Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Now, where were we?

September is here and my "children" are no longer even attending university, so I don't get the same frisson of back to school excitement that I used to get around this time. Alex, our 26 year old, has just this week moved out to a place of his own. Taylor, the 22 year old, has started his first job a few time zones away.
That leaves Chris (28) at home. I've already broached the subject with him of his starting university afresh, if not this year, then the following year, but he should at least begin planning towards this goal. Chris is well enough now that he can take steps to become more independent and work toward some career goals. It's a scary prospect, of course. Four years ago when I encouraged him to go back to university, he promptly suffered a relapse. He's much more resilient now,
There are so many factors he needs to consider:
  • Is he ready?
  • What would he study?
  • Is he willing and able to tackle the application process? 
  • What size of institution will make him feel more comfortable? Big or small?
  • How will he handle the fact that he will be a mature student in a sea of 18 to 22 year olds? A smaller college might be more to his liking, but there will be fewer people his own age. How can he overcome loneliness?
This plan may not happen this year, because there is still the possibility that Chris may not be ready, and I'll just have to accept that.

Eventually, something's gotta give.


  1. Ms. Forbes,

    Has Chris considered going to college at night or attending a school or a program geared toward adults?

    Instead of being the only grown man in a sea of teenagers, Chris might prefer to be around by other adults whose educations were interrupted by the individual circumstances of their lives.

    I think it would be far less isolating and isolation is NOT Chris' friend. He doesn't need to feel any more self-conscious than he already has and having struggled with my own illness for so long, I have found that even "normal" adults have been through a lot more in their lives than teeneagers and they are far more accepting of people whose lives have been different from theirs.

    Teenagers want so badly to fit in...and they want everyone else to fit in, too. They often dismiss and ignore the people they can't understand or relate to.

    I would not want to be a teenager again for anything in the world. I would not want to be surrounded by them again, either.

    But I can't speak for Chris. This is something he should think long and hard about before he makes a decision and it might help him if you'd bring up the matter and discuss it with him when the timing feels right.

    1. Anonymous, thank your thoughts and suggestions. If we were living in North America, night school or community college would be an option, but where we live, these options are not available. Rather than complicate my post, I didn't go into the specifics of why these choices aren't available. He will have to leave the country he has been living in for the past 15 years in order to spread his wings. That's the reality, and it's unsettling. If you or other readers know of any schools or programs geared towards adults in North America, I would love to find out about them. If we were living there, believe me, I'd be directing him towards a community college or night school. That being said, his interest really lies in music, and perhaps with the exception of music technology, my guess is most places that teach music are formal colleges. Your further thoughts are most welcome.

    2. How about Berklee? Lots of hipsters and alternative types there. I bet he'd blend right in. Plus it's in Boston, a hotbed of psychiatric survivors and recovery oriented thinkers. Daniel B. Fisher is in Boston, Robert Whitaker, and a bunch of others. http://www.berklee.edu/

    3. Thanks, Sooze. Will take a look.

  2. "...may not be ready, and I'll just have to accept that.
    Eventually, something's gotta give."

    THAT says a hell of a lot...it is the ever-present reality.
    Thank you so much for sharing the journey you are on--it helps more than I can say.

    1. Becky,
      Yes, change is inevitable. We often wish it would happen NOW! (I stick Chris into the posts from time to time to remind myself about what this blog is really about.) We would all love to see some milestones achieved by our children, like academic achievements or full-time jobs, and when time goes by and nothing significant happens, that's when I tend not to write about Chris. Progress is always there, as an undercurrent, but nothing major to shout about.


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