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what is more important? advice really needed.

I've been having a really really rough time these days...I'm a full time student, but theres been alot of turmoil back home and I've been struggling with alot of personal issues ( including my weight). I've been trying to make it work here at school and learn how to manage all of it and just take it one day at a time. But I'm just reaching the end of my rope. I need a break...and I dont know if I can afford to take one. Is it better to push through it?or should I listen to my needs and take a week away from it all. I've been looking at spiritual retreats etc online and I feel like thats what I need....to get away and to get perspective. How do you judge when you really need a break?

Fri. Nov 3, 11:29pm

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It sounds like you need a break and I suggest you take one, but I would try a day or two. Sometimes when people get overwhelmed, you think you need AT LEAST a week, but honestly, just taking a break from doing everything you have been doing for a day or two or weekend might be enough. Try that first because taking a week from a totally overwhelming schedule then becomes overwhelming in itself, just the thing you are trying to remedy.

Friday, November 03, 2006, 11:49 PM

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I see this from the professor's point of view more often than you might think -- students coping with the death of a parent (and all the legal mess that goes with that), students going through divorces, students with seriously ill children, or their own illnesses, or other huge family stresses. My advice -- I'm really serious -- is if it is something like that, take a semester off. Deal with the dying parent, the stalking ex-spouse, or whatever the problem is. Those things take a lot of time and energy to resolve, and no matter how dogged a student is about trudging around to classes and handing in the work, his or her mind is naturally not really on the coursework, and he or she is wasting time and money AND feeling terrible about it.

If it's not something that serious... ...Well, I know this sounds flippant, but welcome to university life. We ALL feel that way right now. Fall semester grinds everyone down at just this point. I guarantee that your professors are themselves hanging on by their fingernails and praying that Thanksgiving weekend comes before they decompensate and go postal in the middle of a lecture. The suggestion to take a day or two off is a good one, and just keep telling yourself Thanksgiving long weekend is almost here!

neon

Saturday, November 04, 2006, 7:58 AM

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I See It Differently

I walked away from school just a few weeks before the end of a semester. I was feeling overwhelmed and didn't see how I could possibly pull it out. When I returned to school about a year later I looked at where I really was and saw that it wasn't that bad. In fact to get readmitted I sought letters of recommendations from some of my professors. What surprised me is that more than one thought I was doing quite well in their class before I left.

I suggest you divide your activities into a few categories. These would be mine: Those things I procrastinate on the most but really aren't that hard if only I would get on them. (Doing taxes for me but maybe starting a research paper for you. The key is starting.) Those things I really think I want to do in my life but really now is not the time. (I want a gentleman's farm but right now raising my family needs that time maybe for you it might be participating a dance troup. If you love it you can get it back into your life when there is more time.) Finally and one I sense that you are falling prey to, don't try to solve those things that are not yours to solve or that you cannot control. If your parents are going through tough times letting their problems interfere with your school this close to the holidays is not what they would want. If it is a financial problem you are likely too close to the end of the term to help much in the next few weeks. Whatever the problem try to eliminate not what you hate, fear or dread but what you know will have the least impact on your biggest goals.

I break demands into the smallest next steps. Need to write an entire paper what is the very next thing you need to do. It is not write the paper it is more likely that you need to spend an hour researching potential topics. Need to read 10 books. You need to start by reading one chapter.

I did a great deal of speculating because your posting didn't offer much to go on. But take it from someone who bailed too early and was lucky to get back. Progress on your goals is frequently more motivating that time off from the pursuit of those goals. Trim things back a little, focus on the next small steps and keep at it. Best of luck!

Saturday, November 04, 2006, 8:02 AM

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8:02 am

I don't know if you were responding to me, but your post has some excellent advice, concerning at least those stresses which are not ultimate, mind-numbing ones. I definitely wouldn't throw this semester away, anyway; meant to say that if the OP is in the middle of a divorce or something NEXT semester would be the one to take off.

I'm curious about your hiatus, though -- did you talk to the Dean of Students before you left? The reason I ask is that at every place I have taught, a student in your situation would have ideally gone to the Dean, the Dean would have looked their stuff over, talked to the professors, and either told you that you were doing just fine OR arranged for a leave. Usually with a leave you would not have to re-apply to the school to resume classes, so no stress about re-admission.

neon

Saturday, November 04, 2006, 8:55 AM

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It is so easy to become overwhelmed, cause there is always so much we need and want to do. The only advice I could give would be to take a day or two off and work on a schedule. Prioritize all the things you have going on and then create a strict weekly schedule that will help you accomplish all of those things. Build in time for family and personal stuff too.

My weekly schedule includes relaxing bath night and a face mask night. I need to be calm and have me time in order to get the rest of the stuff done. My schedule does not include any tv though, television is not a priority right now, no matter how much I may love the show and think that I have the time to watch.

It does get a little boring to keep telling people that I can't go out cause I need to do my schoolwork or have a relaxing bath. But I've build a routine for myself (which includes exercise) that is taking care of my body, spirit, and responsibilities. Making a schedule might really help you too. The term will be over soon. Stay strong.

Saturday, November 04, 2006, 9:32 AM

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listen to your gut!

It's taken me about 5 years to learn this - but your body and mind knows when you need a break. Listen to yourself. Being a student is tough - lots of pressure all the time. Take a break for a week....

Saturday, November 04, 2006, 12:06 PM

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Reply to Neon

I was not replying to your comments but my typing and your post over-lapped time wise. I did go to see a university counselor and expressed that I thought I was just sort of drifing. Now mind you I was not looking for a shoulder to cry on but was asking for tactical advice to help better target my goals. Within 60 seconds this "counselor" (quotes added for emphasis) said, "a lot of people in your situation join the military".

I was shocked! I said thank you, stood up and walked out. Total appointment time three minutes. I left, was booted for a dismal end-of-term GPA. I took one semester off, reapplied, was denied. Took some classes at a local community college and did quite well. I also saw that I was actually pretty bright compared to many and that boosted my confidence. I reapplied with letters from my previous professors and was re-admitted. I can't say that I finished in stellar fashion but I finished successfully.

Sunday, November 05, 2006, 7:48 AM

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Yikes! Not the best counseling there, I'd agree. Good for you on going back! and judging from your great earlier post, you picked up all the necessary coping and work strategies as well.

Yeah, so, key point for any student who must leave mid-semester for any reason: Don't just walk out. Make an appointment with the Dean of students. Fill out the stupid form. This kind of thing really IS what the dean's office does all day.

neon

Sunday, November 05, 2006, 9:20 AM

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I agree with taking a couple days off. Go somewhere quiet like to a retreat or even just camping... somewhere with no cell phones, no tv's, no agenda, just relaxing, and maybe (if you can) get a couple of good friends to go with you. Make sure that you use this time to relax and unwind, let your mind drift and just reenergize. I had some rough times during college and I actually did have to leave in the middle of a semester, turned out it was the best thing for me and my professors were great about giving me incompletes so that I could make up the work over the summer! Just do what you feel is the best for you, you're the only one that knows, but sit back and make sure that you get a really clear picture about what's going on in your life... do it step by step so that the whole of things isn't quite so overwhelming. Also, realize what you can change and what you have no control over. Take control of the things that you can and let the other things play out over time. Best of luck to you and I'll keep you in my prayers.

Monday, November 06, 2006, 11:28 AM

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