Thinking of dropping out…bad idea? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-25-2010, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a senior at a very good university. I graduate in the summer. I also have 5 children who are incredibly demanding of my time. I have always missed a lot of class because of the kids but this semester has gotten really bad and I am missing entire weeks of class at a time.

I also feel my kids are suffering from me being in school. My youngest dd, who is 20 months, is developing attachment issues that I am pretty sure are caused by leaving her at daycare. My special needs 6 yr old is missing out on going to any therapy other than what is offered by the school because I simply cannot get her there, and my two oldest children's grades have dropped from straight a's to barely b's and c's.

My husband is no help at all because he just started a new job, works a lot, and is on a probationary period for the first 6 months, plus he just generally has never really "been there" for me.

I am also a religion major and I am becoming very jaded with it and I feel like I am wasting my time getting a useless degree, but it is too late to change unless I want to start over completely. If I quit going to school I would go back to being a SAHM until my kids are older, and then I would like to pursue midwifery or psychology. I have a massive amount of student loan debt that we would still have to pay off though.

So, if you were me, would you drop out or just hang in there another few months for the piece of paper? (Either way I will go back to staying home till the kids are older.) The only benefit I see is that it would give me a sense of achievement.

Also, will I be able to go back to school if I quit now?

I am posting this because I really need some opinions on this from people who are not directly affected by my decision. Thanks.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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I would hang in there, if need be I would slow my pace and take an extra semester. I will say though that in both my last semester of undergrad and graduate school I felt overwhelmed. In both instances what kept me going was the reality that if I did not finish I would owe an incredible amount of money with nothing to show for it. It was harder though in grad school because my last semester I had a new baby and was writing my thesis.

I hear what you sare saying that the degree feels useless but I guess my question is what were you planning to do with it when you started. My concern is if you drop out now I think its the sort of things years from now you may regret. In the end only you know what is best for your family, good luck!

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:57 PM
 
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I would try to finish. Why are you jaded with your major? Is it just because you feel that your degree will be useless, or are do you have issues with the discipline itself? I think that if the latter is the case, you have a better argument for just dropping out, but if it's only because you feel that your degree won't be useful to you, I really think you should hang in there.

I think that if you don't finish and then were to reapply to colleges or universities in the future, it might look bad, though I don't think it would be an insurmountable obstacle. You would need to think very hard about coming up with a satisfactory explanation as to why you came so close to finishing and didn't, because something like that really raises red flags about an applicant's prospects in a program, even one in a completely unrelated field. (I am saying this as someone who used to work in higher education.)

I have a what is essentially a useless degree. I left my career to move to another country to get married and I sincerely doubt that I will ever find work again in my field. That's hard for me because I loved it, but I still understand what you are saying about working hard to get a piece of paper that isn't going to be useful to you. But what I want to say is that even if I never work in my field again, it was such an important part of my intellectual development, and of the person I am now. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that there is more than one way to define useful, when talking about education. If you feel negative about your major just because it's no longer a practical choice, can you focus on whatever was interesting/fascinating/compelling about it back when you chose it? If you want to drop out because you have philosophical issues with Religion as a discipline, or something like that, that's obviously not going to help.

The pp made a great suggestion about slowing the pace, that might make the rest of your course load more manageable.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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I think you should stay with it. A degree that you can't use right now because of family obligations, and may never use because you don't like that kind of work or can't get that kind of work is still a degree. Just having a degree is worth a lot in the job market. An almost degree is useless. You can't tell prospective bosses that you almost got your degree. If there's any way for everyone to survive the next few months, do it. What's that compared with all the years you've spent so far? Is there something else in your situation, besides you, that has some give? Can you somehow afford to hire or beg help with child care and cleaning? Can your kids get tutoring help at school? Can you arrange more physical contact with your baby?

I face some of the same issues, as a full time student and single mom with four kids. My youngest is five, though. But still- I sleep with her, and we bathe together every morning because even at her age, she needs mommy.

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Old 02-25-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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What sort of degree is it? Because not all "useless degrees" are useless. I would look into if it's a degree you can increase your hireability or if you choose to further your education it can be used as a jumping off point for other majors at a higher level.

