to give up ANOTHER degree

(81 Posts)
Objection Mon 13-Jan-14 22:33:17

background: I went straight from sixth form to a volunteering position in Africa and then went on to work in various office jobs.

In 2011 I took a part time job in an office at a University and started a full time degree at another university nearby in Media & Sociology. After 2 weeks the hour commute between work and lectures was killing me (i worked a half day, every day) so I switched to attend the University I was working at studying BA Sociology instead (I wanted to do Psychology but it was full).

I despised both the course and my job and then got hit by a car (as you do) and had to take some time out. This gave me chance to have a think and shortly afterwards I quit both.

Taking another job at the University, this one being Full Time and in a much nicer department, I enrolled on a Psychology degree with the Open University (my OH is also studying with them and we both rated them highly). I much prefer the subject and also means I can progress onto Clinical Psychology which is what I wanted in the 1st place.

I felt pretty stupid though as this was now the 3rd university I had been to.

However, I now work in a very stressful office job full time (a high level role but not management) and work in London as a weekend Nanny most weekends.

My motivation skills are poor (and clearly my attention span is too) and I am battling with an ever increasing depression and anxiety disorder as I struggle to fit study around 60+ working hours a week.

I have worked out that by quitting my office job and starting yet another degree at a brick and mortar university I could bring home £370 a week at least by studying the degree full time, working most weekends and fitting in the odd temp nanny job during the holidays.

This would give me 5 days a week extra to study and the contact time with the university would most likely increase my motivation.

I'm also confident I will be allowed to start in year 2 as I have already completed a lot of credits. so I would finish the degree a year earlier.

but I would be accumulating a lot (£25000) of student debt and would be hugely embarrassed to be changing routes AGAIN

AIBU to change universities for blush the 4th time?

Objection the transferability of the modules you've already done will depend on the level of the module and how many credits it's worth.

So you may not be able to go straight into year 2 of a psychology course, but you may be able to do year 1 but take a reduced number of modules so as to accumulate the number of credits you need to move to year 2. This may not be a bad thing if you are also trying to tackle MH issues and resolve your job situation at the same time. Little steps preferable to giant leaps.

Why not try emailing the course leader of the degree you are interested in, rather than just speaking to admissions people? If you can persuade them to give you a few minutes (and I would talk to you if you were keen and interested in studying my subject) then you will get better advice. Because admissions people have to deal with so many, they will just give you the party line.

Thanks mumof smile

The problem with being really far to one side of destination or journey is (I think) it makes people really unhappy. My sister being an example, when she was younger she used to react to frustrations by making massive changes - leaving a job, changing courses at university.

And each time, it didn't solve the underlying problem that life is pretty much a journey and provided you're broadly OK with the destination you're planning for and working towards, making huge sweeping changes in response to difficult immediate circumstances can be the wrong choice. It's often better to wait a short time and see if you still feel the same. I used to say to her 'wait 6 weeks and see how you feel then'.

In the case of the OP, I'd say see your GP, then wait six weeks and see how you feel then grin

is there any way you can transfer the OU work you have already done into something material

Higher education modules are, in theory, transferrable provided you haven't already used the credits towards a qualification. So a 10 credit module at OU can, if the new university accepts what the module has covered, equate to 10 credits anywhere. So if OP has passed OU modules in the right sorts of topics, then she already has something tangible.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 16:05:46

dontmindifido Its something im really interested in and naturally inclined towards. Plus i think that my experiences with MH will give me a level of empathy which would be massively beneficial.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 16:04:55

I've just spoken to two of the local universities and neither would be able to enter me in on the 2nd year (regardless of what i had completely before).
So i would have to "go back" to do 1st year over again. This is a massive factor, both financially and for my own sanity.

I'm going to check with the other universities in my area but tbh I'm getting the impression that Psychology is a special case for this kind of thing.

DontmindifIdo Tue 14-Jan-14 15:42:10

Can I also ask another question that you don't have to answer, if you are struggling with your own mental health issues, are you sure that a career working with other people with mental health problems day in and out will be the best for you?

Mumoftwoyoungkids Tue 14-Jan-14 15:34:18

Op - is there any way you can transfer the OU work you have already done into something material - a certificate or something? Sorry - I know nothing OU but it seems a same to not get anything out of your hard work.

I have done study alongside full time work. It is difficult at the best of times. 60 hours a week of work plus study is ridiculous. You will kill yourself. It may be that if you cut down your work hours then the OU will suddenly be a lot more enjoyable.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Tue 14-Jan-14 15:26:52

A destination, not a journey person

Buffy That is genius! I am a destination person but have never seen it written so simply. Will use this phrase next time dh asks me why I can't just enjoy our (really very nice) life but instead spend my time making complicatd plans for the future.

buffy's advice sounds spot on.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 15:12:07

Clinical Psychology and Counselling Psychology are slightly different.

