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/rec/ - Ex-NEET / Recovery

Board for recovering NEETs and Ex-NEETs who are trying to reintegrate.
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Since I graduated from University in June I've been planning on going back to do a Master's or a PhD. For what it's worth, I graduated with (I think) the highest grade of my year from a pretty bad university, but I also did a community-related EC and was the recipient of a research scholarship in my second year.
I spent a few months putting together the best applications I could, but made the mistake of aiming too high and only applying for a few difficult to get in to universities. So far I've heard back from 2 of the places I applied, both were rejections, and I'm not feeling too confident about the other 3.
Right now I'm panicking, because it's become abundantly clear that I've wasted the last 8 months and several hundred dollars doing basically nothing. I told myself I'd get an article written but I've been completely unable to get anything done because of all the uncertainty.
In a last-ditch effort, I'm putting together a PhD application to send to places that are still accepting applicants and might be able to supervise it. But, again, I'm not too hopeful about this.
I really do not know what to do if this doesn't pan out. I can't find any jobs that I'm not either over or under qualified for.
Someone suggested I become an assistant language teacher, but I am not comfortable at all with living alone somewhere where I don't speak the language after being a recluse for over a year.


I also bit more than I could chew at some point, this makes me wonder if it's really that common, I didn't lose as much time but I did lose a lot of money, is there no one supposed to teach us about these things?

I don't know you, but in my case, a good piece of parental advice would've saved me a lot of trouble.


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> I can't find any jobs that I'm not either over or under qualified for.
In that case I would aim for a position, where I was overqualified, but still had the opportunity to learn or get promoted to a better position.

I've studied computer science and all I do now is making corporate websites and interfaces for database maintenance.

Boredom won't kill you.


My parents ended up talking me out of two opportunities that I wanted to apply for because they thought the location would be dangerous, so I think in the future I probably shouldn't listen to them.

It seems like the vast majority of jobs here are either dead-end minimum wage jobs, or ones that require a different degree (engineering or healthcare).

>Boredom won't kill you.

I wish I was joking, because it's absolutely pathetic (and you're more than free to call me a retard), but I did a 5 day data-entry position for "work experience" a few years ago. I hated it and by the second day tried to get into a traffic accidents so I wouldn't have to do it anymore. I would like to stay far, far away from any job like that.


It's looking like I've been rejected by everywhere and to be completely honest I really don't know what to do.
I've missed the deadlines for PhD funding and it looks like most of them want a Master's degree anyway.
While I could still apply for master's degrees, my understanding is that they're generally (in my field) quite useless. The reason I applied for where I did was because they offer a doctorate with a stipend and typically only accept people that did their Master's there. That and they're good names to have on a CV.
At the moment my parents are encouraging me to apply for Master's degrees that, in all likelihood, won't benefit me and don't justify the cost. I just feel a bit overwhelmed, really.
Despite saying that I'm thinking about getting a job and writing articles in my free time so I'll have a better application for next year (and applying for more places, and generally being better off financially) it seems like they don't want me to do that, and I don't really know why.
This whole corona thing hasn't really helped much with the job hunt, so that's probably going to set me back a few months.
On the upside I have an article that's about ready for publication now, and I suppose I could ask my (former) supervisor if she has any advice when I send it off for review.
Thanks for reading my blog.


Reading this I really sympathise with you. I was actually in a Masters program for Mathematics, and I am *so* glad that I went against the advice of my professors and parents and anyone else other than the 2 friends my age I have, and I dropped out of the program. As it happens, the program itself was in a very fluid state and I wasn't getting good research opportunities or even the choice of what to do my thesis on.
Anyways, to make a long story short I decided to get into a community college Network Security program, which might seem like going back down a couple of levels, and it is I guess, but since there are actual tangible certificates you can aim for, it seems more realistic as well to actually land a job afterwards.
I honestly couldn't figure out what job I could do with a Masters in Maths other than maybe Actuarial, and I didn't want to do that (and it doesn't require the Masters Degree anyways)… no one could tell me! So anyways TL;DR certifications and trade schools are actually often better if you want to actually get a job.
As a bonus the teachers and students I have met are mostly nice people as well.


This reply has been on my mind since it was posted, but I've had a hard time coming up with a response. I think what I'd like to say is that while trade school is probably a good idea, it seems a bit weird to go for when I plan on going back into academia as soon as possible.

As an update, one of the universities I applied for got back to me today and I've been waitlisted, and I suspect I stand a decent chance of getting accepted. The only problem is there's no way I could afford it without a (frankly, predatory) loan.
I'm leaning on rejecting it, and sending off stronger applications next year, and hopefully getting some financial aid. I guess the question is if another year is worth $30,000 or so in aid?
Whether I accept the offer or not, it has given me a lot of confidence knowing that I've been considered by the tenth best university in my field. I've had a lot of self-doubt these last few months, but maybe I'm not as bad as I thought. Hopefully this can be the motivation I need to get that second article written, and maybe take some online courses.


