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1st semester senior year drop out. Devastated.

KatieMuKatieMu 0 replies1 threads New Member
As a parent I am devastated that my child has decided to drop out of his Engineering degree with a 3.2 GPA in her ( 4th year) his final year of first semester at an ivy league college. Now says that she never wants to go back. Wants to go and get an easy job and doesn't need a degree. And was doing the wrong degree and would get depressed if she had to go back and change major and do another 1.5years. So will just do a job where she doesn't really have to use her brain. We are giving her some space, have asked her to talk to someone but she'll have to navigate the rest of her path at the age of 22yrs. We are as parents very afraid for her . Any ideas for career consultants. Anyone else going through this.
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Replies to: 1st semester senior year drop out. Devastated.

  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3800 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Is she finishing this semester? Hopefully so. Nothing wrong with taking a break for a semester or so - I would communicate to the school that she is taking a semester off - not quitting entirely. Hopefully her plans will change.
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  • thumper1thumper1 79360 replies3583 threads Senior Member
    edited November 22
    ETA...I think you need to figure out why she feels this is a better path, and why now. Is she discouraged, depressed? What?

    She should ask the school for a leave of absence instead of just dropping out. She doesn’t have to return, ever, but if she decides to, the option will be there. Tell her, it’s about leaving options open.

    Then be supportive of her decision not to finish right now. If you have any job connections, point her in the right direction.

    Is she planning on living with you? If so, make an agreement on what and when she will pay as her share of the living expenses once she gets that job (set a timeline on this). We did this with our college grads!

    She sounds like she needs a break, and some time to figure out what she wants to do. Of course, I think getting that degree in May would be a better idea...and then just doing what she wants to do.

    Is there a career counselor you could hire who could help her see careers with her degree that are NOT necessarily engineering?

    And an “easy job”? What does she mean by that?
    edited November 22
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  • GoldPennGoldPenn 268 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I’m so sorry you’re going through this and it must be very difficult to watch. I agree she should take a leave of absence in order to leave options open. Talking to a counselor (not so much a career counselor, but a mental health counselor) would be a good idea for her. I think the stress of this year is affecting so many of us in devastating ways. My family is really feeling the stress of it as well. I’m guessing your kid needs a mental health break. And after that, talking to a career counselor would probably be helpful; with an engineering degree, one can go into law or policy or any number of areas that utilize the knowledge without working specifically as an engineer. I send positive vibes to you and your family.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 28255 replies213 threads Senior Member
    Was she 'pushed' into engineering by her parents? Perhaps she's had enuf of that major bcos she never wanted to do it in the first place?
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 16082 replies1082 threads Senior Member
    "So will just do a job where she doesn't really have to use her brain" Most jobs require one to use their brain, even those not requiring an Ivy league degree.
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 3018 replies16 threads Senior Member
    edited November 22
    I agree with trying to get her to do a leave of absence rather than withdraw entirely. So many students are really battling right now with everything that’s going on. A semester without pressure might also help her really figure out what the problem is - maybe the COVID/school stresses, maybe give her a reset to either to finish her current degree (engineers don’t have to do engineering when they graduate) or the energy to pivot to something else that may require a bit longer to complete (assuming you would be financially able and emotionally supportive of this). It’s so hard for us to see our kids struggling, and so hard to know what’s right to do in the moment when that moment is full of despair. Just try to get her to keep her options open while she works through everything; and hopefully that will help make it clearer, without having burned bridges if she does decide she wants a way back to finish a degree. (And maybe a semester working full time in something where she doesn’t have to think will also help her put that in perspective.) And maybe her way forward does require a different path than the one she is on currently, and she will always need your support either way. Best of luck.
    edited November 22
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  • teleiateleia 26 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Struggle is normal. Failure is normal. Being paralyzed by either is not normal. I don’t have enough information about your child to thoughtfully offer advice. My experience as an undergrad in engineering was that it got better as you got closer to graduating. More specialized courses, less punishing math. So I’m a bit puzzled by what’s happening to your child. I would recommend a study abroad program and a co-op if your child’s institution offers them. In these times the study abroad might not be feasible but the co-op might be a good option. Has your child been under extreme pressure to succeed? Are these the cracks showing? Was engineering their own career choice?
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  • parentologistparentologist 388 replies41 threads Member
    The student wants to drop out in first semester of senior year? Is there no way for student to finish this semester? Take incompletes rather than withdrawing? Or at worst, withdraw from all classes and take a leave of absence, rather that drop out?

    Your student should not just drop out. They've come too far to give up. However, I suspect that your student is depressed, possibly worse. The pandemic is having this effect on many people, especially college students who are stuck at home, doing online classes.

