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I am thinking of quitting university to find a reason to live. Help? Watch

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    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    To put it simply, I need to decide whether or not to continue university, but more than that, I need a reason to continue to live. I'm not suicidal by any means, but the lack of any visible direction in my life is leaving me feeling trapped, depressed and slowly driving me insane. This has been snowballing for a few years now, but it's reaching a tipping point now and I need to make a decision very soon—ideally by the end of the week—and because I want to make sure the best decision possible is made, I thought I'd get as many thoughts and opinions as I can. Since there are a lot of reasons I am in this situation, I typed everything I thought was significant and divided them up to make it easier to interpret.
    :console:

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    Where I stand now:
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    I am 19 years old, and as of last September I am a student at a Russell Group university doing a highly sought after degree because that's what other people have told me to do. I do not have any idea at all what I want to do or be. I have no long-term goal in life, no dream job, no major hobbies. For a number of reasons, I have not ever, nor do I intend to ever, get into a relationship or start a family. I do not drink or smoke, and I stopped socialising so often when 'socialising' became a code word for 'getting as drunk as possible in a cramped and crowded house'. I have no material desires beyond food, water, shelter and a decent connection to the internet. These are all of the main reasons people have for living in the long term, so to me the future looks pretty bleak.

    Over the years, I have accumulated a few ideas of things I'd like to try, but I've rarely done them. The number of things that I wanted to do or try, but have not done because I've been busy with school/college/university has grown to a point where I constantly question why I am sacrificing doing all of these things for something that (1) I am not entirely sure about, (2) is causing me a great deal of stress, (3) I am paying tens of thousands of pounds for and (4) is not even on the list of things I want to do!

    I do not feel the need to be big or successful in the eyes of society; I just want to be happy in myself. To me, a job is a means to achieving a goal, so I find it hard to fathom the mentality of making the job the end goal. Every day, I see people who stopped working to live ages ago and now just live to work, and it makes me sad that people with a golden opportunity such as life are willing to waste it living like livestock for the government and higher-ups. Quitting university and (trying to) get a job instead gives me time to crack on with the list and start doing things that I would like to do, and hopefully find something that I would like to spend my life doing rather than waiting until the course is complete to realise it.

    However, the upbringing I have had has left me feeling like I have an obligation to lots of people; I know many people who have tried really hard to get to where I am now and have failed, and I feel like I owe being in such a 'good position' to a lot of people. If I just quit then I feel like I am insulting them. Beyond that, the degree that I would obtain if I continued gives me a slight chance to improve the lives of billions of people across the world, so I also feel like I have an obligation to humanity to try and that I would be abandoning my race by quitting. Finally, I feel like it would also be a waste of the education I have received up until now; I have the qualifications from it, but they were intended to set me up to do more with them.

    But at the same time, I only have one opportunity to live this life and I don't want to waste time.

    And simultaneously, I could be lead on the 'guilt trip of selfishness', knowing that there is global poverty that I could be stuck in.

    There is a lot of internal conflict going on, and as someone who is in the fray I find it hard to disconnect from it and analyse it, which is what needs to be done to find the best solution/resolution... which is why I posted so much on here.
    I am in the same position as you in that I'm doing a "highly sought after degree because that's what other people have told me to do. I do not have any idea at all what I want to do or be. I have no long-term goal in life, no dream job, no major hobbies". I also don't socialise here, because of it always involving alcohol - I know a lot of people in the same boat, so you are far from alone in this respect.

    It's a bit difficult to answer the question when we don't know what your "list" involves. But I can relate - I want to go to art school, volunteer abroad, and I'm feeling panicky that I'm wasting time doing a degree when I could be really LIVING. What I've realised, however, is that if I really want to do these things, I CAN make time. The summer holidays at uni are long - this will surely give you time to get cracking with your list? We get about 3 months + free time in the summer. And after uni, you don't HAVE to go straight into employment. You can take a year out, do the things you want to do.

    I know that having to wait 2 or 3 years before you can get a job / start the list sounds like a long time, but it doesn't have to be if you can use the time constructively to plan. Your degree might even help you in ways you can't see yet?

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    How I got here:
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    The story really begins after I finished my GCSEs; up until that point, I worked really hard because the academic world was the only world I knew. I chose my GCSEs and A-levels based partly on what I enjoyed doing and partly by what I was doing well at. Then secondary school ended and I was given three months of freedom, and in that time things start to break down; I was asked a lot of times by various people what I wanted to be or do, to which I would always reply, "I don't know." I realised that, fairly soon, I needed to have a clear goal or my life would pass by uneventfully. That summer, I spent a lot of time searching through lists of careers, and I came to the quite crippling conclusion that there was nothing that I especially wanted to do, which lead me into an existential crisis.* About a week after I reached this realisation, it was results day; I got 2A*s, 7As and 5Bs, and I put on a smile and acted pleased, but I felt nothing.

    Then college started, and we were reminded all the time that university was just around the corner and to start thinking. I told my tutor at college that I was completely uncertain of what I wanted to, and that I didn't really want to apply until I had a clear idea (or even a vague one), but I was basically told that I would be better off choosing a course 'at random' and going with it than delaying the process, so I did. Through these two years, my psychological condition grew a lot worse in my opinion; I became more reserved, less happy and slowly grew to really dislike being around other humans. In the end, I left with three A grade A levels and two B grade AS levels, and got into the university 'of my choice', a Russell Group university. As with the GCSEs, I felt no sense of achievement whatsoever; if anything, I felt kind of sad and disappointed at the lack of feeling of achievement.

    *This may or may not have been exacerbated by being midway through a course of Roaccutane at the time.
    This is like you're writing about me (and I am sure a great deal of other people can relate too!). I felt absolutely no sense of achievement from my GCSEs or A-Levels (like you, I did well - 3A*s, 7As, 2Bs, then AAAAB full A-Levels), and even now when people ask me what I want to do.... :dontknow: No idea.

    It sounds like your tutor didn't deal very well with your concerns - he shouldn't have told you to pick a course "at random". I can see how this would have stressed you out a lot.

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    My unviersity experience so far:
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    First things first, I am really not enjoying some parts of the course; whilst some parts of it are OK, some modules are either really unappealing to me or interesting but really hard to keep up with; even though I met the requirements to get in, I definitely do not have sufficient knowledge to understand a lot of the stuff that goes on in lectures, so I am bogged down trying to bridge the gap between my knowledge and what we're expected to know alongside the huge workload that comes from the course, which is stressful to say the least. I find it really hard to remember anything that is taught in lectures, even after going over the lecture notes again at my own leisure. I am really worried about this because I'm pretty sure that, when exam time rolls around, I am not going to be prepared, and I don't want to repeat the year or know that I have wasted the past year.

    I have mentioned my concerns to my tutor, and all that has been suggested is getting some coursework extensions, which I did not take because it doesn't solve any of the problems I'm having other than possibly relieving pressure very slightly. I feel like I might just be better off quitting and trying to figure out what I really want to do rather than sticking it out and trying to make this work; it's really demotivating being there. Plus, the longer I stay there, the more stressed I feel, and it's getting to the point where I feel psychological pain every time I remember the situation I'm in. My heart wants me to leave, but my head is so messed up by all of these thoughts that I don't know what to do.
    SAME. Again, it's like you're writing about me.
    Lots of people feel extremely overwhelmed at the start of uni, you are not in the minority / alone in this whatsoever. I know it can feel like you are all alone when you don't understand something, but chances are everyone else feels the same way, even if they seem like they understand it.

    It might be a good idea to apply for the extensions, even if you don't feel as if they're that helpful, it might help to relieve the time pressure you might be feeling over deadlines?

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    The alternative:
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    I quit university and get a job. I would have to live with my parents for now, which is OK but my mum has a very short fuse which means that she is forever shouting about something, so I feel pretty stressed at home as well sometimes. As I am forever reminded, getting a job in this day and age, especially for someone with no prior experience, is very tricky, but if I do find one then I can try to relax and focus on finding out what it is that I really want to be doing in the long term without being shoved around by academic institutions pushing me into ever more stressful situations. Plus I will have the opportunity to spend the evenings working my way through the list of things that I've wanted to try doing in the past, which might yield some interesting results.

    Alternatively, I could wake up one day and realise I'm stuck in a dead-end job regretting ever leaving university, and knowing it's too late to do anything about it.
    The way I see it, you could quit and try and get a job now, or stick it out and get a job later (the way things are at the moment, easier to get a job with a degree than without one). In the meantime, work on your list - plan to get things moving in the summer, start saving so you can get cracking with it after uni, etc. This will at least give you something to look forward to.

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    Things I am confused about:
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    If I do choose to quit, how would I go about it? What will happen if I decide later on that I want to go back to university at a later date? What happens to the student debt I have accrued so far? Does it have to be paid off before I can re-apply?
    I think the government will pay for one year + the degree, so if you quit now, you can still apply and get financed. I am not 100% sure though - best bet would be to give student finance people a quick call to make sure.

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    It's taken me 5 hours to convert my thoughts into words, and those words into a semi-logical order. If you read everything, then thank you; I know there's a lot there, and I am grateful to you for taking the time to read it. If you vote on the poll, please post your reasons for the vote below so that I can see your thought process. If you don't vote on the poll but have thoughts/comments/advice for me, then feel free to leave them below as well. I've seen the advice this community has given to other people and I think it's exactly what I need to solve this problem.

    - Yellowquiet
    I feel like all I've done is gone "ME TOO!" throughout your whole explanation, which probably isn't the most helpful thing ever, but I hope that it reassures you a bit: I, and most probably a lot of other first years, fell the exact same way: overwhelmed, lost, panicky, confused, unsure.... I can relate to the feeling that you are wasting time that could be spent doing what you REALLY want to do.

    But, you can use your time at uni constructively - it may be hard to see it now, but your degree might be useful to you and your list (hard to say without knowing your degree subject or your list! ).

    I hope the advice / reassurance that you're not alone helps you, if only a little bit. Reading what you wrote was really moving and sad, I really hope that whatever you decide, you find happiness!

