so very, very stressed/rant

<p>I can't believe how much my life has fallen apart: looking forward, things seem so easy- looking back, I can't believe my stupidity in some of the choices I've made.</p>

<p>I've always been told I was IL material. I'm considered "highly gifted", and I remember times in elementary school where my teachers would discuss my "abilities" with my parents. I would finish the textbooks the week they were handed in and write novels in my spare time. I could, and would, do anything I set my mind to- I was super competitive with myself.
Fast forward several years; our house flooded and my family had to split up for 18 months. Needless to say, my life was in turmoil. While 7 of 10 of us lived in a remote location, the other 3 (my older brother, father, and myself) lived with my grandparents. We commuted to our respective school/work areas every day; I was in sixth grade and travelling to a magnet program. Being a hyper sensitive and anxiety-prone person, I was stressed; 2+ hours of driving every day and waiting several more hours in front of school for my father left me lonely and bored. I quickly delved deeply into depression that existed since childhood. It now became my solace. I tried everything known to mankind to escape- use your imagination. After several encounters with the dark side of humanity, I decided I was worthless and purposeless; my father (a strict and somewhat abusive person) only put salt on my wounds.
For the next two years, I continued on this path. I ended middle school practically friendless and without hope for much at all. I half-heartedly started a rigorous set of courses (I was taking a schedule of 10th grade level classes- AP Bio/AP World/AP English, etc), but due to my personal problems, this really became the straw that broke my back. I could no longer hide my disordered eating, ditching class (for above implied reasons), and severe depression. I left school and eventually transferred into an inpatient neuropsychiatric care program. This program became the spring semester of my freshman year.
The following fall wasn't much better. I tried to start afresh, but my problems weren't solved- they were worse, covered by the thin facade recovery programs give you. I restarted at my local school with another rigorous courseload- and started out very well. I was a shining star, always the perfectionist. Of course, I wouldn't be continuing if something hadn't happened next. I ran away from home, my counselor recommended I drop my straight As and I lived away from home. For the spring semester I took online courses and recieved A's, but they weren't particularly rigorous (as one semester classes generally fail to be) and I felt bored and unsatisfied. I decided to emancipate myself, and through hard work and determination, I fulfilled all but one of the requirements- parental consent. My hopes for a better <em>something</em> had been dashed. I continues to look for some solution, and found that I might be able to move down to my aunt's place of residence and go to school there. Even then, I don't know what to do. I'm not remotely a traditional student- I know my heart is in this, and I know I would thrive in a college atmosphere. Yet my credits just barely make the cut for the next grade level and I don't know where I stand with colleges.
I'm scared to death, to say the least.</p>

<p>Wow. That's a lot for anyone and really a lot for someone your age. If you have the option of moving to your aunts I would do that. As far as where you stand with the colleges there are colleges that will be happy to have you. The first step is getting yourself in a stable place and taking the classes you need to complete High School.<br>
There are lots of parents on this board who took a very non traditional college route and are very successful adults. I'm sure they will post better advice than I can.<br>
I just want to say that you should be proud of yourself for getting help when you need it and for everything you have been through. Don't give up on college. You can do it.</p>

<p>I am very sorry to hear of these many problems.</p>

<p>Are you getting any regular and/or professional support at all now? Counselor at a CC, Child Protective Services, GC, physician, protective/support organization such as RAINN, therapist, spiritual advisor/clergy? If yes, have they been helpful?</p>

<p>You are obviously a fighter...a strong person with terrific potential...continue to set obtainable goals - get the credits you need...seek out help and take help wherever and whenever you need it ...start with some counseling and solid adult advice (aunt)?...begin at a community college if necessary to get the GPA you need to transfer to the school of your dreams. Just don't give up...keep fighting even if you are only treading. Trust in yourself - this will work. Go for it!</p>