Clinical Psychology tends to help people with specific mental illness whereas Counselling Psychology is more aimed at "day to day" issues such as work, relationships etc.
Its a lot more complex than that and they overlap a lot but thats the most simple explanation.

An ex-colleague of mine is doing a Professional Doctorate in counselling psychology. Is that a DClinPsy? Not my faculty, sorry blush.

She has sought out jobs and volunteering opportunities that enables her to get the experience she needs. I think she finds it hard, as the jobs she gets are low paid. But when she qualifies she will be excellent at the job.

LucyHoneychurchsPiano Tue 14-Jan-14 14:54:45

I think the op may be trying to highlight the slightly different terminology used; the course she's ultimately aiming for is referred to as the DClinPsy, rather than a PhD, follows a specific structure and is funded by the NHS. Still obviously a doctorate, though.

For what it's worth, I have a first class Psychology degree; however, I think I'll struggle to find the paid experience I'd need to apply for the DClinPsy - even once DD is older. You do sound like that's not a problem for you, so that's one box ticked.

Having studied at a bricks and mortar university and the OU, for me, I found the OU a lot less stressful. That's my personal preference, however. I also put a lot of pressure on myself, but that means I self organise and put the hours in without needing the external structure to push me into studying (though it's still all too easy to be distracted by the internet, etc!). I have always set myself a v gruelling schedule that I don't recommend to others, but the degree is doable - provided you have the motivation. I definitely think it's worth speaking to people at both the OU and the university you're interested in to get as much info as you can before making a decision.

Either way you're doing far too much at the moment and have your anxiety to contend with as well. You need to be kind to yourself as you have a huge workload and are clearly v stressed. That being said, ultimately, the motivation and drive to succeed must come from within - even with great external support.

Good luck smile

Sorry, I don't have time to read the full thread. Here is my advice to you:

1. Go and see the GP about your stress / depression. You would not believe how much this can prevent you from being motivated to study.

2. Once you and your GP have decided what can be done about your MH, get a letter and give this to your tutor or whoever is in charge of your pastoral care at OU. It may be possible to get a suspension while you get better.

And generally, it sounds as though you're quite young (sorry if I have got this wrong) or very impatient to get somewhere different in your life. A destination, not a journey person. But I think you're falling into the trap of thinking 'if I can just…' which means you make lots of big changes without tackling the underlying issues. Which means that once you get going living with whatever big change you've made, it doesn't live up to your expectations.

I know, because both I and my little sister are like this.

At the moment, you are juggling several things that can't all be done properly at the same time. So, you need to really think about your priorities: financial security now (so you need your good job) sacrifice now to become a psychologist later (you need to leave one of your jobs) etc.

And also, talk to the university you are considering switching to and make sure you can in fact transfer credits from the modules you've already completed? You need to make an informed choice.

DontmindifIdo Tue 14-Jan-14 14:02:11

Well another option would be talking to your current employer, could you go down to 3 or 4 days a week or part time? (any new mums due to return to work soon who might be intersted in a job share? You could sound them out first and take 'a solution' to your boss).

I don't think it's impossible, but you will have to change your mindset. Being in a physical uni isn't what's going to be the bit that helps, but perhaps the adding structure to your study time would. In that case, you could make changes to add structure now . It doesn't sound like you work well without a tight framework.

C4ro Tue 14-Jan-14 13:53:00

I scraped my way through my first degree full time aged 18-21. Didn't like the subject any more- didn't have any better ideas (for things to do) though and I liked the social life. So grimly stuck it out to the end scraping a 3rd. My Masters was a subject I work in and genuinely find interesting so despite working full time and making an international move during the two years I managed to breeze a distinction in it. Didn't feel anywhere near as much of a slog as the degree did.

It's easier to find study motivation for a subject you enjoy. Ignore the false-starts but be honest with yourself over what you have to give up to make space to do the workload.

Thetallesttower Tue 14-Jan-14 13:48:57

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dclinpsy/applying

You need a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology to be a clinical psychologist, this is a specific training course with specialities in each year similar to that of medical professionals.

You need at least a good 2:1 and preferably a first, plus 1-2 years experience, plus it is hard to get in anyway.

But I don't see that as a major problem for the OP, because there are lots of other things you could do with a psychology degree if she gets to the end and doesn't want to train/continue down this road. I mean, it's not more disadvantaged subject-wise than most other subjects.

SoftSheen Tue 14-Jan-14 13:44:45

PhD= shorthand for 'doctor of philosophy'. 'PhD' means exactly the same as 'doctorate'

I have a PhD/doctorate but know absolutely nothing about philosophy: my doctorate is in Cell Biology. Likewise other people have Phd/doctorates in Physics, Economics, English Literature, Ecology… or indeed Clinical Psychology.

Confusingly, however, you do NOT need a doctorate to qualify as a medical doctor.

To do a PhD/doctorate in ANY subject you need to do very well in your BSc/BA degree (preferably get a 1st) and show yourself to be very highly motivated and well organised. Otherwise no-one is likely to fund you.