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Old 02-25-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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Hang in there! I know it is hard, but if you graduate this year it will all be worth it. In my experience it really doesn't matter what your degree is in, it just matters that you have one. A college degree (any) is a door opener - many companies won't even consider you without one regardless of experience.

I am currently in my doctoral program. 1 class away from taking my comprehensive exams and starting my dissertation. I have been in this program for 3 years, have had to take time off to have my DS, and am so jaded with the amount of debt I am racking up (myself getting a useless degree) that I know how it feels.

There are many times I have wanted (and still want to) quit, but then I would be throwing away 3 years, tens of thousands of dollars, with nothing to show for it. You will never forgive yourself if you drop out so close to finishing. Getting your degree sets an incredible example for your children. It is a sacrifice, but well worth it.

YOU CAN DO IT!!!

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Old 02-25-2010, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My degree is in religion. I can go to grad school with it, but that is about it. I can't even teach high school with a religion degree without further education, not even social studies.

Beyond that though, i cant shake the feeling that if i stay i school just to finish, even if it is just till august, i am not giving my kids the care they need and i am also cheating my education by just doing the minimal amount to pass.

sorry for poor grammar baby nursing and laying on my arm
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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You're so close!! You can do it! I'm also almost done, and as a single mom its tough. But, I'm doing it, and I WILL FINISH!!! You can do it. You're so close. Don't worry about later - take it one day at a time, one class at a time. You'll be ok.
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:21 PM
 
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I say finish, you can apply for graduate school/masters degree programs in a few years if you finish now. I like the advice to space your classes out if it is not working out, or ask if you can get some help from friends/relatives for a couple weeks.

If you stop, the old classes may time out and you may have even more work to do to finish.
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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don't stop now - just finish it off - it's one more semester... you are so close.

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Old 02-25-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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You need to hang in there. It's just, what, three more months? It kind of sounds like you're stressed and overwhelmed and looking for an excuse to throw in the towel. But at this point you should really tough it out.
Even if your major isn't something that will directly lead to a job, having a college degree -- any college degree -- is huge. What if you got a divorce, or your husband couldn't work or got laid off? It would vastly increase your ability to support your family if you had to.
If you already have student loans, you should really have a degree to show for it. If you were only a year or so in, that would be one thing, but halfway through your final semester? Hang in there. Drop a couple classes if you need to and pick them up in the summer (make sure they're offered in the summer), but don't drop out.
Also, maybe you need to sit your husband down and tell him you need more help, at least for a couple months.

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Old 02-25-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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Can you finish? If you can, I'd stick with it because it's a lot easier to get masters degrees and having any sort of bachelors opens up jobs you can't get without one.

It'd make it so if/when you did enter the work force, you could just start without having to go to school first or could more readily get a degree in another field that interests you more.

(I, OTOH, will NOT be finishing the degree I've nearly completed because we can't afford for me to try a dozen times to get through the senior project course. If you've got a class that is impossible for you to pass, I suggest waiting until your youngest is older, since I've been reassured that my inability to do my hard course could just be mommy brain and that I'll be better able to handle it when Lina's 3 or 4)

Oh and obviously the first two paragraphs aren't from experience, they're what people who tried to tell me I should throw good money after bad said. If I could've passed the class, I would've followed their advice.
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:26 PM
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If it's at all possible, I think you should finish. Not finishing may close doors down the line. It would make it harder to get in to other education programs in the future. And even if your major isn't hugely practical there are many jobs that require a degree, any degree; so the degree itself is potentially useful.

To echo other posters, are there any other areas of your life with give? Can you move your little one to a day care on campus so you can see her between classes? Can you arrange summer school/tutors to help your older kids keep up with their school? Can you hire a house cleaner so you can spend more time studying or more time with the kids? Can you all eat peanut butter and jelly for the next couple of months so you don't have to spend time cooking?

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Old 02-25-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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I would talk to the college and see if they have options.

