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I can't stop thinking about transferring, I don't know what to do

TS1998TS1998 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited May 2018 in College Life
Right now, I go to a very small northeastern catholic private university about 3 hours from home. I will be a sophomore this fall. I loved my first year- it's a beautiful school in a resort town, and I found it very easy to be successful and generally flourish here. Finished out the year with a 4.0, have a part-time job, have a job as a tour guide, and I'm an officer of two different clubs on campus. But I just started having worries and doubts about two weeks ago.

My secret is that I have extremely bad anxiety and have had it since I was virtually in Kindergarten. It was so bad that my parents had to buy an apartment in this resort town and come up every so often so that I felt comfortable staying here on my own. Growing up I had severe issues with separation anxiety and they still exist to some extent, I guess. (Embarrassingly enough)

For my sophomore year, my parents won't have the apartment anymore. They've seen how much I've grown and how happy I was and they think I'm totally fine and ready to do this on my own. But I'm not. As sophomore year gets closer I find myself becoming more and more anxious and uneasy.

I hate the idea of being so far from home (I know three hours isn't far to most, but to me it is). I hate the idea of being alone (family-wise) here except for my boyfriend and friends.

I don't know if I can do it and the temptation to try and transfer Fairfield University (which is A LOT closer to home and very similar to my current school) is hard to ignore. I don't want to leave my friends, my boyfriend (who attends another university about twenty minutes from me), the clubs, my part time job, or my tour guide job, but I also don't want to be miserable and anxious every single day.


Ideally I would just like to be able to suck it up and appreciate my current school but I'm so afraid that my anxiety will take over.

I've already tried medications (SSRIs and benzos, both made me worse) and I've been in and out of therapy for the greater part of 12 years.

I'd really appreciate any advice. This is stressing me out so much, I've been feeling physically sick most days because of how stressed I'm getting about this. My parents (or anyone for that matter, except my boyfriend) know nothing of this because I'm so scared to let them down or become problematic.

Replies to: I can't stop thinking about transferring, I don't know what to do

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 5,047 Senior Member
    "I found it very easy to be successful and generally flourish here."

    This is a big deal.

    "Finished out the year with a 4.0"

    This is also a big deal.

    "have a part-time job, have a job as a tour guide, and I'm an officer of two different clubs on campus."

    To me it sounds like you are doing very well where you are. It sounds like you are making friends and are very well fitting in at a school where you are able to do very well.

    Every student has some anxiety going off to college. This is normal. This is part of the process for a young person to lean to live away from their parents. It sounds like you have a bit more anxiety than most students. However, I think that you should be VERY proud of how well you are doing.

    As far as I know every college and university has counseling services. You might want to find a counselor at your school to sit down and talk with periodically. Please note that talking to anxious students is what they are there for, they get paid (by the school) to do this but they also took this job because it is what they want to do. They are there to help you and like to do precisely that.

    I had one daughter who was at university a bit over 3 hours from our home (she just graduated this past month, but still lives in the same place). I did drive up there a couple of times when she was not feeling well (such as after a break up with a boyfriend) just to chat and see her. Of course it took me four hours from learning that I needed to visit to actually visiting (one hour to pack, three to drive), but I could be there with not much notice.

    I also think that you should tell your parents and your boyfriend about your anxiety.

    "I loved my first year"

    I think that you can handle a second year also. Just take it one year at a time, or even better one day at a time.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 9,090 Senior Member
    edited May 2018
    The fact that everything is as good as it can be, but you are considering sabotaging it because of unfounded worries, shows that you should consider getting professional help to at least manage the issue. You clearly recognize that this isn't healthy. You will not be able to cling to the safety net of parents forever. Your parents want you to have a happy and successful future. You owe it to them and yourself to seek help. See if you can find a therapist in your resort town who will do phone sessions, and then continue to see that therapist when you return. If you've been in an out of therapy, try staying in. Everything you posted here sounds like a cry for help. And yes, see a counselor at your school.

    How happy will you be leaving behind all the great stuff you've built up for yourself? I don't think running away due to imagined and unfounded fears will bring you happiness, and in fact, having to start over and rebuild all that isn't likely to make you happy. Rather than succumbing to fears, try being rational. Return for sophomore year. If it's a disaster, which seems unlikely given that you have many positives going for you at your current college, take a medical withdrawal and consider options. You are allowing irrational thoughts to affect your physical and mental health. Don't allow all your progress to be negated by two weeks of succumbing to unfounded fear.

    Have you also considered that it may well be too late to transfer to Fairfield? Many transfer apps are due in March.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 9,090 Senior Member
    edited May 2018
    Here is another thing to consider. Three hours is a very short time. I've been awake for nearly three hours. You can rent a car and drive home. If you're in the town I think you're in, there are plenty of car rental agencies. Or your parents can be with you in three hours. You can handle three hours on your own, right?

    Your parents do need to know about this. The fact that you are keeping a secret is contributing to your anxiety. It won't be a surprise to them, because you've already had years of meds, etc... How problematic is it going to be to keep a secret like this? Try to recall some of the techniques your therapists have taught you over the years and use them now. Worry is a useless emotion and achieves literally nothing, especially when it's based on unrealistic fears.
  • noname87noname87 Registered User Posts: 1,212 Senior Member
    How was your anxiety while you were at school? Was it under reasonable control? Did it control you? It sounds like you were managing well.