    :wavey:
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    I'll post individual replies below, but here's an overall reply to the response:

    After 12 hours, the vote is quite heavily in favour of me staying at university (11 to 3), and the reasons that you all have given have been very useful in seeing things in a slightly less depressing way. I also learned a lot of things from the replies that made me realise that, in the long term, a degree gives me a significantly better chance of finding a 'reason to live' if I can 'stick it out' for 4 years as I have been doing until now. The only problem is that 'sticking it out' is becoming the equivalent of enduring psychological torture with this mindset, so it's a lot easier said than done for me. I don't want to leave university with some sort of psychological trauma due to long exposure to this sort of feeling; I know it sounds pretty exaggerated, but I spend most of my time either feeling like I am being torn in two or trying to distract myself from this feeling, and it's hard to get work done with this. I also learned a lot of things that I wasn't aware of, such as the opportunity to postpone studies, and knowing this has helped the feeling of being trapped to subside slightly.

    Quite a few people have suggested taking a year out and travelling; I don't have enough money for this to be a feasible option unless I began saving up now, and even then it would take me until at least the end of the second year of university to save up enough. Also, since a few people wanted to know the course, I am doing a masters in Mechanical Engineering, a four-year course that I started in Sepember 2012.

    The plan, as it stands, is to stay for now and reassess my situation in the next break, which is Easter, but this is still not set in stone, so don't hesitate to vote and reply with reasons for or against staying. I'm also thinking quite highly of the idea of taking a year out at the end of this university year if things still aren't going too well.

    ~~~~~~~
    Note: I shortened some of the replies to fit into the word limit, but I read all of all of them.

    (Original post by brainybonsai)
    This is my main point. If i were in your position, i think i would try and stick it out. Even if it may not be what you want, you've come this far, right? In my mind i can justify spending a few extra years of boredom and stress etc, in return for a bigger chance of being able to do what i want, whatever it is. But, of course, it comes down to you. For instance I think 'feeling psychological pain' (forgive me if misquoted I can't go back to check your post), is a very serious issue, much more serious then just 'boredom and stress', which reflects how much of a bad experience you must be having. And so I don't think my choice has much significance, as i cannot completely imagine your position.

    You said you had a list of things you want to do, would these things be easier to achieve if you finished your education? Is it worth completing, just for this increase, if any, of the possibility you may be able to achieve/attain these things?

    What if, for instance, you were to discover something you did like, and were passionate about, but didn't have the option to pursue, because you didn't finish your course. (I understand i'm completely naive to your particular course and the amount it influences employers etc...)
    The 'psychological pain' is mainly due to boredom and stress, but it's exacerbated by a number of other factors that turn it into inner turmoil and make it a lot more... painful.

    The list of things to do consist of semi-constructive things I'd like to do, such as learn to play a musical instrument, learn a language, try writing a novel, etc., or travelling, all of which don't require me to have a degree, but at the same time they would be hobbies to be done in spare time (which I don't have with university) rather than career aspects. However, you've made me realise that, with a degree, I have the opportunity to increase what I can feasibly add to the list.

    This is actually one of the reasons I was thinking of quitting university rather than staying; if I find a job I like, then as long as I do not already have a degree I still have the opportunity to get one relevant to the job, but if I already have a degree that is incompatible, then getting the job would be closed off to me since I don't think I have the opportunity to get a second degree until I've paid off the first one(?).

    Thank you very much for your reply.


    (Original post by British-Student)
    There's still the entire world to explore, and it'll be there when you finish. Don't stress out - you can still do anything you want once you graduate, the difference being you'll have a certificate of higher education.
    This is the reason I went to university in the first place; there's definitely no rush to do the things I want to do, but it's pretty demotivating when theres a big list of things I want to do or try and I'm not doing any of them. But I think once I've got up to speed with the course maybe I'll have some spare time to do some of the lesser things on the list which might make me feel a bit better.


    (Original post by oddsox)
    If you're feeling like you are struggling to cope with university, them get some help for it, go see a counsellor and talk to your academic tutor. You honestly have no idea how common this sort of feeling is, and they'll both have dealt with it numerous times before.
    I've spoken to my tutor and they haven't been particularly helpful; they suggested getting some extensions on courseworks, which relieves some pressure, but at the same time it's not really helping to solve the underlying problem. I'll look into speaking to a counsellor.


    (Original post by LisaM_)
    What course do you do? Do you have many friends? I know you mentioned above that a lot of the socialising is drinking. Which I too agree with you on. I find it very difficult to understand why it's impossible for many students to become friends and meet up when there isn't alcohol involved. What about joining clubs or societies? Or the gym?
    I'm doing a four-year course in Mechanical Engineering. The lectures all have 400+ people in them, so it has been tricky to make friends in my course, but I've made a few friends through societies, and I'm friends with my flatmates as well. I don't mind not having a massive cohort of friends because I'm quite an introverted person anyway.

    Your post all sums up how I feel very well (sorry I had to shorten it in the reply; TSR has a word count limit and I was way over). I feel that I am putting myself, the academic, ahead of myself, the human, and it's becoming more and more difficult and painful to continue to live like this.

    Thank you for your reply, and good luck with your situation.


    (Original post by Dukeofwembley)
    do you have aspergers syndrome ?

    do you have any friends?
    Nope, I don't have aspergers syndrome.

    I have made a few friends from societies, plus I consider my flatmates friends. I also have many friends from home.


    (Original post by stuart_aitken)
    Quit university and get a job?
    Or finish university and get a job?

    Also read this : linky
    This is very true; in the long term, getting a job is inevitable, and it'll almost certainly be easier with a degree.

    The link was very interesting and I connected with a lot of what was being said. It had a link to 'personal growth' which had a lot of really helpful tips on it that I'll try and integrate into my life and see if it feels any be. Thank you very much!


    (Original post by Try Rekorderlig)
    I can honestly say I have the same outlook, I don't seem to be going anywhere, I'm doing a uni course because I feel I should and I don't know what I want for myself. I'm forever questioning myself and it's leading to a lot of self doubt and anxiety- can't be good for you. I think you should see somebody about how you are feeling, it's not good for you. Or, maybe you should leave University, you seem to have no commitment to your field. You need to find yourself to know what you want, you mentioned you'l never think about having a relationship. Just try it, perhaps thinking about someone else all the time instead of yourself could do you some good. Get a hobby too, sounds like you're in need of some fun.
    I've spoken to a few people about it outside of TSR (no-one professional though) and they generally find it hard to understand the intense crippling feeling I am trying to convey to them. I think getting into a relationship to distract myself from this is probably the wrong reason to get into a relationship, plus I have yet to find anyone that I could feasibly see myself in a happy relationship with. I'm seeking a flexible hobby with low commitment, but they always seem to be introverted hobbies like reading which leave me alone with my mind to form dark and depressing thoughts.


    (Original post by sevenbooks)
    Maybe you should switch to another course that you might enjoy a bit more?

    People keep on emphasising on how important a degree is, so maybe try the things you've always wanted to have a go with but never really got the guts to.
    That's the problem: I don't know what I what I would like to do or what I would enjoy, and I haven't been given enough time to take a step back, clear my head and look at what I really want out of life because I'm spending all of my time thinking about the ideas I'm being fed ideas by academic institutions. I was thinking of taking some time out to think before I applied to university, but was told flat out that it was a bad idea, so I just randomly picked a course that sounded interesting.


    (Original post by Donald Duck)
    How about taking a year out? Does your university have someone you can talk this through with?

    Living with your parents sounds like a bad idea. How about going travelling? (It'll be expensive to start, but it doesn't have to be horrendously so. Stuff like climbing mountains may do you good, and if you stay away from standard gap yah places, you can save some money).
    I don't have enough savings to be able to take a year out and go travelling, and if I do quit I don't have anywhere to stay other than my parents unless I find a well-paying job fast. If I had the money, I'd jump at the chance to go travelling.


    (Original post by arrowhead)
    I think instead of dropping out of university, you should consider taking a year off to travel and figure out who you are and what you want.

    I sort of connect with a lot of your issues. I'm introverted by nature and don't enjoy others' company for too long and like my time to myself. I'm still not sure that what I'm doing is the right thing for me as well, but I've thrown myself headfirst into it and am trying my damnest hard to not think about the appropriateness of the profession altogether.

    But honestly mate, finish uni. The concept of getting a job with no prior experience and without a university degree is just that, theory. You will not get a job beyond basic, mundane, routine crap that will possibly drive you to depression faster than your degree is. I say take some time to travel and see the world and explore your opportunities, then decide what's best for you thereafter.

    Best of luck!
    I don't have enough savings to make travelling a feasible option, although I'd love to do that.

    I understand the feeling of throwing yourself in and trying not to think about it, which is especially hard if you're an introvert, but after reading through this thread it looks like distracting myself from thinking about it is probably the only way forward for me.

    Thank you very much! I'll make this my current plan of action until either I cannot cope with it any longer or a long-term solution appears.


    (Original post by Persipan)
    In terms of your situation if you want to leave, a question. When you say you've been at uni since 'last September' do you mean September 2012 (i.e. you're a first year), or September 2011 (i.e. you're a second year)? This would make a difference if you wanted to leave your course and then study again at some point in the future - as I understand it, the way student finance is set up allows you one 'false start' year, (i.e. you can get funding for the duration of your course plus one year), so if yu're a first year you would be able to start over elsewhere and get funding for the whole course; but if you're a second year you would have to pay for a year yourself.

    Is your list of 'things to do' absolutely incompatible with being at uni? Are there none at all that you can do now? If you dig around, you may find that there are societies and activities available that relate to some of the things you'd like to try out (and maybe also to socialise with people in ways that aren't just piss-ups).

    Also, at uni there are almost certainly support services which may be able to help with how you're feeling. Going along to talk to them might help you to get to grips with things, and feel more comfortable in the life that you're in. I think very often when people feel the way you feel, they want to change things because they believe that a change will make them feel better, and this isn't always the case.

    Sorry if some of that sounds horribly depressing! Here's the upside. It is absolutely, 100% OK not to know precisely what you want to do.
    I am a first year; I started in Sept 2012. I didn't know about the 'false start' year; that's a big relief. Thank you for letting me know!

    I am part of a couple of societies at university, and one of them is helping me to tick off one of the major things on my list, but it's been hard to keep a commitment to societies (or hobbies in general) with a workload that fluctuates wildly. I don't want to start something, be given a huge workload for a month or so (e.g. exam periods) and then have to start all over again because I've forgotten what I learned already.

    I'll definitely look into the support services; quite a few people have suggested it now, so I have high hopes for it.