<p>There are many colleges that would welcome a child of your profile.</p>

<p>@ADad: Before I was in the hospital, I jumped from therapist to therapist: most of them couldn't handle/grasp the situation. During and after the hospital stay I was assigned another therapist and he didn't help at all. After running away I was assigned a CPS worker. I attended a schools with over 4000 students, and 6 counselors. Needless to say, the counselors are neither top notch nor interested enough to help.
I guess due to being turned away (or turned off) so many times by what "help" is available (you can find pamphlets that list those very persons), I've become used to not having it and not hoping for help. So it really is my fault, all of this, and I wish I could change that.</p>

<p>@ebeeeee: What really freaks me out is the number of half-finished credits I have; it's almost to the point where if I want to finish everything properly, I'll jeopardize my college-prep.
I know many (many!) people have proved that CCs and lower-tier schools can be great opportunities and great places to attend, but I still have that stigma against them. Obviously, when push comes to shove I'd go to one of them, but not without total shame.</p>

<p>It sounds like you feel at fault for giving up on trying to get help. You also feel at fault for learning to do without help. Do you therefore also feel at fault for the fact that the problems still exist?</p>

<p>Has the CPS person been helpful? Has any adult in the last two or three years actually been consistently interested and helpful?</p>

<p>alexandra, you sound like a terrific person and a wonderful, talented student. You should take great pride in that-- and be even more proud that you've had so many obstacles to overcome.</p>

<p>If you were my niece or young friend I would encourage you not to focus so much on credits, college, etc. I would suggest that you focus on getting and staying well; dealing with the disordered eating, which can become a life-long issue if not addressed in adolescence, and which you already know can contribute to so many other physical and mental health problems. Again, if I knew you in real life I would try and help you navigate the medical issues you are dealing with- find a therapist who you can communicate with and who has the same goals in mind for you as you have for yourself, and find a way to deal with your stress, anxiety and depression.</p>

<p>I think that once you've moved closer to recovery, all of your academic issues will be much easier to deal with. Believe me- there are all sorts of great colleges out there, and you will be a stronger student for having dealt with your challenges. Half credits and incompletes and the like seem very scary and daunting and problematic when you are in the throes of depression; it will be a more manageable project for you to attack when you are well.</p>

<p>So if living with your Aunt is a healthy solution for you right now- and she is someone who will provide stability and support for you-- then go for it. If not, you may need to see if any of the adults who have disappointed you already are prepared to help you find a better solution.</p>

<p>Hugs to you. It will get better. Trust me, college is the least of your worries right now. When the time comes, you will end up someplace terrific surrounded by smart and interesting people.</p>

<p>@ADad: Yes, I feel like I should "toughen up" and deal with it. The CPS person was entirely unhelpful and would have separated my entire family if I had followed through on allegations of abuse. Part of me wishes I had (justice, no more pain) and part of me knew I couldn't do that (breadmaker, splitting up family).
There are things that I can only mention in passing reference (as you'll note above) that could be crucial to helping me, but are so traumatic that any sensory reminder causes me to have a breakdown.</p>

<p>It sounds from what you've written that living with your aunt is a haven for you and might work for now. One option that you may wish to consider is getting a GED (where you take & pass a test & then can proceed to college). My D did this the summer after completing her junior year of HS and found it was a good solution for her. She was ready to move on with her life and was sufficiently confident to forgo her senior year of HS. Upon receiving her GED, she enrolled in CC in the fall.</p>

<p>Yes, CC was a stigma for her as well, but she attended 3 semesters there and learned that all her teachers were teaching the SAME course at the local flagship U where you paid MUCH more tuition & had huge classes compared to her smaller classes. After her 1st semester at CC, she applied & was accepted as a spring admit transfer for the next year, to her dream college (it was her only U application). </p>

<p>I hope you also have a good counselor and register with the disabilities office of wherever you decide to attend. I hope your aunt (or other loved one) can help provide some of the support you need and deserve.</p>

<p>What worries me most is that I WON'T be able to find the help I need. My family and myself will all look at me as sort of a failure if I go to a community college- obviously they won't say it to my face, but I'll never have achieved an equal status within the family. If my viable options have dwindled to the point of only getting my GED or some such thing, then it feels as if I've ruined my life.</p>

