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stress is making me suicidal again, just some rambling...

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#1
Sorry this didnt end up being a coherent text.

Ive been feeling good and barely depressed at all for the past months.
Now Im studying for my upcoming exams in August. And its making me more and more suicidal and depressed.

Sometimes I feel too stupid to pass, I learn something and a month later I dont remember most of it.
I wonder if I can manage this or if im just too stupid and lazy.
I feel this anxiety induced tingling in my stomach the entire day... Oh and, I cant cry, I wish I could, but I cant. I feel like a balloon that is about to burst...

I already feel like a failure for quitting during the first year. one of the upcoming exams has a fail rate of 40%. So me failing is both probable and honestly devastating to me.

I feel like a joke contemplating suicide over some university stress, but honestly, Im not looking forward to every single day filled with stress in the future.
University stuff wont get easier. Ive heard the life of an attorney is also quite stressful. So stress for the rest of my life?
Exams for the next 3 or 4 years? Everyone has high expectations of me. Everyone expects me to be high performing academically because Im supposed to be smart but quite frankly im not. I struggle so much because Im stupid. If I was smart, I wouldnt be writing this. I would probably playing something instead of worrying about studying all the time...

I just really want to pause everything. Just stop.. I cant keep doing this for the next few years...
I have contemplated simply quitting. But I dont want to do that because I enjoy my studies in itself, I just cant handle the stress. And quitting would make me feel like a huge failure...

I feel like Ive had a great shot at life. So many opportunities and beautiful moments, so much to be grateful for. I just feel like my brain wasnt wired right for this world...
 

Lara_C

Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#2
University stuff wont get easier. Ive heard the life of an attorney is also quite stressful. So stress for the rest of my life?
Everyone has high expectations of me.
I just really want to pause everything. Just stop.. I cant keep doing this for the next few years...
I have contemplated simply quitting. But I dont want to do that because I enjoy my studies in itself, I just cant handle the stress. And quitting would make me feel like a huge failure.
Maybe you do need to think more about what you really want to do/be in life, distinct from anyone else's exoectations. It's your life after all. What were your reasons for pursuing your present course/career?

At 22, it's ok to change your mind and find something which makes you happier.
 

SkyTree

Well-Known Member
#3
Hi friend! When I started college I felt like my whole world was crashing down. I told myself there was no way that I could handle all the work I had to do. It was so much more than high school. But I made the decision to stay and continue. I just had to adapt to the situation. I lost so much free time but I just took it one day at a time; one test at a time. At the start of my freshman year I couldn't imagine having to do this for 4 years. But by some miracle I was able to pass semester after semester. And after a while I got used to it and it didn't hurt nearly as much anymore. I hope that you find that point! And you're definitely not stupid just struggling like I was.
 

Ouroboros

SF Supporter
#4
Hey, @richard 1998

Along with other things going on exam stresses were definitely a big problem for me too, so I understand where you are coming from. University was a big ball of stress! I can't say that things got easier - each year things were more "important" and added greater stress. I too was expected to do well and seen as "smart". In the end I got the grades, despite the stress, but it took it's toll and I think added alot to everything I had going on. For me even in school, each set of exams caused increasing anxiety

However, everyone is different and maybe things can turn out more like SkyTree and you can adapt. Is this your first set of exams in university? because if so, it creates an unknown, and adds stress, so perhaps once the first ones have been taken you might get more of an idea of what to expect and have lower levels of stress in that regard in future exams.

You also said you enjoy the studies themselves, so it sounds like you want to do the course in terms of the topic, you haven't been pushed into a course you didn't really want to do? I hope not! It is important you are doing something you want to do like Lara_C said.

I really want to stress that you are definitely not "a joke for contemplating suicide over some university stress". This situation you are in is pushing you past acceptable levels of stress. I think alot of people don't appreciate the sheer amount of stress the education system puts on students.

