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Returning to school..


dizzygirl
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Hi all..

I have really been thinking about returning to school to finish up my associated degree, at he local bussiness school. classes will start up again Aug.29th.

i was thinking that if I go back that I would go nights.. and only go part time. and see how it goes.

But here are my concerns..

1. i have been really sick over the past couple of months.. I have gone from bad to worse to OMG!.. and I am concerned about.. not being able to hold onto the committment that I make..just getting to class every night will be interesting.. and the having to sit for 2 hours.. then ride the bus 2 and from school..

2. and I am concerned about.. my finacial future.. and abilities to be able to pay back students loans.. I have been told many times that I am permantlely disabled due to my POTS.. as well as other health problems. I know that nobody has a magic ball and can look in to it and see there future.. but I just cant accept the fact that I am being and have been told that I will never be able to work again.. considering that I am only 23.. i think that it stinks.. and am hoping that "they" are wrong.

then again my own stubbornness does get in the way.

my family doc does not support me going to school..she admires the fact that i was even going inspite of everything.. she has her reasons I guess.

3. the school is not handicapped accessable.. there is no ramp or elevator to use inside the buildings.. so I would be in a pinch there..

But all in all I want an education very badly..even if I am never able to use it. or if it is another 5-10yrs.. before i can use it. I feel that by not finishing what i started that i am letting the pots rob me of a shot at a future. and at a shot ot having some kind of normal-ness in my life..that pots like is my whole like.( in some ways it is.. it effects everything I do or try to do..). or that is how it feels sometimes.. like I am consumed by that pots hole and cant digg out!

Last October.. after a week long hospital stay.. I had to finish the last 2 months of school from home.. and generally speaking.. the classes are not set up for indepenedent study.. they are hands on..be there kind thing :)

So I have been out of school since December 04..I really want to go back.. and am wondering if maybe i should wait alittle longer or just say to **** with it and go.

How do all of you do it going to school and having POTS?? any suggestions would be appreciated!

thanks

linda

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Gosh i really feel for you. I had to drop out of high school and it took me 4 years to get a one year diploma after that. There was alot of stopping and starting along the way and it was so tough emotionally and physically.

Personally i think its important to feel like you are still part of society and 'moving on' in your life. Just be ready for stops and starts (sounds like you have already experienced stops and starts so im sure you are ready for that)

Are you able to go to a college closer to home to help not have to travel so far?

I use to travel as well. Once i fainted while getting onto a train and it was so scary. When i moved closer to class i found it alot easier and i could always jump in a cab if i got too bad. (so you may feel safer)

If you are best at nights that sounds like a good idea! go whenever you think you may be the strongest (well thats obvious isnt it hehe)

Is your school understanding about your situation? will the supply you with extentions when you may need them etc?

I dont know how severe your situation is so i dont want to suggest anything that will push you too much. If you dr doesnt think its a good idea then keep that in mind. I hope you manage to find the right balance. Its so frustrating but you can do it eventually (i hope it takes you less than 4 years heh)

good luck :)

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Oh im sorry i just realised i misread one of your concerns. I didnt realise you were having a bad spell atm. Maybe you should wait until you are a bit stronger?

Or do you think that doing things may improve your mental/physical situation?

(i realise you would not be stressing if you had a answer to that question)

is it possible to try for a few weeks then get a refund if you cant cope?

Its a pain having to drop out and still pay then to have to come back and repeat it all over again.

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Linda

Have you checked if the local CC has distance learning alternatives. If not check other state schools. You may find that physcially more tolerable. RAchel (17, POTS) just finished a full year of college credits through on line classes (for 11 grade) and will do the same for her senior this year. She could never had done that in class. Also, contact the vocational rehabilitation program in your state. You should qualify and they could help with expenses. A college education can be part of a path to work. Rachel has already been accepted and will receive help after HS

I don't know if my daughter will ever be able to work full time but I am hopeful with a professional education that she may be able to support herself with a professional level education and working part time. I do not think an education is a waste for you. I strongly urge you to consider distance education option and the help of your state's vocational rehab program.

Louise

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I empathise- if you've seen my posts you'll see I've been in a quandary over this for months, as I have a place at grad school but didn't know if I was well enough to take it up.

My GP told me a couple fo weeks ago to forget it, IK just wasn't well enough.

