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I want to quit uni so badly but I’m in too deep

I’m 4th year illustration student.
Absolutely hate university, I am struggling so hard to carry on. Only a few months left but I’m so depressed it’s ruining my life. Makes me a horrible person to be around because anytime anyone brings it up I snap at them when I don’t mean to. I try to sit down and do the work but my head physically hurts from stress, I can’t concentrate and I feel hopeless. It seems easy to draw for your degree but when they want 100+ drawings it’s so draining, especially when you aren’t passionate about it - forcing out creativity is causing my burnout to be even worse. Completed my dissertation but handed it in late so it will be capped at 40% so what’s the point anymore. I love my job, I’d rather just work and move on with my life at this point. I have a foundation degree and have enough credits from previous years to get a certificate of higher education, so I have something to show for myself at least. Please I feel at this point I’m not even doing it for myself, I’m doing it to please my family even though I have no motivation. And it’s proven that you don’t need a degree to be an illustrator/artist, just a good portfolio and skills which I do have already without the degree. Please someone help me because I can’t do this anymore, I feel like I’m torturing myself for the sake of a piece of paper

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Can you talk to your personal tutor about this? I can see several good reasons that you've given for stopping - would a pros and cons list help, so you could take that to a meeting with your tutor and explain how you're feeling and thinking about it all? Even a few months more can be too many, or could perhaps be manageable, depending on lots of factors, so a pros and cons list might help to identify those factors and help you make the best decision for you. Also, I think it's really important that you think about contacting your GP or student wellbeing just for a bit of extra support while you work through what to do.
Reply 2
Original post by SilverPebble
Can you talk to your personal tutor about this? I can see several good reasons that you've given for stopping - would a pros and cons list help, so you could take that to a meeting with your tutor and explain how you're feeling and thinking about it all? Even a few months more can be too many, or could perhaps be manageable, depending on lots of factors, so a pros and cons list might help to identify those factors and help you make the best decision for you. Also, I think it's really important that you think about contacting your GP or student wellbeing just for a bit of extra support while you work through what to do.

Unfortunately I've been to my wellbeing person and they weren't much help. I was hoping to be referred to counselling but they pretty much told me they couldn't do anything unless I was officially diagnosed with mental health from a doctor and had formal meetings with the disability department. Tried to get an appointment with the university doctor and they have been fully booked for weeks. What's funny though is that I don't have mental health issues outside of uni, uni is the cause of my problems so it seems pointless to get a diagnosis when I know exactly what's causing my pain. Made pros and cons lists many times and I just seem to get more confused as theirs good reasons on both sides. My attendance is shocking so I don't really have a relationship with any of my tutors, and my so called personal tutor has made no effort to help me with my struggles even though I emailed many times. Their solution was pretty much "come into campus and it will all be okay", whilst they know its extremely hard for me to do so (I live 2 hours away from campus due to financial reasons and because its so hard for me to get in, i never got chance to meet people on the course which only makes my anxiety worse) i feel like i have tried everything i can, I've contacted all the people I'm supposed to when you are struggling and it's not helped. But if I drop out I will feel like a failure
Original post by Oobalu
Unfortunately I've been to my wellbeing person and they weren't much help. I was hoping to be referred to counselling but they pretty much told me they couldn't do anything unless I was officially diagnosed with mental health from a doctor and had formal meetings with the disability department. Tried to get an appointment with the university doctor and they have been fully booked for weeks. What's funny though is that I don't have mental health issues outside of uni, uni is the cause of my problems so it seems pointless to get a diagnosis when I know exactly what's causing my pain. Made pros and cons lists many times and I just seem to get more confused as theirs good reasons on both sides. My attendance is shocking so I don't really have a relationship with any of my tutors, and my so called personal tutor has made no effort to help me with my struggles even though I emailed many times. Their solution was pretty much "come into campus and it will all be okay", whilst they know its extremely hard for me to do so (I live 2 hours away from campus due to financial reasons and because its so hard for me to get in, i never got chance to meet people on the course which only makes my anxiety worse) i feel like i have tried everything i can, I've contacted all the people I'm supposed to when you are struggling and it's not helped. But if I drop out I will feel like a failure

Okay, so if you 'drop out' (aka protect your mental health and wellbeing), what will you do next? Would making plans for that help, so that you know what the next steps are going to be?

Alternatively, can you defer a year?
Reply 4
Original post by SilverPebble
Okay, so if you 'drop out' (aka protect your mental health and wellbeing), what will you do next? Would making plans for that help, so that you know what the next steps are going to be?

Alternatively, can you defer a year?

I can't defer, as I've used up all the student loan available to me after doing a foundation year, first year in a different uni, then 4 years of my current course. I don't think I could take doing any more education haha!

