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Forums / Young people / Unsure if I'm the 'right fit' for Uni

Topic: Unsure if I'm the 'right fit' for Uni

9 posts, 0 answered
  1. freshkoriander
    freshkoriander avatar
    1 posts
    16 August 2020

    Hi all,

    Newbie here :)

    Long story short- I coasted through high school with great academic performance and have spent the last few years in and out of degrees, trying to find something that 'suits' me. I've settled on psychology and I can see myself in the mental health arena but I've gone from doing four subjects a semester and doing okay, to 2 subjects and barely scraping through. I have depression and anxiety, and I know for sure that has a huge imapact on my academic performance. Right now though, I really just feel like quitting. I don't like the education I'm receiving- I don't even feel like it's education. I'm not learning, just memorising. And the content does not feel relevant at all. There's no hands-on application for what we're studying and it frustrates me because I know all too well once I graduate, I'll have almost nothing useful to take with me into my career.

    I've been considering TAFE. I'm just worried I'll start that and it'll be the same as my experience with uni.

    Any guidance/advice is appreciated. Thank you!

  2. Aphador
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    Aphador avatar
    71 posts
    16 August 2020 in reply to freshkoriander

    Hey freshkoriander!

    Welcome to the BeyondBlue forums and well done on having the courage to reach out! Psychology is a noble (but difficult!) path. We need definitely more people working in the area of mental health.

    It sucks that you are dissatisfied with your course after you thought you had found the one. I have also chopped and changed degrees throughout the past few years, but have finally settled on one that resonates with me. With regards to the hands-on application, often this is the case with most degrees. Speaking to professionals who work with students as interns (in many fields), they are often of the opinion that students do not do enough hands-on work, and much re-teaching has to be done. At least for clinical psychology, I know a lot of the 'hands-on' stuff is done during the masters/doctorate degrees- are you considering going into one of these fields?

    As for whether you should change- that is a hard one. You could be right that TAFE may seem novel at first, but then quickly turn into the same experience as you are having now. I understand that, having felt it throughout the period where I was changing degrees. Have you been able to speak to a therapist/counsellor about this issue? I feel as though they could give a more thorough answer than I could.

    Happy to hear your thoughts!

    Aphador :)

  3. Jasjit
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Jasjit avatar
    129 posts
    16 August 2020 in reply to freshkoriander

    Hey Freshcoriander,

    To be quite frank, I am the only one here who can best relate to your story. My story was exactly like yours!!! I am doing psychology - Graduate Diploma of Psychology Advanced from Monash University but did my bachelors of psychological science from UniSA. So when I first got into Psychology Honours program at UniSA, I was also frustrated and annoyed why can't I become Dr Clinical Psychologist in 4 years? But then I realised it was a long process!!! It is a long study of 10 years approximately!!! From that mindset, I literarily wasted my first 2.5 years of my uni and was not accepted into Honours program because of my low GPA!! Then I decided that I should focus more on the process!!! I don't need to work about my food, clothes, house, job because my papa and mama are already supportive of me. So then after paying upfront fees of thousands of dollars I got in GDPA which is honors equivalent!

    Long story short, the main message I want you to get is it is a long study and if you really want to do it, then just enjoy every year after year!! Like sometimes I regret now the concepts that I learn't in my first year started making sense now!!! My professors used to say read, read, and read!! But I was condescending then. Now I am just following my professor's advice given to me at first year and acing my GDPA with HDs!!!

    I honestly feel that you can be an excellent Dr Clinical Psychologist!! Because you are brave enough to post your worries online - which shows me that you have an insight and aware of yourself!!! I was not!!

    So, now on experience!! To become an actual clinical psychologist, you must get into honors or GDPA. To get into GDPA/or honors - your GPA needs to be extremely high!! For experience, you can try LifeLine, Beyond Blue (Blue voice member/Community Champion/Black Dog Institute/Headspace etc.). But you may want to do this during your honors year unless you can manage before.

    Please tell me more so I can help you out because your story is completely identical to me!!!

  4. Tay100
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    647 posts
    16 August 2020 in reply to freshkoriander

    Hi freshkoriander

    It's good to hear that you are keen on your studies and want the best academic experience for yourself! Go you!

    If you're worried about running into the same issues at TAFE, the best thing I can recommend is going to the Open Days, talking to the future students centre, or a career councillor. They will be able to give you a detailed account and answer your questions in depth. They can also support you through your anxiety and depression.

    Hope that helps a little!

    Tay100

  5. pinktulip
    pinktulip avatar
    33 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to freshkoriander

    Hi there,

    You might be more depressed than usual. I've had the same experience with Uni... Like I've gotten depressed and had to pull out of subjects. Then when I have to do the course the next time around I feel less motivated at different times for no obvious pattern. When I get depressed, I feel like everything I'm attempting to learn is meaningless. or it's a lot harder to do things or to concentrate or it takes a lot longer to do - like attempting to cope one time by dropping down to only 1 course one and finding it really hard. Or when I'm really depressed I feel like the courses I did previously were meaningless. Or course, I can feel worse too. (I can't take antidepressants due to an antidepressant induced hypomanic episode)

    Don't think going to TAFE would necessarily fix the problem... Depression can sap meaning out of things normally enjoyable or things you could normally go through.

    Problem is as young people... we haven't gotten depressed several years after doing a job competently. So it really messes with us. We get the "do more exercise" spiel or the "go out" more or "is the subject matter harder than usual?" There's no point of comparison - there's no clone of you who isn't depressed or someone else who has progressed with us at the same time with our studies...