    It is a good thing in some ways to not be tied down to some sort of ideal, but the problem is that if I don't have a reason to live, then I don't have a reason to live, and as someone who is slowly becoming more and more depressed, this thought scares the **** out of me!


    (Original post by LinzyLoo)
    I disagree with all those saying "just stick it out". I have been in a similar position to you, although not as bad as I did have a good social life, and I know how hard it is to motivate yourself to study when you aren't particularly interested in the material or you think you could be better off doing something else. Remember you can go to uni any time. You can go back in 2 years, 5 years, 15 years... it doesn't matter. Please don't stay because you don't want to have "wasted" all that money so far. That money is paid. Whether you leave or stay is irrelevant, you aren't getting it back. BUT if you stay for more miserable years, you're going to be wasting a LOT more money! Quit now before you have to pay even more to stay miserable.

    Personally I left uni after the first year. My parents never pushed me and make me feel like I had to achieve great things but I felt it in myself. My school very much pushed us to go to uni, so like you, I applied because everyone else who was intelligent was applying for uni, and "that's just what you do". But remember schools want you to go to uni because it looks good for them on paper. They have statistics relating to how many students went on to university etc.

    This is a problem with young people today I think - we all believe that we have to achieve greatness and get amazing jobs and make loads of money and contribute to the world. I'm the same. I wish I could be happy just working on retail for the rest of my life, but I wouldn't be satisfied. Because we are taught that if you are intelligent, YOU HAVE TO USE IT by going to uni. That's not the case though. I know loads of people who quit uni and are now working in shops, in the army, the police etc and are really happy there.

    You have to do what is right for you and what will truly make you happy, not what everybody else expects of you. Leaving uni was the best thing I ever did. I worked full time for 2-3 years, did volunteer work in Ecuador, and then went back when I was REALLY ready and actually craving education again, and I knew exactly what I wanted to study. Now I'm in 4th year and I couldn't be happier. I even met my boyfriend in uni on the first day of 3rd year, which I never expected to happen! Now I am much more motivated and genuinely love uni. I'm in line for a first but if I had stuck it out the first time, there is no way I would have achieved a first because I didn't have the drive. Also in the summer between 1st and 2nd year, I went to America to work for 4 months which was amazing. If you want good stuff to happen and to have amazing experiences and be happy, MAKE IT HAPPEN. Nobody else is in control of your life.

    I know it sounds cheesy but do what your heart tells you. Forget about the money, what's done is done, and it's only money at the end of the day. There are more important things in life. Take some time out to work and meet new people, and don't feel pressure to go back to uni (if you truly do want to) until you are 100% sure about what you want to study and you really want it for yourself.
    This is exactly what I want to do! This would be the ideal scenario for me.

    I'm planning on trying to stay there for a while longer, until Easter at least, but if things don't improve then I'll try aiming for this. Just for comparison, when you left university and went into full-time work, did you already have work experience/employment history? Also, how easy was it reapplying years later?

    (Original post by StacFace)
    Personally that taught me that you need to realise when something isn't for you, accept it and focus on finding what is. Otherwise you're pretty much destined to fail.

    I know you have paid fees up until now but that doesn't mean you should necessarily just continue. Say you were paying £30 a month for a gym membership that you rarely used, you wouldn't stay just because you've already paid so much into it would you? Similarly you shouldn't stay and get further into debt just because you've already accumulated some. Think about just the extra debt you will get into if you stay and decide whether that amount is worth staying. Also remember that you only pay back when you're earning enough, and if you did quit now you could take a degree another time and still get all but the first year funded.

    Your reasons for staying also all seemed to be related to doing what is expected of you and feeling you have to because you're smart enough to get there. I don't think these should be considered reasons. Just because you're in a position someone else would envy you shouldn't feel guilty about giving it up if it's not for you. This example is rather simplified but I have naturally blonde hair which a lot of my female family members are jealous of, yet I dye it red because I don't enjoy being blonde. They say they wish they had blonde hair like me and that I shouldn't dye it but blonde isn't for me. Somebody else wanting what you have isn't enough of a reason on it's own to keep it.

    To answer your questions in the last spoiler you would need to talk to the uni about the procedure for quitting and I think you'd also have to notify Student Finance. Depending on when you are due to be paid this term it may be too late to stop the payment going through but they would ask for this term's maintenance loan (and grant if you get one) back pretty much straight away. As for previous payments and tuition fees you would pay them back when you're earning enough just like students who graduated do. If you chose to go to uni at a later date then you'd apply through UCAS with a personal statement again but would need to find a referee. This could be an employer or your old college may be able to help as they normally keep references on file for past students for at least a few years in case they're requested. As for finance you are entitled to length of degree + 1 year - years of previous study, so you would have to self-fund the first year of any new degree you took but would then receive full funding in 2nd year and any other years after that. You don't need to have paid off any of your previous degree debt before re-applying.

    On a final point having read the most recent replies to this thread I completely agree with the idea of taking a year out. I wrote the above without even thinking of that option. You could ask the uni for a year out, though I'd recommend treating that year out as if you've just quit and see how far you get with what you want to do. Then you can decide if you're happier at uni or away from it. If you find you were happier at uni then you go back as planned, if not then you tell the uni you've decided the course isn't for you and withdraw.
    That is a very good lesson to have learned, and one that I really agree with at the moment.

    Thank you very much for both of the analogies, this will be useful for explaining to my parents if I do end up leaving, and are very useful for explaining to myself that leaving is a feasible option if things get too much. Also, thank you for answering the questions I had; I have a much clearer picture of the process now.

    Taking a year out is a very good idea, and treating it as though I have quit is even better! It's like simulating what would have happened if I had quit but with the opportunity to make it my reality if I prefer it to university or go back to university if I find that I prefer that.


    (Original post by Freiheit)
    I think people underestimate how difficult it is to get any job these days and the lack of opportunities for non-grads.
    That is one of my fears with leaving; if I leave and can't find a job then I'm just going to be shouted at by my mum until I manage to find a job, which would probably be equally as stressful as being at university...


    (Original post by Réquíém)
    i voted stay because later when you do know and it all falls apart you have it just incase
    That's a good idea, but I'm not sure I want to spend four stressful years and >£50k for what is essentially a safety net... although if things did start to fall apart and I'm irreversibly stuck, I'd probably be wishing I'd had it, so maybe it is worth it.


    (Original post by Tabzqt)
    I think you should stop being a brony.
    Being a brony is one of the few things that keeps me from going completely insane!


    (Original post by wannabemed)
    This is going to sound very harsh but I do believe the advice will benefit you. With someone with the hindsight and experience of age, you are saying you need to find a reason to live. That degree is your reason, your future, your pathway to a career (any career which you will find passion for in the future). If you quit, what will you have? You will have lost your future because believe me, to work in a minimum wage job or go on and have children without a degree-no matter what you do once you leave-will be a struggle.
    Life in the 'real world' is absolutely miserable and you will be surrounded by people who do not think like you, have your intelligence or act the way you do. Not saying they are better or worse for it, but different to you. You are intelligent and have great potential but your lack of determination and non direction is what will lose you your future. And believe me, you do have one.
    Your age is a difficult one where you have a whole world which seems scary and overwhelming. You are still not on track to being an adult. Yet you will get there, if you keep taking a day at a time. Before you know it your degree will be finished and you will have more employment options, the ability to travel or start a relationship. The world will be your oyster.
    Believe me if you leave university there will be nothing for you except a long hard struggle back to where you are now which eventually you will see was the right thing. Just keep going for now. Things will work out in the end.
    BTW-Roaccutane can cause major depression both during and after treatment. If you feel you are in the middle of a depressive episode then please see your GP and get some medication to get you through. You have so much potential even if you cannot see it at the moment. Grasp it with both hands.
    I don't mind 'harsh' advice; it's that sort of advice that brings about the greatest realisation and the most change. The main problem, as I see it, is that my mindset is not compatible with the 'real world'; I can see that the world is definitely not an ideal place, but at the same time I can see that the world is a creation of humanity, and that collectively we do have the power to change it, but the instant I see that it becomes a ficticious world in the eyes of the masses.

    But yeah, I'm guessing that my mindset is not one of an adult, and until that changes it's probably a good idea to rely on the opinions of other people with more experience and a more mature mindset to see the way forward.


    (Original post by ShunnyP)
    As I'm writing this I'm sitting topless (don't judge me, it's just really hot here) in a very lovely apartment on the Sunshine Coast in Australia; I'm telling you this because I want you to know I'm not another boring drone conforming to the expectations of society - but having said that, I am a first year medical student at one of the top universities in the world so I do understand that getting a good education has its merits too! I'm here on my Christmas break and I'm due to start the Lent term in just a week.

    I took this highly controversial and possibly ill-advised trip (my supervisors were not happy!) for pretty much the same reason as you - an existential crisis. Throughout my first term at uni (I started in October 2012) I would often feel like I was lost - I was highly demotivated and felt like everything I was doing was just meaningless. I would often hide away in my room while my hallmates were being rowdy and having fun outside - again, the whole 'go out and get drunk' every night thing just seemed so meaningless to me too! I am very confident and I am a well-liked guy, I've gotten to know a lot of people around my university and I love having a laugh when I'm in the mood, but deep inside it still feels pointless and very superficial.

    After travelling the East Coast of Australia for the past 5 weeks, and experiencing many things and spending many hours thinking about this, I've come to realize that for me, this whole gloomy feeling that I've been having was greatly due to the stress of having such high academic expectations. Once I told myself it was okay if I didn't get a top mark, I felt a lot better.

    The second point was the lack of human connection - I found myself resenting a lot of the social atmosphere at university just like you, and like I said I hid in my room a lot because people just seemed so shallow, immature and insecure. Not being arrogant here, but I took a gap year, so I'm a year older than pretty much everyone and I feel that I am more confident in myself and mature than some of the people I'm surrounded by. In a sense, I just didn't click with anyone in my immediate accommodation (which is quite small) as it felt very herd-like and cliquey. There was a lot of drama and pretentiousness last term and it just grew tiresome. Even though I was surrounded by people, and invited to a lot of things, and I made myself involved in social activities all the time, I felt very lonely and isolated a lot of the time especially seeing as I had broken up with my girlfriend the month earlier.

