Should I drop out of Oxford?

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Anonymous #1
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I have just started as a fresher studying Classics at the University of Oxford and am already wondering what I am doing here. I took a gap year last year after deferring last minute because of Covid and in that time my interests have changed significantly and I no longer have any interest in Classics (I have hardly any interest in anything anymore) but wish I was doing a course involving German with history or politics instead. I have been depressed for some time and have just started on anti-depressants, but even if they help I don't think I could cope with studying something so intensely for 4 years which I now actively dislike and see as pointless. I like my college, have met some nice people and could see myself studying here if I was doing the right course but my college doesn't offer German and doesn't have any space for me to move onto another course like History and Politics.

I am also finding it really difficult being away from home as my mum has been unwell and has just found out she won't get better which makes me feel guilty for leaving and feel like everything is falling apart, especially as I have always relied on her for support but she is now too stressed out with her own problems for me.

The depression also makes me alternate between being extremely indecisive and incapable of making any decisions to being extremely impulsive which makes me worried about whether I should be making such a big decision in my current mental state. I also have depersonalisation and disassociation - for example I don't recognise myself or other people at all and I feel like it wasn't really me who applied for classics in the first place, and that I have just woken up and found myself here.

Should I drop out now and reapply for a different course next year? Should I ask about switching within the university? Or should I try sticking it out?

Disclaimers:
I am sorry I can't organise my thoughts any clearer - my mind is in turmoil - and that does not bode well for a essay-based degree.
I know this situation is all my fault for choosing the wrong course but any advice would be very much appreciated.
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sweetpotato3
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Hi, I would really recommend that you seek pastoral help from your university, to see if they could support you through counselling or more general advice <33
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sally1986
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As someone who went through uni with severe mental health and spent my 2nd year in hospital and only attended 10% of the entire course... (I did still manage a 2:1 remarkably and this was years ago)... I would say you should defer. You're using a HUGE amount of debt to gain this degree. Whilst degrees are great, they're not the be all and end all so honestly, you're not going to have the fun experience of uni, already questioning and with circumstances I'd defer and work on yourself before attending, or if able you could try to change courses. Whichever I'd fully suggest you go straight to the pastoral team of the uni for immediate advice. It's a big decision and especially when we're in a mentally fractious state to make alone. You can do this, but your happiness and well being comes before education. Trust me!
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161BMW
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Some good advice here.
I would also question these anti depressants which maybe affecting your decision making skills. Just do some exercise and good sleep instead of that.
Speak to your senior tutor or pastoral team.
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EconomicsStud3nt
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Your drs can provide proof of illness or extenuating circumstances bc of illness.

Drop out bc of the above and the funding entitlement can be reversed. I’d say leave and come back to a more suited course. or try to transfer to something else here which isn’t German and the history and politics course, you only need a basic level of interest. The rest is transferable skills. As far as jobs afterwards is concerned.
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Trinculo
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It would be so amazing if there were a university transfer window. Get to the end of Michaelmas, not happy - want to go somewhere else. On the other hand, all the kids that had fantastic academics, but really wanted to get absolutely wasted for two weeks, have had a ball of time in Leeds, but now fancy a bit of study and the collegiate stash from Oxford to make granny happy. Swap places. Everyone happy.
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Profesh
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(Original post by 161BMW)
I would also question these anti depressants which maybe affecting your decision making skills. Just do some exercise and good sleep instead of that.
I don't know which is more remarkable: that any human-being could so casually dole out such revelatory insight into the precise modality of OP's clinical depression, or that they would even have the time between (presumably) moderating PubMed, guest-editing The Lancet and single-handedly compiling DSM-6 to share it on TSR.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I have just started as a fresher studying Classics at the University of Oxford and am already wondering what I am doing here. I took a gap year last year after deferring last minute because of Covid and in that time my interests have changed significantly and I no longer have any interest in Classics (I have hardly any interest in anything anymore) but wish I was doing a course involving German with history or politics instead. I have been depressed for some time and have just started on anti-depressants, but even if they help I don't think I could cope with studying something so intensely for 4 years which I now actively dislike and see as pointless. I like my college, have met some nice people and could see myself studying here if I was doing the right course but my college doesn't offer German and doesn't have any space for me to move onto another course like History and Politics.