If I were to drop out, I would take more shifts at my current job as a baker and make some savings for myself so I can move away with my partner. He's very highly educated so at least one of us has good prospects lol. Honestly don't know what I want to do as a career anymore but I'm not afraid to hop around until I find something I like. And hopefully one day I can start illustration again without feeling burnout.

It sounds so easy to just drop out though, especially when I write out my plan, but I'm so afraid of disappointing my family and looking like a failure. I don't think they'd be impressed that I gave up so close to the end. And a small part of me would be disappointed that I didn't make it. It's such a difficult thing to wrestle with
At this point (this far in) I would complete the degree rather than dropping out, easier said than done though.
Original post by Oobalu
I’m 4th year illustration student.
Absolutely hate university, I am struggling so hard to carry on. Only a few months left but I’m so depressed it’s ruining my life. Makes me a horrible person to be around because anytime anyone brings it up I snap at them when I don’t mean to. I try to sit down and do the work but my head physically hurts from stress, I can’t concentrate and I feel hopeless. It seems easy to draw for your degree but when they want 100+ drawings it’s so draining, especially when you aren’t passionate about it - forcing out creativity is causing my burnout to be even worse. Completed my dissertation but handed it in late so it will be capped at 40% so what’s the point anymore. I love my job, I’d rather just work and move on with my life at this point. I have a foundation degree and have enough credits from previous years to get a certificate of higher education, so I have something to show for myself at least. Please I feel at this point I’m not even doing it for myself, I’m doing it to please my family even though I have no motivation. And it’s proven that you don’t need a degree to be an illustrator/artist, just a good portfolio and skills which I do have already without the degree. Please someone help me because I can’t do this anymore, I feel like I’m torturing myself for the sake of a piece of paper

First and foremost you need to look after your physical and mental health and from what you are saying you don't sound like you're in a good place. I would advise as a matter of urgency you seek help from a clinician or otherwise and really sort that out. Raising this to the attention of your university may well help if it means allowing you a chance to re-take or resubmit an assessment without a penalty cap. But you need to raise this urgently.

This is my personal opinion alone but it would seem like a monumental waster of time, energy, effort and money to drop out at such a late stage when you're at the end and it appears you don't seem to have future plans lined up. I accept at the moment you seem unwell and thus when things have calmed down you may be able to articulate better your feelings but I am struggling to comprehend why you expected the expectations of the programme (re: providing a substantive level of artwork) to be any less?

That being said you need to urgently discuss this with the university to avoid a scenario where you either fail the programme or with a low grade than expected or worse have to drop out. You got this far don't give up I know things seem hard but you really are at the end here.
Reply 7
Original post by Anonymous #1
First and foremost you need to look after your physical and mental health and from what you are saying you don't sound like you're in a good place. I would advise as a matter of urgency you seek help from a clinician or otherwise and really sort that out. Raising this to the attention of your university may well help if it means allowing you a chance to re-take or resubmit an assessment without a penalty cap. But you need to raise this urgently.

This is my personal opinion alone but it would seem like a monumental waster of time, energy, effort and money to drop out at such a late stage when you're at the end and it appears you don't seem to have future plans lined up. I accept at the moment you seem unwell and thus when things have calmed down you may be able to articulate better your feelings but I am struggling to comprehend why you expected the expectations of the programme (re: providing a substantive level of artwork) to be any less?

That being said you need to urgently discuss this with the university to avoid a scenario where you either fail the programme or with a low grade than expected or worse have to drop out. You got this far don't give up I know things seem hard but you really are at the end here.

So I think there might be confusion here, I completely expected the workload to be huge since it is final year after all. What I didn't expect was that I would struggle with it so much, and that I would be suffering in this particular way. As I've completed previous years of uni I know how stressful hand-in can be and what it makes me feel like. But I've never had it like this before, I've never had my body physically respond to the stress like this, I've never had my whole personality change because of how much I hate it, I've never had artistic burnout like this before. I go to sit down to crack on with the work and I just freeze up. My brain switches off and starts to hurt, and I genuinely struggle to remember how I managed to get through previous assignments. I tried not to leave the work to the last minute, i tried to sit down and get it done but nothing came out. And now I'm at the last minute, trying my best to pump out all these drawings but it's so so hard especially when the passion is gone. In previous years when things needed to be done quickly, I'd get this rush of adrenaline that would push me through, but this time it's not coming and I think that's because I don't care enough anymore.


That being said, I will try to reach out to the uni and see what they say. They aren't amazing at communication to be honest, but I will try to see if I can sort something out.
Again this is all part of the life of an artist but then maybe you didn’t make an informed decision? But quit now it would be stupid. Believe me there are more stresses in life than doing some drawings.
Hi,

I just wanted to say that I hope you manage to sort this and get back on track soon with whatever you decide to you, make sure to look after yourself the best you can and I really do wish you the best. It sounds like you've tried you're hardest but of course there is only so much you can do when you're body is rejecting it mentally and then that having the physical effects too.