Well you kno what I say to that? I say I'm GOING . And I'm TRYING. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. but imagine if you defer/cancel, and then your helath suddenly imrpvoes, which can and does happen with a condition like POTS/dysautonomia. You'll be so mad with yourself.

I would go for it. If it doesn't work, so what? At lesat you will know that you tried!

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I feel for you, I really do! I was 19 years old and in my first year of college when I got sick with POTS. I took a long time off from school but finally finished my Associate's degree in May 2004 (after 4 years of school!!). I did a combination of many things to get through it...during months when I was feeling better I took classes on campus, but mostly I took web classes from home. There were a few semesters where I tried and just couldn't do it, so I had to back out of the classes. Whatever happens, just remember that you CAN get there eventually!!! I took this past year off because I was pregnant and just had a baby- but next year I am planning on going back to school to become a midwife, which is a very ambitious career for someone with POTS- ubt I have high hopes that someday I will be able to do it, even part time would make me very happy.

I think that people with disabilities should always have hope and set long term goals for themselves, even if it takes longer and we have to work harder to get there. The end result will mean much more to you than to the average person...I wish you the best and I hope you are able to enjoy your experiences at school. :P

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I attended and graduated from grauate school while very, very sick. However, I would not recommend that to everyone. I had a very strong support system and even had times when my mother would drive three hours to stay with me to help. I paid a local college student to drive me during the month I was not alllowed to drive. It is a very personal decision. I had always thought I would get my doctorate so it was adament that I would have my Master's degree even if it killed me (at times, I think it almost did- literally). My recommendation would be to start small. Commit to one class and see how you feel. However, if you have had a bad time recently- wait. School's not going anywhere and you can start again next semester. The stress of not being able to do what you need for your classes will NOT help your sxs. When you feel somewhat better, then go but start slow. It's not a competition. One of my dearest friends and role models got her doctorate in her sixties!! There are many ways to contribute to society without working professionally or having a degree. I know you want these things but break it down to reasonable steps. Eventually, you will get there it just will take longer than if you were well. Also, don't worry about the financial side too much as the future has a weird way of taking care of itself. Because I am permanently disabled, my student loans were "forgiven" (at not penalty to credit). Just a thought. Good luck!

Carmen

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Hi all..

thanks for your support and suggestions...I have thought about online classes at home.. and I may very well look into it. I am remaining hopefull about school and an education. maybe now isnt the best time to go.. but in life there is always going to a not the best time..

I am going to call the school tomorrow.. I will let you know how it goes..

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Hello Dizzy my friend,

you'll never know if you can do it if you don't try... :P

For me, it's darned close to being toture at times...BUT, I am doing it. And have been doing it slowly but surely since 1999. My graduation date is set for May 2008, but because I took summer classes, I think I've moved that date to May 2007, or latest, Dec 2007 :)

you go girl!!! whatever way you can. Nina

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Hey Dizzy!

Just thought I?d add a few thoughts to what?s already been said. I, too, at 21, am in the midst of trying to make education decisions, and have run into some of the same issues. As Carmen said, it?s a very personal decision; you have a better idea of what you can handle than anyone else.

I think furthering you education is a very wise thing to do. Not only does it make you more ?marketable? in the job realm, it helps develop your character and worldview. It provides exciting new things to think about and discuss with others. So, yes, pursue education by all means.

If you truly feel ready to try the business school, go ahead and give it a try; maybe you could handle one course at a time? However, you very wisely expressed concern over some of the cons of that route. Will extra pressures from school deteriorate your already declining health even further? Will the long commute and troublesome facilities wear you out so much that you are unable to concentrate on your studies? Even if you can graduate, will you have just barely scraped through because of health problems and not actually learned enough to function in the business world? They?re all questions I?ve had to ask myself. Others have mentioned excellent ways to try to minimize the problems involved in the business school option. Might any of them help make it possible?

Try to determine how best you learn. Do you know how long you can concentrate at a time? Right now my brain works well for about 20-40 minutes at a time; I could never handle 1-2 hour lectures night after night, plus reading texts and writing papers. On-line courses are another very useful way to try to get some college credit without the medical stresses of going to class. If you?re a visual learner and very adept a computer navigation like my sister, it could be just the thing to get you started again. If you?re an auditory learner like one of my brothers, that option might be a struggle depending on the program.