I am also finding it really difficult being away from home as my mum has been unwell and has just found out she won't get better which makes me feel guilty for leaving and feel like everything is falling apart, especially as I have always relied on her for support but she is now too stressed out with her own problems for me.

The depression also makes me alternate between being extremely indecisive and incapable of making any decisions to being extremely impulsive which makes me worried about whether I should be making such a big decision in my current mental state. I also have depersonalisation and disassociation - for example I don't recognise myself or other people at all and I feel like it wasn't really me who applied for classics in the first place, and that I have just woken up and found myself here.

Should I drop out now and reapply for a different course next year? Should I ask about switching within the university? Or should I try sticking it out?

Disclaimers:
I am sorry I can't organise my thoughts any clearer - my mind is in turmoil - and that does not bode well for a essay-based degree.
I know this situation is all my fault for choosing the wrong course but any advice would be very much appreciated.
I'm sorry I don't have much useful advice but I just wanted to say how similar your situation is to mine and my boyfriend's to say you're not alone.

We're both doing English at Durham, but I think we've both lost interest in it. He, like you, found other interests on his gap year and would probably be much happier doing law or politics. Personally, my passion has probably always been psychology but I doubted my ability just before applying.

I also understand what you mean about being in two minds. Some days here I'm probably lucky that there isn't a "drop out" button because I'd press it instantly. Then days like today and yesterday I've been painstakingly trying to craft pros and cons lists and plans of action because I simply have no idea what to do. I like the place and the people I'm with, but I can't see myself getting through this course. Again like you, I just wish I was able to do something I enjoyed while being here; it would be so much simpler.

It's really tough and I sympathise a lot. Right now I'm leaning towards dropping out, researching other universities, and reapplying. I was tempted to go for Oxford but the deadline is just too soon and I know they don't really take applications while you're enrolled elsewhere.

Good luck with your situation. I'm sorry you're dealing with so much. Feel free to message me if you want to chat, or just start a conversation in this thread.

Also a sidenote, I feel like you spoke very coherently about this so don't put yourself down
Last edited by ashtolga23; 1 week ago
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by 161BMW)
Some good advice here.
I would also question these anti depressants which maybe affecting your decision making skills. Just do some exercise and good sleep instead of that.
Speak to your senior tutor or pastoral team.
What are your credentials again?
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gjd800
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Really sorry to hear this about your Mum. I have similar going on with my uncle so I can relate to this. it is a heavy burden and gets in the way of just about everything.

With my professional head on, if you were on of my undergrads I'd be saying let's implement a couple of strategies to ease things, keep in contact and then come back in a week and see how you feel. If things don't change, then maybe we need to talk about withdrawing and do what feels right for you. But I'm wary of saying that too soon - it is possible that things have just got on top of you and might settle down. I do not want to be patronising, but the change in interests can also be because of feeing over (or indeed under) whelmed. Sometimes it isn't, and the solutions differ accordingly. Anyway, this sort of stuff is my gig, and here's what I think:

Hasty decisions are no good, but nor is it great to drag things out. Finding an appropriate middle is hard, but my the first thing you should do is speak to your academic advisor, tutor, welfare team or equivalent etc in the College. Tell them all of this, as you have told it here. include the depression stuff. You've been brave here and you can be again. They want to help you.

