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Topic: Feeling trapped

12 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jon1945
    Jon1945 avatar
    5 posts
    23 October 2020

    Well i dont really know where to begin. This is gonna be a long rant

    Im a 20 year old male, full time university student studying a double degree in mechanical engineering and finance.

    I am in my second year. Ive been looking for work since the end of year 12 and havent been able to find one job to make me any long term money while at uni which has been made 10× harder by the fact we are in a recession because of covid. I live at home with my parents but we have virtually no money because they debt trapped themselves a few years ago. Just to give an idea they got a default notice not long ago on the house which they barely managed to survive by borrowing money from a friend. This is despite the fact they earn 100k+ combined salary. I dont have any enjoyment in my life. I cant treat myself to anything ever, i cant go out unless my friends pay for me. I cant even put petrol in my car. I have no independence at all, its humilating. All my friends either have jobs, about to move out of home, are supported by their rich parents or have youth allowance/study allowance from centrelink. I cant get any study allowance or anything because my parents earn too much despite being broke. Hell i sleep on 2 mattress stacked because my mattress is old and wrecked and i cant afford a new one. Im basicly stuck at home unable to enjoy my life at all during my uni years and the only thing keeping me going is my determination to achieve my life goal of becoming a successful engineer but because of everything, i have no relief from study ever, im stressed constantly, i struggle to concentrate because im always depressed and so my grades are terrible. Even my hair is falling out now. Im just sad always and angry and dont know what to do anymore. Im sorry that was a long rant.

  2. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    3678 posts
    23 October 2020 in reply to Jon1945
    Hey Jon, thanks for joining us here on the Beyond Blue forum. We're so sorry to hear about the difficult time you and your family are having at the moment. We can imagine it would be very stressful living at home whilst your parents are struggling financially. We also know how restricting it is to be reliant on your parents for money, especially when your friends appear to be gaining their independence. Despite this, we think it's really positive that you're prioritising your university and focusing on your dream to become an engineer.  Can we ask, do you have any mental health support? We understand it can be really tough to cope sometimes, especially if you don't have a lot of support from family or friends. If you would like some help finding mental health support, we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport . They will give you support and point you in the right direction for help in your area. You might also like to read through the Reach Out website, they have a lot of useful articles such as the ones below: Many of our members have also been through a lot in their lives and will be able to talk through these feelings with you.  If you would like to post further, please tell us more about what's on your mind and how we can best help support you.
    2 people found this helpful
  3. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    8366 posts
    24 October 2020 in reply to Sophie_M

    Hi, welcome

    Believe it or not many people struggle in the same way as you are now, just we dont see it and rarely hear of it.

    I do believe there is a lot of work you can do on your view of all this. Please dont take offence but one day down the track you'll look back and be proud you made it, you struggled and you did it by yourself.

    Let's be factual- you can only improve your situation if you-

    • increase your income
    • reduce your expenses
    • reduce your expenditure

    Things were worse decades ago. My dad didnt have a car until 35yo as they couldnt afford one. Bus and trains everywhere. That doesnt help you but it is a way of realising that struggle street could actually be worse.

    I would set up a meeting with your parents with the purpose of pointing out that your education is at risk if they cannot help you and that their income levels are so high that it means you are on the minimal level of help from the Govt. You can only try. Perhaos they could pay your rego and provide some petrol money each week?

    A thought. In 1989 my wife and I were struggling financially. I purchased a tattslotto ticket for $2. I told my elderly female neighbour that I was friends with and she said "you could have purchased a litre of milk for your children with that money....you'll never get anywhere without hard work, perhaps a second job"?

    I then build cubby houses in my garage and started up a lawn mowing round by knocking on doors, over and above working shift work. Slowly we came good.

    In the small town we are in now about 3000 people we spotted a 15yo boy pushing a lawn mower around on the streets.

    I hope I'm not humiliating. It is a fact that balancing the books requires more income than expenditure. The important thing right now is you keep thinking of ways to improve your situation rather than allow your situation to consume you.

    I hope that helps. Reply anytime

    TonyWK

  4. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    8366 posts
    24 October 2020 in reply to white knight

    oh, by the way

    Have you ever thought about joining the defence forces? They could even allow you to continue your studies.

    The advantages are numerous.

    TonyWK

  5. SarahZ
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    SarahZ avatar
    142 posts
    24 October 2020 in reply to Jon1945

    Hi Jon1945,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for being so raw and honest with your current situation. I'm really sorry to hear about the rough time you're having and how powerless you are feeling about your situation. I can really see how much drive and ambition you have wanting to become a successful engineer, which is really wonderful. Despite the environment around you not being the most conducive in supporting this goal of yours, it is still nonetheless really inspiring that you have such determination. And i'm sure such determination will pay off in the long run.

    The covid situation has definitely halted a lot of job prospects for many people. It's really natural to compare ourselves with others and feel anxious about what we don't have. And while easier said than done, sometimes it's better if we block all the distractions and noise and just focus on ourselves . I know whenever I compare my situation with friends who might have better jobs and degrees it does no good, so I just try and focus all my energy and time on myself and doing the best I can. That being sad, a double degree can definitely be really overwhelming especially if you are a full time university student. Have you ever thought about under-loading? I know heaps of people who under-load and it seems like a really good way to alleviate stress and just enjoy the process. Heaps of my friends who underloaded also ended up getting higher marks because they had more time to just focus on 2-3 subjects as opposed to 4. Just a suggestion that you might want to consider!