    By any chance is school over? Is your anxiety latching on to next year because you are no longer active in school?

    It sounds like you have been under the care of a doctor and therapist. What are their thoughts (none of my business but they know you and how servere your anxiety is)? Finding the right medication (if needed) and a good therapist can take a very long time. Most long term medicines take 2-4 months to even know if thay have any effect. Short term medicine are easier to see the effects but you never know how they will effect them until you try them as you found out. It really takes time to see whart works for you.

    My advice as someone that has been down this road is to return to your docter and therapist and get re-evaluated. Be honest with everyone involved. If necessary consider a gap year if necessary. A year off to work on your anxiety is not the end of the world. From what you wrote, I doubt you need to do this but it is a option.
  • coolguy40coolguy40 Registered User Posts: 1,932 Senior Member
    It sounds like the anxiety is starting to escalate. I would see a psychiatrist and get a fresh start on regular therapy. Yes, you need medication, but you need to make sure it's the right one. Don't let the past discourage you. You were still a kid. Now that you're an adult and you've matured, things will be fresh and new.
  • 1998dc1998dc Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    It sounds like you're happy there. You should take full advantage of all the psychological services there and try to overcome your anxiety. However, your happiness, mental health and well-being are above it all.
    My first semester of college was spent in a private, catholic university 30 minutes (Over one hour with LA traffic) that was perched on top of a mountain. I was miserable, I missed my family and my friends. However, the school was very socially dead especially on the weekends when everybody went home, as did I. I got to see my friends and family often, but I was still depressed and hated the school. I failed half my classes and spent my entire time in my dorm.
    I eventually transferred out to a community college which I actually enjoy a million times more. The professors are more interesting and more experienced. I get up and go to class despite panic attacks, I stay through the entire lecture, I do my work and I got a 4.0 GPA last semester, this semester I am doing extremely fine as well.
    I have been dealing with anxiety for the past 9 years. Those 9 years have been spent on and off of medication and on and off psychological help.
    For me, it was impossible to be happy there. My anxiety made me physically sick, and I hated the classes so I would have nothing to push me to go. Therefore, I transferred. It was the right choice for me. But is transferring the best choice for YOU? I think only you know that. You seem to have loved your school and experience there the only thing stopping you is anxiety. Is it worth it giving up everything you have in that university to cope with your anxiety? If yes, then go ahead. If no, then stay.
    And if you do decide to transfer, don't worry about the deadlines. I took an entire semester off before heading back last semester (albeit due to other issues) and I caught up fine. You can use that semester off to treat your anxiety and to work.
  • noname87noname87 Registered User Posts: 1,212 Senior Member
    edited May 2018
    If you decide to stay, I would strongly recommend finding a local therapist and doctor. Most counseling centers at schools are set up to provide short term therapy to fill the gap until a permanent therapist can be found. Their focus tends to be on the short term solutions. It sounds like this is not a temporary short term setback but something that needs a long term solution of therapy and possibally medicine. A good therapist along with your doctor and family should be able to advise you on what the best treatment plan and what the options for continuing your education are. Unfortunately, anxiety can cloud you judgement so talking to professionals/parents can hopefully give you the advise you need.

    Once again, if needed, do not hesitate to take a gap year. Unforunately, this type of problem is very common. Schools see this all the time and have well define procedures for taking a leave if necessary.

    Remember that nothing (including education) is more important than your mental health.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,718 Senior Member
    Talk to your parents to start with. And see a professional. Agree about a possible gap year. You sound happy at your school. I'm not sure transferring is going to help, even if you live at home.
  • MandalorianMandalorian Registered User Posts: 1,754 Senior Member
    You sound like the school is a good fit and you're doing well. If you've had this anxiety your whole life, there's no guarantee transferring schools will help.

    You do realize you can't live at home forever right? To me it sounds like your parents have done a lot to help you gradually in this large life transition. Now, it's your turn to return the favor. It may be tough, stressful, and scary, but work with a counselor to increasingly take more steps to independence.
  • techmom99techmom99 Registered User Posts: 3,336 Senior Member
    You should tell your parents. Maybe for next year, you can pick at place that is midway between home and school and meet your parents there once a month just to catch up. Looking forward to that might help. However, I also think you should seek intensive counseling over the summer to deal with this issue going forward.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 932 Member
    Tell your parents how you are feeling. Start with that. I think you are nervous because of a change. As someone who has had bouts of anxiety, I've found anticipating something is 99% of the time worse than the actual thing. Recognizing that has made my anxiety almost a thing of the past. I think having local professionals to work with as things come up is important too as someone mentioned. Maybe just having a plan in place for how you can get home on some planned weekends or your parents can visit could help.

    Make sure your exercising, getting outdoors, sleeping right, socializing. Keep the positive self talk rolling. You are doing GREAT things where you are! I bet your parents are super proud of you. Don't be worried about disappointing them. They will want to know you're feeling anxious about the change so they can help you move forward. Don't make any big decisions or get ideas without talking to them.
This discussion has been closed.