DO NOT drop out. It will only make your job search harder!
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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to answer your very last question, yes you would be able to go back if you drop out. i've btdt. but to answer the first question, yes, bad idea. generally.

it doesn't have to be all-or-nothing, total 180 (dropping out) versus things staying exactly as they are. there must be some other adjustments that can be made to help you get through your very last semester.

when your kids are sick, is there someone other than you or dh who could care for them?

what kind of "attachment issues" is your baby having? because 10 months is a normal age for a baby to develop separation anxiety and/or stranger anxiety. if that's what's happening - if you were a sahm, you would probably be questioning whether it was because you were with her all the time and never left her with anyone else. if the problem is mostly occuring when you drop her off at dc, maybe the dcp would have an idea of how to help that transition go more smoothly.

can your dh help your two oldest kids with their homework? i know you said he isn't really there for you, but what about for your kids?

would someone else be willing to get your 6yo to therapy?

the degree isn't useless. there are plenty of jobs that require you to have a degree, but it doesn't matter than your degree is unrelated to the work, as long as you can do the work. like you said, at this point, you have student loans to repay whether you finish or not - so finish.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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One religion major to another: do it! It's not the major that qualifies you, it's the degree. And it will look really bad on your future job applications if they see that you dropped out with only a semester left. You are almost there. See what resources the school can offer you. Maybe there is some flexibility there. Don't quit when you're so close! You can find a way to be a loving mom and still set yourself up for success.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:17 PM
 
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Have you thought about switching to a more marketable major? If you have your foundation classes done you should be able to switch easily and not be to far behind. You are going to have to pay the loans back if you drop out. Will your husband have enough money to pay the loans back if you are staying at home? If he won't have enough money will and you will have to get a job to pay for them, then I think you should finish this out and have a degree and some chance of getting a better job than you would have without a degree. It is really normal to get tired of school as you get close to the end. Keep pushing through.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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Once you get that degree, no one can ever take it away from you. Useless or not--having a degree will be a way to get your foot in the door for many different jobs. Your kids may seem as if they are suffering now, but they will be so proud of you when they are older. It looks like most everyone here is pulling for you, so GO FOR IT!

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Old 02-25-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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I would absolutely stick it out. You are so close it would be (imo) a huge mistake not to. You've already done 90% of it.

Yes, religion isn't a major that in and of itself is going to get you a great job or earn you a lot of money. But there are many, many jobs that require one to have a bachelor's degree, period, and you shut yourself out of all those positions if you don't have one.

I work at a university. If you quit now, you may find that it is much harder to get your degree later. Program requirements change, so you may find that all sorts of things have been added by the time you go back. Also, some credits may have a statute of limitations, if you will. If you try to go back too many years from now, you may be looking at retaking a bunch of things.

Having a bachelors is a prerequiste for graduate work. You mention you might want to go back for a bachelors in psychology, but in terms of the job market, that's not all that much better than a BA in religion.
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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I have one of those pretty useless degrees...humanities. I am not getting a masters in health/lactation consulting. However, consider this, once you graduate, you will likely not qualify for government grants. You may consider lightening your work load and decide what you want to do career wise.

What I'm trying to say is, if your not sure what you want to do with this degree, you may not want to apply for graduation because it can lesson your chances of getting grants in the future.

So, say you want to go into midwifery...you would need a bunch of science classes and for CNM, it would be easier to have your BSN. So, you could postpone graduation and apply for a double major. Then when your done, you could get a wonderful job working at a religiously affiliated hospital like Holy Cross

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Old 02-26-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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I would absolutely stick it out. You are so close it would be (imo) a huge mistake not to. You've already done 90% of it.

Yes, religion isn't a major that in and of itself is going to get you a great job or earn you a lot of money. But there are many, many jobs that require one to have a bachelor's degree, period, and you shut yourself out of all those positions if you don't have one.

I work at a university. If you quit now, you may find that it is much harder to get your degree later. Program requirements change, so you may find that all sorts of things have been added by the time you go back. Also, some credits may have a statute of limitations, if you will. If you try to go back too many years from now, you may be looking at retaking a bunch of things.

