Between the devil and the deep blue sea
November 17, 2012 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Questioning life decisions about college and the future.

Currently in my 2nd year of college after leaving for 1.5 years due to my illness and then transferred to a local city college. I think I underestimated how commuting would negatively affect me, I spend around 2-3 hours of commuting daily. After classes, I usually go to sleep right away or zone out. I tend to do most or all my homework/studying on weekends due to some of my night/noon classes.

Overall, I'm feelingly incredibly burned out in a short time after returning to classes. My motivation is at a all-time low, and I feel like I'm barely managing to deal with classwork/exams. I'm looking into the possibility that my depression has relapsed, but I can't seem to be less tired even when I get 7-8 hours of sleep.

I did seriously consider leaving college, but I have no idea what else I could do since I don't have any marketable/experience for other jobs. Also, I did think of public service jobs, but it's not suitable for my personality, and I decided to return to college. Right now, I'm planning to to continue my studies for 4-5 years for a regular BBA in Accounting. But after my first semester here, I don't know if I can maintain a GPA to become accepted for my major.

There is pressure on me to continue college from my mother, but at the same time I know this is for my own good due to my lack of other skills and general future employment. I can't transfer to a another college or switch majors, because I'm so far behind on credits after my absence.

I'm feeling uncertain about my future, and I feel like I've only made a series of terrible life decisions. I'm looking for any general advice for my situation especially when I lack any kind of direction or ambition. Thanks in advance.

Yes, I'm in therapy. Yes, I am on antidepressants. Yes, I did make plans to visit the Academic Advising next week.
posted by chrono_rabbit to Education (6 answers total)
Sometimes, the big picture isn't easy to sort out. Focus on modest, achievable goals where success will reinforce your sense things are getting better:

- Maybe 7-8 hours of sleep aren't enough right now--can you find a place to nap 20 minutes during the day?
- Make that commute time well-spent with audio books or music playlists that energize you.
- Maybe you have a delayed sleep phase issue--can you sign up for spring classes that will allow you to sleep later?
- Trying to motivate yourself across the board is tough. Can you pick one class as the most significant and/or tractable to self-motivated improvement?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:10 AM on November 17, 2012

I don't have general life advice for you, but I have two ideas on how to make your commuting better.

I also have a reasonably long commute. I've found that I needed to figure out what to do during the commute to make it better so I wouldn't get home completely cranky and tired. I loaded up the ipod and started getting books out of the library - fun ones that would pull me into them so I'd forget the noise and people around me. Some people do knitting, others crosswords, or watch movies ... find something that you'll look forward to.

Instead of bracketing your classes with all your commuting, perhaps it might be a good idea to spend some time at or near your college doing homework and reading. If there's a library or a good coffee shop or just an empty classroom available, sitting down and getting the work done at school will mean that when you get home after your commute you won't have to deal with that stuff.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:11 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

You still have plenty more bad decisions ahead of you, so don't worry too much about the ones you've made to date. Instead, focus on what you can do to make things better.

Any reason you can't move closer to your college, to eliminate the drain of commuting? I also like the other suggestions so far.
posted by Good Brain at 12:22 PM on November 17, 2012

Yeah, I felt the same way when I was doing serious commuting. I felt more sane when I managed to schedule my classes to minimize commuting... like only having classes on campus 3x a week, and using the two other days to catch up on homework. I spent much of my time commuting reading or talking to people. Now that I found out that video games cheer me up and wake me up more than coffee, I'd probably spend that time playing video games on my phone or buy a DS for that purpose or something. Maybe you don't need more rest, you need more things that would re-energize you.

If your route has lots of other college students, it's actually a great place to network, I've met many of my current good friends while on the bus. I recommend not sleeping on the bus, because it's not very restful and it just makes you want to continue sleeping when you get home anyway. And if you nap at home, limit it to 30 minutes to one hour, and plan something very active to do right afterwards (exercising, cleaning, anything) so you can be awake enough.

Try to find a "second home" closer to campus where you can unwind, relax, or do homework. Do you have a friend that lives on campus? Is there a cozy library? Cafe? Having a safe space on campus could help.
posted by Hawk V at 8:16 PM on November 17, 2012

Seriously consider moving closer to college. Everyone I know who's had a commute like this becomes a zombie a couple months in.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:39 PM on November 17, 2012

Good Brain: "3You still have plenty more bad decisions ahead of you, so don't worry too much about the ones you've made to date. Instead, focus on what you can do to make things better.

Any reason you can't move closer to your college, to eliminate the drain of commuting? I also like the other suggestions so far.

Eh, living in NYC is pretty expensive overall. I live just about 30 miles outside the city, and many city students commute, but I've never commuted quite so long before.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 12:26 PM on November 18, 2012

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