College Anxiety

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College Anxiety

Post by DyspraxicPhilip »

Hey! I am not sure that I posted this in the right section but hello! If not, please move. Prepare for a long post aka rant.

I am currently on a gap year, well I am kinda of on a gap year. I am on part time education currently in college. (Night time)
My first year at college was horrible for me. Basically I spoke to the my college person in my high school saying I wanted to do performing arts and he showed me a course which could interest me. I applied and got an interview date, if you apply to a course such as mine (Acting and Performance) you need to perform a monologue. I learned it pretty quickly and I arrived to the interview date. The lectures put me in a lower level course despite having the qualifications and experience for the level six (NC in Scotland) I told one of my lecturers about it a week in and she was surprised that I didn't say as I would be doing NC. However, did say in my qualifications that they read right in front of me. A few weeks in the course, we all got moved up due to low numbers in both classes. We started and we did tests which I got a lot of resits in apart from the practical side and essay side. One of my lecturers said "I was not studying" but I was. Very hard. Despite this, I passed Semester One!

However, I had much more struggles than this in the course. I started to realise I was beginning to get isolated in the class. For example, it was semester one and I decided to go to Greggs with a couple of people in the class. I walked in with them and brought my food. I noticed one of the members seen me but did not say anything. We walked out and the person said "When did (name) get here" despite seeing me. I walked away crying all the way to the college. I left the group in a hurry and when they entered. I couldn't look at them which meant I left the class. I broke down at home a couple of times due to the tests and bullying going on.

Things got worse...

All of my close friends were dropping out and I was improving in the tests that we received. I started to become completely isolated in the class. Everyone would ignore my messages in the group chat, I was slowly losing interest in the course due to the ongoing bullying. Seemly I came across rude and acted like the victim but that was how I handled social situations due to the environment. I argued and cried. One of my lecturers one day said "Act like you care" when she saw me down as I was mentally tired from everything. (She said this in front of the whole class) We once had to do a monologue in front of the class for an assessment. I picked a monologue which I did in Higher Drama and due bad memory that Dyspraxic's had. After I performed the monologue, my lecturer said "You should know this speech off by heart" how can I know a speech from last year?! Does she know what Dyspraxia is? This was my breaking point. I sat down and my head started to spin. My lecturer pointed out that I was sitting weird and I ran to the toilet. I broke down outside for an hour and I could not stop crying. For one of our shows, my lecturer kept picking at me "for being a beat behind and sloppy" in a dance piece we were doing. This is when I learned my lecturers didn't know what my disability was. I felt no support from them at all. Apart from when I passed tests. The only support I got was the wonderful learning support team that I had who kept saying "You are doing great (Name)" and my Core Skills lecturer who actually understood me and kept me going. Sometimes, some of my classmates would comfort me.

I applied for the next level (HNC) which my learning support team told me to go for it! I did but my lecturers said I would crumble. Everyone in the learning support team and my remaining friend were shocked that I didn't get in. One of the learning support team encouraged me to argue against it but I didn't. She was disappointed. My mum was trying to push it. However, no avail. I decided to accept defeat. I went to see one of my members perform in the final level course in college and I just got a cold "thanks" that is when I knew it was time to go. My class were leaving me out, ignoring me and I wanted to stay at home. I passed the course.

College applications are opening soon and I am anxious to go back to full time college after my experience. I've learned most of the people have moved up, have crumbled and dropped out but I really want this. I also learned that my old college performing arts classes are shutting down due to the lack of numbers in all levels and next year is the last time it will be in this college. I am just very anxious on going back and I am scared that all of this will happen again. I'm thinking on applying to other colleges as well. I just want to complete this course to it's fullest and not be one of them who gave up.

Thank you for reading this, if you did. I just wanted to get this off of my chest. Sorry if there is any confusion. I am willing to answer any questions.
Tom fod
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Re: College Anxiety

Post by Tom fod »

Hi Philip and welcome

It can regrettably so that we may need to put in extra effort just to come out as average among our peers and social exclusion can and sadly can occur. It is all to easy to say don't react, but we all want to feel liked and accepted so experiencing any kind of bullying is naturally going to make us shut down and try not to care as it at the very least feels like a sensible coping strategy.

Understanding of Dyspraxia is sadly woeful in some places and is often shamefully confused with laziness or fecklessness when it really isn't. I think you should give it another shot but I think you need to ensure you have support and strategies for dealing with anxiety and projecting an air of confidence in the face of, at best indifference. Is it worth considering a different college or speaking/writing to the lecturers from last year, who you felt were unsupportive/overly unkind. (You might want to seek the support of the learning support if that would help in doing this.

I' happen to be near to finishing Matt Lucas's autobiography but can't say I've ever that theatrical myself. Still it's a really good read.

Try to think of your as a tactical withdrawal rather than outright failure, but appreciate that is so much easier said than done.

Hope this is of some comfort/help?

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)
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Re: College Anxiety

Post by allesandro »

Phillip, I had a very similar experience many years ago in the summer semester of an advanced placement graduate program in the US. The students as well as on e of the professors bullied me. I dropped out after the summer because I couldn't take any more. A few years late I continued where I left off and finished. The second time around was far better but there were still a few very hostile students there, toward me that is. This was the school where I did four years of undergraduate work many years prior, so it was particularly hurtful. I found out many years later that the program itself was designed to be very devisive, and was not well thought of by other schools of social work. If only I had known that from the beginning it would not have taken it so much to heart. The interesting thing about it is that the second time around the devisive atmosphere established and maintained by the professors had actually turned on one of the professors who had been falsely accused of saying things that I know he did not because I was present at the time. I came to his defense at my own peril, which was much less pernicious than the first time around. It was still difficult though.
People are a^^^^^^^^. Don't let them define you. Stick up for yourself and challenge anyone who is rude enough to say something disparaging in your presence. People will get away with anything you allow them to get away with. When you make it difficult for them, they back down.
If you get a chance read articles written by Debra Peppler, America's foremost authority on bullying in the school system. There are two types, active, overt bullying and exclusion. They both constitute bullying. Another thing I found out is that the college arena is no different than elementary school yard bullying. Many adults are just kids who have never grown up. If you encounter difficulty as you fight back don't be afraid to go to your department chairperson and file a compalaint. In the US, bullying is now a very litigous issue and people are actually winning five million dollar law suits for damages incurred. Don't know if that's true in the UK, but I'd look into it. We dyspraxics have a tough row to hoe but at least we can be there for each other. Good luck and I wish you all the best.
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Re: College Anxiety

Post by StanleyAckies6 »

You did a great job! I also had to face many difficulties when I started taking courses. Unfortunately, people cannot always get into your situation and understand your problems if they have not encountered them. We should try to be stronger and explain to people the reasons for our behavior. There will be people who can understand and support you. Check out the university's website Maybe you will like one of the faculties or courses. If you feel that you are not coping with the load and attacks from classmates, try to contact a psychologist.
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