Semester Update- 4/15/2022

Good Evening Everyone,

I would like to give you all an update about my recent experience at Purdue. Since I’ve been complaining about my constant depression and anxiety during my first semester things are getting worse. I studied for my chemistry exam three weeks ahead for numerous hours each day and still failed the exam ( I skipped going to work for so many days to study), the exam content was fair and I had confidence about passing it but I didn’t. I checked my grades in my other classes and they’re slipping and I’m trying my absolute best to raise them. I am at risk of being on academic probation and offsetting my CODO process until the end of the Fall 2022 semester. Now I have to take summer classes to raise my GPA. I’ve utilized my resources on campus to end this semester on good terms but it’s still not working out. My experience at Purdue has done nothing but traumatize me and destroy my self-esteem. I am not proud to be a student here and this university doesn’t care about me at all. I am at the point in life when I am about to have a mental breakdown. I am not living on campus for the summer because my dad suggests I stay at his house to save money and quit my job before the fall semester so I can focus more on my studies, have a lot of free time, and take a break from working. But I’m worried he’s going to prohibit me from participating in my senior activities (graduation ceremony in June, senior picnic, grad parties, senior trips, etc) because he’s the reason I wanted to rush into adulthood and he was strict and unnecessarily uptight for no reason when I am a good child who does everything he tells me to do and help around the house when asked to do so. I am so fed up with life and I am so tired of feeling unhappy. It doesn’t matter what I do in life I am never satisfied with how the way things are going. The only thing that made me a happy person this semester was my spring break trip to Houston Texas and the week before classes started because I made friends and I was happy to start my next educational journey at Purdue.

I’m sorry that you’re still struggling. Have you been able to talk to a counselor since your last post? Did you explore options for a medical withdrawal or leave of absence? I am concerned about you needing to have to take summer classes- it really seems like you need a break from school and a chance to focus on your well-being.

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Yes, I’ve talked to someone earlier today. I cannot do a medical withdraw because that will impact my financial aid for the upcoming school year.

Do you want to go back for the upcoming school year? It sounds like you need to make your mental health and well-being your first priority- school will be there when you are ready for it. Do you have to do summer classes? It seems like you need a break from the stress of academics.

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I have a tuition scholarship given by the university stating that I must earn 30 credits by the end of each December for them to pay for my schooling. So yes I must take summer classes, some easy ones though.

Which classes are you planning to take?

Please be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.

You took on a lot and you were early out of the gate to college from the rest of your peers.

Talk to your father about your interest in participating in your high school senior activities and how you feel that will help you. You can practice that conversation with another adult or your counselor. You had not previously valued those as much and are now wanting to. I think that will be good for you.

For chemistry- college level Chem is tough. Meet with a TA and then meet with the professor to go over what you missed. Figure out if it is the math or the Chem concepts, so you can try to self correct. Do you know the class average? Some professors do not curve until the final grades, so you think you are failing all semester and then somehow end up with. B minus.

What other courses did you end up with at this time and what are you going to try to take this summer and in the fall. Your fast track idea of getting into your major of choice is causing you more stress and struggles.

I like the idea of not working for a little bit to get a handle on college rigor. Maybe you can make things work for the summer. Also, some states let you take classes at the local community college to meet the requirements for the scholarships. Is that an option in Indiana? Sometimes the pace is easier and the cost is less.

I know you are still interested in being in Texas. Before you try to make that move get a handle on the depression and anxiety with the correct medication and self-care. Share your long term goals with your therapist. Maybe for next summer you can look for a summer research opportunity in Texas.

One day at a time. You will reach your goals, but your path may not be as simple as it looked 6 or 7 months ago - that is all part of growing into adulthood. You need to take care of yourself and your mental health first.


I just want to give you a giant hug and let you cry your heart out.

First of all, you are NOT worth less than you were before you started this semester! You are the same valuable, bright human being that you were beforehand. What you were trying to do is very, very tough - engineering is hard, chemistry is hard, chemical engineering is incredibly hard, and Purdue is one of the toughest engineering schools in the nation.

Lots of people who wind up becoming highly successful professionals have this kind of bump in the road somewhere along their path. You will still come out okay. You will get through the depression. You will get through the rough academic start. You will get through all of this! Things will get better, I promise you.

