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Suspended from college

I was having a rough time this semester. I lost my mom 2 years ago and many other changes happened. It negatively affected my mental health and caused me to go back into self-injurious behavior that I sometimes can’t control so it has at times happened at school while I’m there to study and it caused a disruption, which is against the college’s code of conduct. They gave me a warning but i still did it at times. There were times where I was able to control going into that very high-emotion place by taking a break and breathing but others times I didn’t do that. They had me see a counselor every week and she taught me some coping skills but she didn’t do actual therapy. So because they became aware of these other times where I disrupted people and operations of the college, they decided to suspend me for a year. I am still able to take classes online. I applied to the nursing program and am waiting for my spot. But I’m afraid this suspension will affect me being able to go into it. I sent an email to the dean of students with questions and one was will the suspension affect me advancing through the nursing program. I feel like a failure and this just adds more stress. I feel like giving up on my desire to be a nurse.


I understand how stressful this must e for you, especially worrying about how it affects your moving forward in the programme. But I must say that there is so much to be grateful in this as well. Your college clearly cares about you, there have been giving you a lot of chances to address the behaviour, lots of warning and also someone to talk to. You may not be able to go in, but it’s super great that you can still take them online. This also means that you get to practice all the coping skills you need at home, without the higher pressure situation of being in school when you’re hit with your triggers or the thoughts or whatever causes you to do those injurious behaviours.

I see this as having a lot of potential to be a good year for you, of giving you a bit of a break and the ability to work on getting yourself stronger mentally and emotionally, while you still are in the nursing programme. I’m really happy that you sent out those questions and I’m hoping it all goes well for you.

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Hey @Lee1,

This is such a rough situation. I want you to know though, that you’re absolutely not a failure. You’ve been facing a major loss in your life and you’ve tried your best to navigate these emotions, to survive. From your college’s perspective, they have rules to apply and may not be aware of the depths of such situation. Grief is complex. And even if it has brought you to get back to some behaviors you’ve managed to avoid before, it really only shows your pain and how hard it is to process a loss.

I was still a student when my big brother passed away, and it absolutely devastated me. For a while, it pushed me back to old ways to cope that I’ve managed to heal from, which were eating disorders for the most part. I was an absolute mess. Seeing the train of life continuing as always and to keep focusing on my studies was the hardest thing to do. When you lose someone, you lose a part of yourself too, and it takes time to learn to compose with the absence of the person you lost.

Your desire to be a nurse is important. It’s the kind of study that you don’t follow by mistake either. It’s a job of passion, something that is meaningful to you. It would be unfortunate to give up on it, even though your exhaustion/disappointment is understandable too. When my brother passed, I was studying to be a social worker. Losing him and feeling like not managing made me want to give up on my studies too. It helped me to remind myself that he was proud of me, of my life choices and that he would have wanted to see me graduating, which I did.

What motivates you in being a future nurse? What are the aspects of this work that really resonate with your heart? It is possible to lose sight of these when you are struggling. I would encourage you to take some time to reflect back on what brought you there at first, and what is meaningful to you personally.

It’s normal to doubt right now and reconsider these decisions in light of being suspended. But this suspension, as painful as it is, does not take away your right to follow your dreams either. At worst, it makes it delayed, yet still you can keep learning in the meantime.

It might be a challenge for you in times to come to re-organize the plans that you had at first. The journey to get to your graduation might be a little bit different than what you’ve envisioned at first. But you know what? That’s okay. That doesn’t make you a failure at all. My own studying journey was so chaotic! It was far from being a straight line to follow. But in the end it worked.

What you are going through doesn’t make you a failure. Only someone who happened to face something very painful during their studies, something that most students don’t have to deal with so they can focus entirely on their personal projects without any major disruption. This only makes you human. A human being who is learning to adapt and process some very heavy emotions.

As for your email, I hope the answers you will get will be reassuring to you. And if not, we are here to discuss about it and support you.

On a more personal note, do you have the possiblity to have access to a therapist? I understand that it can be difficult financially when we are students, hence the question. You could also eventually benefit from finding a support group for people dealing with grief, if that is something you would like to consider of course. Just some suggestions here. I didn’t know your mom of course, but I know how heavy, heartbreaking and confusing this pain can be, even years after. It’s often hard to find a real space to share how we feel after losing someone, in our society. It’s okay to be supported while learning to navigate the emotions it creates within you.

You’re not alone. :hrtlegolove:

I would love to be an oncology nurse so I can work with cancer patients. When my mom was at the hospital, almost all the nurses were so great and I want to be that for someone so that is what motivates me and also the pay because I do not have anyone left to help me financially or with housing so I want to be stable. I don’t think it’s going to prolong it because there is a wait list to enter the program anyway but it might make it harder for this next semester since I am only allowed to take online classes.
I have only state health insurance which covers some therapists and mental health agencies. I got a therapist a few months ago but after one session, she decided to stop seeing clients since she was doing it as a second job. I have been seeing a counselor at my school but she does not to therapy. I have considered paying out of pocket for a therapist since I am looking for part time work now.