula said learning some good coping mechanisms will make your eventual transition into university life a hell of a lot easier. The only way you'll lose momentum is if you let yourself.
"You're a nigger and you're large" -Patrice
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Go ahead and take a year off, but make sure to do something productive during that year. Don't end up a year older and in the same position. While not uncommon, it is a little more difficult to skip a year and still stay engaged.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Nothing wrong with taking a year before college to take care of shit, just make sure you're actually doing something.

Don't fuck off and waste the year and you'll be glad you did it when you walk into your first semester a little more stable.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A year is a long time. I'd make a very clear plan of what it is you'll be doing for this year to get yourself back on track. Is it possile you just need a couple weeks of a break and not a year? The longer you step away the harder it will be to go back. If you don't have any clear plan your year off may be 2 or 3.
Do you really even want to go to college? If you don't want to go now, surprise, future you isn't going to want to go either.

..edit.. Since everyone is putting their age in. 37. I also took a yea... 3 years off after high school.

Last edited by EastTexas; 12-02-2010 at 09:16 AM. Reason: age
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The vague statement of bad psychological problems makes it harder for me to come up with concise advice. Do you have to go away to school? Moving into a dorm situation might actually be good, new environment, new people, new experiences could be great, however, moving away from your support base might be bad for you, depending. How about a local school so you can take classes but remain at home? And you don't have to take difficult or major-specific classes your first year, or even enough hours to be a full-time student. College can be alot of fun, but if your own head is going to prevent you from enjoying yourself, time off might be the answer.

And I'm a 25 yr old college grad, who took a year off because I was bored and tired with school, then came back and finished just fine.

Edit: Oh, and someone said something about messing up your GPA, unless you're planning on going to grad school and beyond, or have scholarships to keep up, you don't have to keep a good GPA. If your smart, you can coast thru undergrad just like high school.

Last edited by Medium Brumski; 12-02-2010 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I am actually in college myself right now. I did take a semester off midway through. I needed a break, and needed to get away from the stress. I'm a senoir now. I would advise you just to take some time out, to get your shit straight. It would suck just to jump right in, then fail.

Tough having all your friends move on with out you, but you gotta worry about yourself, and sanity before others. You will make it. Stay positive. "This above all; to thine own self be true." William Shakespeare
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by thatonegirl View Post
Hey guys. I recently have been faced with a difficult decision and I was hoping to get some input from anyone older and wiser. I'm 17, female, and I'm supposed to be getting ready to go to college in a couple months. However, I've been battling some really bad psychological problems and they basically disable me from being productive. I get so tired during the day and I can't make myself get up. I am getting help for these, but it's a really slow process.
Hi, my name is you two years ago.

Depression is a bitch, isn't it? It drains you of all energy and constant napping becomes an ethereal way of avoidance. I, like you, was battling some severe psychological distress months before I was supposed to begin college ten hours away from home. Come August, I was all like, "Fuck it! Maybe leaving and having a fresh start will be the best cure. After all, this town sucks the soul out of me" and went away because I didn't want to be left in the dust.

That was a terrible, terrible decision.

I had nobody to watch out for me because nobody knew my condition. Stopped taking medication because nobody nagged me. Schoolwork began to pile up, sleeping the day away became a frequent activity, drugs and alcohol masked my sadness. Failed classes because my attendance was so shitty. I became suicidal and was placed on medical leave six months into my first-year of college.

Sweetheart, plenty of kids have worries about starting school but yours is a different concern: it's medical and that's nothing you can control... but it's something you can help. Be kind to your health and give yourself the gift of time. Defer your admission, it doesn't have to be for a year, but defer for a semester. Nobody will care that you weren't there from day one. Kids transfer all the time, kids drop out of school and some are kicked out and dorm surf for shits and gigs. Find a job doing something you love. Parents will pay bank for a quality nanny or tutor for their kids. Learn an instrument. Go to therapy and come up with a plan.

And about the whole "all my friends are in college" ordeal: when the time comes, hop on a bus and give yourself a crazy weekend without having to worry about cramming for an exam while nursing a loko hangover the next morning. You'll see them, don't worry. Visit them. Maybe you'll love the feel of their campus more than the school you planned on attending. For what it's worth, after coming home I started hanging out with the local kids who worked in the area or attended community college. You know what? They became my best fucking friends in the world.

Like you said, treatment is a slow process. Don't rush it. Take care of it now. The problems don't magically disappear and they'll reappear at full speed somewhere down the road if they're left untreated.

You'll be okay, my dear. Trust your gut.
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