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In a strange spot at 21 – help!!

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  • #1099804 Reply

    I’m in a really odd situation and I could really use some advice on what to do.
    I grew up with an abusive father and I’ve been suffering the mental health effects of that – it impacted my ability to complete school work in my 12th year of high school to the point where I missed weeks of class and didn’t even complete exams. Having been an A student and often told “You’re going places” for most of my academic career, that was quite a shock and I felt lost and like a big part of my identity was missing. It felt like a catastrophe. Since then, it’s been 4 years and I still haven’t graduated. I’ve also been living at home with my abusive father since then. In light of COVID, he now also insists that no one visit anyone or go anywhere, so I am extremely isolated. I don’t have any friends because of this, I only have my boyfriend whom I met online. My mental health is severely declining here and all I want is to change all of this and be happy but I feel stuck. I have to finish courses to complete highschool and get into university but I also need to leave home so I can have access to being a part of a community and making friends and being away from the instability at home. I have almost an entire year (from now, November – August) until I plan to start University. I don’t know what to do or where to go but I know that I’m miserable and need a plan and must execute it. Does anyone have any advice on what I should do?

    #1099809 Reply
    Miss MJ

    Well, you’re over the age of majority, so the short answer is you can move away from home whenever you want. The bigger issue is how to pay for it.

    Can you expect any financial assistance from your family? Assuming not, or not enough:

    Do you work or have any savings? (If not, then getting a job and saving all the money you possibly can is my first suggestion.)

    Is there any way that you can afford to find a place to live with someone looking for roommates?

    Do you have other family or other people in your life who might let you live with them during school?

    Are there resources in your area for people needing assistance removing themselves from abusive situations? Governmental agencies? Shelters? Religious organizations? Charities?

    Will you qualify for financial aid at your university? Grants? Scholarships (they’re not all for academics!)? Work study? Reasonable loans?

    Some combination of all of the above?

    I know it seems hard and overwhelming, but this is doable and resources are out there. I’m sure there’s way more than I just listed off the top of my head. Maybe reach out to a former teacher or your former high school counselor’s office or the university’s registrar or financial aid office – they may be able to help point you in a good direction, as well.

    #1099831 Reply

    You really do need a way to get out of your father’s house.

    #1099833 Reply

    Miss MJ – thank you so much for your reply. These are great ideas and I will try many of them. Gave me some hope. (:
    Cheers, Kara

    #1099856 Reply

    I thought I had a lot of goid ideas after reading your letter. But then read Miss MJ’s response which is basically a thesaurused version of my thoughts.

    She nailed it.

    I would add — in addition to financial assistance… is there anybody you can stay with in your family. Your father sounds — pretty damn lousy. I agree with Ron. Get. Out. Of. There. But do so safely. You need to find a good place to land…

    #1099857 Reply

    I’m curious as to why up until to four years ago you were doing great in school. Then suddenly — it all fell apart.

    Did something new start happening? Or Did things with your father simply suddenly escalate?

    Either way, the sooner you are out. The better. But don’t do so without a plan and a safe place to go.

    #1099860 Reply

    I can’t tell if starting university in August is a hope or a reality. If you are actually starting university in August, then you must be taking classes now, correct? Talk to the institution that is providing your current courses, and ask for counseling. Or talk to the university that accepted you and ask for counseling.

    One more thing that seems mean, but is meant to be helpful (really): stop giving your dad your power. Stop saying, “I could do x or y, but DAD.” This is the crappy hand you were dealt, and everyone has to deal with limitations. He doesn’t have to be a reason that you’re held back anymore. You’re 21; there are resources out there.

    #1099984 Reply

    Another option to look into: given that you mentioned it’s been 4 years since you were in grade 12, you might be able to apply to universities as what’s known as a ‘mature student.’

    At most colleges and unis (at least in Canada; not sure about elsewhere), mature students are usually defined as anyone who would be (or would turn) 21 in the year they would be starting uni, and – importantly for you – you usually don’t need to have a high school diploma to apply as a mature student.

    It should be somewhere on the universities’ websites if they do accept mature student applicants. Or you could call the admissions office or a student advisor at the universities you’re interested in attending to see if they can give you more information about if they have mature student application routes.

    Either way, based on what you’ve described, I think you could apply as a mature student if the university you’re interested in has that application category.

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