Midlife Crisis: Please help me I need advice. Urgent. (Major change & Anxiety)

<p>Hey everyone, I'm new to the College Confidential forums. This is going to be a long post, but bear with me. I really need help. </p>

<p>Before I talk about my issues, I want to give you some background about myself.</p>

<p>I am currently starting out my Junior year at a Big Ten school and have done well up to this point. I have a 3.67 GPA. I have dealt with a lot of stress throughout college. I'm not that naturally of an intelligent person in my opinion. I'm not saying I'm not smart, but I bet if you compared me to other people with that GPA, I would be in the rear. That GPA has come as a result of studying for a surplus of hours.</p>

<p>I first want to talk about something that really just hit me over the past few days: should I change my major?</p>

<p>Right now I'm currently a Finance major, but I'm considering changing my major to Marketing. I'm really ambivalent about this decision. I feel like I would be a lot happier majoring in Marketing because it would be a huge weight lifted off my chest. Marketing seems more fun than Finance, and the coursework is certainly less stressful. The key word is stress. My decision to major in finance has really been on my mind the past few days. Today I sat down and tried to do my finance and accounting homework, but my head has been spinning. I'm have trouble concentrating, and I think it's because I'm really intimidated by the coursework. During my first 2 years of college, when the going got tough, I would have mental breakdowns. If I felt that I did poorly on a test before getting it back, I would go through severely depressing episodes. I'd sob (alone, of course). My head wouldn't be in the right place until I ultimately received the test back only to see that I didn't do that badly on the exam. Another reason that I'm not sure if it's worth changing to marketing is because I've already had a finance internship under my belt, and it could lead to bigger and better things. What I'm trying to say is that I don't think it's the prospect of working in a finance related industry that is scaring me - it's going through the process of learning this challenging material and doing badly in the classes (the stress it will bring). I'm also torn because I can't begin pursuing any marketing classes until next semester because those classes are full. I'm also already a week behind in the classes that I would potentially add if I overhaul my schedule from dropping the finance and accounting courses. And let's be honest - a finance degree is leaps and bounds more impressive than a marketing degree. I've read all the anecdotal stories online of people being unemployed because their marketing degree carries no weight. </p>

<p>I've lived by the motto of "sticking it out" throughout my college life. Up to this point, it's worked. But at a certain point, I'm not sure if I'm going to crack under pressure when **** really hits the fan. I don't think many people experience the kind of anxiety that I do when it comes to school. Looking closely, however, it seems that the classes that have caused a lot of these problems is the intro to financial accounting class I took (received a B), and my principles of corporate finance class (received an A, but I had to grind for it). That's not to say that other classes haven't given me a lot of stress either, but the stress that I felt during my accounting and finance classes was substantial.</p>

<p>This leads me into my next topic to talk about, which I have already touched on - stress/anxiety, and even depression. I'd say the first time I experienced this was 1st semester freshman year. It's unhealthy. It's saddening. It's very bizarre, too. When it's the summertime/winter break, I am as sane as a person can be. I work out 4x a week. I'm never depressed. My anxiety is in check. But when I'm at school, I have these episodes. I think I'm going to get help, because it's a bigger concern than ever. In my opinion, a lot of it comes from these finance and acct classes, but that doesn't go to say that these other classes in other subjects don't have the same effect on me. My stress levels, in my opinion, have aided me in working hard in school because of the fear of failing. But it's getting to the point that I can't take it anymore. I don't know if taking marketing classes would fix/alter this problem I have, but it might. I'm worried that at some point my sanity will fold and my stress will take over. I am starting to think that I have an anxiety disorder and need therapy, or even medication. Looking back on life experiences and feeling stress (baseball, doctor visits, etc.) it might be a possibility. But I'm a PERFECTLY content person during the summertime and winter break that I don't even know. And no, my anxiety is not related to homesickness. I just hate college coursework with a passion.</p>