I do think the exams were never as hard as my fear made them out to be though. If you enjoy your subject, know it and do the work you will do fine. So if you want to continue your course, then I think you are capable, however this stress needs to be dealt with. Don't do what I did and just ride it and let it build, coz it'll spit you out at the end and thats no good. But, equally don't let it beat you the other way and end everything, because those grades just aren't worth your life. You are more important than any grade. I should of got help back then, and I think you should do that now. I think every university offers councelling services - they can help you. Or you can go see the doctor - my uni doctor was crap but hopefully yours isn't or you can go back to your family doctor. Get some support with this if you seriously want to continue. And if you decide that actually no you don't want to do this course, then that's OK too. The only important thing is looking after you. Also its important to remember the people in your life might not realise the stress this is causing you. Their expectations may be them thinking they are just encouraging you and if they found out how this was making you feel they most likely would care more about you being OK and happy than you getting these grades they might be expecting.

Please look after yourself and get support with whatever it is you decide to do. *hug
 
#5
Ive heard the life of an attorney is also quite stressful. So stress for the rest of my life?
I wasn‘t sure what I was going to do when I found this forum about an hour ago. I am so exhausted. I don’t mean the horrible fatigue I’ve been experiencing for months - I mean the exhaustion that comes from averaging 2 hrs/night for the past few days, plus exactly zero sleep last night. My brain hurts. However, I read your post - and felt the need to jump in.

Your assumption regarding the “stressful life of an attorney“ is correct. I am one. It is/has/continues to be stressful. However, it’s a different type of stress than what you‘re currently experiencing. I never experienced great stress at exam time. While obtaining my two undergraduate degrees (B.S. in chemical engineering and B.A in English literature), exams weren’t great stressors because final exams (assuming that’s what you’re referring to) were only part of the grade for each class (papers/projects/labs/mid-terms, etc completed during the semester were also factored into the final grade), so the final exams were important, but they were relative to the rest of your work during the semester. Law school was different - almost every class (90%) had only one exam - at the end of the semester. I actually preferred it that way. I was going to study just as hard for my final - even if it was only 20 or 30% of my final grade, so I preferred going through two very difficult weeks with no additional papers/assignment/tests added in throughout the semester. I just made sure that I was always where I should be regarding the reading syllabus - so that when it was time for finals, I wasn’t trying to play “catch up” re: finishing the reading (plus, staying caught up with the cases made lectures during classes more meaningful).

Getting ready for the state bar exams wasn’t very stressful - it was just time management + signing up for a prep course (and never missing even one session). I actually had a baby 3 days before my bar prep class began - and brought her with me sometimes (they were morning sessions).

If these types of situations are what causes you terrible stress, that type ends once you pass the bar. Being an attorney is stressful due to (i) difficult/demanding clients, (ii) trying to balance family and work, (iii) dealing with difficult opposing counsel. It seems like a great part of your stress is related to someone finding out that you’re not as smart as they think you are (which prob is t true). Once you’re finished with law school/bar exam(s), you won’t ever have to prepare for another test again. You don’t have to memorize things - and you’re not competing to see who receives “top grade” in the class. It’s just a different type of stress. Unfortunately, with the several serious health issues I’ve developed, “stress” (emotional/physical) is very damaging for me. However, prior to my health issues, I enjoyed my law practice and even made partner at a big law firm a year ahead of schedule. It sounds like you enjoy the subject matter related to being an attorney - if that’s true, I don’t think that you will feel the same way when practicing law.

There are always going to be some attorneys who are more intelligent than other attorneys- but once you’re out practicing, your not “competing“ for grades anymore. Don’t get me wrong, grades are very important re: job offers out of law school (especially for certain types of employment). BUT - personality becomes just as important in most cases. I served on the firm’s recruiting committee for seven years - and because we were a large, national law firm, class ranks were used in order to ne granted an interview spot - but that‘s where you’re GPA ended. It was more important to find people who would get along with other associates/partners in the firm - and ones who would be good at client development (again, not grades but character/personality). After your first job, no one really cares about whether you graduated “magna cum laude“ or not. Actually, only my first year grades were what mattered re: employment. First year grades are what‘s included on your resume when you‘re interviewing during first semester of second year of law school for summer clerkships. My law firm never asked to see my grades from either second or third year of law school. I received my job offer before starting my third (final) year of law school.

