Sunday, June 5, 2016

Taking a year off of school

I mentioned in a previous post that I was making the big decision of whether or not to take a year off of school.

I've decided to move forward with this plan, and as of now, will not be enrolling in courses in the fall.

The reason behind this decision is two-fold. The first reason being that I think I'm currently too sick to properly attend school. The second reason is that my eventual goal is a Ph.D. and a tenured track position. Continuing school now, would most likely result in me not being accepted to the grad school of my dreams.

It's hard for me to admit that I'm too sick to attend school. But evidence has piled up over the past three years and I've reached a point where my grades and health have dropped so much that I can no longer deny it. Not only have my grades dropped, they dropped while on a reduced course load, I didn't get summer research positions, I had to retro-actively drop out of courses, as well as differ an exam due to having a psychotic episode the day of the exam. I can no longer pretend that I'm handling school well. I'm not. My BPD has been acting like crazy and I started having hallucinations this past year. I need to get this under control ASAP.

Not only do I need to get my health under control, I need to get my grades under control. I go to school to learn. I spend a lot of money on school so that I can learn. I'm currently not learning very much in my classes, as I spend most of the time dissociated, and this in turn shows on my transcript. My goal is Berkeley. I want to get my Ph.D. from Berkeley. One of the top schools in the states is not going to accept me into their program with my current grades and lack of mathematical understanding. That's not me being hard on myself, that's reality.

There's a quote I really like:
Discipline is choosing what you want most over what you want now.
What I want now is to be a student. But what I want most is a career in mathematics. To successfully have a career in mathematics, I realized I need to take a year off and heal. Then attack school once again.

So I'm currently looking for jobs for the year, and also looking into doing some mental health awareness speeches for high school students. I'd really like to take this year to work on myself, but I think that one of the best ways I have of doing that, is by being vocal about my problems. Working on ending the stigma, writing this blog, and running my twitter account all help me feel more accomplished. And that is something I want to keep up.

I'd love to hear about your experiences with school and mental illness, please share in the comments!



  1. That's one of the toughest decisions to make. I got forced into taking time off when my grades skipped too far. Making the proactive decision is an amazing step to recovery! And honestly, after working for a year in service, I've never missed school more. My motivation has never been better, and I hope the same happens to you.

  2. I took a year out before starting university and I don't regret it at all. At first it seemed unnecessary but it was defo worth it as I'm in a much better place now. You do what you gotta do. Good luck!

  3. I think often recovery has to come first and you have to do what's right for you. Get the grades you deserve to get, not what you can scrape together now.

    Re cooking, I found it really helped me recover from bulimia (although it took a lot time and many fuck ups), it made me appreciate and enjoy food again, and I was actually getting a nutritionally balanced diet for the first time ever! Sadly I've developed the phobia again (I have no idea what it is with my ED and phobia of cooked food, it's a recurring theme!)