<p>It's really bizarre how just last week before classes started I went from a happy person who was motivated to grind out these last 2 years of college to having knots in my chest and being completely lost. I honestly don't know what to do.</p>

<p>If anyone can give me some advice, it certainly would go as greatly appreciated, or if anyone wants to share their stories of their past issues, I'd gladly listen. I'm going to keep everyone in this thread updated about what has been going on and what decision I will make.</p>

<p>Thank you</p>

<p>See your school counseling center. Tomorrow if possible, by Monday if they can't see you tomorrow.</p>

<p>I plan on seeing an adviser with scheduling on Monday (I don't think they are open tomorrow). I want to hear their advice. I also think I'm going to see someone in a mental health department.</p>

<p>Are you sure that your anxiety and depression is due to the finance maor and not to…well…anxiety and depression?</p>

<p>The 20s are the most common time for latent mental illnesses to manifest themselves. I started experience anxiety and depression in college - my junior year, actually - that only worsened after I graduated and into graduate school. You think that the fear helps you, but actually, the anxiety is detrimental. I used to think that the anxiety produced helpful adrenaline until I started planning better because the anxiety was destroying my concentration, and I found that I actually work TONS better when I'm not anxious. I've since found natural ways to try and decrease my own anxiety (exercise, yoga, eating better, natural supplements, tea) and I seek counseling to help me deal with it. I'm also contemplating the possibility of anti-anxiety medication. The anxiety can get so crippling that sometimes I start feeling like I'm having a panic attack just thinking about work. There's nothing about the work itself that's scary - I love my field and on good days, I'm happy to be in it. It's because your body and mind are overreacting to a stressful experience. It's a legitimate problem that you and I need help to control.</p>

<p>Do you like finance, and are you interested in it? Do you want to work in finance after you graduate? When you are feeling happy and good about yourself, how do you feel about finance?
Do you like marketing? What do you know about it? Are you more interested in majoring in marketing than finance?</p>

<p>Don't change your major because your mood is getting in the way; if you like finance and you're just stressed out, seek help and find out ways to deal with that anxiety, whether it be personal restructuring or professional help and medication.</p>

<p>Most colleges have a counseling services center where you can go get counseling. Can you visit a counselor to talk through your issues?</p>

<p>I honestly think it's college itself that is stressing me out and making me depressed. I was a fairly happy person prior to college. I would have anxiety with things like baseball, but it wouldn't make me severely depressed like college has been doing to me. </p>

<p>The reason I believe it's college (or more specifically, finance) that has caused this is because college is damn hard. High school, for me, was a breeze compared to this. I will admit that you do raise a valid point. Maybe a lot of this can be attributed to my biological "evolution" (as you said, this can happen in one's early 20s). </p>

<p>I will say this - if I were enrolled in marketing classes right now and declared as a marketing major, AT THIS VERY INSTANT, I would probably be out having fun right now. Finance is challenging. I'm not the quickest learner, and things don't "click" for me like they do for others. For instance, when I first learned pre-algebra in 7th grade, it took me a few weeks until things started clicking for me like it did for some other students. I've also noticed a trend with midterms - I tend to do better on the second midterm than the first, perhaps because I then begin to understand the subject more clearly. That's the problem with the finance and accounting courses. I'm surrounded by so many bright students who I am essentially competing against in a grade curve in a subject that I don't grasp very quickly. It takes me more time than others until my brain starts wiring the subject. I'm intimidated by the coursework. I've heard many stories of the Accounting class I'm currently enrolled in. </p>

<p>I can't say I LIKE finance that much to be honest. I mean, I sort of feel the same way about marketing. But to be quite honest, marketing does seem more interesting. However, I seemed to enjoy my finance internship this summer. The feeling of being productive in the workforce goes a long way for me. I also feel that finance is more useful in the long-run, which is why I've followed this route.</p>

<p>My ultimate dream would be to work for a sports organization doing whatever, which is why I'm considering a sports management minor (not the end all, but could help and give me the option if I am serious about this path after college). </p>

