This is the Message Centre for Willem

To Study or Not to Study

Post 1


Folks, I need advice. I don’t know how many people still read here, but I’m hoping at least a coupla. I want to know what you think about me studying at university again. Right now, I do things I enjoy … I paint, I write, including the articles you see in The Post every week, I grow plants, I go on bird-watching and plant-discovering outings a few times each year. But I don’t get much money … I’m pretty much dirt-poor, having to seriously budget for vital things like food. So anyways. My psychologist thinks I should study again, maybe get myself a (more suitable) small job, like lecturing at a university a couple of times a week, or something else where I can share my knowledge and also earn some money. It would be nice, but I’m not sure I could do it! I still have massive post-traumatic stress about my previous attempts at studying … the first, when I studied full-time, ended in a serious suicide attempt, while the next, studying at the University of South Africa by mail, foundered on personality clashes with one of my lecturers as well as the unreliability of the mail system. And back then I had the support of my parents, which I don’t have any more.

If I study … I’ll have to really devote myself to it pretty much full-time. I may then have to give up things like my weekly Colours of Wildlife articles. I’ll have to put my painting on the backburner, perhaps. I’m not sure how I’d feel about that. One of my big problems is feeling worthless … that’s the reason why I’m trying to do so many different things, I’m hoping at least one of them will turn out to be worth something.

So: I have the stress and anxiety still haunting me from my previous study attempts; I still have a big problem dealing with pressure – such as writing assignments according to someone else’s standards. I feel that I’m hard enough on myself as it is. I’m not sure if I could do it.

And do I need it? My psychologist feels I need a qualification, a piece of paper to tell other people I know what I’m about. Do I really need it? Isn’t it enough that I know what I know, that I can do what I do, and can share it with people? Would an official qualification indeed make me more capable of doing what I do, which is what I want to do? I just want to do what I’m doing already … but better.

So: any advice?

To Study or Not to Study

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni

I'd say: it's your life, not your psychologist's. And you've got to find your own comfort zone.

I have a thought: why not start slowly? Is there someplace local you could take a one-night-a-week course, something like that? See how you feel about that, and then move on from there?

I wouldn't let myself be rushed into anything. smiley - hug

To Study or Not to Study

Post 3

Milla, h2g2 Operations

It's been a while since we talked, hasn't it?

It sounds to me like going from your current situation to full time university is very daunting, although I can sort of see the point of having a qualification. But not to the point where you risk your health!

Dmitri seems to be onto something - evening classes, to try it out if there is a local opportunity. And I could even see you leading an art class of that type! You have skills to share, and I'm sure people are willing to learn.

Keep thinking about options, and something will come to you, something that is the right "size".

smiley - towel

To Study or Not to Study

Post 4


Hi Willem, Robbie here. You are such a stunning artist and write with such care and compassion. Have you ever thought of a little teaching yourself? Just one on one? Some work with others who might like to paint and draw? Who would benefit from your sensibilities. And as per D's thoughts above, maybe take small steps and see what feels good, no need to commit to huge things? And as a final thought I cannot tell you how much your contribution to h2g2 has meant to me personally.

To Study or Not to Study

Post 5


I'll second what Dmitri, Milla and Robbie said.

You're a very talented artist, you have things to teach.
I can see why you wouldn't want to take a whole class of students, but the one-on-one thing sounds like a good idea.

And as to studying, yes, take it one step at a time.
Evening classes, or part-time studies of some kind, for a start, see how you feel about that.

smiley - footprints

To Study or Not to Study

Post 6


Hi folks! Thanks for the advice. I've thought before of teaching art classes ... I don't think I'd have a problem with small classes. But then I'd have to give up my art classes studying under Kathryn ... she doesn't allow any of her pupils to teach art classes themselves ...

I'm going to the university of Limpopo tomorrow to see what sorts of degrees and courses they present.

Most of all I still want to be a successful artist and writer. It's just a massive frustration to try to get anything published. Maybe if I'm at the university, folks there might help me get in touch with publishers?

But I'm going to try to get something published on my own this year...

To Study or Not to Study

Post 7

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

smiley - hug Good luck with whatever you decide!

I really loved going to university, but I agree that you should be able to do something in your own pace and not get too stressed.

To Study or Not to Study

Post 8


Hi again everyone! Thanks once again.

Well I met with a prof at the university yesterday. We didn't speak much about studying, but he likes my art a lot and asked me to exhibit my paintings at the university! Maybe I should just renew my links with the university, speak to more people there. I would indeed want to study again ... so I should see what courses there are promising and not daunting.

Actually I did enjoy going to university the last time I did it. But I was just taking a single subject, German, then. If I want a complete qualification I'll have to do three or four subjects a year ...

I just don't handle pressure and stress well. As an 'independent' artist, I can paint when I'm up to it, and when things are going bad, I can relax ... I can work and rest on my own schedule. So I can keep the stress very low, and actually get a lot done ... witness the articles I'm writing each week PLUS completing the paintings for them ... and I have other projects in the pipeline, too. I'm able to 'manage' these projects and interests, balancing, juggling them, and I just about get by. So it will be hard for me to take up a new project, like studying ... and I don't know if I can give up something else so as to make room for it.

I've been thinking of something else ... trying to get commissions from the university for illustrating study material ...

To Study or Not to Study

Post 9

Dmitri Gheorgheni

Oh, now, I like that idea! smiley - biggrin

To Study or Not to Study

Post 10


That sounds like a good plan ! smiley - biggrin

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To Study or Not to Study

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