Am I making a mistake?

I recently started a new school and I'm struggling a lot more than I thought I would. I'm only a few weeks in to my second quarter (we have 10-week quarters instead of 18-week semesters, but it's the same amount of work) and I'm still not entirely caught up with my work. I'm not failing or anything, but I really don't like being behind and I don't like the kind of person I am when I'm constantly stressed like this. I can't afford the loans to only go part-time, so I'm stuck with taking more classes than I can really manage in order to try and finish my program in time. I wasn't struggling at all last quarter, and a lot of people who are farther along in the program have said that it gets easier, but I haven't had time to work on a single project for anything other than school since I started this quarter at the beginning of January. I still have events lined up to vend at, but I won't be able to make any new products for my booth because I just don't have any free time at all anymore. I'm really starting to question if this degree is worth it if it means sacrificing ever seeing my friends or getting any personal projects or custom orders done for a while. My friends may still be there when I'm done, but they may not, and if they aren't I'm not exactly making new ones at this school to make up for it. I do think the degree would be hugely helpful, and the fact that the family that runs my school is connected to everyone in the industry in the Cleveland area is a benefit as well, but I'm not sure I'm cut out for this kind of stress. I'm just wondering if I'm wasting my time getting the degree if I'm going to leave the school with everyone thinking I'm a stressed-out bitch all the time because that's how I am during classes, or if I should just hang in there and hope everyone's right and it gets easier after the first year.

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6 replies since 28th January 2014 • Last reply 28th January 2014

Hang in there. When I feel stressed about taking too many classes, I look closely at the time I need to spend on school work, my job, and see what I have after that... factoring in sleep, of course. You might have more time than you think you do. You might just need to figure out some better time management. I know I've had to.

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Thanks, I'll keep trying. I think maybe it feels harder than before because I don't really have anyone I can talk to outside of school anymore since I'm basically on opposite schedules from my friends now and I haven't really been all that successful at making friends in my new school. I think everyone thinks I'm really weird because I'd rather spend my free time watching bad 60's sci-fi movies and making monster dolls than reading fashion magazines and making pretty dresses. :/

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. You aren't making a mistake, you're bettering yourself and creating a future for yourself. In my experience, real friends will still be there when you're done- if they aren't then they weren't real friends to begin with. And even if you aren't making new friends at school, doesn't mean you won't ever make new friends- you will probably make a lot of lifetime friendships when you start working. It's good to broaden your horizons a bit. It sounds to me like you are the one being judgmental about the people you are attending school with. Just because they don’t like sci-fi movies or monster dolls, doesn’t mean they are shallow or that they aren’t good people worth knowing. Good luck to you.

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I think my social incompetence is responsible for a lot of my stress. I can see how that bit might have come off sounding judgemental, but I didn't mean it that way at all. It's more that I'm just really easily scared off by people, and so far when I've tried to turn conversation to things I'm interested in, I've gotten a lot of responses like the guy who stopped me to say "You're sounding like a HUGE nerd right now" rather than "hey I liked that movie too" or anything like that, so it makes me not want to say anything else after that. I don't really know how to talk to strangers to begin with, but it's even worse when I can't find any common interests. They all seem like nice enough people, I just seem to notice a lot of weird looks when I mention that I'm excited about a horror convention or that I want to base my project off a character from Doctor Who. There's also the fact that I just have a bitchy resting face (which actually was the topic of the most active conversation I've managed so far this quarter, ironically enough) and that I may or may not be a tiny bit autistic and can't read social cues or body language well AT ALL. I have a tendency to just assume that if someone isn't engaging in the conversation at the same level, they must be annoyed with me or just not like me.

Now that I've had more reassurance and I'm feeling a little less overwhelmed, I realize that they probably don't think I'm as weird as I think they do, but it gets really hard to remember that when I'm actually trying to talk to them. I've never had to make my own friends before because I've always just had that one loud friend who did it for me whether I liked it or not, but it's something I think I need to get better at if I expect to be able to make friends anywhere after this. I don't think I would've let myself get as overwhelmed as I did if I felt like I had someone I could talk to about it.

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I also found out yesterday that even though I've been stressing myself sick about how I was sure I was going to fail out of school, I'm apparently ahead of everyone else in the class I thought I was so behind in, despite being the only full-time student. I think a lot of the reason I felt like the other people in my class didn't want to talk to me is because I was always stressing about how behind I was even though I was three steps ahead of them. I WAS being annoying, but not for the reasons I thought I was. I just assumed they all hated me, so I didn't say anything about how I was feeling. But my fitting partner told me yesterday she had been thinking about dropping and I almost wanted to hug her (which is a huge deal because I do NOT like being touched by anyone) because I just felt so relieved that I wasn't the only one feeling overwhelmed. I'm still not feeling like I'm caught up enough, but I am feeling a lot better knowing it's not just me that's struggling. I do think I'm making the right decision now. It's the hardest thing I've ever tried to do, but I think that if I can get through this then whatever the next challenge is that I face, it won't seem as insurmountable.

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It's always a challenge to make new friends, particularly when you don't fit into people's cookie cutter image of what you're supposed to be. I started in hairdressing collage when I was 17 because I loved doing crazy hair colours and stuff, found out within a couple of months that the other girls in my class were all far more interested in hair straightening and tanning. I quit because it just wasn't for me, and have never regretted it. But from the sounds of it, you're doing something that you are passionate about so don't let anyone try and make you feel like you're smaller than them, just nose to the grindstone and excel, then turn around and stick your tongue out at anyone who might have thought less of you because you watch old scifi films instead of whatever-country-your-in's got talent.
Also, about a guy calling you a nerd, I get that constantly and I always get weirdly upset at it because I've got bed memories of being called a nerd by bullies in school. But I realise I'd rather be an individual "nerd" that a conformist sheep, so just ignore them, go home, and make something fabulous.

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