Spilt Milk

The palaeontology / micropalaeontology test went ok yesterday; I’m so glad I made the decision to study over the weekend even if that meant consequences for chemistry, since the larger part of the test was made up from just these topics and I wouldn’t have passed without revising. The pressing question, however, is how good I am relative to my peers: 120 people can take the zoology class, 157 put their names on the list – so I have to beat at least 37 of them.

I didn’t get to take a look at the chemistry exam, because they told me that if I entered the room to look at the exam, I’d have to stay there for the entire two hours. Staring at the exam for two hours without a chance to solve most of the tasks (we got test-exams from our tutor, so I know I’m not even close to the required level for passing) would have greatly increased negative feelings about myself and caused me a lot of anxiety, so I opted out of that option. The problem isn’t that I couldn’t sit the exam: since the Christmas holidays I’ve been aware that I had fallen way behind my schedule – what annoyed me was that I had learned about the palaeontology test on Thursday, but registered for the chemistry exam on Tuesday. Had I known about the test only a few days earlier, I wouldn’t have signed up for the exam in the first place and thus saved that attempt. But, there’s no use crying over spilt milk…

On the positive side, I got back my excursion protocol from November and was one of the lucky few who weren’t required to re-write it and hand in a revised version.


Anxiety Attack

I got woken up by a phone call from my mother this morning, telling me they had announced on the radio that today was the last possible day for setting an exam date for my original university degree. And she’s right. Even though I knew this day was coming, I did not expect it quite so soon (I had not checked the university website in a while as this used to be a trigger in the past and I worry enough as it is).

I suffered a massive anxiety attack and all my instincts just told me to run away and hide in some remote corner. I sent my therapist a very confused email and we’ve been back and forth since. He basically told me what to do (call the university to get some facts etc.) and I’m coming down now, progressing from utterly confused, blind panic and helpless crying to excessive, but more logical worrying.

Looks like I’m forced to make a decision about my professional future within the next few days.


Update: This is the last, most coherent email I sent to my therapist. I have a regular session on Wednesday; he proposed I could have another one if I needed it, but I think we’ll manage with the one already scheduled.

Thanks a lot for the offer. I don’t think I need an additional session at the moment because de facto I can’t finish the original degree as I’m still missing classes for it. The question is “only” whether I want to be a full-time student again from October on or whether I pronounce the “university experiment” a failure and come up with an alternative.

I had hoped to have a little more time for this decision, because I wanted to make sure that I’d manage to finish a degree according to the rules. I want neither my parents nor me to go through such a debacle again, both financially and emotionally. My father will retire in three years, until then I must not depend on his financial support anymore.

From a purely emotional point, I would very much like to have a university degree some day, but the following points scare me:
1. I don’t have any trust in my mental capacities anymore and am worried that I can’t handle the required learning anymore.
2. I’m worried I won’t manage to handle the dual responsibilities of going to university and having a job.
3. I’m afraid of financial ruin.
4. Social anxieties regarding the age gap between other students and me, longer excursions where I stay away over night with strangers, sitting exams.

Purely rationally it might even be good if I’m forced to make a decision now and don’t spend the next months going over the same arguments again and again, but my first instinct was “flight”…

Thank you for the support!

We’ll sort this out on Wednesday, as I have about a month before the deadline for enrolling for the new degree, so it’s not super-urgent. He wrote back to remind me of the progress I already made and of the feedback I had received, so that I should not let everything go now and slump back to where I was six months ago. I’m trying to keep that in mind – I don’t feel as awful anymore now that I have some kind of plan for dealing with this mess.