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Need some advice(long)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking a lot about school lately and deciding what to do about it. Some(if not most of you) know I am a math major with a minor in psychology. What most(if not all of you) don't know is that I was considered special education K-12 and no one EVER expected me to go to college. I had several psychological problems growing up and it just didn't seem like college would ever happen but when my grades started going up my sophmore and junior years my parents took the college ball and ran with it. Then I got a 28 on my ACT's and sure enough I got accpeted to 3 colleges as a non-special needs student.

Well that was 4 years ago(5 in the fall) and I just don't know of I am cut out to be here anymore. I have barely kept my head above water here and am currently holding down a 1.8 gpa and on final probation for the 7th time. Graduation looks to be only a year to two years off so it is with in reach but I just don't know if I want to do it anymore.

Being special ed when I was younger, I got used to being told I was stupid on a daily basis, and even though my teachers never said it to my face they all thought it. I was the kid that got ALL the attention while the kids that really needed it were left to fend for themselves. It irritated me so much that I was always getting bothered and when I accelerated in math I took it and ran with it. I even tested into honers classes my Junior year but my dad wouldn't let me take them, fearing that I wouldn't be able to keep up.

Well I don't know if I can finish the race, math is no longer fun for me especially the things I have left. Statistics, Advanced Calculus, and Modern Algebra are the hardest classes this university offers and I need a A-B average to graduate. And those are the only classes I have left. The way it is planned right now I am taking Statistics this summer, Advanced Calculus in the fall, and Modern Algebra in the spring. I had to take Calculus I three times to finally pass it with a C(though really could have done it easily in two if I had just gone to class) and I have been REALLY struggling with my math classes lately not getting higher than a D in anything for the last 3-4 semesters, other than differential equations which I took for a second time over last summer and passed with a C. Though passing that with a C with that teacher is like getting a B in a normal class, he asked for so much more and I gave it to him so maybe thats a positive.

Psychology is going much better than math but changing my major now would add at least another year. And both my dad and my girlfriend are getting antsy for me to graduate. I wouldn't mind spending the extra time, because it would mean I would be doing something I love but I really don't want to have to be apart from my girlfriend longer than I have to. As things stand now I will be moving up there the day after I graduate when ever that will be.

If I graduate that is...I really don't know if I want to finish. I think I might be happier just moving up to Canada now and getting a job somewhere. Their are hundreds of places hiring in Hamilton now...true their fast food places but at least its a job. And I would be with my girlfriend which is a plus...but then again I would be proving everyone that said I would fail right. I had so many people believe that I would never get this far or finish and if I don't...I would be proving them right...and that doesn't sit well with me at all.

My own grandmother doesn't even expect me to finish college. She didn't even expect me to finish Highschool. Just because her son is a doctor, no one else matters and no one else will EVER be as good as he is in her eyes. Even if I do finish she will find some way where my dad did it better than me. Granted he was the only one of 3 kids to go to College and I don't think anyone in my Grandmothers generation went to College so I think my dad was the first.

I just don't know what I want to do anymore...Its been a great run while it lasted and I have done something that no one expected me to do but...I don't know if I can finish.

Any advice/vibes would be appreciated.
post #2 of 17
My advice is to finish school. If the math no longer interests you, ( I don't see how it could interest anybody) change your major to something that suits you better. Sounds like psychology is your interest, so instead of more math classes, you will take more psychology if you change your major. That should not add too much additional time, you probably have the prerequisite psychology, and the math courses you have taken can be your electives.
Talk to a counselor at the school. Having a degree will make a big difference when you go for a job. Any degree works. Don't quit now, and stop using the special ed as an excuse. You were obviously misplaced,sometimes that happens. You are not special ed, or you would not be where you are today. GRADUATE!!!!!
post #3 of 17
Of course you can finish! You can do anything you set your mind to. Maybe you putting too much emphasis on your major and what you want to do or be when you "grow up". It would be a real shame for you to quit after all that you have accomplished and I guarantee you will regret having dropped out so short of your goal. Maybe the math is not fun for you anymore, but if you can hang in there (which I know you can), just get your degree and then figure out what kind of work you wish to pursue later. Just because you have majored in math or psychology doesn't mean you have to make it your career. The director of our human resources has a degree in history, not in business administration.