You need to take easier classes, in subjects that you truly love, to build confidence in your academic abilities, to keep your scholarship which is critical for you, so that you don’t have to live with your parent, and to continue moving forward towards an undergrad degree, in anything. Don’t worry now about what you’re majoring in. Just register for classes in anything that you love (check the reviews first to make sure that the profs are good, and that people can do well in these classes). Maybe take a literature class. You interested in history? Sociology? Art History? Music History? Political Science? Think about the classes that you had in high school that you liked - maybe take a class in that subject. The goal is for you to have a semester where you enjoy learning, get good grades, keep your scholarship, stay at Purdue (even though you might wind up majoring in something other than engineering).

I had this happen to me my first year at an Ivy. I was taking all premed classes (chem with lab, calculus, a biology seminar, a language class) and they were HARD. I had never had to work hard at anything beforehand, and it just wasn’t clicking for me. I wound up completely switching my major to something I loved (languages), got my degree in that. And a couple of years after I had gotten my degree, I decided that I still really wanted medicine, went back, finished my premeds, and went on to med school.

One of the beautiful things about our education system in the US is that we get a lot of chances at education. Chem E not working out? Switch to whatever you want - and you don’t have to make that decision right now. Try some other, easier subjects, and take it from there. If, after you earn your BA in something else, you decide you want to switch fields again? You go back and get a graduate degree. There are always second chances in education.

The thing that you need the most right now is a safe place to mature, and college provides that for you. It sounds as if taking some easier gen ed type classes for next semester, and taking a break from the STEM classes, is the best way for you to earn better grades, so that you keep your scholarship, stay at school, and improve your mental health. There is absolutely NO shame in doing that, for all the right reasons!

You could have a talk with your father tomorrow about the circumstances under which you would like to take him up on his offer of a free place to live this summer. Explain to him that you want to participate in the fun end of year school activities, that you want to go places with your friends. Assure him that you’re not drinking, drugging, or engaging in risky behavior (code words for having sex), but that you are a young adult who deserves the freedom to live their life without restrictions. If he agrees, give it a try. If he doesn’t, you cannot go live with him this summer - it will be a disaster. Instead, look for a very cheap off campus sublet, and I agree with working as many hours as you can this summer, to bank as much as you can ahead of time. Also, spending some time seeing friends will help to raise your mood. I think, from what you’ve described, that your depression is situational, meaning you’re depressed because you’re killing yourself trying to succeed at something very challenging, and it’s not working out for you. If you weren’t under this tremendous stress, I think you’d be okay - after all, you had fun on vacation, and you’ve made friends.

I don’t think that you should take summer classes, unless you have funding for it, and if you do, I think that you should only take easy classes in subjects that you really love. Please don’t try to take more engineering/STEM classes this summer to try to raise your GPA - it may only backfire. You need a break from the stress of the very tough STEM classes, and you need the confidence builder of some good grades in gen ed classes.

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For this semester I am taking 1 chemistry class and the rest are gen-eds. I am taking 2 easy classes in the summer and will try to test out of COM 114. For the fall I will be taking CHM 12901, BIOL 110, a math class, and more general education classes. I have a meeting with my professor on Thursday to review exam content and discuss more on how can I pass the class when they start dropping scores. I need to get out of exploratory studies next summer so I can get an internship so I can avoid living with my dad at all costs. I shouldn’t have to worry about my privileges being taken away for something that I worked so hard for. I sacrificed half of my senior year, my freshman orientation, and the “summer before college” just to get out the house because I needed a place to stay. I was 18 and nobody wasn’t going to take care of me even when I offered to pay rent/bills. Sometimes I wish we can choose our parents, that would be a blessing.

I am thinking about switching to something else as long as it’s not too easy. If he disagrees from letting me participate in spring activities I will sleep on the streets and be homeless until the fall semester starts. Apartment searching is not easy, landlords charge lots of money for rent and the apartments were horrible.

Don’t worry about switching majors yet. What were your favorite subjects in high school? Aside from any practical consideration, what do you really enjoy, academically? Just pick easy gen ed classes in subjects you enjoy, with teachers who got great reviews.

Quick internet search shows that you can probably find a summer sublet near campus for about $500/month including utils - you don’t have to deal with the landlord. But if you could stay at your father’s, that would be another $2000 that you could save from your summer’s wages, instead of having to pay rent for a sublet.

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