In my post a couple of days ago I mentioned the way my university handled me over the last couple of months but didn’t go into much detail.
After two years doing an undergraduate degree the end of the year came along. My mental health was probably as low as it had gone. The doctor was ringing me every morning to see if I was okay, the specialist team looking after me would be in touch most days, family were concerned and everybody knew me leaving bed let alone getting dressed, leaving the house and spending the day as a normal person just wasn’t an option.
So I submitted forms to my university to ask for extenuating circumstances with a bunch of papers and notes explaining the situation and what would happen in my ideal world. I didn’t hear anything from them about it and alarm bells should possibly have started ringing but didn’t.
When the time of exam results came out I just got an email saying I needed to resit a few things and these would be capped at pass or fail. I asked if that meant my extenuating circumstances request had been denied and simply got told there was no record of them on system.
Over the next couple of weeks I basically entered an argument with them that did nothing for my mental state about what had happened to the forms, how could they magically be lost and why is there no appeal process. I expected at some point for the paper confirmation to come through the mail of my grades much like they did last year but I am still waiting for any such material.
A little way down the line I asked if I would be getting information on my resits anytime soon and was told I had missed the deadline (a deadline nobody informed me of or got in touch with me about). I highlighted all this to them and they gave me a new deadline of early September but still wouldn’t acknowledge my original issues of capped resits and the lost paperwork.
By this point they also made claims I was a valued member of the year and would be missed but as I responded if they cared that much, knowing I had mental health issues and that I didn’t submit several pieces of work, would they not have got in touch by email, call or letter to check whether I was even still alive let alone okay.
They really put me inbetween a rock and a hard place and whichever way I went the result wouldn’t be worth it, good for my (physical or mental) heath or satisfactory for the university. So at the end of last week, on Friday morning before my resit deadline, I informed them to expect no work from me and that I was leaving the university. By Tuesday mid-afternoon they bothered to reply with the most robotic response ever witnessed.
But they also mentioned one point that made me go around punching a few walls in the flat. They said they hoped I had used the services for mental health at the university this is after I have said to them about 100 times I cannot physically manage to come into zone one on any form of transport I am a risk to myself. It actually summed up the fact that the department wasn’t listening to what I had to say, that they don’t understand mental health and that the claims I am a valued student are flawed because valued people get listened to.
I spent two years of my life trying to battle between mental internal pressures and external society related demands to get a degree, make people proud and get a job in the journalism/communications industry with people around me to talk to and one that I can enjoy. Now I am bigger failure than I was when I started, I am angry at myself for thinking ot was ever possible and disappointed for thinking departments and a university that has health departments and units might actually understand mental health and what it does to a person.
Leaving is the hardest thing and one of the saddest. I’ll miss seeing some great friends everyday, for not being able to graduate and say screw you brain I did it and not being able to wave my CV around proudly.
The five years of experience I have counts for so little. I am just another normal person with no interesting story to tell or anything new and exciting to bring to the table. And I blame it all on myself when really the university barely did anything to help and in fact made it several times worse.
But they don’t have any record of the forms or paperwork so they have their cute excuse ready and can wash their hands without a care in the world.