However, there are many means of getting an education. I know plenty of people who have had to self-teach themselves who are much better educated than most of the kids coming out of college. Not having an official degree can limit your options in the job market, but if you are not ready to finish pursuing a formal degree yet, there are plenty of things that you can do to prepare for when you are.

For myself, college would be an exercise in frustration at the moment. It would completely undo the small gains in health that I?ve been experiencing, leaving me in poorer health and financial situation without much educational gain. I could scrape through probably, but wouldn?t really receive a good education, so until I am able to manage the rigours of a formal college setting reasonably (I?m aiming for Summer or Fall ?06!), I?m preparing myself for it at home. Some things you might try:

1) Review your studies from home. Keep reviewing the material that you?ve been studying if you can, reading the text and reviewing lecture/lab notes. Make up sample problems or situational dilemmas to solve. If you have any friends from class, would any of them be competent enough and willing to discuss what they?re learning with you every so often? Does the library have any resources that would help you keep up? Are there any occasional seminars that you could go to? It?s not at like being at school yourself, but better than nothing while you regain your strength.

2) Read everyday. I read quite a lot of books, or listen to audio versions (or my mom! :) ) if I can?t process printed text at that time. It helps to develop my vocabulary, grammar, and imagination, reinforcing excellent sentence structure and use of colourful and engaging detail. The more I read, the more my brain learns to process the information faster (although brain fog does slow things a fair bit :) ), which will be a big help if I end up in college needing to be able to glean information from hundreds of pages of reading each night. It also helps me to ?travel? to places and times I?ve never experienced, as well as stimulate thought. Education is not merely memorizing facts or techniques; it?s a time of learning to inquire, think, and love to learn more. Choose books of quality ? good children?s literature, classic literature, poetry, encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, National Geographic magazine, history books, well-written biographies, instructive books (cooking chemistry, gardening, astronomy, music appreciation, etc.) ? that will help build your intellect, breadth of knowledge, and literary aptitude. Make sure your choices interest you ? that way you?ll have an easier time sticking to it and find it more pleasurable and rewarding. I gave up trying to slog through Hawthorne?s House of Seven Gables, in favour of Baroness Orczy?s Scarlet Pimpernel series. It had just as rich a vocabulary and was infinitely more interesting!

3) Write as much as possible. I?ve made it a point to write or type something each day. Some days it?s two sentences, others two pages. Even though the volume is significantly less than college demands, it helps me to get used to writing something each day which is better than launching into college after writing nothing for many months. Letters or e-mails to friends are a chance to practice richer writing (with someone else who benefits from it too!), as are short book or movie reviews, journal entries, etc. I listen to audio lectures (more about that below), so I?ll sometimes practice writing by summarizing what I learned from one particular segment, which I can later share with my family. Journal entries, no matter how short, are also positive reinforcement of the skill you are developing through your reading.

4) Listen to audio lectures. I?m a great fan of the Teaching Company. They sell lecture series (30-45 minutes per lecture) on a wide range of topics (history, economics, philosophy, anthropology, literature, sciences, mathematics, etc.) taught by some of the best lecturers in universities around the world (Princeton, Harvard, Oxford, UPenn?). Most of the ones that I?ve taken have been very engaging and easy to for the average person to follow along. Although it doesn?t give you college credit, The Teaching Company is certainly a top quality option for supplemental education. Some of my dad?s co-workers at the university have been building up their collections, too, so we lend our copies to each other to save money. The lectures not only build my vocabulary and round out my scope of knowledge, but help me to practice concentrating for longer amounts of time and listening to ?academic? discourse. I can also use it to help gauge my progress in terms of the amount of time I can sit up, focus, etc. [Hint: Only buy a series if it?s on sale; every series goes on sale at least once a year, at which time they mass produce hordes of that particular series so that everyone can buy them at the lowest price possible.]

