I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

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I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:34 pm

From 2013 to 2015 I went to one of the top universities in my country, it's the one everyone in high school thought was the best, if there was Ivy League in Australia, this was it and right at the top of it too, I placed top 17% in the country in my HSC (Australian version of the SAT), did the highest level of subjects and I got in straight away, but it didn't work out so well for me. So I can't go back to university now because I've not been successful at it very much, it was extremely hard to juggle it, travel far and earn spare money, courses were too difficult, expensive textbooks, and a double degree is hard. I did finish all my first year subjects in mathematics and first year subjects in education and I successfully did an English unit.

After a 6 month break I went back to Uni again, I took summer classes and finished 2 hard maths units but I felt too burnt out to continue (there was a three day break after two months of an intense course followed by three months again), my other parts of life was getting dragged down again, and well I screwed up and so last semester I failed university again.

My university now has officially told me after two years they will reconsider me again, so now after resting a bit, is the time for me to study up and stack my knowledge, so the best way to do that is to go to the Australian versions of community college which is what we call TAFE.

The most awkward thing about this is that I live at home, and well in my family, community college is not an option, so I'm stuck in this position by myself. I hope I don't get kicked out if I stay for another couple of years at home (chances are I won't be out of the house until at least 6 years later and I'll be 26-27 by then). I haven't told any friends that I stopped going to university either, I just say I'm busy and never bump into them there.

Community college isn't free but we can get a loan from the government and pay it back when we have a full time job. I've looked into an option, the 1st one is to get an Educational Support Certificate (it deals with aiding primary or secondary school students with mental illnesses, aiding teachers in general, kind of like an assistant). But that option only lasts 6 months which will mean I have to work for a year an a half, maybe. The biggest plus side is that I'll be doing something related to education.

One other option is to do a course in early childhood education and then quit after two years.

I have looked into Youth Work, Human Resources, Engineering but I think staying relevant to education is my best option.

Community college isn't done very well in Australia, since a lot of it isn't about preparing for college/university, but rather pathways to careers like hair dressing, electrical engineering, make up artistry, surveying, fashion design etc...


The final option is to do some university units online, through Open Universities Australia, I've looked into the requirements and I'm more than qualified for their pre-requisites but I'm not sure how much respect my uni will give it if it's an online course and I'm not sure if I want to do it online.

So I'm kind of in education purgatory right now, I'm not fresh with only high school levels of education but I don't have a Bachelor Degree either. There really isn't a distinct place that caters to people who struggled with university and have to find some alternative pathways. I have no idea if they'll let me back in after two years, even if I do all of this, it's scary but it's the best chance I've got. I don't think I want to do anything else besides education.

Who knew that my career path would be this messed up when I was 18 years old? Looking back, well I was mentally unhealthy so even if I did push on with my studies I would've still been really unhappy with my university experience.

My academic transcript looks silly, now I have to look for a temporary option, and my career is nowhere near started. I don't know a single person around my age that has screwed up their career as much as I have now, even the people who didn't go to uni back in high school are in some sort of employment or are well into some course of their choosing. I'm kind of in the dumps, sitting at home, wondering what I'm going to do next, the only target goal is 2 years away and I'm going to have a stack as much as I can so I can be re-enrolled back.

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Enail on Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:41 pm

That sounds like a tough struggle! I don't have practical advice, if you're looking for that, but your mindset about community college and winding paths sounds very familiar to me, so maybe it'll help to hear someone else's thoughts.  

I'm not in Australia, but I'm from an 'of course you go to university' family, and I used to sort of look down on community college and similar options and have that idea that you have to do everything right all the time, and I've come to realize that I was just plain wrong. And, more importantly, I've noticed that other people's mindsets have started to change a lot.  

Poor economy means employment struggles are much more standard, problems with academia mean more practical, job-oriented forms of education have started seeming like smarter choices even to the intelligentsia, housing costs mean living with parents is seen as more practical, and so on.

University is full of people who took time off or dropped out previously or only got in after years of work. The working world is full of people who've failed at uni or had to drop out or started out in the wrong direction for them and had to completely change tracks to get on a path they want to be on, and a few years in, there's very little to distinguish them from people who got great marks at good universities straight out of high school and graduated on schedule.  Many or even most people change their careers more than once, some by choice and some not so much, so the trail is so crossed-over and retread that it's pretty hard to tell the path of 'everything went right' from that of 'oh shit, what do I do now?" Maybe your parents will never change or be supportive on this - which of course sucks - but the broader world is changing.

And I'd bet you've met people who have or had similar struggles to you and felt too uncomfortable to tell you about it.  It's hard and feels scary and embarrassing admitting that you're struggling or not on the path you want to/feel you should be, so there are a whole lot of people suffering in silence alone and trying to fly under the radar. So it's hard to feel like it's true, but your career's not uniquely or permanently screwed up and you're not alone. It sounds like you know what you want, you're making sensible choices and working hard, and you're good at recognizing your needs and looking after yourself; those things often turn out to mean more in the long run than just getting a degree first thing.
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by sky on Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:56 am

Jayce wrote:The final option is to do some university units online, through Open Universities Australia, I've looked into the requirements and I'm more than qualified for their pre-requisites but I'm not sure how much respect my uni will give it if it's an online course and I'm not sure if I want to do it online.