    When asked for advice I like to give, what are in my opinion, the pros and cons of both sides and leave it at that and let my friend/you, in this case, decide. However on this rare occasion I would strongly recommend you stay in university despite the way you are feeling; I am staying at university despite the way I am feeling.
    I think the crucial point here is, university is like a gateway that gives you freedom in the long run - with a good degree like yours or mine, we could have a much MUCH broader range of possible opportunities for all kinds of careers - even though I'm doing medicine and studying to be a doctor, I still have no real idea what I want to achieve or what I want to do with my life! But it doesn't matter because I'll have a lot of possibilities to choose from.
    If you drop out now, you'll still be having your existential crisis and I guarantee you that being stuck in a dead-end office job feels FAR more meaningless than even what you're feeling right now. Have something to look forward to, go backpacking like I did in the break! Suck it up for another few years then you're free to do whatever you want, that's the way I look at it. I have another 6 years if that makes you feel any better.

    I sincerely hope this helps, I share your existential pain!
    Thank you very much; your reply was definitely an eye-opener!

    I think I will use the motivation of having a greater degree of freedom after uni than I would have quitting now to push me forward through this.


    (Original post by emilie18)
    It's a bit difficult to answer the question when we don't know what your "list" involves. But I can relate - I want to go to art school, volunteer abroad, and I'm feeling panicky that I'm wasting time doing a degree when I could be really LIVING. What I've realised, however, is that if I really want to do these things, I CAN make time. The summer holidays at uni are long - this will surely give you time to get cracking with your list? We get about 3 months + free time in the summer. And after uni, you don't HAVE to go straight into employment. You can take a year out, do the things you want to do.

    The way I see it, you could quit and try and get a job now, or stick it out and get a job later (the way things are at the moment, easier to get a job with a degree than without one). In the meantime, work on your list - plan to get things moving in the summer, start saving so you can get cracking with it after uni, etc. This will at least give you something to look forward to.

    I hope the advice / reassurance that you're not alone helps you, if only a little bit. Reading what you wrote was really moving and sad, I really hope that whatever you decide, you find happiness!
    Thank you very much! Your reply was very helpful and gave me many ideas.

    The list is mainly lots of semi-constructive things I'd like to do, such as learn to play a musical instrument, learn a language, try writing a novel, etc., or travelling, all of which would be hobbies to be done in spare time (which I don't have with university) rather than career aspects. I think if I arranged my time more constructively, then I could get started on some of the more flexible items on the list.

    I think looking forward to things in the future is probably the only way I'm going to get through the present, even if I disagree with using it as motivation usually.
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    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    I'll post individual replies below, but here's an overall reply to the response:

    This is exactly what I want to do! This would be the ideal scenario for me.

    I'm planning on trying to stay there for a while longer, until Easter at least, but if things don't improve then I'll try aiming for this. Just for comparison, when you left university and went into full-time work, did you already have work experience/employment history? Also, how easy was it reapplying years later?
    That sounds like a good plan. There's no point in wasting more money on something that makes you miserable. You aren't going to achieve a top class degree if you're doing something you don't like anyway.

    Yeah, I had work experience already when I left uni - I had already worked in 3 different jobs but I was working 2 of them part-time when I was at uni anyway, so when I left uni I just went full time on one, and quit the other. Then I got sacked which was awful (and not because I was bad at my job! It was a personal thing) but I found a new job within a couple of weeks and stayed there full-time for 2 years before I cut my hours down when I started at the uni I'm at just now. (Different uni). I worked there for the whole of first year but had to leave because I was going to work in America. For second and third year I had two different jobs again. I've always found jobs easy to come by, although I know not everyone has the same experience, but I wouldn't worry about not having experience if you are just looking at retail etc.

    Reapplying was easy. I can't remember much about it now but I was 20 when I was applying and 21 when I started the course, and I think I had to do it independently of my high school because I'd left too long ago. Not sure who I put as my references now. Managers from work I'd imagine! Might even have been a family friend as well, can't remember now, but don't worry, you'll have somebody! I kinda knew I'd be accepted so it was a lot less stressful the second time around.
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    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    To put it simply, I need to decide whether or not to continue university, but more than that, I need a reason to continue to live. I'm not suicidal by any means, but the lack of any visible direction in my life is leaving me feeling trapped, depressed and slowly driving me insane. This has been snowballing for a few years now, but it's reaching a tipping point now and I need to make a decision very soon—ideally by the end of the week—and because I want to make sure the best decision possible is made, I thought I'd get as many thoughts and opinions as I can. Since there are a lot of reasons I am in this situation, I typed everything I thought was significant and divided them up to make it easier to interpret.

    Where I stand now:
    Spoiler:
    Show
    I am 19 years old, and as of last September I am a student at a Russell Group university doing a highly sought after degree because that's what other people have told me to do. I do not have any idea at all what I want to do or be. I have no long-term goal in life, no dream job, no major hobbies. For a number of reasons, I have not ever, nor do I intend to ever, get into a relationship or start a family. I do not drink or smoke, and I stopped socialising so often when 'socialising' became a code word for 'getting as drunk as possible in a cramped and crowded house'. I have no material desires beyond food, water, shelter and a decent connection to the internet. These are all of the main reasons people have for living in the long term, so to me the future looks pretty bleak.

    Over the years, I have accumulated a few ideas of things I'd like to try, but I've rarely done them. The number of things that I wanted to do or try, but have not done because I've been busy with school/college/university has grown to a point where I constantly question why I am sacrificing doing all of these things for something that (1) I am not entirely sure about, (2) is causing me a great deal of stress, (3) I am paying tens of thousands of pounds for and (4) is not even on the list of things I want to do!

    I do not feel the need to be big or successful in the eyes of society; I just want to be happy in myself. To me, a job is a means to achieving a goal, so I find it hard to fathom the mentality of making the job the end goal. Every day, I see people who stopped working to live ages ago and now just live to work, and it makes me sad that people with a golden opportunity such as life are willing to waste it living like livestock for the government and higher-ups. Quitting university and (trying to) get a job instead gives me time to crack on with the list and start doing things that I would like to do, and hopefully find something that I would like to spend my life doing rather than waiting until the course is complete to realise it.

    However, the upbringing I have had has left me feeling like I have an obligation to lots of people; I know many people who have tried really hard to get to where I am now and have failed, and I feel like I owe being in such a 'good position' to a lot of people. If I just quit then I feel like I am insulting them. Beyond that, the degree that I would obtain if I continued gives me a slight chance to improve the lives of billions of people across the world, so I also feel like I have an obligation to humanity to try and that I would be abandoning my race by quitting. Finally, I feel like it would also be a waste of the education I have received up until now; I have the qualifications from it, but they were intended to set me up to do more with them.

    But at the same time, I only have one opportunity to live this life and I don't want to waste time.

    And simultaneously, I could be lead on the 'guilt trip of selfishness', knowing that there is global poverty that I could be stuck in.

    There is a lot of internal conflict going on, and as someone who is in the fray I find it hard to disconnect from it and analyse it, which is what needs to be done to find the best solution/resolution... which is why I posted so much on here.


    How I got here:
    Spoiler:
    Show
    The story really begins after I finished my GCSEs; up until that point, I worked really hard because the academic world was the only world I knew. I chose my GCSEs and A-levels based partly on what I enjoyed doing and partly by what I was doing well at. Then secondary school ended and I was given three months of freedom, and in that time things start to break down; I was asked a lot of times by various people what I wanted to be or do, to which I would always reply, "I don't know." I realised that, fairly soon, I needed to have a clear goal or my life would pass by uneventfully. That summer, I spent a lot of time searching through lists of careers, and I came to the quite crippling conclusion that there was nothing that I especially wanted to do, which lead me into an existential crisis.* About a week after I reached this realisation, it was results day; I got 2A*s, 7As and 5Bs, and I put on a smile and acted pleased, but I felt nothing.

    Then college started, and we were reminded all the time that university was just around the corner and to start thinking. I told my tutor at college that I was completely uncertain of what I wanted to, and that I didn't really want to apply until I had a clear idea (or even a vague one), but I was basically told that I would be better off choosing a course 'at random' and going with it than delaying the process, so I did. Through these two years, my psychological condition grew a lot worse in my opinion; I became more reserved, less happy and slowly grew to really dislike being around other humans. In the end, I left with three A grade A levels and two B grade AS levels, and got into the university 'of my choice', a Russell Group university. As with the GCSEs, I felt no sense of achievement whatsoever; if anything, I felt kind of sad and disappointed at the lack of feeling of achievement.

    *This may or may not have been exacerbated by being midway through a course of Roaccutane at the time.


    My unviersity experience so far:
    Spoiler:
    Show
    First things first, I am really not enjoying some parts of the course; whilst some parts of it are OK, some modules are either really unappealing to me or interesting but really hard to keep up with; even though I met the requirements to get in, I definitely do not have sufficient knowledge to understand a lot of the stuff that goes on in lectures, so I am bogged down trying to bridge the gap between my knowledge and what we're expected to know alongside the huge workload that comes from the course, which is stressful to say the least. I find it really hard to remember anything that is taught in lectures, even after going over the lecture notes again at my own leisure. I am really worried about this because I'm pretty sure that, when exam time rolls around, I am not going to be prepared, and I don't want to repeat the year or know that I have wasted the past year.

    I have mentioned my concerns to my tutor, and all that has been suggested is getting some coursework extensions, which I did not take because it doesn't solve any of the problems I'm having other than possibly relieving pressure very slightly. I feel like I might just be better off quitting and trying to figure out what I really want to do rather than sticking it out and trying to make this work; it's really demotivating being there. Plus, the longer I stay there, the more stressed I feel, and it's getting to the point where I feel psychological pain every time I remember the situation I'm in. My heart wants me to leave, but my head is so messed up by all of these thoughts that I don't know what to do.


    The alternative:
    Spoiler:
    Show
    I quit university and get a job. I would have to live with my parents for now, which is OK but my mum has a very short fuse which means that she is forever shouting about something, so I feel pretty stressed at home as well sometimes. As I am forever reminded, getting a job in this day and age, especially for someone with no prior experience, is very tricky, but if I do find one then I can try to relax and focus on finding out what it is that I really want to be doing in the long term without being shoved around by academic institutions pushing me into ever more stressful situations. Plus I will have the opportunity to spend the evenings working my way through the list of things that I've wanted to try doing in the past, which might yield some interesting results.