    Please give us an update whenever you feel up to it. Remember that this community is here to listen and support you.

    Wishing you the very best ~

  6. yggdrasil
    yggdrasil avatar
    39 posts
    24 October 2020 in reply to Jon1945

    Hi mate,

    I'm sorry to hear about your struggle and I relate to a lot of what you've said. My parents were also debt trapped for a long time. I also struggle with comparing myself to my peers. I hate feeling inferior to others. I have found however that that feeling doesn't really go away even when you have successes. I was top of the school for my masters degree last year, and won stacks of prizes for my research, but I still feel humiliated and inferior to other people. It's awful and an overwhelming feeling.

    The job market is pretty bad right now, but you could try volunteering. I've done lots of volunteering over the years and it helps take some of the intensity away from uni, and can also provide social capital and a sense of pride. I have also studied part time for some semesters during both undergraduate and masters, and this helped me balance uni with part time work and other commitments. I've also just flat out deferred my studies for years at a time. For example, I went on leave from my maths undergraduate degree between 2010 and 2012, and did fruitpicking, retail, cleaning and other random jobs. I also went on leave for a semester during my masters and worked in this glass reinforced concrete factory. I was just a labourer but I loved it. I got to work closely with the engineer who was this amazing Iranian dude. Working directly with the machinery and problem solving on the fly was really enjoyable, not at all how I imagined a factory to be.

    IMHO there are lots of young people out there for whom jumping into uni after school without any finances doesn't work, particularly when the home life is bad. Just becuse someone's got the grades for uni, doing shorter vocational training for an indemand sector, and earning some money first is probably a better option for many kids, but is sort of looked down on. If I had my time again I would do a short tafe course or apprenticeship after school, work hard and save hard, then go to uni in my mid/late 20s when I had solid finances behind me. Doing it this way allows you to take more risks at uni knowing you've got a solid vocation to fall back on, and it also gives you the cash to afford the computers, textbooks and fun stuff throughout uni.

  7. Jon1945
    Jon1945 avatar
    5 posts
    26 October 2020 in reply to white knight
    I appreciate what uve said and u sharing about ur previous financial troubles, it really sheds insight that im not alone and that makes me feel abit better. I will keep working to improve my situation, thats my ultimate goal. And yes I have considered the defense forces, i still am actually, im not sure if i want to do an officer course alongside my degree yet but at the very least i think i will definitely try for army reserves when time permits.
  8. Jon1945
    Jon1945 avatar
    5 posts
    26 October 2020 in reply to Jon1945

    Another thing id like to add tony is i really have tried talking to my parents, they believe it isnt their problem, that their financial situation effects me and have this false sense of reality that the reason i havent been able to land a job is because im lazy. Thats part of what gets me down alot because ive been trying so hard to get a proper job for so long.

  9. Jon1945
    Jon1945 avatar
    5 posts
    27 October 2020 in reply to SarahZ
    Your kind words are really heart warming sarah, i appreciate them, my degree really does mean the world to me so thank you. I will try to focus all my energy on myself, it is really hard because i feel and see my friends around me in a superior position which makes me really depressed because no matter how hard i try im always feeling 10 steps behind in my life. I have considered underloading next year, i think i might try to next year if i can.
    1 person found this helpful
  10. Jon1945
    Jon1945 avatar
    5 posts
    27 October 2020 in reply to yggdrasil

    Yeah its really hard sometimes and i struggle with comparing myself alot. Its definitely awful and overwhelming i hate it but i cant help it most of the time.

    I like ur idea of volunteering and am also having a look at the SES and CFS in my area so we will see what happens with that too i guess. Volunteering i think could do alot of benefit for me skills wise too.

    Part of me does wish i had done some other qualifications such a short tafe course or something before starting uni but i guess i didnt really have the foresight that things would still be as bad as they are now.

    Thank you so much for your response its helped me see that im not alone in my struggles and it means alot.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. yggdrasil
    yggdrasil avatar
    39 posts
    27 October 2020 in reply to Jon1945
    My pleasure mate, and thank you for sharing your experiences, it helps me in the same way. I'd definitely recommend checking out the SES or CFS. I did the SES volunteer training in 2015 but then couldn't continue with it as I decided to return to uni. Anything that takes you out of yourself a bit is good. That's why I'm on these forums chatting with people. Are there any hobbies etc that help get you out of your head at all? I've tried meditation etc but I find I need something that kind of forces me out of it, like hard exercise, running, cycling, skating, stuff like that. I also do a bit of music and miniature painting as I find it focuses the mind a bit.
  12. SarahZ
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    SarahZ avatar
    142 posts
    30 October 2020 in reply to Jon1945

    Hey Jon1945,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. It truly is really hard not to compare ourselves with those close to us, especially when society creates these expectations of what a good career, degree, or lifestyle should look like. I guess thats what make these forums so wonderful - just a group of people sharing their stories and experiences without judgement or comparison. @eshort0401's idea of volunteering is really great. Volunteering is really fulfilling and also helps refine social skills. I volunteered at a few schools during my university degree and felt it was a great way to balance studies and also have that consistent social aspect, whether it be talking to students or other volunteer members.

    Hope you've been feeling a bit better recently~

    Reach out whenever you feel up to it!

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