Please don't give up. It may be hard, but no one said it would be fun the entire way through. The fact that people thought I was stupid or dumb would only encourage me more. I think you should prove them all wrong.
post #4 of 17
well, coming from someone who was in special ed for Dyslexia(which was a total waste of my time, due to lazy teachers who never looked at my file to see what my issue was).

You can finish school. If you want to change majors do so. What others think in this case does not matter. It what you want to do.
I know school is hard, and for those with issues it makes it even harder. I had some luck that i had a few teachers in college who saw my problem and did not grade me based on my spelling and stuff. Over time,

i have gotten
3 4 year degres(that was just cause the way they had the flying program at kent set up you get both the flying one and a business one) I just finished up a degree in history for fun, last year, now thinking of doing the masters, But well with my writting issues, the thought of the paper scares me.

3 2 year degree.. general studies, computers, and just by mistake i found if i took 2 class in quality control i could get a 2 year degree in engineering, so i took it.

to go long with this, i have MCSA from microsoft, and CCNA from cisco.

in high school i was also told i would never finish high school let alone go to college....TO hell what other people think(sorry i know allowed on TCS,but that is how i feel) what matter is your faith in your self, I doubt very much if you would be happy working in fast food. So if making yourself happy means changing your choice in school then change it.

PS, i would also advise not changing the whole course of your actions on your GF. You may end up in some place on the other side of the world and left thinking, how the heck did i get here(lol i know that one very well)

oh yea, Advanced Calculus will make your head hurt. and 5 years later you wont remember any of it, unless your a math teacher of course
post #5 of 17
You have to do what's right for you, but I agree you should try to finish and get your degree. It sounds like you are getting majorly burned out, which is normal, especially if you are taking summer classes. I would say either try to stick it out, or maybe take a break for the summer and just work and give your mind time to regroup. Let me say, this has NOTHING to do with you being in special ed...it just sounds like your course load has been very demanding and, like I said, you are burned out. You already proved you aren't special ed so stop worrying about that.

And, honey, you don't have anything to prove to anyone but yourself. Keep remembering that.

I know you want school over so you can be with your girlfriend, but I will tell you...to move premenantly to Canada and get a job, you have to prove that you will be an asset as an alien. Your best bet would be either to get that degree and apply for temporary citizenship, or...see if there is a college near her that you can transfer credits to and get a student visa. Moving to Canada isn't as easy as it used to be, especially in the job department. I dated a guy in Canada for over a year (long distance, of course) and I looked into what I would have to do to get temporary and/or permanant residence status and its not easy. Just wanted to let you know. Good luck!
post #6 of 17
These are decisions that you'll live with for the rest of your life -- don't let anyone's expectations pressure you into a choice that will limit your future.

I agree with everyone else: if psychology is where you feel most comfortable, switch your major and go for it! And don't even think about working in a fast food joint. You've already proven that you're capable of something much more fulfilling than that.
post #7 of 17
I'll chime in here as well... I was also one who wasn't expected, by family and most teachers, to drop out of HS and never do anything more... I was considered stupid and slow... of which I am neither (I'm intelligent and methodical, dang it!) ... well, I have my BA, and will be going for my MA/MFA soon... scr** the opinions of the people who believe you to fail. period. THEIR opinion does not matter in your life. You are intelligent and passionate about a handful of things.

If school takes longer, so be it. You'd freak if i told you how long it took me to get my BA. I did junior colleges for a while, getting my AA, then took a year off and went back for my BA. I was a music major nearly the whole time. After my first term at University, with a TON of music classes behind me, I got fed up with half-a**ed teachers who couldn't teach... so I cried my heart out and made the choice: I switched to English. I fell in love.... with writing, that is. I still love music... always will. Music got me through some nasty times in my life, and I believe I would not be breathing today if it weren't for music in my life. But I love the written word and the worlds I can create... the power I can wield with my pen... er ... keyboard. If your heart isn't in math anymore, make the change. Take it as a minor. You still love it, I assume... you're good at it... heck, better than me. But if it isn't sitting well with you, then change it. Have a heart to heart talk with your GF... if (going on a limb here, don't smack me) she loves you as much as you believe she does, she will understand your reason for staying longer and changing your major. Tell her this is what you truly love. Where your heart is. Now, with a Psych. degree, you'll need to figure out what career path you want... counseling, research, etc... talk to an advisor on campus... they can help you there.