My reply may be way off base. I’m feeling HORRIBLE. What I’ve written may not even be anything helpful to you right now. I hope that it is. I’m just too exhausted to tell.

sending good thoughts your way.
 
#6
Maybe you do need to think more about what you really want to do/be in life, distinct from anyone else's exoectations. It's your life after all. What were your reasons for pursuing your present course/career?

At 22, it's ok to change your mind and find something which makes you happier.
My reasons for pursuing this course was.. i'd say interest but also that I couldnt imagine myself studying anything else. Or was it a gut feeling? I dont remember exactly tbh. My entire family (except for my mom was more or less against me studying law, they claimed that the job market wasnt great for law graduates...

I feel like I want what I already have but with some changes. I do enjoy my studies but Im not sure If i can still say it when I include the exams and exam stress
Ive actually thought about alternatives, like becoming a police officer or a nurse. But both professions are also very high stress...
 
#7
Hi friend! When I started college I felt like my whole world was crashing down. I told myself there was no way that I could handle all the work I had to do. It was so much more than high school. But I made the decision to stay and continue. I just had to adapt to the situation. I lost so much free time but I just took it one day at a time; one test at a time. At the start of my freshman year I couldn't imagine having to do this for 4 years. But by some miracle I was able to pass semester after semester. And after a while I got used to it and it didn't hurt nearly as much anymore. I hope that you find that point! And you're definitely not stupid just struggling like I was.
Thats exactly what Im afraid of, Having to study all day everyday. Perhaps I just need to get used to losing almost most of my freetime? (all I do besides studying and some housework is walking my dog and listening to music)
 
#8
Hey, @richard 1998

Along with other things going on exam stresses were definitely a big problem for me too, so I understand where you are coming from. University was a big ball of stress! I can't say that things got easier - each year things were more "important" and added greater stress. I too was expected to do well and seen as "smart". In the end I got the grades, despite the stress, but it took it's toll and I think added alot to everything I had going on. For me even in school, each set of exams caused increasing anxiety

However, everyone is different and maybe things can turn out more like SkyTree and you can adapt. Is this your first set of exams in university? because if so, it creates an unknown, and adds stress, so perhaps once the first ones have been taken you might get more of an idea of what to expect and have lower levels of stress in that regard in future exams.

You also said you enjoy the studies themselves, so it sounds like you want to do the course in terms of the topic, you haven't been pushed into a course you didn't really want to do? I hope not! It is important you are doing something you want to do like Lara_C said.

I really want to stress that you are definitely not "a joke for contemplating suicide over some university stress". This situation you are in is pushing you past acceptable levels of stress. I think alot of people don't appreciate the sheer amount of stress the education system puts on students.

I do think the exams were never as hard as my fear made them out to be though. If you enjoy your subject, know it and do the work you will do fine. So if you want to continue your course, then I think you are capable, however this stress needs to be dealt with. Don't do what I did and just ride it and let it build, coz it'll spit you out at the end and thats no good. But, equally don't let it beat you the other way and end everything, because those grades just aren't worth your life. You are more important than any grade. I should of got help back then, and I think you should do that now. I think every university offers councelling services - they can help you. Or you can go see the doctor - my uni doctor was crap but hopefully yours isn't or you can go back to your family doctor. Get some support with this if you seriously want to continue. And if you decide that actually no you don't want to do this course, then that's OK too. The only important thing is looking after you. Also its important to remember the people in your life might not realise the stress this is causing you. Their expectations may be them thinking they are just encouraging you and if they found out how this was making you feel they most likely would care more about you being OK and happy than you getting these grades they might be expecting.

