Trigger Warning: Depression, Anxiety, Suicide
I had a meeting with my dean this morning to try to set up some sort of academic plan, so that I still can get financial aid. Unfortunately, at the credits I’m at, it’s impossible.
That kind of surprises me. I’ve been ill for a year, chronically diagnosed — which, in turn, has rendered some serious psychological effects, namely depression and anxiety as I’ve mentioned before. And never mind the attempted credits, even the actual ones I received aren’t all that great grade-wise.
But having to pay double the money for a college within which I am currently suffering through a million and a half different things, including not telling my parents, doesn’t encourage me to pick myself up. It only pushes me down further. My advisor pretty much sat in front of me, with a completely barren look, and said, “Sorry, I can’t come up with a plan. Even with the maximum amount of credits you take, you only reach 63% out of the necessary 70%.”
This is what she meant: I’m counting your withdrawals from the semester you had to drop because of your chronic condition, and according to all the attempted credits and the completed credits, this percentage determines whether you get to pay to continue to learn, or sink within loans upon loans to pay to continue to learn, or stay home and sulk in your failure. Tell your parents about your mental illnesses, despite them not accepting it as a real thing. Inform them of the trouble you’re going through, and they’ll help you out! They’re your parents, so this obviously goes to the conclusion that they will just accept you with open arms and agree to pay $24,000 out of pocket. It’s not a big deal, really.
It’s a big deal when your family is barely able to afford your education. It’s a big deal when they think their daughter is making them proud, completing a degree, being steadfast and entering the real world with confidence and intelligence. It’s a big deal when they brag about how successful she will be, and how they won’t ever have to think twice about buying something lavish for themselves. It’s a big deal when they expect the care they’ve given to their children to be paid off in order for them to live in peace and out of stress. So, sitting here in this small office, staring this lady for a good 2 minutes with the ideals and dreams fading away right before me — it is a very huge. fucking. deal.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down. I’ve never cried in front of a person before, especially not a goddamn academic advisor. I hate getting emotional to try to fulfill my needs, but this time around, I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling.
“Will I be eligible in the future to get financial aid?”
And she said, “Of course. But that most likely won’t be until your senior year — if you make it that far.”
I’m currently in my sophomore year. And I know I screwed myself over. I’m fully aware of my inability to live up to the standard of a “normal” student. I see my friends around me graduating with honors and jobs lined up for them. And I have to live with this failure, but I so wish the rest of my family wasn’t involved. That burden should fall on me alone. I’m stuck relying on my father — who works nights, and returns in the morning, haggard and weary, but eager to provide for the children who will make him proud one day — and sacrificing his life some more. Wonderful.
“But what if I—? Or—? Maybe I can—? Please, I’m begging you, please help me.”
“Sorry, I understand your concerns. I understand your pain. But you have to be responsible for fixing this. Otherwise, we’re looking at a dismissal by Spring next year.”
You don’t understand my pain. You’ll just call the next student in line, while I walk out of that office in hysterics.
When I got home, I pretty much wanted to just end everything, there and then. I thought if I wasn’t around anymore, I wouldn’t bother anyone around me anymore. I tried to sleep to shake off the feeling, because I’ve been suicidal in the past before, and I always try to sleep it off, hoping the feeling will decrease upon awakening. But it didn’t — The pit of my stomach still felt uneasy.
And just when I was looking for distractions to keep my mind off of how in the world I’ll bring the topic up to my parents without having an anxiety attack — my friend called me. I had texted her that I lost my aid earlier that day, and after talking for about 2 hours or so, she told me: “You’re an idiot.”
She asked me for my GPA and I told her it was at an abysmal 1.7, and she went and calculated (with my limited credits for next semester) that even if I got straight Bs, I would still end up with a 2.1 by the end of this fall, and thus be above the cumulative GPA requirement for 2.0. She literally said, “Your advisor was attempting to scare you in order to do better. There is no fucking way I will let you get anything less than a B next semester. Raising your GPA is hard, but it’s not the end of the world impossible, like she told you. And go to community college to transfer credits to raise that 63%?! Is that really her sage advice? Utter bullshit. You know you’re already applying for an internship, so you’ll probably end up with 3 credits right? If you continue it till spring, that’s 6 extra credits. You don’t have to go to a community college, what the actual fuck was that woman telling you.”
And this enraged me — not at my friend, who always manages to calm me down when I start getting like this, but at the thought that scaring me into hysterics was actually seen as a way to get me to change. Especially when the problem at hand isn’t even that hard to resolve. I get that my advisor may not entrust that I’ll get straight As or Bs given my current track record, but was it really necessary to push me to the ends of wanting to kill myself?
Aren’t academic advisors supposed to know shit? Why do so many college kids complain that these people don’t help anyone? Isn’t the whole point of them to try to get students out of their messes? Like, I don’t understand how there are dozens of advisors for every campus, responsible for the well-being of students, but doing absolutely nothing in the end to actually aid them. There’s barely any guidance or direction, there’s absolutely no understanding, and everything comes down to policy, policy, policy. And I’m not against policies or anything. Like, I get that it’s necessary in a big school to maintain some sort of efficiency in order to sustain the student body. But advisors are literally trained to handle situations like these, and instead of actual knowledge and information, I’m forced to just be consoled over my mistakes.
On top of everything, I told my advisor about my illnesses, I told her that I was trying to do as much as I could — I just need another chance, or some sort of way out of this. But she just told me to call my University’s health services.
I’ve been to those health services for two different types of sessions. They barely helped, and so just telling me to go there to fix my problems won’t magically raise my grades — it’ll have me lingering around still searching for the actual answer — one I hope to not be too late in finding. I wish that there was a better system than just: Be the same as the rest, or leave. We have no room for failures.
And here I am, still determined to beat the odds. I’m aware of the reality, I know my nature — but I still kind of can’t get over the fact that I can be better. I do want to take the responsibility — I messed up. I know that. But I want escape out of this hell as fast as possible.
It’s also not about the education or the courses I’m taking. They’re not particularly difficult for me to get good grades in. I took AP courses in high school and got As and Bs, so I don’t have a problem with the learning or content. If anything, the courses here are far easier than anything I’ve faced in the past. The problem isn’t in the grades, it’s in the mental state I’m in, and I need solutions, not sympathy.
So I’ve decided to be proactive. I asked my friend to have study sessions two days of the week for like 3-4 hours where we literally just do our homework and force each other to study. I also figure, it might not be bad to start taking medication, at least until I’m a bit more in control of myself. I will also try to get this internship, and try to gain experience that way. And in all of this, I truly hope I won’t just become overwhelmed all over again and quit and fail my classes halfway through the semester, I really really do.
I am willing to try anything out, honestly. I just kind of wish I wouldn’t be shut down before I even had a chance.