    Definitely get the student in with a counselor/therapist, possibly at student health, immediately. It has been my experience that certain ethnic/immigrant groups have a very difficult time recognizing depression and worse yet, suicidal thinking in their family members. This can have tragic results.

    If the student can take incompletes, they may be able to finish up the classes without having wasted the tuition for this semester. A leave of absence with therapy, work, and pursuit of activities that help with mood and mind frame may enable the student to return to finish the degree next year.

    Don't let the student close the door on returning to the school eventually. And don't miss signs that the student may be in terrible psychological pain, my need psychotherapy, and possibly medication. Your child's health and safety come before anything else.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10566 replies74 threads Senior Member
    She has a 3.2 which is over the threshold that she would need to have for an engineering job. My daughter likes the variety of the work. It's very different from what the education requires. All of those entertainment industries need engineers for some really fun stuff.
    Let her take a break. My daughter needed a break. But she needs to talk to someone at the university.

    We said, okay, "tell yourself what you really want to do". "I don't know" is not an answer because it doesn't pay anything.

    When she investigated other jobs, she realized that she was good at seeing how things lined up, and that she wanted a decent income and perks. She has that now as EECS engineer. She can do software engineering and hardware.
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  • MassmommMassmomm 4290 replies86 threads Senior Member
    Oh, wow, I feel for you! This would seriously bum me out, too. I agree with the others that she needs space and time to deal with this, but I would encourage her just to take a leave of absence for mental health reasons, rather than dropping out. She may realize that she does want a degree after all, but perhaps in another field, especially if she only chose engineering because it is a lucrative field.

    Make sure she is seeing a therapist to sort this out. She needs to figure out what she wants or she won't be happy.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 36064 replies406 threads Senior Member
    It's complicated. There could be lots of reasons and we don't know your child or the family dynamics. (Or the situation at this college. We don't know the context. Nor whether something happened at school that makes her not want to be in that particular environment.)

    But I dropped out at one point. It wasn't depression or anything about the futility of my studies or job directions. I had simply had so much fun the summer before that college seemed drudgery. In my case, I couldn't wrap my head around returning to the structure and etc. One semester at home did the trick. Bored, of course. On one hand, I'd had that growth spurt (that summer was spent working away from home, a sort of resort job, back then.) I wanted to be free. On the other, I had yet to learn that "free" needs to be worked towards. It comes with time, not necesarily "on demand."

    I returned after a semester, far more empowered than before. I didn't connect to a job, no one underwrote any trips. Bored silly, no car, my friends were all away, I learned something.

    I agree with others: leave of absence, not total withdrawal. And a timeline to finish a degree, whether that's engineering or whatever her current credits will allow, maybe with a few extra courses to meet requirments.

    Good luck with this.
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  • blossomblossom 10705 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Save your devastation for something serious and irreversible.

    This one is just putting a pin in things while your kid figures things out.

    Get organized. Your kid needs to take a leave of absence- there will be a couple of people who will need to sign off on that. Your kid needs to check in with the bursar to see what charges have been paid that can be refunded, charges that have not been paid which must be paid, outstanding obligations (you don't want your kid leaving college with overdue library books, room keys, etc). Your kid needs a copy of the official transcript to make sure that incompletes are recorded accurately, withdrawals are recorded accurately, and that the grades as listed were the actual grades earned. Once you've withdrawn it's just a lot harder to get Deans and registrars etc. to talk to you.....Make sure you all understand the ramifications of any loans- payments start when?

    Then- figure out next steps. A counselor to talk things through if there's burnout, suspicion of depression? A physical just to make sure that pesky, fixable things (thyroid?) aren't causing fatigue, sleep issues, etc.

    Finally- come up with the 'rules of the road". Living at home means adult responsibilities for fixing meals, laundry, cleaning up. Give a timeline on how long an adult kid can live at home before paying rent. Using your car- when, how? OK to use to get to work (and if so, how are YOU supposed to get to work?) etc.

    Hugs to you. This is going to be fine. Minor speed bump. I'm seeing so much burn-out among college kids right now. Will there be graduation? Can I go for my semester abroad to a country that doesn't want Americans right now? How can interview for summer jobs right now when I can't get to career services to work on my resume?

    Covid. Your kid is in very good company. Just make sure nobody panics and that the withdrawal is done "by the book" so you aren't on the hook for more money and so that the door will be open down the road for a return- or a transfer to another college (check that transcript NOW for accuracy!)

    Kid wants to teach pre-school? Sure. Tough to live on $15/hour as an aide (even pre-school teachers need a BA degree these days) but some kids need to live it in order to understand it. Kid wants to wait tables? Good luck getting full time hours these days with many restaurants closed and laying off experienced staff. Not a lot of jobs to support yourself right now without a degree- but college will still be there in a year or two!
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 21042 replies2070 threads Super Moderator
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