Make your choice and stand by it. You won't get far in life if you let everyone else around you make your choices for you... you need to stand up for yourself and be YOU. I did that... and I don't regret a single day of my life. No one chooses my life for me... You are smart and you are young... you have a long life ahead of you... make the most of it.

If you're still not sure of what to do, find that advisor... preferably a neutral one (i.e. not one tied to any dept.) and discuss your concerns. Many times, someone neutral at the school can help guide you (notice: not making your choices, just giving you guidance) in making the right decision.

AT least you're seeing this now, and not ten years from now when you're in a job you hate. Also, don't quit school... you will regret it down the road. Period. Just don't. If you leave for your GF, you'll come to resent your life there because you didn't complete this one incredible challenge. Ignore the nay-sayers and finish school... oh yeah... and please walk the stage in your cap and gown. Invite as many of those nay-sayers as possible... SHOW them that they were wrong about you. I know you can do it.

My own long post done now... good luck!
post #8 of 17
Honestly, I think you ought to do what will make you happy, and you should do it for yourself (rather than for others). Your girlfriend and dad might want you to graduate quickly, but you are the one who is unhappy in his major.

My opinion is that you should just go for the psychology degree, if that's what you like to do. What's the point of getting a degree in something you don't enjoy? If you get a math degree, you might end up in a job you don't enjoy, or a job in which you don't use your degree at all.
post #9 of 17
Like some of the others have said, you should go for your psychology degree. However, you need to do what your heart tells you to. Do not listen to your dad or your girlfriend. It is not their life.

I would like to suggest that you see a counselor. Many schools have a certain number of free sessions each year or semester. You sound overwhelmed and depressed. I waited way, way too long before I got the help I needed, but I feel so much better now, and I can think clearly.

If you do decide to see a mental health advisor, then I suggest that you do not make any major decisions until you feel better.

Good luck and keep your kitty close! He'll make you feel better!

post #10 of 17
If I were in your shoes hun, I would finish the degree that I felt most happiest doing. Follow your heart, and not what your dad is telling you. At the end of the day, do what you feel is best for your future.
If you feel happier with your psychology degree, then go for it! Don't let your family tie you down, it will only hurt you in the long run.

Take care of yourself!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
It does matter what my dad thinks because he is the one fitting the bill so I have to do what he wants me to otherwise he won't be fitting the bill anymore and their goes my education. Me and him have discussed this many times and every time he wants me to finish up with my math degree..."Finish what you start" he says. Well what if I can't do what I started any more...or, looking at my grades, could never do what I started.

I am just not meant to do college level mathematics, high school level is still a breeze for me. When I'm bored I still go online and tutor kids in algebra and that I enjoy. With algebra you can see the problem unwrap and it almost solves its self in your head if you close your eyes. Thats what I loved about math seeing this complicated horrid looking set of characters and just unraveling it to get it down to a much simplier representation. I am a computational mathematition, the enjoyment for me is in cruching the numbers and seeing how things turn out. The biggest rush in the world comes from taking on the most horrid looking problem and getting the right solution. I do not care why a odd number is odd, or why the sum of every even number is always even, give me some odd numbers and even numbers and let me work.

And psychology, well thats just easy for me. Its all about understanding how people work and when their is a problem why that problem is their. Having the struggles I have had in life makes me, and many others, believe that I would make a great clinical psychologist. So if I ever do persue the dream of psychology it will be to end up as a theriopist.

I have always wanted to help people, not demean them and make them feel stupid like so many of the "helpers" had beside me, but to truly help them. To make them see things that they could never see before. Thats why I origonally went into mathematics. I wanted to become a teacher and make math come alive for my students. To share the joy that I feel with them and help them feel it also.

And the psychology thing...its the same underlying want/desire to help people. Untimatly, if psychology happens, I want to work with morbidly obese children because thats what I was and I know how horrid it is to live like that. I want to help them not fall into the lifestyle I had or to have to do the things that I have had to do. I want to try to save them from the mistakes so many of us make.

