Part time or full time?

The SAAS funding application date is drawing ever nearer so I really need to get a move on with making the decision as to whether or not I’m going part-time for the rest of my course. Until a few weeks ago, it was set in my mind that I would be going part-time but now I’m not so sure. A large part of what’s caused me to be uncertain of what to do is that I feel a large amount of pressure from my family to do well and get the course completed within four years. My mum has been quite supportive and thinks that I should do whatever I think is best for myself, but I still feel that many family members are pressuring me to stay on full-time. To be fair, the vast majority of those relatives don’t have a clue about my anxiety/ depression issues (or at least, the extent of them) or the extent to which the workload stresses me out. I’m also the first person in my extended family to go to university, so sometimes I do wonder if they realise what the workload is like – particularly in the latter years and in a science-based course. Being the first at university does mean, however, that I feel an enormous amount of pressure (I can’t tell if this is mostly self-imposed or not) to do well. If I went part-time, I feel that many family members would see it as a failure or cop-out to some extent. That they’d think I’m being lazy or that I’m weak or something. That in their eyes, taking an extra year will mean that I’ll have achieved less than my siblings or cousins, if they complete their degrees in the normal amount of time. I feel that I’ve already achieved a lot less than them as it is, for various reasons that I probably don’t need to repeat. I honestly can’t tell whether these feelings are down to the pressure that relatives seem to be putting on me or just the immense pressure I put on myself not to ‘fail’ or perform worse than everyone else.

Like I’ve said before, I have struggled A LOT with the workload, particularly towards the end of second year. Even with extensions, I honestly don’t think I’d manage (or at least not with so much as a shred of my sanity intact) with the even more intense workload in third year. Going part-time would certainly give me more time to get assignments done and would probably take the stress off a little bit. However, I do tend to over-analyse everything and spend ridiculous amounts of time reading over everything, even for the most minute detail that I want to include in an essay, so there’s a chance that going part-time could backfire and just give me more time to stress.

Although I’ve done well in both first and second year, university has certainly put a strain on my mental health. I’ve had to skip a lot of lectures, deprive myself of sleep, and forgo exercise/ free-time and time with family just to get things done later than almost everyone else. This certainly hasn’t helped things. Going part-time might also help me to better manage the intense anxiety that I’ll have to face this year with numerous presentations, residential field trips, group work, etc.

Anyway…I’ve blabbed on enough. My gut feeling is that going part-time would be the best option for me overall, but pressure from family and the pressure that I put on myself is making it difficult to come to a final decision. I’ll probably sleep on it and try to somehow figure it all out tomorrow.

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