I'm on the brink of possibly changing my life. However, logistical and emotional issues are in the way. What on Earth should I do? (warning: More Inside is looooooong)
posted by divabat to grab bag (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm currently in my second year of university (arts management and creative writing) in Australia as an international student and I'm hating it. Australia is a fine country, and my uni isn't too terrible, but the experience of university is killing me. I hate academic writing, or rather writing on command - I love research, but I'd rather be doing it on my own basis rather than on subjects I'm not so sure about. For some reason half the subjects for my arts management submajor are performance/theatre related, and due to my lack of theatre background I'm feeling very lost and disconnected. (They aren't even Theatre 101 subjects, but more advanced material.) I took creative writing classes because I had a passion for writing, but having my work cut down for lack of publishability (even if it was a fine work on its own) is demotivating. Or maybe I just detest homework, I don't know.
Granted, I am going through depression (have been diagnosed & under some form of treatment over the past 5 years) so that may be clouding my opinion of university to an extent. There are also a couple of classes that I've found highly fascinating - but 2 classes out of 12 just aren't enough, and it feels like university is the major contributor of the depression. Overall I find the university experience to be too much pontificating about what Academic A or Academic B has to say about "liminal space" or whatever, and less about what's happening in the real world and how to make that work for our projects (the two classes that I found fascinating were far more grounded and real-world and I wished my whole degree were subjects like those!). I'm good with project proposals, or actual projects, and while I can actually write good academic papers I find the process stifling and boring.
I have a very experiential way of learning, so academic styles don't really work for me. I also work best with personal individualized guidance, which I'm not really getting. I find more happiness and fulfillment in the different volunteer work and events I do outside uni, than on anything I'm doing as a uni assignment. Indeed, this semester I've spent more time in conferences (which are fun and great learning experiences) than in actual class time, though I am getting my work in on time.
It's gotten to the point that I really NEED a change. I mainly went to university in the first place to fulfil expectations of getting a degree. My previous university screwed me (and many others) over, so I left and went on a life-changing educational tour, followed by a few months of working while I applied and waited for jobs for the company that did the tour. I didn't get the job I hoped for, so I went to uni instead. It was a HUGE adjustment, having come from overseas, and I thought I'd slog through it hoping for things to get better, but one and a half years on, I'm just feeling so DEAD and so DEPRESSED and DEMOTIVATED. I've spent many nights the past few weeks crying because I didn't know what to do.
I talked to my psychologist about it, and about my fear of offending my family. I've felt that the degree was more for them than for me (I've found through experience that I could pretty much survive without one, as the things I'm interested in don't really need a degree) and whenever I've tried to bring it up before, it turned into a fight. After a few weeks of thinking, I wrote an email to everyone and waited in trepidation. To my surprise, my family said that I should do whatever makes me happy - as long as I fund it myself. I don't HAVE to get a degree for them, but they all said the same thing: I'm here in Australia to get a better passport.
I have a Bangladesh passport. It sucks. I need visas for EVERYWHERE and can't go many places as a young tourist. I have Malaysian PR, but even though we applied for citizenship (and even though I was born in the country and spent most of my life there) I am no closer to getting citizenship there. The theory was that by getting a degree in Australia, I would be far closer in getting an Australian PR (and eventually passport) than I would anywhere else. However, with all sorts of rules and legislation changes, my degree doesn't really get me anywhere. It doesn't lead to a "skilled job" with enough points, it's not a high-demand occupation, and I don't live in a regional area. I'm generally cynical about immigration anyway; I figure at this rate I'm permanently stateless. So my decisions to do things don't hinge on whether I can get a passport there or not.
I have one year of university left, and I was hoping to use the first semester of that year to go on exchange - the change of scenery would do me good, and when I come back I only have one semester left so it wouldn't be too hard. About 20 minutes ago, though, I just got notified that (due to issues on their end) my exchange isn't successful, so there goes that idea - and the only thing really tying me to this university. I'm not entirely sure what to do.
I have a few options in mind:
a) Continue on the volunteer/youth conference curcuit for a while. It's what I enjoy doing, but I won't really earn any money, and I have limited funds.
b) Go on a study-abroad trip with a private company. I've been accepted for one, but it's so expensive and all my money would be gone.
c) Get a job in Australia. They're there, and I have plenty of experience and drive to qualify, but visas become a hassle.
d) Go back to Malaysia. I'm not fond of that country though so I don't know what I'll do there.
e) Go back to Malaysia and implement some projects I have in mind. Slightly better choice, but I have no idea how to do so! And I still have so many things I want to experience.
f) Move to another country and do something else. Visas, again. And I'd miss my boyfriend (he's pretty supportive of me though)
g) Transfer to a university that has more of what i'm after. Most of them are in the US (the Colleges That Change Lives type unis) but I don't know if I can handle the whole rigamarole of visas and applications and academic writing and such.
h) Change my degree to Social Work, Community Development, or Human Services. I've found that this is closer to my passion than my current one (which are passions too but not as strong as these ones) but again, lots of logistical hassle, and I don't want university to kill my love for those two areas.
I'm stuck. I feel immobile. All this ideas but also all these blocks. I've been emailing people for ideas, but I have no idea where to go.
Should I stay on my degree and slog it out for another year?
Should I drop out, do the degree by distance, change degrees, change universities?
Should I travel, find work elsewhere?
Is there an International Passport for "Stateless" people like me?
What shall I do? This is the scariest thing I'ver ever considered and I don't know where to begin.