Please look after yourself and get support with whatever it is you decide to do. *hug
this is my 2nd big set of exams. The first time it actually went pretty well. Im also so stressed because ive heard that the upcoming exams are much harder than the ones I took last year.
about the university councelling services: I already see a therapist and the weird thing is that our counselling service actually denies you service if you have a known mental illness.
 
#9
I wasn‘t sure what I was going to do when I found this forum about an hour ago. I am so exhausted. I don’t mean the horrible fatigue I’ve been experiencing for months - I mean the exhaustion that comes from averaging 2 hrs/night for the past few days, plus exactly zero sleep last night. My brain hurts. However, I read your post - and felt the need to jump in.

Your assumption regarding the “stressful life of an attorney“ is correct. I am one. It is/has/continues to be stressful. However, it’s a different type of stress than what you‘re currently experiencing. I never experienced great stress at exam time. While obtaining my two undergraduate degrees (B.S. in chemical engineering and B.A in English literature), exams weren’t great stressors because final exams (assuming that’s what you’re referring to) were only part of the grade for each class (papers/projects/labs/mid-terms, etc completed during the semester were also factored into the final grade), so the final exams were important, but they were relative to the rest of your work during the semester. Law school was different - almost every class (90%) had only one exam - at the end of the semester. I actually preferred it that way. I was going to study just as hard for my final - even if it was only 20 or 30% of my final grade, so I preferred going through two very difficult weeks with no additional papers/assignment/tests added in throughout the semester. I just made sure that I was always where I should be regarding the reading syllabus - so that when it was time for finals, I wasn’t trying to play “catch up” re: finishing the reading (plus, staying caught up with the cases made lectures during classes more meaningful).

Getting ready for the state bar exams wasn’t very stressful - it was just time management + signing up for a prep course (and never missing even one session). I actually had a baby 3 days before my bar prep class began - and brought her with me sometimes (they were morning sessions).

If these types of situations are what causes you terrible stress, that type ends once you pass the bar. Being an attorney is stressful due to (i) difficult/demanding clients, (ii) trying to balance family and work, (iii) dealing with difficult opposing counsel. It seems like a great part of your stress is related to someone finding out that you’re not as smart as they think you are (which prob is t true). Once you’re finished with law school/bar exam(s), you won’t ever have to prepare for another test again. You don’t have to memorize things - and you’re not competing to see who receives “top grade” in the class. It’s just a different type of stress. Unfortunately, with the several serious health issues I’ve developed, “stress” (emotional/physical) is very damaging for me. However, prior to my health issues, I enjoyed my law practice and even made partner at a big law firm a year ahead of schedule. It sounds like you enjoy the subject matter related to being an attorney - if that’s true, I don’t think that you will feel the same way when practicing law.

There are always going to be some attorneys who are more intelligent than other attorneys- but once you’re out practicing, your not “competing“ for grades anymore. Don’t get me wrong, grades are very important re: job offers out of law school (especially for certain types of employment). BUT - personality becomes just as important in most cases. I served on the firm’s recruiting committee for seven years - and because we were a large, national law firm, class ranks were used in order to ne granted an interview spot - but that‘s where you’re GPA ended. It was more important to find people who would get along with other associates/partners in the firm - and ones who would be good at client development (again, not grades but character/personality). After your first job, no one really cares about whether you graduated “magna cum laude“ or not. Actually, only my first year grades were what mattered re: employment. First year grades are what‘s included on your resume when you‘re interviewing during first semester of second year of law school for summer clerkships. My law firm never asked to see my grades from either second or third year of law school. I received my job offer before starting my third (final) year of law school.