    Alternatively, I could wake up one day and realise I'm stuck in a dead-end job regretting ever leaving university, and knowing it's too late to do anything about it.


    Things I am confused about:
    Spoiler:
    Show
    If I do choose to quit, how would I go about it? What will happen if I decide later on that I want to go back to university at a later date? What happens to the student debt I have accrued so far? Does it have to be paid off before I can re-apply?


    It's taken me 5 hours to convert my thoughts into words, and those words into a semi-logical order. If you read everything, then thank you; I know there's a lot there, and I am grateful to you for taking the time to read it. If you vote on the poll, please post your reasons for the vote below so that I can see your thought process. If you don't vote on the poll but have thoughts/comments/advice for me, then feel free to leave them below as well. I've seen the advice this community has given to other people and I think it's exactly what I need to solve this problem.

    - Yellowquiet
    I didn't read any of that, but you sound like you could use an ice-cream.
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    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    The plan, as it stands, is to stay for now and reassess my situation in the next break, which is Easter ... I'm also thinking quite highly of the idea of taking a year out at the end of this university year if things still aren't going too well.
    That sounds like a really good, balanced plan.

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    This is actually one of the reasons I was thinking of quitting university rather than staying; if I find a job I like, then as long as I do not already have a degree I still have the opportunity to get one relevant to the job, but if I already have a degree that is incompatible, then getting the job would be closed off to me since I don't think I have the opportunity to get a second degree until I've paid off the first one(?).
    I think if you get too far into that kind of thinking, you'd never do anything in case it cancelled out something else you might want to do in the future!

    First off, a significant chunk of jobs don't ask for you to have a degree in a specific subject; they just ask for you to have a degree. Any subject at all will open up a lot of doors that would otherwise be closed, on top of the engineering jobs it could specifically lead to.

    The way funding works, you get a loan for one degree (plus the 'false start' I said about before). Beyond that, you won't get funding for another one, unless you do one of the very few subjects (e.g. nursing) that are paid for by the government. But, don't worry about it! You're thinking about what will happen if, in the future, you get a job that's so great and absorbing that you want to get a degree in that area instead of engineering... well, even if that happens, maybe your employer will be prepared to pay for you to get one, if it's that relevant; or maybe you'll be able to go straight on and do a Masters in whatever it is. Personally, I'm in the process of doing a second undergraduate degree part-time, just because I thought it was interesting. That doesn't mean I regret my first one, or feel I did the 'wrong' subject; I just decided I'd like to do another one, so I am, and I'm paying for it as I go. Nothing's set in stone.

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    I've spoken to my tutor and they haven't been particularly helpful; they suggested getting some extensions on courseworks, which relieves some pressure, but at the same time it's not really helping to solve the underlying problem. I'll look into speaking to a counsellor.
    ...
    I'll definitely look into the support services; quite a few people have suggested it now, so I have high hopes for it.
    Academic (and even personal) tutors may not always know much about the services that are available, or how best to manage if you're experiencing problems. A counsellor, or another relevant wellbeing professional of whatever kind your uni offers, will probably have a much greater understanding of what you're experiencing. One thing, though; don't go to see them expecting them to be able to immediately 'fix' how you're feeling - it's likely to be a much more exploratory and gradual process. It's definitely one that's worth looking into, though.

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    That's the problem: I don't know what I what I would like to do or what I would enjoy, and I haven't been given enough time to take a step back, clear my head and look at what I really want out of life because I'm spending all of my time thinking about the ideas I'm being fed ideas by academic institutions. I was thinking of taking some time out to think before I applied to university, but was told flat out that it was a bad idea, so I just randomly picked a course that sounded interesting.
    I think a lot of what you're talking about is that moment when you realise that the conveyor belt you've been on ever since you started school; the one that had all kinds of fixed points along the way for you to work towards, actually has an end to it; and that you're then expected to make your own way and keep moving forwards without that structure there to tell you what the hell it is you're actually trying to achieve. It's a weird feeling; all I can say is it doesn't last forever, and you find yourself able to make decisions - and then change your mind later, if you want to - and it's OK.

    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    I am part of a couple of societies at university, and one of them is helping me to tick off one of the major things on my list, but it's been hard to keep a commitment to societies (or hobbies in general) with a workload that fluctuates wildly. I don't want to start something, be given a huge workload for a month or so (e.g. exam periods) and then have to start all over again because I've forgotten what I learned already.
    ...
    The list is mainly lots of semi-constructive things I'd like to do, such as learn to play a musical instrument, learn a language, try writing a novel, etc., or travelling, all of which would be hobbies to be done in spare time (which I don't have with university) rather than career aspects. I think if I arranged my time more constructively, then I could get started on some of the more flexible items on the list.
    My advice, as far as those kinds of things go, is just to go for it. I know Engineering can have a fairly full (and quite variable) workload, but even still, I think it's likely you have at least as much (if not more) time available to you now than you will when you start full-time work, whenever that day comes. (My first degree was one where I spent eight hours a day in uni most days, and I still had way more free time then than I do now).

    You might want to read this book if you're thinking of writing a novel - it's the book that goes with Nanowrimo (but you obviously don't have to wait 'til November to do it). There are pros and cons to approaching things in that way, obviously, and I'm not necessarily advocating you attempt the 30 day thing (although it can be fun, and generates things you would never have written otherwise) but a big (and useful) part of the philosophy behind it is that the whole 'one day, I will write a novel' thing can act against you if you worry too much about how, and when, and how to make it perfect, and so on. (There's a bit in the book where the guy explains how he had a whole plan to take three months off work in which to concentrate solely on writing, going to considerable effort to rearrange his commitments and free up that time - and then he didn't get any writing done at all!) Just starting, and giving yourself permission to write a dreadful first draft, is actually very freeing, and you start achieving things and making progress you never would have otherwise. Ditto with everything else, really - learning a language, or to play an instrument, is a series of tiny steps. My advice is, don't think in terms of 'when will I definitely have time to devote to this on a consistent basis?', just think 'I've got half an hour, I can practise that chord/learn five new words/write a couple of paragraphs.'
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    (Original post by LinzyLoo)
    That sounds like a good plan. There's no point in wasting more money on something that makes you miserable. You aren't going to achieve a top class degree if you're doing something you don't like anyway.

    Yeah, I had work experience already when I left uni - I had already worked in 3 different jobs but I was working 2 of them part-time when I was at uni anyway, so when I left uni I just went full time on one, and quit the other. Then I got sacked which was awful (and not because I was bad at my job! It was a personal thing) but I found a new job within a couple of weeks and stayed there full-time for 2 years before I cut my hours down when I started at the uni I'm at just now. (Different uni). I worked there for the whole of first year but had to leave because I was going to work in America. For second and third year I had two different jobs again. I've always found jobs easy to come by, although I know not everyone has the same experience, but I wouldn't worry about not having experience if you are just looking at retail etc.

    Reapplying was easy. I can't remember much about it now but I was 20 when I was applying and 21 when I started the course, and I think I had to do it independently of my high school because I'd left too long ago. Not sure who I put as my references now. Managers from work I'd imagine! Might even have been a family friend as well, can't remember now, but don't worry, you'll have somebody! I kinda knew I'd be accepted so it was a lot less stressful the second time around.
    What's kind of a worry for me is I have no prior work experience, so I think finding a job will probably be very hard, and I don't want to quit university and be put through the stress of being essentially unemployable to a lot of employers.


    (Original post by fudgemuffins)
    I didn't read any of that, but you sound like you could use an ice-cream.
    Fair enough. I wouldn't be able to eat an ice cream because I haven't had much of an appetite recently; I've been living almost exclusively off of Polos for the past week.



    (Original post by Persipan)
    (1) I think if you get too far into that kind of thinking, you'd never do anything in case it cancelled out something else you might want to do in the future!

    First off, a significant chunk of jobs don't ask for you to have a degree in a specific subject; they just ask for you to have a degree. Any subject at all will open up a lot of doors that would otherwise be closed, on top of the engineering jobs it could specifically lead to.

    The way funding works, you get a loan for one degree (plus the 'false start' I said about before). Beyond that, you won't get funding for another one, unless you do one of the very few subjects (e.g. nursing) that are paid for by the government. But, don't worry about it! You're thinking about what will happen if, in the future, you get a job that's so great and absorbing that you want to get a degree in that area instead of engineering... well, even if that happens, maybe your employer will be prepared to pay for you to get one, if it's that relevant; or maybe you'll be able to go straight on and do a Masters in whatever it is. Personally, I'm in the process of doing a second undergraduate degree part-time, just because I thought it was interesting. That doesn't mean I regret my first one, or feel I did the 'wrong' subject; I just decided I'd like to do another one, so I am, and I'm paying for it as I go. Nothing's set in stone.


    (2) My advice, as far as those kinds of things go, is just to go for it. I know Engineering can have a fairly full (and quite variable) workload, but even still, I think it's likely you have at least as much (if not more) time available to you now than you will when you start full-time work, whenever that day comes. (My first degree was one where I spent eight hours a day in uni most days, and I still had way more free time then than I do now).


    (3) You might want to read this book if you're thinking of writing a novel - it's the book that goes with Nanowrimo (but you obviously don't have to wait 'til November to do it). There are pros and cons to approaching things in that way, obviously, and I'm not necessarily advocating you attempt the 30 day thing (although it can be fun, and generates things you would never have written otherwise) but a big (and useful) part of the philosophy behind it is that the whole 'one day, I will write a novel' thing can act against you if you worry too much about how, and when, and how to make it perfect, and so on. (There's a bit in the book where the guy explains how he had a whole plan to take three months off work in which to concentrate solely on writing, going to considerable effort to rearrange his commitments and free up that time - and then he didn't get any writing done at all!) Just starting, and giving yourself permission to write a dreadful first draft, is actually very freeing, and you start achieving things and making progress you never would have otherwise. Ditto with everything else, really - learning a language, or to play an instrument, is a series of tiny steps.


    (4) My advice is, don't think in terms of 'when will I definitely have time to devote to this on a consistent basis?', just think 'I've got half an hour, I can practise that chord/learn five new words/write a couple of paragraphs.'
    (1) Thank you for that explanation; the world of graduate jobs is a lot more flexible than I imagined!