<p>I will certainly seek mental help. I have said the past 2 years that I would do so and never did. But now this is the last straw. Yes, we do have counseling services. </p>

<p>I can't tell if it's really finance that is making me miserable. It's tough. </p>

<p>Thanks for your response, Julliet.</p>

<p>To add to something you brought up, I'll say this.</p>

<p>I struggled on my first finance midterm last semester, but ultimately got an A in the class after hard work. It gave me this feeling like "I got this" or "I can do this." At the same time, however, I fear "will I have to go through all that all over again?" The class itself wore on me. I tried so hard in that class because finance was something that I was serious about. I don't know if I can handle the downs that may come with it. Finance is so challenging.</p>

<p>Anything you do is going to be challenging.</p>

<p>^ And that's something I realize. Marketing is no walk in the park, either. I sort of just lost it last night</p>

<p>Marketing is more "fun" if you like the stress that comes with marketing. it's not numbers-free; there is a lot of analysis. Once you are out in the real world, it's also a lot of work....you are always being measured by your most recent numbers and that can be a lot of career stress.</p>

<p>My S3 is a business major who is completing concentrations in international business, marketing and finance--he is able to do this because he came in with 21 credits, takes an overload every semester anyway, and has taken some classes in the summer as well.
if it is worth anything to you, he complains more about his marketing classes than his finance classes.</p>

<p>It really seems that you are suffering from problems relating to depression and/or anxiety more than an existential life crisis relating to your college major. If you can get some help--and there is lots of help available-you may see things more clearly. Take some time today to get some sunshine and exercise, and go get some help tomorrow.</p>

<p>Dear JosephA3--</p>

<p>May I offer a few suggestions:</p>

<p>1) given that you can't change your classes right now, would it be possible for you to drop one and have a reduced course load? Perhaps this would be helpful while you are trying to figure everything out. slugging through it all isn't worth it at his point. </p>

<p>2) i would suggest that you consider going to the counseling center. although this may seem overwhelming, they are very used to helping students who are struggling with decisions around majors and the associated anxieties and frustrations.</p>

<p>3) i might also suggest that you consider reaching out to your professors in the classes and talking to them about what you are going through. in my experience, most people would want to help you. although it may seem awkward, I think that they could help you.</p>

<p>Good luck and please update us and let us know how you are doing!</p>

<p>boysx3 - thank you for your advice. For me, there's no question that finance is a tougher subject to learn, but there's no reason that changing to marketing would necessarily make me a less anxious person. While for me marketing is an easier subject, finance should not be bringing me down like it has been, because the bottom line is that it would be much more personally rewarding to graduate with a degree in finance than a degree in marketing. I talked to my sister and one of my good friends about this situation last night, and they seemed to think that I mind as well gut it out/fix my problems since I'm halfway through.</p>

<p>peacefulmom - thank you for your advice as well. I can answer your questions
1) believe it or not, i am only taking 14 credits. i know, that's nothing. the reason i did this was because i knew the coursework would be dense with accounting and finance classes. If anything, i may add a 2-credit class so i have less work to do in the future. For me, i don't think it's really the amount of work that is stressing me out. it's more of the anticipation of my exams for these subjects and learning the material in a timely manner/keeping up with everyone else. in my finance classes, the final exams carry a lot of weight - more than half the class. My plan was to finish out this semester with my finance and accounting courses. At that point, I'd only be 12 credits away from my degree in finance and could assess my situation from there. If I feel that it is worth completing the degree, then I could finish up that coursework. If I am miserable and feel it is necessary to change to marketing, I can switch my major and still graduate in 4 years. I would also finish up a finance minor (only 6 more credits from that point).</p>