You mentioned that you feel like your family will be disappointed in you, have you spoke to them about how you feel? This may help them understand what University is doing to your mental health.

Do what you need to do though, and I wis you the best of luck and know that you've tried your best and everything you can!

Best wishes,
Katie (Film graduate)
University of Wolverhampton
Reply 10
Original post by Anonymous #1
Again this is all part of the life of an artist but then maybe you didn’t make an informed decision? But quit now it would be stupid. Believe me there are more stresses in life than doing some drawings.

It was an informed decision, at the end of the day I chose this degree because I love illustration and I wanted it to be my career. The issue here is that the final year of university is affecting my mental health to the point where I can't enjoy it. I can assure you this is not the "life of an artist", this is the life of a student. And I'm aware there's more stresses in life than "some drawings" but when those "drawings" are for university that could be the difference between having a bachelor's degree or not it's a big deal in my life. Please try to be a bit more sensitive when responding to people who are struggling.
Reply 11
Original post by WolvesRep1
Hi,

I just wanted to say that I hope you manage to sort this and get back on track soon with whatever you decide to you, make sure to look after yourself the best you can and I really do wish you the best. It sounds like you've tried you're hardest but of course there is only so much you can do when you're body is rejecting it mentally and then that having the physical effects too.

You mentioned that you feel like your family will be disappointed in you, have you spoke to them about how you feel? This may help them understand what University is doing to your mental health.

Do what you need to do though, and I wis you the best of luck and know that you've tried your best and everything you can!

Best wishes,
Katie (Film graduate)
University of Wolverhampton

Thank you for your message, I am going to try and keep pushing through and hopefully come out the other side with some kind of degree. My family tell me that they won't be disappointed in me, but I know for a fact they are just saying that. My mum would be devastated, my dad paid for one year of tuition fees himself and I can't let him down. My extended family would never understand why I would drop out since none of them are highly educated. I just couldn't deal with them constantly reminding me of what I didn't achieve. I know I shouldn't really care since it's my life and my choices that got me into this, but I just couldn't do it to them
Reply 12
Original post by Oobalu
Thank you for your message, I am going to try and keep pushing through and hopefully come out the other side with some kind of degree. My family tell me that they won't be disappointed in me, but I know for a fact they are just saying that. My mum would be devastated, my dad paid for one year of tuition fees himself and I can't let him down. My extended family would never understand why I would drop out since none of them are highly educated. I just couldn't deal with them constantly reminding me of what I didn't achieve. I know I shouldn't really care since it's my life and my choices that got me into this, but I just couldn't do it to them

I think I would consider visiting your own GP at this point.They may be able to offer you some therapy or even medication which could just you get over the last hurdle.
You cannot rely on your highly qualified boyfriend,who knows what will happen in the future.
If you get your degree it opens doors to many more jobs with higher pay.You can teach Art with a degree for instance.
I am not unsympathetic but you are so close just a term and a half to go.Give your doctor a try and see how it goes.
I do think your isolation from your coursemates has not helped Do you have any friends there It does sometimes help to be in a different environment where others are also working and 2 hrs is undoable really but too late on that front I guess.
Original post by Oobalu
It was an informed decision, at the end of the day I chose this degree because I love illustration and I wanted it to be my career. The issue here is that the final year of university is affecting my mental health to the point where I can't enjoy it. I can assure you this is not the "life of an artist", this is the life of a student. And I'm aware there's more stresses in life than "some drawings" but when those "drawings" are for university that could be the difference between having a bachelor's degree or not it's a big deal in my life. Please try to be a bit more sensitive when responding to people who are struggling.

I am being sympathetic. What you’re going through so many are in the same boat. When the stakes are high inevitably there will be stress that’s what’s involved in life . But if you think the better prospect is drop out and be dependent on your boyfriend who may well tire of you who knows then it’s your life.
Have you come across the Overjustification Effect in Psychology? It basically shows that when somebody who does something because of intrinsic motivation (eg art/illustration) is asked to complete the same thing for a reward (ie extrinsic motivation, eg a degree or grade result), their motivation can wither and die. Could that effect be at play here .....? And if so, is there a way to rekindle the intrinsic motivation, ie your own love of art for its own sake and not for a grade/degree/judgement ...?
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 15
Original post by Anonymous #1
I am being sympathetic. What you’re going through so many are in the same boat. When the stakes are high inevitably there will be stress that’s what’s involved in life . But if you think the better prospect is drop out and be dependent on your boyfriend who may well tire of you who knows then it’s your life.