5) Talk & listen to people. I don?t advocate an Anne of Green Gables steady stream of chatter, but do find that talking about what I?m learning and thinking about really help to solidify it in my mind. It also helps me to look at other people?s perspectives and opinions, which is one of the great assets of a college education ? the huge community of scholars with whom you can compare and discuss ideas. If you have friends in college, talk about what they?re learning, ask questions, present things that you?re mulling over. My parents don?t have much spare time to study, so they enjoy talking over what I?m learning. Their questions and observations prompt me to think more carefully, as well as improve my ability to relate material in a concise and articulate manner ? qualities very essential in the academic and business world. I enjoy listening to superb actors?/actresses? dialogue and imitating the rich clarity of diction/pronunciation and inflection. What makes you want to listen to them? What makes you believe them? I also observe body language. How do they use facial expression or hand gesture or movement of a shoe to express how they feel? I want to practice those elements that will make me more approachable to co-workers, less intimidating or confusing to classmates. Excellent communication skills are learned and must be practiced.

5) Pick up a new hobby. Whether it?s learning a new language, or sewing a skirt, or designing a garden, it might help to develop better concentration for longer amounts of time, plus give you skills you enjoy that could become useful in your eventual job search.

It?s a bumpy road, as Evie said, with lots of stopping and starting along the way. But there is hope! If you pace yourself appropriately for your medical situation, I have no doubt that you?ll be able to continue on the education road. Feel free to PM me if you need to just talk or vent!

Best of luck! You?ll be in my prayers!

Angela

P.S. ? Sorry for the epic post. :P:) I have such a bad habit of doing that! Hope something in there was of help! :)

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Just wanted to add my empathy-- I'm 24 and trying to finish my Master's which has been going on for the past 3 years. It's a real struggle. I'm trying to decide if i can even handle one class this semester. I haven't been able to drive most of the summer and my school is a 50 minute drive from home. I think i have my answer right there, but like Persephone said, what if i get better and regret not doing it? It's SO hard to tell.

Web-based classes sound like a good idea. My cousin did that because she was working and taking care of a child (she's doesn't have any illness). She seemed to like the web-based learning because it let her stay home. Also, for some of my classes in college, the university video taped the classes and allowed me to watch them at home. Maybe that is an option that will make you feel more a part of the class. It worked well for me. Keep us updated on what you do!

Kristen

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well, folks....

this post definitely hits home with me as i'm about to give the school thing a shot in a few weeks.

my comments might change after things start up for me again, but in general i think there has to be a balance between "going for it" no holds barred and doing all you can to make things as likely to work as possible.

for instance...i decided to go for it this fall after being at one of, if not the worst points i've been at health wise for a good part of this year. i was already applying when things got bad and keeping on with the plan was part denial and part optimism for me. and yet if things were now where they were for me in april or may i would not be able to be giving the school thing a shot this fall.

it's still a long-shot for me but some things have changed that make it more likely to work than it would have been before. for instance, i can now sit for longer periods of time such that using a wheelchair really helps me out a lot. i couldn't have done school when i could hardly sit up without mucho symptoms. i'm also able to eat much better and am not throwing up & losing weight on a continuous basis. both major improvements.

but i'm also being REALLY pro-active in terms of talking with the school, working with disability services, etc. and i'm living in a pretty user-friendly/accessible apartment close to school. and i moved to be closer to my family. i realized that i needed to do this to improve the chances of things working for me. all of it has taken a good amount of planning and whatnot and yet i still realize that it may not work. i have what i would call the reserved support of my docs. that is they support the effort but can't tell me that it will work. but a few months ago they wouldn't have supported it at all. they're all still behind my being on disability since we have no idea how the school thing will go & since i still need so many supports.

my mom was probably the last to come on board with the school thing for me. it was b/c she was scared. scared of it not working. we all know that it still may not, but i was/am at the point of having to try. and with some improvement and just as much probability (or more) that my health will progress to a worse point as it will to a better point a year out, i couldn't wait it out a year. mom's on board now too, albeit guardedly, but it is scary b/c i know how hard it will be for me & for all involved if it doesn't work.

so...in very lengthy ramblings, i guess my thoughts after reading your post and the circumstances are that while i think it's great that you want to try to get back to school, there are a lot of things - that you listed and thus know yourself - working against the success of the situation at the moment. on one hand i'd say go for it, but on the other you know you're at a worse spot health wise than you've been in awhile, have an inaccessible school, a long commute, and really not all that much time between now and then to get supports in place.

that said, i'll be behind whatever you decide and would understand either way. but like some others have mentioned i'm wondering whether there might be some type of more user-friendly set-up for you to plunge into? fewer classes? a different locale? any of the other ideas people have mentioned? i know these things are often easier said than done, but might be worth some thought. or looking into disability resources on campus that you might not have been aware of?

good luck. i know how tough it is to make the decision...