    (2) The main problem for me is that what I was taught at A-levels is not sufficient to understand what is being taught at undergraduate level, and I often find myself spending hours trying to bridge the gap between my own knowledge and what we're expected to know. I have 16 hours of lectures a week, and we are told that 'for every hour inside lectures, you should be spending two more outside working', so that totals up to 48 hours, then there's bridging the gap on top of that, as well as courseworks and lab reports... so quite often the load becomes pretty unbearable. Then I would start to miss lectures to get the assessed stuff in on time, but that just creates a backlog of work to do whenever I get a break. I was planning on getting up to date over Christmas, but I've been so confused and depressed that I've just wasted all of the time that I've had moping around being demotivated and questioning whether to stay or go.

    (3) Thank you very much for the source! It was NaNoWriMo (through Nerdfighteria) that partly inspired me to want to write a novel, and I didn't know there was a book to go alongside it. I'll give it a read when I get some time.

    (4) I've tried doing this before to no avail; by the time I'm finally getting into the flow of things, something else comes along (usually the exam period) and takes away my opportunity to do whatever it is for a month or two. By the time I get back to it, I've forgotten parts of it, so I just try starting over again to remind myself, but sometimes it feels like a waste of time. The one I've repeated at least five times is learning the piano, and now my motivation for it is always inhibited by the knowledge I'm still a member of an academic institution with a fluctuating workload, so I just spend time sleeping, doing work or browsing TSR instead.
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    to me it seems you are depressed , go visit a doctor
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    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    OP
    I have one thing to say;

    Live for yourself, not for others. Do not feel obligated to do something for the sake of others. Do what you enjoy, not what others tell you to do.


    I took the above advice and have never looked back since.

    I'm 19 too btw.
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    Dude I feel your pain. I remember having this crisis several times at uni.

    I can't really offer any advise except to ask the most difficult question to answer - what do you want to do?

    I don't just mean now but in the future. If you have no idea then I would definitely suggest you stick with it. Take it from someone who did the "sensible thing" for too long and stuck with something far worse than uni, a desk job. I was able to escape only because I had the parachute of a degree etc. The worst worst thing (IMO) if being stuck in a job that you hate and having no idea of how to get out of it.
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    Just had to say OP, your grammar is fabulous!
    There really isn't anything useful I can suggest that hasn't already been suggested in more detail.

    Whatever you choose, I hope it turns out to be the right move for you.

    Good Luck!
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    OP, lack of food exacerbates mental anguish. The brain suffers when it has no good nutrition-ask anyone with an eating disorder. So please try to eat regularly.
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    You know you can always take a year off. Cool your head down, make some money, then go back with a fresh head and maybe decide to choose another major or something.
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    You need to stop worrying about what other people will think and do whats right for you.

    Its your life, own it!! As you never know when you might lose it.

    You don't want to wake up one day and regret it.

    It is a hard decision, but only you can make it!!
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    (Original post by Yellowquiet)
    What's kind of a worry for me is I have no prior work experience, so I think finding a job will probably be very hard, and I don't want to quit university and be put through the stress of being essentially unemployable to a lot of employers.

    I really wouldn't worry about that. Like I said, I've always found jobs easy to come by. I had to get a first job too when I had no experience - everybody does. Experience isn't that important in a lot of jobs. They will train you anyway. My first job was as a sales advisor in Comet. I had never worked in retail before but I was chosen over other applicants who had sales experience. It's all about how you come across at the interview. Lots of smiles and enthusiasm! You're clearly intelligent and have good communication skills so I think you'll be fine. What kind of job were you thinking of? I'd recommend retail because you meet loads of people, both customers and colleagues that you will become friends with. It's fun and generally awesome but also you get bored of it after a year or two, so then you will probably start craving education again. That's what happened to me anyway. It's still enjoyable, but you start thinking about what else you can do to stimulate your brain. Being worried about not getting a job is no reason to stay in a course you're miserable on anyway. From reading other threads, it seems that graduate jobs are REALLY hard to get without experience. So you'd actually probably be better getting some general work experience now!
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    Hi mate, I don’t normally post on forums however I saw this whilst researching the OU and felt I had to comment.

    The feelings you describe about your course and life seem very like mild depression. I think this because I remember having similar feelings at your age after a long period of stress and study. Unfortunately I didn’t seek any support and became quite ill. It then took a long time to recover. (I’ve been fine since).

    Looking at your post it’s clear you have a very fine analytical mind. This is great for problem solving in the outside world however it’s not so hot when it’s turned inwards constantly trying to analyse itself and the whole meaning of life. It simply becomes more and more exhausted which in turn, makes the problems seem worse so the analysis becomes more intense, so you try harder and….so it goes on until you completely exhaust yourself and everything seems black. This may also account for your struggling with the course. Here’s a couple of things which might help…

    1 Make an appointment to see your Uni counsellor and/or a GP. Make sure you tell them all the things you put in your post. Don’t be embarrassed – they will have heard it all before, these feelings are very common. Your Uni will be very keen to help as the government marks them down on early leavers.

    2 Choose a friend you can trust (close your eyes and your instincts will tell you who) and talk to them about how you’re feeling. You’ll be amazed how many will be keen to share their own anxieties.

    3 Give yourself a break from trying to decide about Uni – just ‘decide’ to decide after you’ve tried these suggestions.

    4 Talk to your mum about how you feel. If you’re too embarrassed maybe you could show her your post? (edited if necessary). I know you say she shouts however she probably only wants what’s best for you and she would be horrified if she realised you’re feeling this way. Getting her onside will take the pressure off you IF you decide to leave Uni.

    5 Remember the Christmas break of the first Uni year is a critical time for a lot of students, some people sail through Uni however many will have the doubts and anxieties you currently have. Ironically the more intelligent you are, the more you’re likely to suffer these doubts!

    6 YOU ARE 19! Stop trying to resolve all of life’s problems in one go. An American president once said he preferred to fight his wars one at a time. You would be wise to take his advice and only deal with problems one at a time.

    7 You wouldn’t put chip fat in an expensive sports car – so why fuel your fine mind on cr*p. You need some protein and fresh veg to feed your brain, not polos.

    8 Get some exercise. A long walk will fuel feel good endorphins in your brain, or go for a run. Swimming is especially good for lifting low mood. Then get some regular sleep to rest your mind. These things will clear and refresh your mind.

    9 Don’t feel bad because you’re not sure what you want to do in life. All the people I envied at school because they were so sure what they wanted to do came unstuck when they realised it wasn’t what they thought it was… and why wouldn’t they? If you’d never been to a pub, a cinema or a museum and were suddenly asked to choose a visit to one, how would you choose? Life is about trial and error, many famous people didn’t find their niche until middle age e.g. Winston Churchill. At 19 I can assure you that you have plenty of time to make c**k ups and start again. I have – several times; each time you get stronger, learn more and get better. The man who never made a mistake never made anything. Don’t think about job roles or careers at this stage – how can you? Instead, think about your likes, dislikes and strengths etc. Write these down and then match these to job roles.

    10 Check to see if there’s any voluntary work you can do near Uni. See this site do-it.org.uk You may meet similarly minded people. It will will turn your thoughts outwards and you may stumble on your passion for a future career.

    11 I know what you mean about some people seeming shallow. Even at my age I still meet people who make me wonder ‘have you ever watched a news bulletin in your entire life?’ but hey I wouldn’t want everyone to be the same as me! Similarly don’t completely dismiss people getting drunk, many do this because it’s a way of hiding our inhibitions and inadequacies. You might be surprised though, some of my best friends are people who I met when they or I were drunk. If we’d been sober we probably would have dismissed each other. Some people who seem shallow often reveal a deeper side once their inhibitions are stripped away; but don’t go mad with alcohol – it is a depressant and has wrecked many lives.

    If you’re following all the above, why not simply ‘decide’ to go back to Uni, give it a try ‘till Easter or the Summer term. The first year is usually a time you can afford to have false starts so try not to be too worried about it. I think you can use this first year as transferrable points to use against a future degree at another institution should you decide to give up the course. Think about it, if you stop exhausting yourself worrying about your future entire life (which is largely outside of your control anyway) you may find a rested mind will easily handle the challenges of your course. It’s a fact that a mind fully engaged in day to day study will be more rested than one constantly trying to anxiously analyse the future. Try not to make a final decision until your mind is rested. I guarantee you that you WILL feel different once you’re rested. This doesn’t mean you’ll decide to stay at Uni however it WILL mean you’ll make a sound decision, when you’re feeling yourself - whatever that decision may be.
    If you do decide to give up Uni then bear in mind the following –

    A. It’s not true that you HAVE to have a degree to have a successful career/life. Of course, some jobs insist on a degree however in many (especially retail or business) there is no need. Even in those that do you may be able to start at a lower level and work up. I’ve recruited lots of people and you need to be aware that all employers are looking for common sense, analytical thinking and commitment. I can tell you now that the vast majority of people do NOT have all these qualities (degree or not). I can see from your post that you DO possess them and these will help you succeed in any organisation.

    B. You could decide to do a degree later, either in the OU or at another institution.

    Try to be kinder to yourself and cut yourself some slack + get some rest. I think then you’ll know what you want to do…whatever it is, good luck!
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    (Original post by grahap)
    Hi mate, I don’t normally post on forums however I saw this whilst researching the OU and felt I had to comment.

    The feelings you describe about your course and life seem very like mild depression. I think this because I remember having similar feelings at your age after a long period of stress and study. Unfortunately I didn’t seek any support and became quite ill. It then took a long time to recover. (I’ve been fine since).

    Looking at your post it’s clear you have a very fine analytical mind. This is great for problem solving in the outside world however it’s not so hot when it’s turned inwards constantly trying to analyse itself and the whole meaning of life. It simply becomes more and more exhausted which in turn, makes the problems seem worse so the analysis becomes more intense, so you try harder and….so it goes on until you completely exhaust yourself and everything seems black. This may also account for your struggling with the course. Here’s a couple of things which might help…

    1 Make an appointment to see your Uni counsellor and/or a GP. Make sure you tell them all the things you put in your post. Don’t be embarrassed – they will have heard it all before, these feelings are very common. Your Uni will be very keen to help as the government marks them down on early leavers.

    2 Choose a friend you can trust (close your eyes and your instincts will tell you who) and talk to them about how you’re feeling. You’ll be amazed how many will be keen to share their own anxieties.