<p>2) I am going to see a counselor. I've had instances during my freshman and soph year that I was going to see one, but ultimately never addressed it and grinded out the semester. I don't think it would hurt to give it a shot at this point. I definitely have more anxiety than most people. my friends sometimes joke about it with me (because i end up doing well in the classes that i've taken), but when the going gets tough during the semester, i can get extremely overwhelmed. it's not healthy, and i shouldn't be putting this much pressure on myself. </p>

<p>3) I do agree that talking to the teachers would help. A problem that i'm having is that i feel "on my own" at this point in these subjects. There were tutors available every week in my previous accounting/finance classes that helped me tremendously, but now it's strictly office hours. i could consider hiring a tutor, however. That would probably help me out.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the support and i'll keep everyone posted</p>

<p>There are anti-anxiety medications out there that may make college biologically easier for you.</p>

<p>Another way of reducing course anxiety is to study the material before you take the course. Find out the course textbooks as early as possible and get the book a month or two before the course starts and read through it. Another method that I've heard of is auditing a course (sitting in the classroom) before you need to take it for credit. That way the information is in your head way before you need to know it for tests, papers and quizzes.</p>

<p>BCEagle91 - I would bet that anti-anxiety medication would help. I'm going to see a counselor and explain my problems to them and see what they would suggest.</p>

<p>You raise a good strategy to better prepare me for coursework. Normally when I'm done with a semester and have winter or summer break, I don't even think about school at all until it's actually approaching. I will consider both of those options (ordering books earlier and sitting in on a class)</p>

<p>How are you doing OP?</p>

<p>^^Tbh I'm still down in the dumps. However, I do have a scheduled counseling appointment next week. I've never done anything like this before, so we'll see how it goes.</p>

<p>I can't tell if the reason I'm upset is because deep down I'm not sure if finance is the right route to go, or if I'm just legitimately scared about how this semester will play out. (Or if I actually have a depression/anxiety disorder) or all of these combinations. I'm taking a lot of tough courses. While marketing is still no walk in the park (as it still requires a lot more studying), your grade is more predictable in that kind of class (at least for me. Harder to "go blank" on a test that doesn't involve #'s). I would feel more comfortable in that kind of classroom environment. At the same time, I realize that I have the rest of my life ahead of me, so I am torn on whether it would be a mistake to major in marketing to make these next few years ahead of me easier. After all, I have the rest of my life ahead of me after college, and I feel that I will have more options with a finance degree than a marketing degree, which will aid me in finding something that I REALLY want to do. It sucks though because my window has passed for this semester to make a change, so I have to grind it out.</p>

<p>I think the ideal option at this point is to get counseling, attend office hours, and finish out the semester. Then I can reassess my situation.</p>

<p>Thanks for the concern, and I will try to keep this as a journal/give you updates.</p>

<p>Hey- It's great that you made an appointment with student counseling! Try not to worry about what the causes of your discomfort are, they will help you by asking you questions. Blanking out on questions during in an exam could be from anxiety and you may be able to get an accommodation for extra test time and maybe the option to take an exam in another room. Also, I am a CPA and I think you will do fine in accounting 2 if you made it through the first class okay. I was not a great student, but I just kept doing the problem sets over and over again. I know a lot of business people and I honestly do not think it will make a difference if you major in finance or marketing. I think you have a good strategy set. I would consider dropping another class if you are too overwhelmed. You can make it up in summer school. There is nothing wrong in taking a further reduction in classes. I am wondering if you would consider posting your original post in the Parent Cafe. I think you would get a lot more comments and thoughts on your questions in that community. Good Luck!!!</p>

<p>Thank you for your response. If things escalate, I will forward my post.</p>

<p>I unfortunately can't afford to drop a class. I have to take a certain amount of credits a year to keep my scholarship :/</p>

<p>What you said about Accounting is reassuring. I got a B in financial accounting, and now I'm taking intermediate. It's hard to say that I "struggled" in accounting given that I got a B, but it was very tough. I had one of the tougher teachers, however. I can only hope for the best! I will put the work forth in order to hopefully succeed. </p>