:-)melissa

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hello alll

well I am alittle discouraged in the staff at this school..I called my old advisor.. academic director.. plus financial aide office and nobody has called me back!!!

Its been 2 days! infuriates me!

I am going to try and get ahold of somebody again.. this afternoon.. I really do wan to try and get back into school.. I realize that my health issues are worse now then they have been in along time.. but I am still willing to try..

I also have an appointment scheduled for thursday at a school that is more disability friendly..so hopefully all goes well there.. however it is a much longer commute to and from school..

I will keep you updated... and thank you so much for all the support and suggestions..

thanks!

Linda

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Hey dizzy,

just thought i'd add to what Pers said, i started college ten weeks ago to do the ECDL (it qualification) i've missed about four and a half weeks so far from being sick but so what, i'll finish the course in my time, don't let anyone push you too hard, you know your limits. anyway i'm really happy at the moment i've done my first six tests (out of seven) and got a 95% average so it just shows what we can do!

becks x x x

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Does anyone know of a reputable online degree program that is self paced? I have been in an online program for a year now but it is per semester, and I would like to transfer to one that is self paced so that I do not have to make definite commitments to getting work done on a deadline.....

If anyone has heard of any good ones please let me know. I know there are lots out there but its hard to weed out which are reputable or not.

Thanks!!

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linda -

sorry to hear about the lack of response you're getting (or rather not getting) from folks at the school. i know how incredibly frustrating that can be!

and i hope that your meeting on thursday goes well at the other school...

regardless of what you decide, i think it's a good thing to see what's out there.

:-)melissa

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Does anyone know of a reputable online degree program that is self paced? I have been in an online program for a year now but it is per semester, and I would like to transfer to one that is self paced so that I do not have to make definite commitments to getting work done on a deadline.....

If anyone has heard of any good ones please let me know. I know there are lots out there but its hard to weed out which are reputable or not.

Thanks!!

Hi Jenn. When i was looking at exchange options i noticed that the university of Colorado had online learning options. I noticed they also had the option of 'self paced'

here is a link http://www.colorado.edu/cewww/

I assume its a reputable uni (my uni tends to be fussy about who it will do exchange with or so we are told lol) so its online courses would also be reputable.

Im not sure if you can get whole degrees from it or not. However it may be worth looking into!

I know a few uni's in aus do correspondence work. I suppose thats not much use to anyone here though heh.

Hope the link is of some help :)

Linda i hope you get a response from your school :D I went to one of my first year coordinators yesterday to explain my situation and it turns out that he had sufferd from CFS too. I just thought i would mention that as sometimes you may be suprised where you can find people who really understand the feelings you are going through!

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Thanks Evie! I will look into it :)

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oh yeh sorry i forgot about the US system. Its cheaper to go to a college in your state isnt it?

Yet i hear that alot of people choose to go to college far away from home? Is that usually to go to better colleges or to get away from home?

In Australia the vast majority tend to stay within thier state... or even within the same city.

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evie -

regarding the college question, it is definitely "cheaper" (although never cheap!) in the US to stay in-state if you go to a public school; if you go to a private school it doesn't make any difference. and actually it's generally still a bit less expensive to go to a state/public school out-of-state than a private school anywhere. and of course there are exceptions, complications re: where one gets scholarships/grants/aid, etc. confused yet? from what i've heard the US has one of the more confusing set-ups (or lack there of) for higher education.

in terms of why people go away, i think it depends on the person. some may leave b/c they do receive good financial aid or scholarship money far away - either for academics or athletics or otherwise. some leave b/c of a particular program, i.e. a major not available in one's homestate, some for a "better" school in general according to some ratings, etc., some just want to venture away, etc....and some for a combination of the above. i went a good 500 miles (several states) away for undergrad & for me it was a combination of things, some of which i would still attest to, some not. now i've returned to my "home state" for grad school, to no advantage financially b/c it's a private school (although i would have been away too long to receive advantage even if it were public), but to the other advantage of having my family much closer.

:-)melissa

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