2rebecca Tue 14-Jan-14 13:23:00

I find it odd you're stressing the fact that for clinical psychology the PhD has to be in psychology. The same is true of most subjects, so most physicists with PhDs have their PhD in physics etc. Very few people actually do PhDs in philosophy, most of them do them in their career subject.
I'd go for whichever option will help most towards your career path and not bankrupt you in the process. As you are on mumsnet are you planning to have kids as well? Young kids and studying don't go together well which is one disadvantage of the degree then PhD then stressful job option

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 13:18:19

dontmindifido - thank you, very sound advice. One of my worries is that my weekday job is very overwhelming. It is stressful and comes with potentially long hours. The weekend work is almost like a wind-down for me, with the added benefit of earning extra money. I think that if I was to quit the weekend job and do the study at the weekends i would also need to find a less demanding week job.

struggling100 Tue 14-Jan-14 13:16:06

Sweetheart, it sounds like you're simply trying to do too much! Working all those hours and trying to study on top... anyone would struggle, however vibrant and feisty they were.

I do think you might have a lot more fun if you go to uni full time Monday to Friday and then work weekends. And life should be fun, particularly when you are young. Psychology is a fascinating subject, and I think you'll do better at the course if you give yourself a chance to focus on it, which in turn will be good for your longer term prospects. It's not just about the money that graduates earn, but about giving yourself the opportunity to have an amazing experience of exploring the subject.

DontmindifIdo Tue 14-Jan-14 13:08:49

personally, I think you need to decide if you are the sort of person who can get a degree and a doctorate, both require a lot of self study and self motivation. Like you, I'm a bright person who is great at directed work, but I found uni hard, because even when you are there, most is left up to you. I ended up with a 2.2, I don't think that reflects my ability, but my work ethic when left to my own devices.

If you aren't the sort of person who can make themselves do the work needed to get at least a 2.1, is this something you want to do? I would work on the motivation thing, it's telling you say even if you gave up the weekend work you wouldn't spend that studying on your OU degree because your DP would be there and you'd find other things to do. Put bluntly, will you waste your days in the week if you gave up FT work too? It's not good enough to just go to lectures and tutorials, you have to be motivated to be studying before and after, and fellow students will only be a push for you if you happen to make friends with people who are more diligent than you.

Sorry if that's sounds insulting, but it's best to be realistic about what you can achieve, not just what you want to have. I'm the sort of person you give me 1 hours worth of work and tell me it needs turning round in 50 minutes, I'll give it you back with 5 minutes to spare and it'll look like I'm very efficient. But give me 1 hours worth of work and tell me I've got a month to do it and I'm going to be needing an extension. I play to my strengths and have a job in a fast paced environment, lots of people hate working in my industry, because everything is needed now - whereas that suits my way of working/thinking. I would love to go back to uni and do additional study, and I'd love to have an MA, but I know I'd hate doing an MA (and probably wouldn't finish it).

That said, you are a different person, you are also probably a different person to the one who started that very first degree, if you want to try if you can change your way of working, I'd give up the weekend work, but tell yourself your OU degree is your weekend job, force yourself to be up, out of the house and in the local library when it opens on Saturday morning (9?) until it closes, allow yourself only 1 hour max for lunch. Don't try to work from home and don't plan to do things with your DP. If you can keep that up between now and Easter, then possibly it would be worth giving up your FT job to get the degree. But if you can't focus for one solid day a weekend, then you might be giving up your secure job for something that you can't achieve, no matter how much you want to.

Thetallesttower Tue 14-Jan-14 12:12:40

And, getting a plan in place to sort out the anxiety/depression, starting with reducing your working hours. If you are late for every assignment, you may risk not completing the course, I have students who have difficulties and the ones who tend not to complete are the ones who let the deadlines pile up around them and then end up missing exams/coursework, not the ones who plod away and don't get spectacular marks but do get the work done.

There is lots of support for mh issues at universities through wellbeing services and other support though.

Ok, ok ... all I was trying to say was, I'm fairly sure that's what whois was talking about and she's only trying to help.

I'm not clear why it matters what you call it, the issue is, can you get to that stage working like this? Because you will knacker yourself and you've already got a lot more training to do.

Thetallesttower Tue 14-Jan-14 12:08:41

I wouldn't worry about the doctorate just yetsmile

I would be on the phone to the admissions of the institution clarifying the entrance requirements for the course you want, and seeing whether they would accept your OU modules (I suspect not) and if not, if you are likely to get in the first year (these courses are often massively oversubscribed but they are often more flexible with mature students). Have a chat with them, otherwise you can't make decisions if this isn't an option.

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 12:07:06

I'm not disputing that a PhD is a doctorate. I saying that to be a Clinical psychologist you don't do a PhD but do a specific clinical psychology doctorate (where you train with uni and the nhs)

Objection Tue 14-Jan-14 12:04:14

I meant to highlight clinical psychology doctorate not just doctorate blush sorry!

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