I'm an older student. I was very happy and excited to get back into the University environment and finish my degree- initially. There is a consistent environment of aggression or snobbery directed toward me that I feel more and more unwelcome every semester. I'm very depressed that I have to choke this down and ignore it in every class. Group projects are the worst. I am silenced, ignored and talked over to the point that I can't or don't and eventually stop helping the group. I've got a 3.91 GPA, but I'm treated like an idiot and/or that I shouldn't be here. I've been told when I strongly requested my assignment be added to a group worksheet, "Why are you even here?" I'm really tired of tolerating the attitude here. Last week was the worst. I totally bombed my math exam. I knew everything in those chapters, but all I could think about was some nasty comments from the day before. So my mind was completely blank during the exam. (Great - there goes my GPA because I can't ignore some mean people) I can get to sleep, I can't think and I don't remember what I read. I think I hate coming to class anymore. In my whole life, I never thought I would be treated like this. I'm very concerned that I don't have the skills to ignore the rudeness, but worse, this has effected my attitude about myself, the university and the students.
Signed: very sad
Dear sad, Charlie hears that you’re having a difficult time. A self-described older student, you say you’ve encountered aggression, snobbery and rudeness. Though you felt initially excited about coming back to school to complete your degree, you’re now feeling unwelcome. You sum how you are feeling by saying, “I never thought I would be treated like this”. As a consequence, you mention feeling depressed. Though you have an excellent GPA, you indicate that you recently “bombed” a test. You don’t ask anything specifically but your implied question to Charlie seems to be “What can I do?” Charlie will try to provide some considerations. To begin with, Charlie is very sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through. No one deserves to be treated in the manner you’ve described and it is a shame that your experience of returning to the university has been so tainted. Secondly, Charlie is particularly concerned with how this is affecting you. You mention feeling depressed and cite depressive symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, difficulty with concentration, and memory issues. It sounds like you are quite proud of your 3.91 GPA but now feel it is being threatened by what’s been happening of late. As you’ve experienced, it can be difficult if not impossible to control the environment around us. On the other hand, we do exert a measure of control over how we interact with the environment. In your letter, you say, “I’m very concerned that I don’t have the skills…”. With this in mind, Charlie wonders if you’ve considered seeking help at the Counseling Center (285-1736)? If you elect to try this, you and your counselor can go to work on augmenting your skills for coping with whatever obstacles may be in your path. Given what you’ve said, this will likely include skills for staying focused during tests. In addition, your counselor can assess to see if you are clinically depressed. If you are suffering from depression and seek treatment, the world will likely begin to seem like a brighter place. Charlie knows that there are many good people on this campus who treat others, young and old, with warmth and respect. Charlie is sorry that you’ve encountered some mean people but hopes your future encounters are more positive and enjoyable. To feeling better, Charlie
Copyright © 2013 Ball State University 2000 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN 47306
800-382-8540 and 765-289-1241