Very sympathetic 👍👍👍👍
Reply 16
Original post by SilverPebble
Have you come across the Overjustification Effect in Psychology? It basically shows that when somebody who does something because of intrinsic motivation (eg art/illustration) is asked to complete the same thing for a reward (ie extrinsic motivation, eg a degree or grade result), their motivation can wither and die. Could that effect be at play here .....? And if so, is there a way to rekindle the intrinsic motivation, ie your own love of art for its own sake and not for a grade/degree/judgement ...?

This is exactly what happens to me, I'll be passionate about something until I HAVE to do it for a required goal and all of a sudden I can't do it anymore. Been like this since secondary school. For example I love history, but refused to take it as an A-level because I didn't want to end up hating it down the line because of the workload. Same thing has happend with my art. I've been thinking of ways to get myself back to enjoying it again, and the only thing I can think of is to wait until university is done and hope that when the pressure is off, I can go back to being freely creative. It's not ideal as it seems the only way I could ever be an artist would be to make art without anyone telling me what to do, which obviously isn't very realistic. I really wish it was different
More on the overjustification effect here - https://thedecisionlab.com/biases/overjustification-effect
Original post by Oobalu
Very sympathetic 👍👍👍👍

I'm sorry but what exactly did you want to hear? "Oooooh I'm so sorry little missy that you find the final year of your degree programme so tough when others are also in the same boat," or "yes that's a fantastic idea just drop out mess up your life and depend forever on a partner who isn't your married spouse and has no financial or legal obligation or otherwise to you".... etc. etc..

I don't underestimate for one moment you're in a rubbish situation physically and mentally but the onus is really on you to seek that help and to do so ASAP.

Dropping out won't help believe me. If things don't pan out how you wanted it to if say god forbid your career and relationship took a nosedive, you'll regret that you didn't seek the help you needed and tried to sort out your results.

I am sympathetic towards those who have health issues and also want to seek that support. But it's not unsympathetic for me to disagree with the notion of dropping out when you are so close to the end and you are pinning your hopes and expectations on a scenario that offers no guarantees.

But as I said it's your life and if you want to make that decision that's on you. Just don't cry and whine here when you don't get the answer you want.
Original post by Oobalu
This is exactly what happens to me, I'll be passionate about something until I HAVE to do it for a required goal and all of a sudden I can't do it anymore. Been like this since secondary school. For example I love history, but refused to take it as an A-level because I didn't want to end up hating it down the line because of the workload. Same thing has happend with my art. I've been thinking of ways to get myself back to enjoying it again, and the only thing I can think of is to wait until university is done and hope that when the pressure is off, I can go back to being freely creative. It's not ideal as it seems the only way I could ever be an artist would be to make art without anyone telling me what to do, which obviously isn't very realistic. I really wish it was different

OK but then here's another point. You said: I'll be passionate about something until I HAVE to do it for a required goal and all of a sudden I can't do it anymore.

What you have just outlined there isn't just confined to degree subjects, it's LIFE! There are things we might enjoy doing or maybe not as much but then we HAVE to do it for as you said that required goal, whether that's a goal defined by getting the degree to get you that decent job that pays the bills, the mortgage, raising a family etc. That's life.

I loved the subjects I studied at university but I too also had a lot of those "why am I doing this?" or "this is sooooooo booooorrrrring!" and "what's the use?" moments. But sometimes these things are a means to an end. And yes life can get stressful I won't deny that. But that's why it's so important to have a support network in place or to at least know who you can turn to for support if and when you need it. The truth there is always support available out there at the very bare bones whether it's going to see your GP or if god forbid you feel suicidal right now, dial 999 and go to the nearest A&E immediately (indeed I hope this isn't the case but if it is please seek immediate help).

You say I am being unsympathetic. I would call it bewilderment, bemusement and frustration on your behalf. You are so close to the end and invested so much time and energy and yet want to give up because you are transfixed on a small bump in the road which is easily rectified and can mean you can still graduate with a decent result. But crucially you need to make a concerted effort to seek that help and support something which I feel you haven't been keen to or wanted to.

It's not for me to comment on your personal life with your boyfriend etc. but the point would stand that you should always have the means to support and look after yourself because the truth is you never know what is around the corner.

But ultimately if you want to throw it all away because you couldn't seek the help and support you needed and are entitled to then ultimately it's your life and your choice and nothing I or anyone else here says can change that.

We have all been there with stresses and the impacts on our health. Everyone's situation is different I get that but what you describe you are not the first and won't be the last to go through this. It's life, life is stressful, it throws curveballs at you, it tests you, it makes the things you love suddenly into a chore, it will make you question what you are doing and why you are doing it. But that doesn't mean take the nuclear option.

Think about the sense of accomplishment if you could finish your degree after all this? Think of what you could go onto do from there? If you quit now, you let your physical and mental health win.

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