<p>Oh, and if it isn't rather obvious from above, my family has no money. I have supported myself in the past through working low-wage jobs and rent is hugely expensive in the area. Going to a CC would be much harder than going to a need-blind institution.
Also, my family doesn't believe in treating emotions or psychology. Just toughening up, cracking down,and when things get (really) bad, lock them up for life and forget they existed.</p>

<p>DEFINITELY go to CC. As I said, my D did and tho it was a HUGE blow to her ego that she was there, she found the quality of teaching was excellent & the low cost of everything there was great for her budget (& ours). </p>

<p>They DO have counselors at CC that will be available to help you and in most states, CCs are free or close to it. Stop worrying about what folks think--after you have built up yourself at CC, you will have many transfer options for a 4-year U when you're ready. You will also have gotten yourself many credits that will transfer and further save you $. There are also scholarships to help folks transition from CC to a 4-year U. Once she transferred to her dream U, everyone envied her that she saved so much money taking the path she did & got out of HS that year early.</p>

<p>I would strongly urge you NOT to out-of-hand discount and discard CC as a viable option. My D really had been dreading it but was pleasantly surprised when she attended. Another friend's S took most of his courses at CC instead of flagship U because it was closer, had free parking, and had MUCH smaller classes.</p>

<p>I'd encourage you to visit your CC & see what it has to offer, what it would require for you to start classes there, what counseling & support services they offer, and just get a feel for the place. If there is more than one campus, you may wish to visit several & figure out which one most appeals to you.</p>

<p>Don't turn down CC without really exploring it. It may be much more attractive than you imagine. We were really pleasantly surprised. D was the only person in our large extended family who ever attended a CC (everyone else attended & graduated from 4-year Us as well).</p>

<p>Am I right about the following? You feel that you need to demonstrate success at a high level in order to achieve equal status within your family. Achieving such status feels supremely important to you. Anything that some might consider to be reasonable steps on the way, such as a GED or a CC, feel shameful and humiliating because they are ambiguous: they might well lead to success but they aren't the traditional way that kids with 2360/36 proceed. Thus, they allow your family to wonder about you if not actually look down upon you.</p>

<p>Has any adult in the past two or three years been consistently interested and helpful?</p>

<p>@ADad: My grandfather has been consistently interested and consistently unhelpful. In fact, I would go so far as to say he has further hurt my situation (obviously I don't mean to put his efforts down, but there it is). I really don't feel the need to impress my family or achieve equal status: there is so much wrong and hurt within the structure that I'd rather get out of it. As I said, they'd rather lock me up in an institution than deal with me; they'd rather pretend I didn't exist in order to further their "emotional problems don't exist and therefore those who suffer from them don't either" doctrine.
Which is a major reason why I don't want to attend a CC- that would mean I would be closer to home, and that is an extraordinarily destructive environment for me. My real point is that I need to get out of California, find a place that I can afford and will accept me and get my personal issues resolved. What seriously stresses me out is that these places don't seem to exist. I know that I am just as smart or smarter (or so these ridiculous tests tell me) than kids matriculating to the top 25 colleges. I know that, had my life turned out differently, had I made different choices, had I been dealt different cards, I could not be worrying about any of this right now. That I might not be worrying about getting into UT Austin and be worrying more about getting into Princeton.</p>

<p>I'm not discounting the possibility of getting a GED and going to a CC, but I have a seriously difficult familial situation that I need to get out of, and CC will only make things harder for me. This is one reason I have ruled out all California schools.</p>

<p>Also, as far as scores go: I've taken the PSAT once (two years ago) with no prior practice and recieved a 210. I've since taken several practice SAT tests and recieved between 2290 and 2400 on them. Testing isn't an issue for me; if that was the singular measurement of admission, surely I'd get into one of my top schools.</p>

<p>Don't understand why you can't live with your aunt, get your GED & go to CC there. Once you've gotten your track record, you can transfer to a school you prefer & is closer to your interests and abilities.</p>

<p>No one is doubting that you have a difficult family situation, but you were the one who mentioned living with your aunt. Could you talk with your aunt about options short of ruling out all CA schools? Going to a CC somewhere in the state where you are a resident really makes it much more economical than other options, especially when you have very few assets & resources.</p>