Having a bachelors is a prerequiste for graduate work. You mention you might want to go back for a bachelors in psychology, but in terms of the job market, that's not all that much better than a BA in religion.
To piggyback off this post, if psychology is the route you end up taking, I personally would finish the BA and go to grad school for psychology. Like others have said just having a degree opens many doors and while being a SAHM maybe what you are planning you never know where life will take you. The thing is a not finished BA isn't going to mean much and its true requirements change and if too much time passes you may not be able to utilize all the credits you have.

I will say as one Mama who went to school as a parent to another, I think its normal to get to the end and feel like giving up. I remember working on my senior project that was due in like a week and I was up at 2 am having a writers block saying I could not do it. I did it and while you said the only positive you can think of is a sense of accomplishment, I'll say for me that was a huge deal when I finished and got my degree.

To this day aside from my kids, I am actually more proud of getting my BA than I was when I got my Masters. In part because it was a journey and a struggle and in the end I did it..it sounds corny but for me it was true.

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Old 02-26-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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I've been having these thoughts, too. I was so so close to bridging a master's (when you take master's classes at the same time as bachelor's) and graduating. And then I messed up a stacked section of classes (prereq for my req for my capstone) and now I am going to be in school 6 months longer...the point being I am going to be in FT school through my pregnancy and birth.

Of course, I don't hold a candle, complaining about 2 kids, to your 5 kids!

What about reducing the load? I know I can't do that b/c I have to be FT for the scholarships...but do you have to? Are any of the classes online so you can be at home more often?

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Old 02-26-2010, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well now I really don't know what to do. There is one class that I am takin now that I have missed a lot of. I just took an exam and I was super sick but had already rescheduled because of dd so I didn't want to reschedule again. Of course I bombed the exam. This couse is also the capstone course of my program.

Yesterday I emailed my professor and detailed all of my problems for him and his response was that the only way he would even pass me in the course is if I attended every class from here on out and made stellar grades. I just don't think that is possible. I have already withdrawn from this class once so if I withdraw now, I will have to appeal to even be allowed to retake it. I don't know what to do.
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I am going to try to get a medical withdrawal due to my kids, then take a semester or two off and come back when my youngest is a bit older and life is a bit more manageable….this would be ideal, i think.
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Old 02-26-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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I think I am going to try to get a medical withdrawal due to my kids, then take a semester or two off and come back when my youngest is a bit older and life is a bit more manageable….this would be ideal, i think.
I think that's a good plan. You can't focus on your studies right now, and there's no real urgent need for them now.

I would encourage you, when you go back, however, to finish up the work for the degree you're in. You can always pursue a different/another degree, but showing that you can finish one degree will help down the line.

Your degree isn't 'worthless'. I'll spare you my rant on the value of a liberal arts education. You've learned valuable skills and ways of thinking.

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Old 02-27-2010, 01:43 AM
 
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Well now I really don't know what to do. There is one class that I am takin now that I have missed a lot of. I just took an exam and I was super sick but had already rescheduled because of dd so I didn't want to reschedule again. Of course I bombed the exam. This couse is also the capstone course of my program.

Yesterday I emailed my professor and detailed all of my problems for him and his response was that the only way he would even pass me in the course is if I attended every class from here on out and made stellar grades. I just don't think that is possible. I have already withdrawn from this class once so if I withdraw now, I will have to appeal to even be allowed to retake it. I don't know what to do.
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I think I am going to try to get a medical withdrawal due to my kids, then take a semester or two off and come back when my youngest is a bit older and life is a bit more manageable….this would be ideal, i think.
(((Hugs))). February is such a tough time in the school year. The assignments have piled up and the year seems endless.

Many colleges have student support services to help students struggling for a variety of reasons. If your college offers such a service, have you contacted them? They may offer some practical help - child care co-ops, support networks, study assistance....

If there is no service, then perhaps you could speak with the Dean of your faculty. Perhaps some of the lecture/course work could be done by independent study instead.

You have already invested a lot in your education. The faculty and the college have a lot invested in you too. It's in their interest to help you graduate. Most school are fairly sympathetic to family demands. I would think a religion faculty, in particular, could be persuaded to be supportive.

If you are certain that you will return to complete your degree, then taking a leave may be a good idea. If you don't return though, it will be problematic explaining to potential employers why you didn't complete your degree when you were so close to finishing.

Best wishes.
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