One thing you could do is call your university and ask how they treat credits from online. They probably have a protocol for deciding which classes they do and do not accept for when students want to transfer in after doing some studies elsewhere.

If it turns out they would count those credits, you could try a course or two and see if you like doing them online.


Also, have you considered the possibility of transferring to a different university? I live in the US and I'm not sure exactly what the situation is like in Australia, but here, there are very few jobs where having received your degree from the "best" school is actually important and a lot of jobs where what they care about is whether you're able to do the work and if you'll get along with your coworkers. Different schools can have different atmospheres, and you might find that you click better with a different university.
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Guest on Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:57 pm

You'll be okay.

Say it with me, you'll be okay. First things first, look into Australia's equivalent of the U.S.'s FAFSA program, basically it's a student financial aid program. Next look into whether the CC you may be going into can waive your unit fees.

Now you mention that you're looking into online units, correct? Please, please, please, look to see if the institution who is administering those units is accredited with/by your State/Province and if those units are transferable. You don't want to waste your time with units from some for-profit online school whose units don't transfer over only to re-take a similar class.

Now, with that outta the way, I repeat, you'll be okay. Yeah, you're stressing out, but that's normal. Smile You'll be okay! Shiny/thrilled

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:03 pm

My academic transcript is stuck to me everywhere I go so no other uni will accept me until the 2 years have been lifted. The official policy of uni of what counts is that they don't count the credits but they will recognise the course as uni level as long as it hits a certain standard. So it can count towards showing me getting better grades but officially it wont knock off any subjects.

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:22 am

So tomorrow I'm planning to get some help by going to the community college's help centre, where I think I could go to a career advisor for some assistance into looking at some options that are available for me

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Guest on Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:52 am

Jayce wrote:My academic transcript is stuck to me everywhere I go so no other uni will accept me until the 2 years have been lifted. The official policy of uni of what counts is that they don't count the credits but they will recognise the course as uni level as long as it hits a certain standard. So it can count towards showing me getting better grades but officially it wont knock off any subjects.

Ahh those online courses in the eyes of the university system sound more like gold star stickers that make you look good as opposed to actually help you advance your academic career. Am I right so far? Now, riddle me this, do those online units (if you do well), will they help reduce the time you have to wait to get back into the university?

The reason I ask is because this where you got a bit of a choice. If the latter happens, in that good online unit grades will help you get back to uni faster then go for it. However, if those don't help you get to your goal faster, I wouldn't worry about it and instead look for some sort of job somewhere (anywhere, really) while studying on the side. That way at least you got some work experience under your belt and it'll look like you were being somewhat productive on your Uni application (if you guys have college applications).

Jayce wrote:So tomorrow I'm planning to get some help by going to the community college's help centre, where I think I could go to a career advisor for some assistance into looking at some options that are available for me

That's also a good idea. Look into if the units you'll take there transfer over (they might since they're probably accredited), or if there's equivalent classes that will transfer over so you don't need to retake it at Uni. Also, look into if the CC offers online courses that transfer too. At least that way they actually count. Razz

Sorry I can't be of much more help (since I know diddly of the Australian higher-ed system), but you can do it!

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:44 am

Ok I went to the community college's helpdesk and I'm booked in to see a career's advisor next week. Interestingly they presented me with two more options, I could enrol in a course to become a community college teacher or I could enrol to teach foreigners English as a Second Language. But I would have to pay upfront for those 2 courses and cant get a loan though.

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:26 pm

I called up my old university's admissions centre and they told me it was best if I do the online courses with Open Universities Australia since they will officially recognise it as a degree level form of tertiary study, so now I'm going to be enrolling online there for primary education.


Well my parents are assholes so they opened my letter without my permission and now they are super annoyed at giving me money for public transport (which is $30 a week cause I live too far away to the central business district). So I'm going to have to look for a second job to pay just for travel expenses (I can't just stay at home everday until September next year which I can come back). And of course theres all other sorts of annoying babble and we had a big argument.


This is the first time in a long time when I've thought about suicide. Living expenses in Australia is very expensive, I don't have much emotional support since I don't have a lot of close friends. My parents have always been disappointed at me and have been abusive. I want to live though, I don't feel like giving up. So I'm going to look for another job, while my online course starts next week. I don't know if I can work two jobs while studying a full time load even if its online but I have to try.

I feel like my parents always try and try to ruin my life further, despite that I'm already struggling as is.

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Enail on Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:35 pm

Sorry your parents are being such assholes, that sounds so frustrating and exhausting. I'm glad you're feeling determined to keep trying, but if you start feeling more seriously suicidal (or even if you just need someone to talk to), please see a therapist or at least check in with your doctor about it. Your family sounds like a lot to deal with, and you should really have more support for that.

