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Advice / quandry

Hi all,

I hope you all had a good Christmas. I’m so exhausted I could cry, and I haven’t done anything. This is becoming a common theme with me - I can bearly stand for longer than an hour before I either need to lean on something or simply sit down. Everything seems to have gone rapidly down hill. I was only dx’ed in May 2013 with my first symptom in Jan 2013. I have Highly active RRMS and am on Tysabri - have been since April 2014, but things still seem to be going steadily down hill. I can’t get a job, yet apparently the PIP assessor thought I wasn’t entitled to that - as he put it ‘you look well’ (grrrrrrrr…), it’s being appealed at the moment. Even when I find temporary employment, I am usually off half off the days with appointments, and struggle for the rest of them due to the fatigue. So I come to the question - I hole a place at uni (it’s been suspended for the past 2 years due to my dx - was doing nursing, now not practical). So do I bother trying to transfer to a different course? Part of me thinks I should at least give a course a go, maybe just for me. But then part of me thinks what’s the point? If I’m this bad within the space of 2 years and I’m on the best treatment there is, 1) what chance have I got of completing it and 2) where’s it going to get me anyhow? Then there’s the question of what subject to choose - I’ve looked at a couple. The first being Psychology. This I think I’d find dry and maybe hard to stick to, but would potential give me a good career path (psychologist, and not a bad basis for becoming a counsellor for which I already have my level 2 certificate). Or take a subject which is more interesting to me like Population and Geography (basically Human Geography), but that doesn’t really lead to any career paths that I could follow unless I was well enough to take a further degree and go on and teach the subject (I have a Level 4 PTLLS course - Post 16 teaching qualification). Any thoughts (about what I should do re work + money in general, whether this is just a sliperly slope now, what I should do re uni, and depending on answer, about subject too)? Thank you x

Comet / Forest

Well, Comet, I think that the first thing you should do is to get your questions straight.

1 - Should you do a degree course?
2 - Which course should you do?

For me, the answer to 1 is YES. If you don’t, you will always wonder if you should have at least given it a try. Then, of course, if the Uni let you start, knowing that you have MS, then they have a duty to make reasonable adjustments (particularly for exams).

Question 2 is the tricky one. A Psychology degree at Batchelors level is not a whole lot of use for a career. What you will really need is a higher degree. Psychology plus your existing counselling qualification could make you much more interesting, but the big question then is would that translate into a higher salary? The best place to start is with the notion that getting a degree with the handicap of MS does rather mark you out as someone who does not give up easily - and on that basis, any reasonably academic degree will do very nicely, thank you. You could also look at Economic History, or Sociology.

The next bit is to think of what might you be able to do working at home for yourself. Take counselling as a starting point. There are a lot of counsellers who do not have a degree, so this could make you stand out in the self-employed arena. Now try to think of what else you might like to do, and what degree might support that. But, what you set out to do may change quite dramatically.

Example: I went off to Uni at age 49 to do Psychology. I knew what I wanted to do, why I wanted to do it, got the degree and changed the career path. Right through my first degree I did not leave a single option open. Then I was offered a slot to do a doctorate that took me away from the “why” and into a totally different side of psychology. By the time I retired, I had a string of publications, and an international reputation in my whole new field. That is just the way that it happened.

Do what you can, while you still can. And if doing something you like, means that you finish the course, then do something you like - just don’t think that a career will magically open up for you. The bottom line is that you will not be selling a particular degree, you will be selling Comet who - despite MS - has just got a degree.

Geoff

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Hi

That’s a good reply from Geoff. I think pretty much the same thing.Obviously, you’re concerned about the future & getting a career. And working towards that is no bad thing. But often, the degree you get has no relation to what job you do. I did a Maths degree because I thought it would lead to a better career. But I don’t do anything related to it now. However, doing a degree can be very rewarding, and character building too. Personally, I reckon do what you enjoy. If you do something just for the money, it’ll be hard at times to commit to it. But doing something you enjoy will come through, and you’ll do better at it. It’s some tough decisions you’ve got to make though. I hate that sometimes I have to compromise on what I want to do, and instead plan ‘safe’ things because of my health. But I also know that if I’m doing something I enjoy, my health is better.

Dan

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Thank you for your replies. I’ve got another week before I need to make my decision. It is very much a question Geoff of whether the Uni will let me transfer - I tried to transfer to Bio Med, my actual preferred choice last year (thus the extra year out as it didn’t work out) and was told by the Professor ‘you’re not a good bet’ - charming fellow! But I live in hope that some other courses are more even handed, however I should probably line up a few choices (it’s a bit of a toffee nosed institution - doesn’t believe it has to deal with disabilities above and beyond the token gestures of taking on a few people with dyslexia and alike to meet their targets, and even they get left without any help. As the lecture in charge of arranging any adjustments within the nursing faculty said to another lecturer in my presence ‘well we pay lip service to it’, referring to the DDA - I was sort of managed off the nursing course). So it’s what, if anything, I’ll be allowed to transfer to, and whatever I do, I must be prepared to do the degree without any adjustments or help (even if that is illegal). I’ll look again at the courses and modules. They do a Sociology course, I’ll have a nosey at that one too.

Thanks, Emma

Hi,

Thank you for your replies. I will look again at the courses over the next week. It may be a matter of seeing which course will take me as opposed to picking the course I want to do (tried to transfer to a preferred course last year but was told by the admissions tutor that I was ‘not a good bet’). So I must be prepared to be persistent. I apologies if you get replies from me, but the first one hasn’t appeared as yet, so thought I’d reply again. I’ll check out Sociology, they do do a Sociology degree.

Thanks,

Emma