<p>OK: You want to get as far away as possible from your family, while still pursuing your educational goals. And so, I'm puzzled why you declined CPS on the grounds that the CPS would harm or split up your family. </p>

<p>You no doubt are aware that CPS can place you with another family. California is a big place, so CPS could place you far from your family. I would imagine that CPS can even place you out-of-state at an appropriate educational institution, though I can't claim to know that for a fact.</p>

<p>Could something like this be the type of place that you are looking for?</p>

<p>www.mhs-pa.org</a> | Milton Hershey School's Mission & Vision</p>

<p>And: it sounds like no adults have been consistently interested and helpful in the past two or three years. I'm really sorry that you've had to experience that.</p>

<p>It seems to me with regards to CC, your options may well be to be more flexible or to quit-- honestly, which is more shameful?</p>

<p>I have grown up with a very eerily similar situation. Those were my choices. That is the choice that students just as smart as you often have to make as well just due to financial constraints if they do not manage to get the scholarships they need. You cannot change the cards you have been dealt, you can only do the best you can with what you've got. I went to CC, and yeah, it sucked. A lot of my teachers were clearly only qualified to teach high school and some of my teachers ought not to have been teaching at all. Some community colleges are better than others. The fact of the matter is that I am moving to Ann Arbor in eight days to study at the University of Michigan, and had I not sucked it up and gone to CC I'd either be homeless or living with my parents indefinitely. Whining about how shameful it is to go to a CC is not going to get you anywhere. I understand that it is a very difficult thing to do when you feel it is beneath you, trust me, I have spent the last two years making that attitude adjustment and it hasn't been without tears and sleepless nights. But I say this with all the love in my heart-- too bad, get over it. I understand that a lot of horrible things have happened to you that are not your fault, however only YOU are responsible for how you react to those things now. If what it takes for you to go to the top college you belong in is going to a CC for a year or two before transferring, go do it. It won't be the end of the world and it will be a dream realized regardless of where you started.</p>

<p>That said, a small number of community colleges actually do have dorms. I know Jackson Community College in Michigan does for sure. You could always look into getting a job and an apartment and taking CC classes online or part time, or do both full time as some people do-- you certainly seem capable. Do whatever it takes to get it done.</p>

<p>@HIMom: Oh! I didn't explain that. If I lived with my aunt, I would be under a very strict plan. I'd HAVE to go to a traditional high school and finish up there. She's not going to allow me to just get my GED and go to a CC.</p>

<p>So if I wanted to go to a CC I would have to live outside the home. Therefore, the reason I say CC isn't cheap is because of the gastronomical rent prices and therefore my need to work 60 hours a week (aka two jobs) at minimum wage in order to pay for room and board. This would be extremely difficult for me because of my lack of transportation (outside of the bus) and need to get school work done. Simply said, this is a situation where I'd be getting no time to concentrate on my mental/emotional health and school. I've usually worked myself to the bone at work and at home, so perhaps this would be easier than I'm used to. I'm REALLY not trying to whine as TwistedxKiss said, I want to be able to just "get over" my issues, but that's something you can say but not do. Especially without help. I <em>want</em> to be able to go to a community college and go out and learn something, I really do! I just don't see how much short of a golden ticket can help me when it seems that I'm a burden for breathing.</p>

<p>For instance, ADad, that school looks like it could be perfect for me, except I'm over 15 and therefore cannot apply. There are 10 people in my family. If I consulted CPS, they would take every single sibling and put them in a different foster home, and my mom would have to find somewhere as well. CPS is a dead end because I could never do that to my family.</p>

<p>I hate saying these things, because it probably looks like I'm ungrateful for all your fantastic advice, but I'm just not seeing how it could work! I'm a minor and therefore have little leeway under the law. I really, really wish that I could simply walk into a CC, find a place to live, and get on with it. I'd spend fourty years at a CC at this point if it meant a safe haven for me that I could eventually GET OUT OF.</p>