Something just occured to me...my parents were NOT supportive of the math thing in the beginning either. They used to HATE it when I spent hours in my room with text books 3 years more advanced than what I should have been able to do. To get psychological on you guys they had developed a schema and unconscience ideology of me being to unintelligent to understand complex mathematics so seeing me work on trigonometry in 8th grade challenged this schema and ideology and thats why they didn't like it. It caused conflict in the thing they understood as me. Anyway back on point...maybe it will be the same thing with psychology, they will hate it initially but when I don't listen and don't give up they will eventually learn to accept it and even push me if/when I don't want to do it. Though my mom likes the psychology idea its just my dad.

Oh and I have been seeing a therapist for almost two years now and he does jack to help me but every time I think about getting another one he has a good session and keeps me coming back. He is a talk therapist which doesn't really work with me. Yes I can analyze my own problems and come up with solutions which is what talk therapy is all about but I have very little drive to follow through which is why this therapy is failing.

Okay I'm done now...I think...sorry for the long post again.
post #12 of 17
Is is the actual major and courses that you're struggling with, or the class structure? I was an honor's student in high school, but struggled a LOT with my first year of college because I was used to smaller classes, and couldn't focus in large lectures. Didn't matter that I had over a 4.0 in high school, I nearly failed out.

Are you at a large campus? If so, have you thought about making arrangements to transfer to a smaller one? Or do you think you could benefit from more one-on-one teaching?

Don't let your father force you into a major that you no longer feel is right for you. There are other financial options out there, and student loans really don't hurt you as much as you might think. They rarely count as a negative on credit reports, and many have low interest rates. The deferment clause that most loans contain is great. Even if you don't have much credit, you can still get tuition loans. It's not the end of the world to have to go that route.

No matter what decision you make, good luck!!!
post #13 of 17
Ok, some advice from years down the road, although a different educational standpoint. In high school I was the "smart" kid, scholarship to college, the only reason I didn't have a perfect grade in college is because I didn't apply myself and try. I currently have an associates degree in math/sciences. I am three semesters short now (at almost 40) of a degree in accounting/statistics. BUT I dropped out of college at 21 because it wasn't fun anymore (if I went back now I'd go into psycology or something along those lines), I was bored and I wanted to get married. I had a ready made job waiting for me in the family business, so why stay in school? Fast forward from then (1989) until now......we retired the family business in 2006, hub and I have been running a catering business since 2005, and if the economy keeps worsening, I'm afraid of having to close it. Bottom line? I can't get a job that needs a degree, yet I'm "overqualified" for many that I would apply for. Keep this in mind when you're thinking of those "fast food" jobs, they're great now, but if that's all you can get ten years from now ( and no, I'm not condemming them, all I am is 'glorified' fast food) if you and your girlfriend get married and you have her and several children to support......it gets tough working two jobs, trust me!

Bottom line, stay in school, but be sure its something you enjoy...for your sanity!
post #14 of 17
Maybe you'd do better communicating with your father if you did it in writing. Sometimes when we talk to people we've known forever, we slip into old familiar patterns and can't get anywhere -- but if you write your thoughts down in a clear, concise way, maybe you can get through to your dad without triggering that "finish what you start" cliche.

And if I may say... that cliche is nonsense in this context. I started taking ballet lessons when I was 8. Should I have felt obligated to "finish" and become a ballerina?

People grow and change, and their interests shift with experience. That's part of what education is about, for heaven's sake: discovering what's important to you, what you're good at, and what you enjoy. It sounds like you've done that.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
One of the other issues is that 90% of all jobs in mathematics are number crunching so I really don't need the theory that I'm struggling with so if I can just grit my teeth and get though it with C's then I will never have to use it again and I can happily forget it. I can kind of see where my dad is coming from, I am so close to the finish line, I only need 3 more math classes and I would have the major done...and maybe one more elective but I'm taking that this fall as well. Its just...I HATE theory and I can not do it...so those last three classes are going to kill me. But...its only 3 classes and then I will have a degree...I have like 7 or 8 more classes to take for psychology.

I am also planning on going to Redeemer(a school in Ancaster, Ontario) when I graduate here. I was going to go into clinical psychology up their but I might just go into education instead if they have a program their. I know their clinical psychology program looks great but I don't want to be in school that long and I looked into it and only 1 or 2 of my psychology classes will transfer. That and if I go into education then my math degree won't be for nothing, I can teach math when I'm done.
post #16 of 17
sounds like a plan.
post #17 of 17
that last part of college is always a grind, and pain.
with class;s you dont feel you need(and most of the time you dont)
but stick them out no matter which way you choose.
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