    3 Give yourself a break from trying to decide about Uni – just ‘decide’ to decide after you’ve tried these suggestions.

    4 Talk to your mum about how you feel. If you’re too embarrassed maybe you could show her your post? (edited if necessary). I know you say she shouts however she probably only wants what’s best for you and she would be horrified if she realised you’re feeling this way. Getting her onside will take the pressure off you IF you decide to leave Uni.

    5 Remember the Christmas break of the first Uni year is a critical time for a lot of students, some people sail through Uni however many will have the doubts and anxieties you currently have. Ironically the more intelligent you are, the more you’re likely to suffer these doubts!

    6 YOU ARE 19! Stop trying to resolve all of life’s problems in one go. An American president once said he preferred to fight his wars one at a time. You would be wise to take his advice and only deal with problems one at a time.

    7 You wouldn’t put chip fat in an expensive sports car – so why fuel your fine mind on cr*p. You need some protein and fresh veg to feed your brain, not polos.

    8 Get some exercise. A long walk will fuel feel good endorphins in your brain, or go for a run. Swimming is especially good for lifting low mood. Then get some regular sleep to rest your mind. These things will clear and refresh your mind.

    9 Don’t feel bad because you’re not sure what you want to do in life. All the people I envied at school because they were so sure what they wanted to do came unstuck when they realised it wasn’t what they thought it was… and why wouldn’t they? If you’d never been to a pub, a cinema or a museum and were suddenly asked to choose a visit to one, how would you choose? Life is about trial and error, many famous people didn’t find their niche until middle age e.g. Winston Churchill. At 19 I can assure you that you have plenty of time to make c**k ups and start again. I have – several times; each time you get stronger, learn more and get better. The man who never made a mistake never made anything. Don’t think about job roles or careers at this stage – how can you? Instead, think about your likes, dislikes and strengths etc. Write these down and then match these to job roles.

    10 Check to see if there’s any voluntary work you can do near Uni. See this site do-it.org.uk You may meet similarly minded people. It will will turn your thoughts outwards and you may stumble on your passion for a future career.

    11 I know what you mean about some people seeming shallow. Even at my age I still meet people who make me wonder ‘have you ever watched a news bulletin in your entire life?’ but hey I wouldn’t want everyone to be the same as me! Similarly don’t completely dismiss people getting drunk, many do this because it’s a way of hiding our inhibitions and inadequacies. You might be surprised though, some of my best friends are people who I met when they or I were drunk. If we’d been sober we probably would have dismissed each other. Some people who seem shallow often reveal a deeper side once their inhibitions are stripped away; but don’t go mad with alcohol – it is a depressant and has wrecked many lives.

    If you’re following all the above, why not simply ‘decide’ to go back to Uni, give it a try ‘till Easter or the Summer term. The first year is usually a time you can afford to have false starts so try not to be too worried about it. I think you can use this first year as transferrable points to use against a future degree at another institution should you decide to give up the course. Think about it, if you stop exhausting yourself worrying about your future entire life (which is largely outside of your control anyway) you may find a rested mind will easily handle the challenges of your course. It’s a fact that a mind fully engaged in day to day study will be more rested than one constantly trying to anxiously analyse the future. Try not to make a final decision until your mind is rested. I guarantee you that you WILL feel different once you’re rested. This doesn’t mean you’ll decide to stay at Uni however it WILL mean you’ll make a sound decision, when you’re feeling yourself - whatever that decision may be.
    If you do decide to give up Uni then bear in mind the following –

    A. It’s not true that you HAVE to have a degree to have a successful career/life. Of course, some jobs insist on a degree however in many (especially retail or business) there is no need. Even in those that do you may be able to start at a lower level and work up. I’ve recruited lots of people and you need to be aware that all employers are looking for common sense, analytical thinking and commitment. I can tell you now that the vast majority of people do NOT have all these qualities (degree or not). I can see from your post that you DO possess them and these will help you succeed in any organisation.

    B. You could decide to do a degree later, either in the OU or at another institution.

    Try to be kinder to yourself and cut yourself some slack + get some rest. I think then you’ll know what you want to do…whatever it is, good luck!
    All fantastic advice! Thank you for taking the time to post this Good luck OP. Remember you're still so young. Everything will work out in the end.

    If it's not worked out ok, then it's not the end yet.
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    Update #2:

    I am sat in my room in the Halls of Residence feeling really ill, confused and stressed. I've got multiple pieces of coursework due in over the week, plus a maths test tomorrow at 9am to revise for, and I can't find the motivation to do finish any of them. I'm tempted to e-mail my tutor and ask if it is possible to postpone my studies for a year, but I still don't fully believe that is a 'good solution' to this problem; if I do take time out, then ideally I'd like some sort of concrete plan, but I don't have one and all I feel like doing at the moment is going back home, curling up in my bed and crying. I can't eat a lot because my body feels like it's rejecting food, and it's impossible to eat anything substantial. Since I got back yesterday afternoon, I have had a regular sized Pot Noodle and a pack of Polos, which is not great nutritionally but better than having no energy intake at all. Overall, this is probably the worst I've ever felt in my life so far.

    Also, another reason I am confused about what I want to do (which I am reluctant to put on here because I haven't told any of my friends yet but is probably essential to getting the full picture) is that, the day after I came to university, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was a bit shocked by the news, especially being away from my family, but it didn't really hit home until I returned for the Christmas holidays and found the house littered with dire-looking leaflets, more medicine than could fit in the fairly large medicine cabinet and my dad riddled with subtle side effects. I wasn't really sure how to react to it, so I just didn't mention it, but the atmosphere in my house was noticeably different; everyone was a lot more cold and short-tempered. I debated for the first two weeks whether or not to tell my mum about how I felt about university since she already had enough to be dealing with, but eventually she found out after she questioned me about a remark I made to my friend so I explained some of the things I've put on here to her, and all that has done is worried her and cause her to spend the past week interrogating me and pressuring me for a decision, and I decided it'd be marginally easier to think things over at university than it would at home.

    For the moment, I'm sticking with university, but I have a gut feeling that the next week will decide everything for me. Once again, thank you all for your continued support; it's been really helpful.

    ~~~~~~~

    (Original post by Dukeofwembley)
    to me it seems you are depressed , go visit a doctor
    I've heard this quite a lot in the thread; it's probably true, but I'm finding it hard to find the time or motivation to go... if I do go, then I feel like it's taking up time that I could be doing work to ease the pressure, even if it does help in the long term.


    (Original post by DotDotCurve)
    Live for yourself, not for others. Do not feel obligated to do something for the sake of others. Do what you enjoy, not what others tell you to do.
    I would love to be able to 'live for myself', but I don't know what I want, so at the moment the choices are to live for the sake of living or live to serve someone else. I also don't know what I enjoy; the main thing I used to enjoy was academic work, which is how I've got this far, but now it's just become the symbol of my stress.


    (Original post by tcgrad)
    Dude I feel your pain. I remember having this crisis several times at uni.

    I can't really offer any advise except to ask the most difficult question to answer - what do you want to do?

    I don't just mean now but in the future. If you have no idea then I would definitely suggest you stick with it. Take it from someone who did the "sensible thing" for too long and stuck with something far worse than uni, a desk job. I was able to escape only because I had the parachute of a degree etc. The worst worst thing (IMO) if being stuck in a job that you hate and having no idea of how to get out of it.
    This is the main reason that I'm sticking with it at the moment; even if I do see a job as a means to an end and not a life goal, I'm still gonna be spending a lot of my time there so I don't want to be stuck in a place where I feel my contribution to the company, and to the world in general, is non-existent.


    (Original post by Elm Tree)
    Just had to say OP, your grammar is fabulous!
    There really isn't anything useful I can suggest that hasn't already been suggested in more detail.

    Whatever you choose, I hope it turns out to be the right move for you.

    Good Luck!
    Thank you.


    (Original post by wannabemed)
    OP, lack of food exacerbates mental anguish. The brain suffers when it has no good nutrition-ask anyone with an eating disorder. So please try to eat regularly.
    I'm trying to eat regularly, but my appetite is on a path that's only going down, and trying to force myself to eat is just adding another aspect to the mental pain that I'm feeling, so I'm just going to leave it for now and hope that I get hungry once uni starts again properly.


    (Original post by emerset)
    You know you can always take a year off. Cool your head down, make some money, then go back with a fresh head and maybe decide to choose another major or something.
    I'm tempted to e-mail my tutor and ask to do this, but even though it's probably my most preferred solution, I'm questioning whether or not this is the best solution to this problem in the long term.


    (Original post by YouDontWannaKnow)
    You need to stop worrying about what other people will think and do whats right for you.

    Its your life, own it!! As you never know when you might lose it.

    You don't want to wake up one day and regret it.

    It is a hard decision, but only you can make it!!
    I honestly don't care what other people think of me in that respect; as John Green wrote:

    "There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does."

    What I do care about is how well I spend my existence in my own eyes; the one goal I have in life is not to regret it on my death bed. Would I regret it if I give up long-term satisfaction to remove this short-term pain?


    (Original post by LinzyLoo)
    I really wouldn't worry about that. Like I said, I've always found jobs easy to come by. I had to get a first job too when I had no experience - everybody does. Experience isn't that important in a lot of jobs. They will train you anyway. My first job was as a sales advisor in Comet. I had never worked in retail before but I was chosen over other applicants who had sales experience. It's all about how you come across at the interview. Lots of smiles and enthusiasm! You're clearly intelligent and have good communication skills so I think you'll be fine. What kind of job were you thinking of? I'd recommend retail because you meet loads of people, both customers and colleagues that you will become friends with. It's fun and generally awesome but also you get bored of it after a year or two, so then you will probably start craving education again. That's what happened to me anyway. It's still enjoyable, but you start thinking about what else you can do to stimulate your brain. Being worried about not getting a job is no reason to stay in a course you're miserable on anyway. From reading other threads, it seems that graduate jobs are REALLY hard to get without experience. So you'd actually probably be better getting some general work experience now!
    Thank you. I'll look into it then and decide by Easter what I believe is the best path to take.


    (Original post by grahap)
    Hi mate, I don’t normally post on forums however I saw this whilst researching the OU and felt I had to comment.

    The feelings you describe about your course and life seem very like mild depression. I think this because I remember having similar feelings at your age after a long period of stress and study. Unfortunately I didn’t seek any support and became quite ill. It then took a long time to recover. (I’ve been fine since).