1. Get in touch with the relevant pastoral support at the College
2. Make sure the know everything, including about your Mum and your depression
3. Discuss with them - openly and frankly - what is best for you at this moment it time
4. Decide on either a strategy going on into the term, or whether to withdraw and try something else

There is no shame in withdrawing if this is really the best course of action. None at all. But do not make the decision hastily, or alone. Don't suffer in silence in your digs. Give the College the opportunity to ease your burdens if they can. They are quite good at this given the chance
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Profesh
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
What are your credentials again?
I believe they've helpfully elected to spell out both their GCSE and A-Level grades in their username to obviate just such a question.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Profesh)
I believe they've helpfully elected to spell out both their GCSE and A-Level grades in their username to obviate just such a question.
PRSOM

Aww cute they had grades made just for them
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Anonymous #2
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Hmmm... This is a difficult situation. In my opinion, mental health is just as important as physical health. No qualification is worth risking your life or wellbeing. However, I will say that Oxford is a prestigious university and you must have significant ability to be a student there in the first place. You also mention that you can't do an essay-based degree, which I find odd because History, Politics and German are all qualitative subjects. If I were you, I'd go to the pastoral care team and tell them you're having a mental health crisis and that you need to change courses and also take some time out. However, when you're away, you need to really think about why this choice hasn't worked out so you can learn from it and make better decisions in the future. For example, if you start to feel that the culture at Oxford is incompatible with who you are as a person, it may not be worth returning at all and looking at other Universities. If you'd rather do an advanced apprenticeship than conventional education, that's also something worth researching. Above all, please don't listen to what other people say about it or feel like you've failed. A lot of people who seem to be doing well and following the 'correct' path after school end up significantly underachieving in the long run. The education system is pretty flawed and if you want to escape, even temporarily, no one blames you for it!
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Inquistor24
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Remember why you started it, phone family and friends and ask for their advice. Realise that this feeling is the general despair-feeling that we all get when mentally/emotionally drained, and that if embraced, it will take the rest of your life's success from you.

Please I strongly advise you to go out with a bang not a flutter, do not quit - refuse to quit, and you will find there will be systems and hopefully people in place to help you through it, and if there isn't - what I mean by go out with a bang - is to fail instead of quit. Retain your pride (the good kind).

There is so much to be said for refusing to quit. You have no idea how powerful this mindset is. I would argue it is life itself, and could even be a part of the name for God.

You will find Classics to be immeasurably useful in your future. You can freaking read the original copies of the biblical manuscripts? You can read all the latin literature, all the intellectual documents of medieval times.

Endure, persist, fight-on. Seize the higher ground.
Last edited by Inquistor24; 1 week ago
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
We're both doing English at Durham, but I think we've both lost interest in it. He, like you, found other interests on his gap year and would probably be much happier doing law or politics. Personally, my passion has probably always been psychology but I doubted my ability just before applying.
I heard Alice Osemen who did English at Durham say the same thing but then in her books Durham just seems so cool
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161BMW
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
What are your credentials again?
What’s it to you ?
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161BMW
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(Original post by Profesh)
I believe they've helpfully elected to spell out both their GCSE and A-Level grades in their username to obviate just such a question.
Use your brain
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by summerbirdreads)
I heard Alice Osemen who did English at Durham say the same thing but then in her books Durham just seems so cool
What was she saying sorry? Not sure which bit you mean but it sounds interesting

Where are you based?
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Inquistor24
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(Original post by Profesh)
I don't know which is more remarkable: that any human-being could so casually dole out such revelatory insight into the precise modality of OP's clinical depression, or that they would even have the time between (presumably) moderating PubMed, guest-editing The Lancet and single-handedly compiling DSM-6 to share it on TSR.
If a clinically depressed person gets more sleep they will become less depressed. It is a low-energy condition, nothing more nothing less. And as for running/exercise, when the OP is ready, this is still good advice, but the sleep comes first.
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
What was she saying sorry? Not sure which bit you mean but it sounds interesting

Where are you based?
She's a YA author and she kinda mentioned she hated studying literature at uni plenty of times and she went to Durham and I think she talked about it in depth in this video but I did not really watch it but I watched this one where she talked about it in the beginning.
But in her book Loveless the way she portrays Durham is amazing and makes me wanna go study there.
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