My reply may be way off base. I’m feeling HORRIBLE. What I’ve written may not even be anything helpful to you right now. I hope that it is. I’m just too exhausted to tell.

sending good thoughts your way.
At my university the classes are exclusively graded with one exam. Do you feel like you forget a lot of things? I sure do and it worries me, especially regarding practising law later on..
Not competing for grades later on sounds good. One of my fears is that I could ruin my entire future with a single exam (like with the staatsexamen in Germany)
Sorry for not coming up with a more fleshed out answer; Im really tired right now..
 
#10
I didn’t realize that you currently only have one exam for each class - so, in that respect, it’s the same as law school in the United States.
At my university the classes are exclusively graded with one exam. Do you feel like you forget a lot of things? I sure do and it worries me, especially regarding practising law later on...
With respect to your question about whether I have forgotten a lot of things -

I have a really good memory - even when it comes to stupid/insignificant things. Example: my sister and I were riding in her car and an 80s song came on the radio (one of those “1 hit wonders” - assuming that saying is used in places other than USA) and my sister said something about where we were driving to the first time we heard it on the radio (back in 1988) and I then described exactly what each of us were wearing . . . and my niece was like, “What in the world would make you remember that???!!”

There are two sections of the bar exam here in the States. One is the Multistate Bar Exam - it covers seven subjects: contracts, constitutional law, criminal law/procedure, civil procedure, evidence, real property and torts. This day of the exam is all multiple choice questions. When I took the bar, the second day consisted of all essay questions - specific to the state you were taking the test for admission. The essays could cover any of the previous areas of law, plus additional tested areas such as business administration, family law, administrative law (I didn’t take this class while in law school), trusts and estates (decedents estates), etc. This second day depended upon the specific state as to areas tested and you had to apply state specific law in your answers. This has changed and many states (most?) have the same essay questions regardless of which jurisdiction - there also is a third part of the bar where you have to do practical things - like draft a petition (didn’t have this back when I took the bar exam for 3 states - only had to take the 200 multiple choice question part of the test one time). Anyway - the bar preparation class really focused on the areas you needed to be prepared for when taking the exam.

Once you are finished with the bar exam(s), you don’t have to worry about memorization anymore. Law school really isn’t about memorization (although that has to be used in testing) - law school teaches you how to “think” like an attorney. The important part of law school is being able to pinpoint the legal issue - and then learning how to find the answer to the question/resolve the legal issue. When you practice in a specific area, obviously you’ll remember applicable laws because you deal with them all the time. What makes someone a great attorney vs a good attorney is being able to analyze the situation and apply the law. As a business attorney, my biggest assets are (i) my ability to negotiate (art of persuasion), and (ii) being “likeable” = being respectful, not acting like I’m “better” than opposing counsel because I (a) am a partner at a larger firm, (b) have a bigger client, or (c) practice in a larger metropolitan area (attorneys from New York City are not automatically smarter than attorneys from Denver, Colorado simply due to the address of their office building). I do not say “no” when another attorney asks to include some provision in a contract simply because my client has more “power” - nor do I take “no” for an answer because opposing counsel represents “Mega Corp” vs my client who is a family business. In both instances, I expect both attorneys to be reasonable and rational.

This is more than you‘ve asked. I’m trying to distract myself by throwing myself into answering your question. I apologize if I’ve bored you!

You are not expected to have every law memorized (although you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll remember even though it’s not part of your practice) - you just have to be able to take all the info a client gives you and cut it down to the actual legal issue - and if you don’t know the answer, be able to find it (whether through research or by using the expertise of another attorney in your law firm).

Although - there will be people who expect you to know the answer to every single obscure law off the top of your head (Example - my father - “Some construction crew is using explosives to dig out some foundations in my neighborhood. How close to my house are they permitted to do that?” When I said that I’d have to call the planning department of the city where he lives or review the city ordinances online, he was like, “Well, if you don’t know the answer, never mind!” CLICK. . .dial tone. . .)
 
#11
I didn’t realize that you currently only have one exam for each class - so, in that respect, it’s the same as law school in the United States.


