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Withdraw mid term from college

  1. May 3, 2014 #1
    I am currently a freshman in a top 20 school. I am midway through my last term of the first year. I am depressed, far away from home, and my grades are falling(since the last term's finals). I am considering withdrawing for the term just to regain my peace of mind and life. I will probably be able to make up for the classes over the summer (sometime in August, as I am currently slightly ahead in my major). I am really unable to assimilate/absorb/enjoy my classes. I wanted to know whether there are any serious implications (grad school/work/etc) if I withdraw mid term from college. It's just that I am unable to get out of the spiral of negativity, and the therapy at college isn't really helping atm. Any advice?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2014 #2
    I think taking a break would help.

    If you are worried about grad school/work, then if you get a job while withdrawing would justify why you withdrew positively.

    I understand what you mean, I got very depressed in the first few weeks of my first semester at university because I couldn't fit in, I didn't like the people and the semi-bureaucratic system and I felt I chose the wrong degree.

    I was the best in my high school, achieved the highest mark and was the only one to get into university (also top ~20 university) but at university I am just another student out of ~10,000. I also hated 2 subjects out of the subjects I took in first semester and was unsure about what I wanted to do for a major. I also regret that I didn't work harder through out high school and did more research about what I wanted to do so I wouldn't be so undecided regarding my major and career path.

    I got admission to a joint undergrad business-grad JD degree but rejected the offer thinking I only wanted to do something science related, which got me a bit depressed since a business/law degree gives a clear career paths and almost guaranteed employment. People doing that degree already have internships with Goldman Sacks and other top banks and consulting firms.

    Luckily there was a 1 week Easter break which helped me so much regain focus and make some decisions. So I think a break will help you too.
  4. May 3, 2014 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    Learn to take a break and meditate, get a good nights sleep, find a hobby (not addictive computer games) and develop a schedule and discipline to follow it.

    For me I kept my sanity by learning martial arts and reading sci-fi novels until I took a course in Sci Fi as Literature and then it was just martial arts. My favorite was Tai Chi Chuan.

    You could look into fencing or some other sport.

    My schedule was school, martial arts then work 4 hours then repeat each day until I got out.
  5. May 3, 2014 #4


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    Gold Member

    I always wanted to learn martial arts.From where did you learn it?
  6. May 3, 2014 #5
    The problem is, I am on the quarter system and I don't have any breaks. I need to withdraw or trudge through either way, but I need to decide soon because my state isn't healthy(I really am unable to relax. I've been doing yoga for years, but it is impossible to clear my mind). Is it unwise to withdraw for a quarter or would that have lasting consequences?
  7. May 3, 2014 #6
    Withdrawing will definitely have consequences but in your case I think they will be good consequences IMO. Talk to coordinators and see what they think.
  8. May 3, 2014 #7
    I would try to keep pursuing your degree, and not take a break. If you quit now, you may not be able to restart your education later. And people do not look well at somebody who quits something that's difficult.

    I was in a similar position when I attended college as a Freshman. My grades were poor and I was depressed about a lot of things, and wondered if things would ever get better. I thought about quitting. I talked to my sister, and she convinced me to stick it out. I remained depressed throughout College and graduated with so-so grades, but now I am really happy that I didn't quit and kept on going.

    Try to find a summer job or internship that's related to your studies. It will help show you how your career and your future depends on your studies.

    To help clear your mind, try exercising and weight lifting. It really helps me focus and concentrate.

    Grab hold of education with all your might, and don't let go, no matter how hard it might seem. It will never let you down.
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  9. May 3, 2014 #8


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    One should discuss the matter with one's parents and the university officials, e.g., one's academic advisor and registrar, or perhaps an assistant dean.

    In one can salvage the semester, then it may be worthwhile to stay in for the duration.

    Whether or not one withdraws, one will still have to address the matter of depression and one's state of mind. Perhaps one needs more effective counseling, but that would probably involved discussions with parents and the university. Meanwhile, diet, exercise/activity and sleep (or lack thereof) might also be contributing factors.

    If one does withdraw, then if one returns with improved performance, then the withdrawal should not be viewed as a negative.

    One needs to discuss the matter with parents and the appropriate university personnel.
  10. May 3, 2014 #9
    I would recommend you finish the term. Assuming that by bad grades you don't mean failing everything.
  11. May 3, 2014 #10
    I have no idea what I want to major in, no idea what my future career options are, no idea of what my strengths are. I don't plan to leave permanently, just take the rest of the quarter and first 6 weeks of summer off to clear my head. So am I right when I assume that grad school/employers look negatively on such issues? Does that mean everyone has to pull through no matter what happens in their lives?
  12. May 3, 2014 #11


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    Education Advisor
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    How do you know that college or university is the right type of choice for you? The answer, you must find for yourself. Meanwhile, you have some time to think, and take some of the needed general education course requirements. Check the college catelog and see if any program, department , or program seems interesting, and maybe try an introductory course in it/them. A college degree might not be in fact as suited to you as vocational training, which may also be available through community colleges.

    Your being in a top-20 school, maybe has put an expectation to be enrolled into a well established program and keep on a term by term schedule, so you have little time to find yourself in the way you could if you were at a community college. Advice targeted to you should best come from counselors at your school, opinions from other students there, and especially what YOU believe about those opinions.

    Is a c.c. or vocational training a better fit for you?
  13. May 3, 2014 #12


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    Staff: Mentor

    No, taking time off from school doesn't matter at all as long as you don't withdraw during a course after the withdrawal period and result in a failure of the course. Time that you take off between courses is not an issue.

    My girls both took time off, switched majors, worked some, then returned re-energized and knowing what they wanted to do, taking time off to decide what they really wanted was the best thing they ever did. No employer wants to know how long it took to get your degree.

    Do what you want, do what feels right for you. Don't do things people suggest if it's not what you want. You may just want to kick back and relax for awhile.
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  14. May 4, 2014 #13


    Staff: Mentor

    Many schools especially larger universities will have student run martial arts clubs where you can learn Taekwondo, Karate or even some Kung Fu style. Just check around to see what's available.
  15. May 4, 2014 #14
    Unfortunately, I don't think CC is the right option for me. I thought seriously about switching out to a CC and then hopefully to Berkeley after two years or something like that...but then decided the switch may not have been worth it. Also, I am vaguely considering a career in academia, so wouldn't CC not be a very good choice? My family too is unfortunately ignorant when it comes to the unconventional approach and would probably be extremely unsupportive. What would possibly help would be transferring to a semester school, it looks like the quarter system is hell for confused people like me. Get caught in a problem, by the time you recover you get sucked into a vortex.
  16. May 4, 2014 #15
    I probably wouldn't lose time, would just be set back a bit in terms of units, which I can make up during a summer session. It's just that I know messing up my grades would mess up my mind even more(as shallow as that may seem), and I don't want to return in a worse state than before. So would it be alright for grad school/employers etc to see that I withdrew some quarter of my freshman year? And Evo, if I may ask how and when did they decide on their majors?
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