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Thinking of going back to school

School and Bipolar Disorder? How do you do it? Please share your experiences, your victories, and even your disappointmens. We understand how hard it must be from high school to college to grad school. Hope you can share with us and find the support you need.

by inky » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:42 pm

Hi

Recently I have been thinking of going back to school for my masters degree. Its something that I really want to do, but I keep putting it off and telling myself "oh ...well...you cant afford it right now" etc. because i'm afraid.

During my undergraduate studies I struggled a lot. I was able to get assistance through one school that I went to (i was able to get teacher notes even if the rest of the class didn't get a powerpoint or typed copy from the professor because i "proved" that i had Bipolar disorder with a doctors note which is classes as a "disability" in their system allowing me to get extra assistance)

The program I want to do has a board certification a the end after you graduate and they aren't meant to be easy (obviously). I don't do well with book work and have taken similar tests in the past (emt testing etc.) and failed. Im afraid that i am going to waste $26,000 on school and then not be able to pass the test at the end of it all.

I love to learn. Any suggestions on how to deal with school and working full time and medication changes?

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by SlyPixie » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:29 pm

Have you considered vocational school? Most vocational schools are relatively inexpensive.
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by Lovehope » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:40 pm

There are free classes online. I'm not sure what they are but my brother takes them. Maybe take one of them and see if you can handle it? Not sure if those classes give assignments or not though.

I understand the fear. School is not easy and it is even harder when managing a chronic illness. It took me 6 years to finish undergrad, I dropped many classes and failed a few when I was in a manic episode. That has impacted my debt greatly HOWEVER I would never, ever take back that accomplishment. I don't even care that a degree gets me better jobs... I just care that I DID IT. Walking to get my diploma that day was the proudest moment of my life. I cried while accepting it because I knew how hard I worked for it. It may not be easy but you CAN do it. It's a matter of finances though and I do understand that. Just telling you that you can.. no matter what you can do it.
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by Lovehope » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:49 pm

Oh also, if you decide to go back.. continue to get disability assistance. Take breaks when needed (take a semester off.. do online classes.. only go part time.. etc). Time management is crucial. I worked full time the whole time I was in school and time management pulled me through. I scheduled time for assignments every week (okay I'm not working on Saturday until five.. I will sleep until 9 and get to the library by 11 to write this paper...) Make sure you get sleep.. that comes first. Know your work ethic.. do you need a couple weeks to write a paper or do you like to write it all in one sitting? How do you study best... out of the house, in the house, reading the textbook and taking notes..? Know all these things about yourself, manage your time, get sleep and stay on disability at school so you can ask for help or a break when needed
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by inky » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:38 am

thanks for all the responses.

I know vocational schools are cheaper, but unfortunately (or fortunately however you want to look at it) I want to be a behavior analyst. There are limited schools that set you up to on the path with a masters to do this. Ive looked into online school and in class schools. The online ones i found were masters of psychology with specializations in ABA and turned out to be more expensive than the in class masters of education with a specialization in aba that i found.

Taking breaks is definitely the plan. I work full time and looked into seeing if i could cut back on my hours while going to school but it wasn't possible financially. im not sure what kind of assistances the grad schools can give. i dont even know how to go about finding out. does anyone know?

I think im just more scared of not being able to pass the board certification test at the end after completing the degree than doing the school work itself.

good things come to those who work hard and be patient =)
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by Kizera » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:26 pm

Graduate school is indeed tough. I just started this semester, and am four weeks in. I've had a few breakdowns over it because it IS intense. But if you are passionate about the field you want to go into, then I believe you can do it. I agree with love hope, I would try testing the waters by doing a free online course to see how you feel and how you do with that. I think that is a good way to get an idea if you feel okay to handle it. From there, you can see what felt difficult, what you felt good about, and so on. Maybe also consider talking to someone who runs the program you are interested in so you can get some more insight.

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by OceanBlue » Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:00 pm

Did you apply for ADA (American Disability Act)? I just did last week & it's wonderfully accommodating. I'm in a Master's program, been without a med for 3wks (I have it now). In that time I almost dropped a course & changed my program. So I met with Academic Support to see what my options were. She met with my teacher on ways to accommodate me. I knew about my academic support person because last year, before I withdrew from school (now I am back), I met with my academic advisor, who sent me to the dean, who recommended I see academic support. I just missed 2wks of this class & am now able to make it up in time. It might also depend on the teacher, I think. Hope it all works out for you.
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by inky » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:52 pm

Ocean Blue, what do you do to apply for the american disability act? what is it? I mean i know what the act is, but what do you mean by you applied for it?

Thanks for the support, I met with a new company that pays for some of the schooling and they work with an online school so im hoping to get the name of the school so i can reach out to them.

thanks again.
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by SlyPixie » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:36 pm

You get a letter from your doctor stating that you have bipolar, take it to the office and talk to the administration about what they can do to help. It can be anything from being able to take tests elsewhere to extensions on assignments and a bunch of other things. They will be able to direct you to whomever is in charge of that. Also, the information is confidential, so none of the other students will know.
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by OceanBlue » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:57 pm

SlyPixie is right. I just had to show my academic support person a document stating that I have bipolar. That should meet the requirements for ADA & the person in charge should work with you & accommodate you somehow.
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by inky » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:46 am

Oh okay that makes sense. Thanks. I'm hoping to meet with a woman from a program next week. Thanks for all the advice =)

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