With respect to your question about whether I have forgotten a lot of things -

I have a really good memory - even when it comes to stupid/insignificant things. Example: my sister and I were riding in her car and an 80s song came on the radio (one of those “1 hit wonders” - assuming that saying is used in places other than USA) and my sister said something about where we were driving to the first time we heard it on the radio (back in 1988) and I then described exactly what each of us were wearing . . . and my niece was like, “What in the world would make you remember that???!!”

There are two sections of the bar exam here in the States. One is the Multistate Bar Exam - it covers seven subjects: contracts, constitutional law, criminal law/procedure, civil procedure, evidence, real property and torts. This day of the exam is all multiple choice questions. When I took the bar, the second day consisted of all essay questions - specific to the state you were taking the test for admission. The essays could cover any of the previous areas of law, plus additional tested areas such as business administration, family law, administrative law (I didn’t take this class while in law school), trusts and estates (decedents estates), etc. This second day depended upon the specific state as to areas tested and you had to apply state specific law in your answers. This has changed and many states (most?) have the same essay questions regardless of which jurisdiction - there also is a third part of the bar where you have to do practical things - like draft a petition (didn’t have this back when I took the bar exam for 3 states - only had to take the 200 multiple choice question part of the test one time). Anyway - the bar preparation class really focused on the areas you needed to be prepared for when taking the exam.

Once you are finished with the bar exam(s), you don’t have to worry about memorization anymore. Law school really isn’t about memorization (although that has to be used in testing) - law school teaches you how to “think” like an attorney. The important part of law school is being able to pinpoint the legal issue - and then learning how to find the answer to the question/resolve the legal issue. When you practice in a specific area, obviously you’ll remember applicable laws because you deal with them all the time. What makes someone a great attorney vs a good attorney is being able to analyze the situation and apply the law. As a business attorney, my biggest assets are (i) my ability to negotiate (art of persuasion), and (ii) being “likeable” = being respectful, not acting like I’m “better” than opposing counsel because I (a) am a partner at a larger firm, (b) have a bigger client, or (c) practice in a larger metropolitan area (attorneys from New York City are not automatically smarter than attorneys from Denver, Colorado simply due to the address of their office building). I do not say “no” when another attorney asks to include some provision in a contract simply because my client has more “power” - nor do I take “no” for an answer because opposing counsel represents “Mega Corp” vs my client who is a family business. In both instances, I expect both attorneys to be reasonable and rational.

This is more than you‘ve asked. I’m trying to distract myself by throwing myself into answering your question. I apologize if I’ve bored you!

You are not expected to have every law memorized (although you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll remember even though it’s not part of your practice) - you just have to be able to take all the info a client gives you and cut it down to the actual legal issue - and if you don’t know the answer, be able to find it (whether through research or by using the expertise of another attorney in your law firm).

Although - there will be people who expect you to know the answer to every single obscure law off the top of your head (Example - my father - “Some construction crew is using explosives to dig out some foundations in my neighborhood. How close to my house are they permitted to do that?” When I said that I’d have to call the planning department of the city where he lives or review the city ordinances online, he was like, “Well, if you don’t know the answer, never mind!” CLICK. . .dial tone. . .)
Wow! thanks a lot. Here in Switzerland the bar exam depends a lot on which state you live in. Zurich has 2 big exams, 1 day of written exam and next day 4 hours oral exam (all subjects are possible).
Its nice to hear that memorization isnt that important anymore after all the exams...

I always see those professors and attorneys at university who seem to have an endless amount of knowledge. And I compare myself with them, always wondering how I will ever know as much as them.
I never understood why memorization was so important at the university and bar exam level. A different university (Berne) allows you to write anything in your legal code as you'd like for the exams (not so much at my university).
Sometimes I also get friends asking me obscure questions ans then they expect me to know the answer. I dont feel stressed by that though, since I know that I cant know such specifics all the time...

Again thanks a lot for your answer. Its so nice to hear from someone with more experience than me. :)
 
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