    Doing a reduced course load makes me feel rubbish as a suggested coping strategy for myself. It's doesn't address the underlying problem... The theory is more time to do things...

    Also for instance, I did change areas re Uni - I got really high marks at high school for an area... and then when depression hit I could remember how I used to enjoy studying the area so it made me miserable... So I changed... I don't think it fixed the problem... I think the problem was depression affecting concentration or being able to feel a sense of completion re doing certain tasks... and also having memories of how things used to be.

    You should see if you can talk to someone at Uni re counselling or something.

  6. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    15560 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to freshkoriander

    Hello Freshkoriander, and a warm welcome.

    I'm sorry for being in this situation, as it's not only awkward but leaves you unable to make a decision due to how you are feeling, as you've told us you are suffering from anxiety and depression which will certainly complicate and hinder you from making a choice.

    When this happens, then I only wish you could achieve what you had in mind, however, going from 4 subjects and doing well, to then struggle with 2 subjects and then causing doubt, it doesn't really matter whether it's uni or TAFE, your heart is not focused on the degree and won't be until you get help with your MI.

    There are many other ways you can help those needing some type of assistance and courses not as long as to become a psychologist, and this is no fault of yours.

    If you don't have any 'hands-on application for what we're studying', then doing any course will not interest you, but we'd love to hear back from you.

    Geoff.

  7. continuousventer
    continuousventer avatar
    63 posts
    26 August 2020 in reply to freshkoriander
    Hello freshkoriander

    I am currently in second year OT and I have depression and anxiety. My psychologist and my counsellors on KidsHelpline tell me that because of people's lived experience they are attracted to working in mental health. I think that's the reason why I want to be in mental health.
    But I do struggle.
    I struggle to get up at bed.
    I'm currently studying one unit this semester because I failed one unit that was a prerequisite to the other three units. It makes me feel like crap.
    I feel guilty because I am in the mental health profession, so I SHOULD be coping better. Imagine me in the real world, it scares me. I should give myself compassion and so should you.

    My psychologist did part time study and told me she took a leave of absence. But I get what you mean - I hate university learning - it's like memorising then assessment and then the next unit. You don't have much time to enjoy what you're learning.

    I don't have much knowledge on TAFE, I do know you have to pass everything.
  8. SarahZ
    Champion Alumni
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    SarahZ avatar
    142 posts
    26 August 2020 in reply to freshkoriander

    Hello @freshkoriander,

    Welcome to forums and thanks so much reaching out and sharing your story. University is always a big struggle and can be very overwhelming, I can't imagine how hard it must be when also dealing with depression and anxiety. I can definitely relate to your frustration with the education provided by universities. A lot of undergraduate psychology courses are really memory based, as they tend to save the hands-on applications during postgraduate degrees, which can be really frustrating when you want a more educationally stimulating, hands-on experience. Have you talked to your university career counsellor about other potential pathways you might be interested in? Or even other subjects that might have a greater focus on hands-on application?

    Just remember there's no rush to complete a degree and get a job! Heaps of people in my current course are 40, 50 and even 60 years old. A lot of my friends also under-load every semester and take gap semesters/years. Taking a break/ under-loading can be a really good choice if you to take some time and look into other hobbies you're interested at, or even if you just want to take some extra time to do the things you enjoy along the way. As cliche as it is, it's not about the destination but the journey! There's no time limit to this journey. Sometimes its longer than expected, other times it might be shorter.

    Look forward to your reply if you feel up to it!

    Wishing you all the best and sending you positive thoughts ~

  9. Alex082
    Alex082 avatar
    2 posts
    29 August 2020 in reply to freshkoriander

    Hi there,
    I can totally relate to your uni struggles, I have experienced the same frustrations and I'm also studying psychology. In my undergraduate course, it annoyed me that everything felt so theoretical, nothing felt directly relevant to the role of a psychologist! Finally a couple of assignments were mock assessments/etc., which helped a little bit. I'm now in my honours year and it still feels similar - sadly for most unis there is no hands on experience until postgrad.

    Something that might help you is knowing that for a lot of postgrad psych courses (particularly for masters) you need counselling experience. Gaining training via volunteering with an organisation (like lifeline for example) means you are much more likely to get accepted. This is helpful to know early on so that you can have multiple attempts at applying, but also so that you know taking time off between undergrad/postgrad is the norm, and getting volunteer experience (hands on experience!) will help you further your career. I hope that applying for volunteer positions helps you to feel more motivated- it has helped me. Also, in applying for volunteer positions, remember to take care of your mental health first. Sometimes these experiences can be confronting, and so knowing exactly what it is you'll be doing can help you to decide whether or not it's something you want to take on. Also know that there are often very limited positions within organisations, so don't be disheartened if you don't find one straight away.

    I am also really sorry to hear that your experience with anxiety and depression is making this time harder for you, I can't imagine how much more difficult that would be. Remember there is no rush to finish your degree, I barely know anyone who hasn't underloaded at some point- I myself took summer classes to catch up! There is no right way to do uni, whatever works for you is 100% ok and you will find there are so many people doing the exact same thing :)

    I also suggest taking time to research areas of psychology you're interested in. I know you probably do a lot of literature searches for your assignments, but taking the time to find new innovative treatments in areas you could contribute to during your postgrad studies can be exciting! I know research sounds boring, but clinical research is very closely linked to clinical practise- thinking about the ways you can positively influence people and the field in general can be inspiring!

    I hope this helps in some way :)

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