<p>I don't even know if "blanking out" is the right word. I think some people use "blanking out" as an excuse for not knowing an answer. But while I take a test, sometimes I get so nervous that my thoughts get clouded and I can't apply logic to solve a problem. </p>

<p>Nonetheless, I think talking to someone will help me.</p>


<p>WOW, I can actually relate to this REALLY well, in fact it's kind of CREEPY how similar we are. </p>

<p>I too have just under a 3.7 GPA (3.69) and am also a junior finance major who just completed a finance internship. I have never experienced any anxiety/depression until I arrived in college as well.</p>

<p>I was ultimately denied by my 2 top top choices and chose to go to an honors program at a safety school with a generous scholarship instead of paying 50-60k for hardly an upgrade. I guess what really did me in was a combination getting extremely homesick first semester, and arriving at this school already telling myself that I did not want to be here and it was a temporary situation until I could transfer to my 2 dream schools. I began going home every weekend, being that I am only 2 hours or so by train (1 hr drive) away, and by literally by mid semester all the cliques had formed and I was sort of left on the outside. Unfortunately I never went through with the transfer, as I was just overwhelmed with my coursework.</p>

<p>Anyways, going into school this year it hit me how fast these 2 years went, and whats stopping these next two from flying as well. Then I realized how much left I have to accomplish outside of academics (ahem..meeting some fine women!), and that life is too ****ing short too stress out and constantly be depressed. Hopefully this outlook will last, and if all turns out well then in 2 years hopefully I'll be working full-time for this company that I am still interning at (UBS in NYC). </p>

<p>But yea man, good luck. I can sure sympathize.</p>

<p>Dude it's comforting to know I'm not the only one out there. Same thing with the "women" thing for me. And I totally agree with your quote, "life is too ****ing short to stress out and constantly be depressed."</p>

<p>I've always told myself going into each semester, "Just stick it out and you will have a nice, rewarding and relaxing summer break ahead of you." But it's getting to the point that it's hard to use that as my only motivation. I have other issues/goals that I want to fulfill (social life, the weight room, etc.) and I feel like that gets put on hold when I get to school.</p>

<p>The whole "life is too short thing" is what is scaring me and almost making wish that I had majored in marketing. I would be much less stressed out with that kind of major. But I've been very ambivalent about it because:
1) I could see myself being content with a finance job in the workforce. Being productive in the workforce goes a long way for me
2) Because I'm only 2 years away, I feel like I've come too far to jump ship.</p>

<p>As I've said before, I'm going to reassess my situation at the end of the semester. </p>

<p>But dude, that is so weird. We're clones of each other.</p>

<p>Am I the only one who is an extremely happy person during the summertime, but a depressed one at college? </p>

<p>I don't even have an awful social life. I have a good group of buddies, but I've always let academics overwhelm me.</p>

<p>I wish I could just chill and be happy while I'm at school. It honestly ****ing sucks. I've only had 1 semester where I was content (and by no coincidence was it my easiest semester).</p>

<p>Good luck to you as well. We'll make it through this</p>

<p>Op, your body and mind are trying to tell you something. If you have to "Just stick it out and you will have a nice, rewarding and relaxing summer break ahead of you" then you are definitely in the wrong major. You have to start exploring other majors now. Forget status, you have to find out what makes you happy and not super anxious! Because if you think finance classes in college are a hard grind, I hate to tell you, but it only gets harder at work. You can't look at your next level and think "When I get there, I will be happy" because you won't....there will always be another level added on to aspire to, and it will be a perpetual cycle. </p>

<p>The only thing is that it's taken you 2 years to figure this out. So take some different classes to see what classes you actually like and might be good at and are not a grind. Maybe this means you take an additional year to graduate. But better time spent now figuring this out rather than 10 years from now (along with chest pain, depression, and anxiety). So actually it might be a good thing that you figured this out so early in your career. Silver lining!</p>