I hope your course goes well, and that the job-hunting/doing does too!
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Werel on Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:36 pm

Man, I'm sorry your parents are giving you such a rough time, Jayce. You should definitely give yourself a pat on the back for making the effort to look into online courses, and for actually enrolling-- having that kind of self-reliance and initiative is a good reason to be hopeful about your future, even if your family is making you doubt yourself right now.

For the jobs question, could you try to land a gig where you can basically do homework/study for your online courses, so you're not forced to cram two jobs into a full-time school schedule? Jobs like that usually include working the desk at libraries or low-traffic retail stores, or parking garage attendant (garage attendant is a job I've had a few friends do, and they said it was pretty good money just to sit in a booth and study).
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:50 pm

Even when I'm trying to solve my problems, my parents make it worse, its the same with high school, all out of the blue we moved faraway and it took me two hours to get to school in senior year. So I struggled hard to make it out of there with a good enough entrance application.

When I did what I could to lose weight so other people wont make fun of me, my parents just kept making fun of me and told me I'm not going to be able to do it.

I already told them I'm always tired, I'm always travelling from the morning and only can come back in the evening. And that I don't ask them for too much money because they wont give it to me anyway so I go work. And things just didn't work out.

Yes I have lived a sad and pathetic life, and they are right that I'm stupid and talentless but I still hate it when people are mean to me. I still have feelings even if nobody cares how I feel.

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:59 pm

Well the first thing I'm going to do is try to lodge a claim to the Government welfare system since I'm doing a full time study load. But I'm stuck in a dilemma, I live at home and my parents have well paying jobs so I can't qualify for welfare assistance but the thing is my parents don't want to support me. I don' t think my claim will work but its worth a shot.

After that I'm going to start a new resume and see what jobs are out there, prferably not too far but I'll travel if I have to. I'll look into some quiter suburbs first, maybe, thanks for the suggestions Werel Smile.

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Werel on Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:09 pm

Jayce wrote:Yes I have lived a sad and pathetic life, and they are right that I'm stupid and talentless but I still hate it when people are mean to me. I still have feelings even if nobody cares how I feel.
Well, I hate it when people are mean to themselves, so stop internalizing the (wrong, mean) message that you're stupid and talentless. It's mean of you. Razz (Ceasing to internalize other people's meanness is easier said than done, but still; your parents are not saying those things because they're objectively true, they're probably saying them to be hurtful in moments of conflict or anger.)

Good luck navigating the welfare system and job-hunting. Fingers crossed that you find something that meets your needs, and is maybe even slightly enjoyable.
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Enail on Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:26 pm

Seconding Werel, you are doing an impressive job of handling a tough situation and going after the life you want in spite of your parents doing their best to beat you down, and you are a serious badass. Don't tell yourself otherwise!
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by kath on Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:55 am

*sending best wishes*

Sorry you are dealing with this, Jayce. The school situation is hugely difficult on it's own, you really don't need your parents working against you doing what they want you to do!

Trying to talk to financial aid at your university might help, if there is a financial aid office. They may know resources that aren't tied to your university that can help you that aren't quite loans - they might know about other things that other students have tried, even if those things aren't the "usual channels".
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:23 am

Ok it's been a while since I've posted but it's because I had a lot going on. Anyway good things have happened. I'm getting a job interview tomorrow! It's basically a job where you stand around and give out flyers to people for a clothing shop. The best part is that it's in the main hub of the city which is not too far from a library to study at and there is work from Monday to Sunday, meaning that if I succeed at getting past the interview I'll be able to earn an ok amount of money to support myself. Now I just need to tailor my resume specifically for tomorrow. My current employer has given me a reference as well so hopefully that will add bonus points even though it's from a tutoring job which has little to do with giving out flyers.

I just completed my first assignment for my online course as well, it was quite difficult as they expected me to use online programs I was unfamiliar with but at least I got it out of the way.

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Werel on Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:53 am

Nice! Way to go, Jayce, congrats on the job! cheers


Last edited by Werel on Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by eselle28 on Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:56 am

Oh, congratulations!
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Enail on Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:22 pm

Yay! Good luck with the interview, and glad you got the first course assignment out of the way!
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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Jayce on Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:48 am

Well I think I aced my interview! They are giving me a paid trial run of the job next week! They told me it was awesome that I could speak cantonese, mandarin and they said I looked really nice, and great for a high end clothing shop that sells stuff like Armani or Louis Vitton.

The pay is ok for a very simple job of standing there handing out advertising, and I can work everyday. On top of that it's only four or five hours per day so it's not too crazy. At least I'll have money to support myself while living at home and studying online. And I still can't believe it's two streets away from a library where I can study afterwards or beforhand.

Edit: Ok they changed their mind, I'm going to be officially on the working roster, there are other people at the same job so I won't be getting work everyday but it's a start.

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Re: I might be heading for community college for two years and I'm scared.

Post by Enail on Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:53 am

Woo, that's great! Congratulations!
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