    Looking at your post it’s clear you have a very fine analytical mind. This is great for problem solving in the outside world however it’s not so hot when it’s turned inwards constantly trying to analyse itself and the whole meaning of life. It simply becomes more and more exhausted which in turn, makes the problems seem worse so the analysis becomes more intense, so you try harder and….so it goes on until you completely exhaust yourself and everything seems black. This may also account for your struggling with the course. Here’s a couple of things which might help…

    1 Make an appointment to see your Uni counsellor and/or a GP. Make sure you tell them all the things you put in your post. Don’t be embarrassed – they will have heard it all before, these feelings are very common. Your Uni will be very keen to help as the government marks them down on early leavers.

    2 Choose a friend you can trust (close your eyes and your instincts will tell you who) and talk to them about how you’re feeling. You’ll be amazed how many will be keen to share their own anxieties.

    3 Give yourself a break from trying to decide about Uni – just ‘decide’ to decide after you’ve tried these suggestions.

    4 Talk to your mum about how you feel. If you’re too embarrassed maybe you could show her your post? (edited if necessary). I know you say she shouts however she probably only wants what’s best for you and she would be horrified if she realised you’re feeling this way. Getting her onside will take the pressure off you IF you decide to leave Uni.

    5 Remember the Christmas break of the first Uni year is a critical time for a lot of students, some people sail through Uni however many will have the doubts and anxieties you currently have. Ironically the more intelligent you are, the more you’re likely to suffer these doubts!

    6 YOU ARE 19! Stop trying to resolve all of life’s problems in one go. An American president once said he preferred to fight his wars one at a time. You would be wise to take his advice and only deal with problems one at a time.

    7 You wouldn’t put chip fat in an expensive sports car – so why fuel your fine mind on cr*p. You need some protein and fresh veg to feed your brain, not polos.

    8 Get some exercise. A long walk will fuel feel good endorphins in your brain, or go for a run. Swimming is especially good for lifting low mood. Then get some regular sleep to rest your mind. These things will clear and refresh your mind.

    9 Don’t feel bad because you’re not sure what you want to do in life. All the people I envied at school because they were so sure what they wanted to do came unstuck when they realised it wasn’t what they thought it was… and why wouldn’t they? If you’d never been to a pub, a cinema or a museum and were suddenly asked to choose a visit to one, how would you choose? Life is about trial and error, many famous people didn’t find their niche until middle age e.g. Winston Churchill. At 19 I can assure you that you have plenty of time to make c**k ups and start again. I have – several times; each time you get stronger, learn more and get better. The man who never made a mistake never made anything. Don’t think about job roles or careers at this stage – how can you? Instead, think about your likes, dislikes and strengths etc. Write these down and then match these to job roles.

    10 Check to see if there’s any voluntary work you can do near Uni. See this site do-it.org.uk You may meet similarly minded people. It will will turn your thoughts outwards and you may stumble on your passion for a future career.

    11 I know what you mean about some people seeming shallow. Even at my age I still meet people who make me wonder ‘have you ever watched a news bulletin in your entire life?’ but hey I wouldn’t want everyone to be the same as me! Similarly don’t completely dismiss people getting drunk, many do this because it’s a way of hiding our inhibitions and inadequacies. You might be surprised though, some of my best friends are people who I met when they or I were drunk. If we’d been sober we probably would have dismissed each other. Some people who seem shallow often reveal a deeper side once their inhibitions are stripped away; but don’t go mad with alcohol – it is a depressant and has wrecked many lives.

    If you’re following all the above, why not simply ‘decide’ to go back to Uni, give it a try ‘till Easter or the Summer term. The first year is usually a time you can afford to have false starts so try not to be too worried about it. I think you can use this first year as transferrable points to use against a future degree at another institution should you decide to give up the course. Think about it, if you stop exhausting yourself worrying about your future entire life (which is largely outside of your control anyway) you may find a rested mind will easily handle the challenges of your course. It’s a fact that a mind fully engaged in day to day study will be more rested than one constantly trying to anxiously analyse the future. Try not to make a final decision until your mind is rested. I guarantee you that you WILL feel different once you’re rested. This doesn’t mean you’ll decide to stay at Uni however it WILL mean you’ll make a sound decision, when you’re feeling yourself - whatever that decision may be.
    If you do decide to give up Uni then bear in mind the following –

    A. It’s not true that you HAVE to have a degree to have a successful career/life. Of course, some jobs insist on a degree however in many (especially retail or business) there is no need. Even in those that do you may be able to start at a lower level and work up. I’ve recruited lots of people and you need to be aware that all employers are looking for common sense, analytical thinking and commitment. I can tell you now that the vast majority of people do NOT have all these qualities (degree or not). I can see from your post that you DO possess them and these will help you succeed in any organization.

    B. You could decide to do a degree later, either in the OU or at another institution.

    Try to be kinder to yourself and cut yourself some slack + get some rest. I think then you’ll know what you want to do…whatever it is, good luck!
    Thank you very much for your post; the list of advice looks very helpful, and I'll make sure to try following them ASAP, but I have a response to a few of them that might make my situation a bit clearer in some areas:


    "2 Choose a friend you can trust (close your eyes and your instincts will tell you who) and talk to them about how you’re feeling. You’ll be amazed how many will be keen to share their own anxieties."

    I've spoken to one of my close friends about it and he gave me some really great advice (one of which was to post on here). My other close friends are not particularly serious people and prefer it if I just put on a false smile and act carefree rather than tell them how I really feel, so I won't bother telling them.


    "4 Talk to your mum about how you feel. If you’re too embarrassed maybe you could show her your post? (edited if necessary). I know you say she shouts however she probably only wants what’s best for you and she would be horrified if she realised you’re feeling this way. Getting her onside will take the pressure off you IF you decide to leave Uni."

    My mum is a bit of an enigma. She is an intelligent woman, but was brought up in a bad family whose decisions caused her to fail school and leave home at the age of 16. When she realised that I had a 'knack' for science and maths, she encouraged me to keep going and on more than one occasion has told me that I have to prove one thing or another by getting a decent degree. Sometimes I feel a bit like she is trying to 'live through me' if that makes sense? If I quit university, then it's like I am shattering her dreams, and even if she does try to cover it up I know for a fact that she'll be pretty annoyed.

    She found out how I felt about University over the Christmas holidays against my wishes (see top of post) and all that that has achieved is (1) her giving me a lecture on exactly what was going to happen if I quit university (which mainly consisted of being pushed to get a full time job and not having any time to rest and think), (2) made her more worried than she was when I arrived and (3) interrogation for the last week of the holidays. She's usually pretty supportive, but if I don't really know what I want then she can't fully support my decision.


    "6 YOU ARE 19! Stop trying to resolve all of life’s problems in one go. An American president once said he preferred to fight his wars one at a time. You would be wise to take his advice and only deal with problems one at a time."

    The problem I have is that I am not 19 and fighting wars; I am 19 and without any trace of life direction. I might make a poll in a while to find out at what age people vaguely begin to formulate a life direction, be that setting a goal or realising a dream career, but while 19 is not unheard of, I don't think it's very common, especially of people at university. Everyone who I have asked about this has at least a vague idea what they'd like to do and quite a lot have a very clear idea, which makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong.


    "8 Get some exercise. A long walk will fuel feel good endorphins in your brain, or go for a run. Swimming is especially good for lifting low mood. Then get some regular sleep to rest your mind. These things will clear and refresh your mind."

    I've tried this whilst at university, but I spend the whole time I'm out worrying that the time would be better spent doing work; I was brought up to prioritize working hard over almost everything else unless you have a good enough excuse for not doing the work (which now amounts to something that I do not have adequate power to prevent, such as being physically incapacitated), and so this plagues my mind. If I did stop university for now, then I would make getting more exercise amongst my top priorities.


    "9 Don’t feel bad because you’re not sure what you want to do in life."

    That's one of the reasons I chose such a varied course at university; I hoped that, at some point over the four years, I would be given some piece of work that would make my brain click and realise 'This is what I want to do!' but it's become a lot harder to get to that point than I first envisioned.


    For the moment, I'm sticking with university, but I have a gut feeling that the next week will decide everything for me.
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    **** man, sorry about your dad

    :hugs:
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    I'm so sorry to hear about your dad - that must be really difficult. Thank you for trusting us enough to tell us about it.

    Regarding your feeling that you ought to know what you want to do with your life - just because some, or even many people know what they think they want to do at 19, that doesn't mean they're going to end up doing it, or even continuing to want to do it.

    The whole 'any time I spend not working is time wasted' thing is quite a dangerous road to go down. (The most extreme example I can think of is the time I had to literally carry someone out of the uni library and take him to A&E because he'd pretty much been in there for 48 hours drinking Red Bull and taking Pro Plus and could no longer feel his face or hands.) If you spend all your time trying to work, the end result will be that you don't achieve anything at all, and you're just staring at things hoping they wedge themselves in your head somehow. I know you don't feel much like eating at the moment, but please do try to take in some food that isn't polos and Pot Noodle - those will make you feel even more horrible than you did to start with. If you can't manage anything substantial, try some soup or fruit; at least it'll be giving you some nourishment. And, taking short breaks from your work and going for a walk, or doing some other little bit of physical activity, isn't a distraction from work; it's part of the work. It's what allows your body and brain to function well enough to get anything done at all.

    Now I'm going to be bossy. For this evening, if you insist on working, then you only do the revision, and leave the rest alone. Also, eat something sensible, and do a little bit of something active, even if it's just some stretches, or finding a yoga video on YouTube, or something. And if there is anyone even slightly sympathetic around, then talk to them about how you're feeling.

    Tomorrow morning, you've got your test. After that, your priority is moving things forward. Not in a grand-plans way; in a making-things-better-now way. Go to your uni counselling service, and find out about making an appointment. Make a doctor's appointment. And, arrange to meet with your tutor. It sounds like a lot, but it all needs to happen. If you have a friend at uni who could help a bit - maybe giving you some moral support by helping you to go to the places you need to get to - then rope them in.

    Do you feel like you could tell us what uni you're at? I'd be happy to do a quick trawl to see if I could find out more about their support services for you, if it would help.
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    go talk to your head of year or whoever is the equilavent - see what other courses you could transfer to.

    Then, go out and ask about getting some work experience in different places, see what sort of work you might enjoy
 
 
 
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