Full time uni

Sometimes I wonder whether or not I should do part time at uni. For the past two years I’ve been doing full time, and somehow or another, have managed to pass everything. But I also think of the struggles it took to get through it, and that it may be worth it to cut back a bit on the workload. So that I’m not so exhausted and not so stressed. So that I don’t get completely overwhelmed and panic when I have four assessment tasks all due in the same week. So that I have time to relax and do the things that I enjoy and keep me well. Because if I’m honest with myself, stress is a big trigger for me, and I’d like to stay well for as long as I can. And unlike last semester where I had a GP who could write me a letter when I needed extensions on assignments, I don’t even have a GP currently.

At the same time, I reason with myself that I got through the past two years, so I should be able to get through this year and next too. I don’t want to extend my time at uni for longer than I have to. I’ve already been at uni for so many years while friends and people I know have graduated on gone on to get real jobs. Other people’s opinions and approval also matter to me, and I’m afraid of what friends and family may think. That I should just continue on so I can finish as soon as possible or that I’m just being slack. Some people manage/d full time university and jobs with many hours (as my boyfriend has told me he did). I don’t want to feel inadequate for not even being able to manage what everyone else is able to.

4 thoughts on “Full time uni

  1. Hi. I’m in a similar situation except that I’m full time at uni right now and I’m almost certain that I will go part-time after this year. You say that the opinion of family and friends matter a lot to you, but if they really care about you, they’ll support you no matter what you do. I’m being somewhat hypocritical here but try not to compare yourself to others. It seems to people like us that everyone else is managing the workload and other commitments, while we’re struggling just trying to keep up with the work. But not everyone else has the mental health difficulties that we face each and every day. Depression and anxiety makes university life about 10 times more difficult. Some people find this stuff easy, but for us it takes A LOT of effort and hard work.

    You also mentioned that stress is a big trigger for you. You have to do what’s best for your mental health. Going slowly and not putting yourself under so much pressure is better than feeling completely overwhelmed with the workload. Even if it takes you a few more years, you will have achieved more than most by the end of it all because you’re battling anxiety, depression, and self harm (and everything that comes with them) as well as the workload. Do what you feel would be best for you and don’t let anyone else try to pressure you to do otherwise. I wish you the best of luck at uni.

  2. Wow, I can relate to you so much! I graduated high school in the spring of 2006 and uni in December of 2011. So it took me five and a half years to do what most of my friends did in 4. Because of this comparison, I felt/sometimes still feel like shit about myself. I’m a smart girl, college should have been easy! But it wasn’t, because I wasn’t eating and I was crippled with anxiety and depression.

    For all the semesters I actually was at uni, I was a full time student. The reason why it took me five and a half years was because I had several medical leaves that caused me to withdraw from school many times. Those were awful, and I felt even worse about myself.

    So here are my thoughts: If you think pushing yourself to complete the next two years at uni full time will cause such a detriment to your physical and/or mental health that you might be required to take a medical leave, then I think going part time would be better. I completely understand the pull to keep going full force, but if it’s going to trip you up, then it’s not worth it. Plus, with part time studying, you can make more time to do healthy things: hang out with/make new friends, exercise, volunteer, relax.

    Be well,

  3. Gosh this post has just taken me straight back to the same debate with myself after 2 years of OT degree (tho in uk its only 3 yr course – if full time). Some people said you’ve only got one more year to go, surely you can manage that, but i knew it wasn’t that simple. The final year meant dissertation, plus 2 placements where expectation of caseload is higher with less supervision. Thankfully my tutor was of the opinion that it was important to enjoy what I was studying and pointed out that life is not a race. (it helped that he practised what he preached and had just completed his supposedly 1 year masters over 3 years) And so I made the decision to go part-time. And it was definately the right decision for me. It allowed me to have a bit of a life and access therapy without it impacting too drastically on my studying.
    I eventually graduated! Which had i stayed full-time i’m not sure my mental health would have lasted. Yes, it took me nearly 5 years (due to placement complications had to take a couple months out while waiting for right opportunity), but I made it.
    Life experience counts for a lot in OT, and if you can include leisure activities in your routine, it will help create that ideal Occupational Balance that Wilcock loves to talk about!!! (no disruption, deprivation or alienation) ;o)

    as an aside, due to outside circumstances (that annoying life part) since graduation my mental health declined and not actually able to get OT job for the moment. Means a whole new wave of inadequacy and failure thoughts to battle, but I know one day I will get there!

    Good luck and make the best decision for YOU, nobody else. xx

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