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Congratulations OP. School is ridiculously and frighteningly expensive. Well, no matter what you're up to now, I hope you are well.


Thank you. Finance is certainly a big concern, and at this point I'm just banking on the scholarships I applied for.
I'm still a NEET, and ended up not applying for a PhD as I felt I wasn't quite ready. wrote an article and it's due to be published soon, which is more than some of my old lecturers can say, and should help me land a few offers.
My applications seem a lot stronger than last year's, so hopefully something gives. If not, I'll try to get a "normal" job and apply again next year. Maybe it's stupid to keep doing that, but it's what I want to do.


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Not that anyone asked for it, but I figured I'd give an update.
Since the last post, I got published and ended up being a NEET for another 7 months before starting part-time job, and then starting a Master's degree at a very good university. I did really bad in my exams, but got a great grade for my thesis.
After that I was a NEET again for 5 months. I'm currently working a part-time job as a research assistant but my contract ends in April.
I was unsuccessful with my PhD applications last year, and it's looking like that'll happen again this year given my alma mater just rejected me for the second time, but I still have a couple to hear back from.
My resume is much better now, but I feel like my life is just repeating itself at this point.


Feel you anon. I've been in and out of community college twice now and going back for a third attempt. I'm not stupid, when I manage to be engaged I get all As or B+s even in stem classes. But when I'm not engaged it's straight Fs/Ws. I can't believe I'm still spinning on this after 7 years.


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This will get long, and too personal. But here's my story. Sorry if I go overboard with telling this. I'm not great at expressing myself

In 2018, I went to community college, then university. Managed to graduate by the skin of my teeth- roommate drama and stressful assignments made it impossible to function normally. It got to the point where I just went back to my apartment after classes, hiding in my room so I didn't have to run into the people I lived with. Being a part of fandoms made things easier- I played games and created art for it in my spare time, so that served as a distraction.

One of the worst things was seeing other students on campus, I guess. Going out with their friends, talking during class, having fun. They weren't doing anything wrong, but I judged them anyway, keeping those feelings to myself.

During the first year of university, I had a roommate who was a religious nut. She believed in ghosts and said magic ran in her family. She made herself out to be someone I could trust, so we sort of maintained a friendship for awhile. This was a bad idea, but the red flags didn't show up until it was too late. She went behind my back and told everyone on our floor the things I'd asked her to keep a secret. From there, I was outed to the dorm's staff, and hospitalized for what they suspected was schizophrenia. I wanted to start getting therapy on my own, and make an effort to turn my life around. Instead, I spent a week in a mental hospital.


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That ended up not being so bad. One of the reasons I'd never asked for help before was because the thought of ending up in a place like that terrified me, but the institution was run alright, for the most part. The other patients were really kind, and I made friends there, some of whom I'm still in contact with. I also got to do art therapy and participate in group for the first time. But after awhile, being there felt claustrophobic. You have to adhere to a set schedule, and you're watched all the time. There's no locks on doors, staff invade your privacy, and they confiscate items that could be used to hurt yourself. It was costing my parents thousands of dollars to have me stay there, as well. I just wanted out at that point. So I lied to the doctors, saying that group therapy was working, and told them bullshit they wanted to hear. They let me go home after that.

When I began living on campus again, one of my friends approached me to ask what was going on. I told them what happened, and they apologized for not being there. My roommate moved out the day before I went to the institution, and after everyone learned about what she did, she became the most unpopular person in our dorm, according to my acquaintance People began hanging out with me afterwards. For that year, I wasn't alone. A lot of the members of that friend circle were LGBT art students, and their support helped me to come out as transgender. I've known for a long time, but still haven't transitioned.

Unfortunately, everyone sort of drifted apart. They stopped keeping in contact with me after awhile, and I lost the support I had. People I knew in high school were gone as well. I had other roommates, some equally as bad, but we never were able to connect, and attempts went nowhere. This was at the height of COVID, back when the pandemic started.

I spent the rest of my semesters by myself.


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The final year was the hardest. Due to early graduation in winter, that semester only lasted four months, but it felt like torture. I made strides, somehow- they assigned me a therapist who has helped me a great deal, and I got a summer job working retail. Despite that, nothing was really working. Even taking medication didn't help. My first roommate got off scot-free and was never punished by the college, graduating normally. I was surrounded by constant reminders, people who were going places in life, and it all got to be too much. With every step I took forward, a step was taken backward.

There was a cornfield on the outskirts of campus. One day, while going for a walk, I stumbled across it. The weather was cold, and there was traffic nearby, but for someone as isolated and miserable as me, it was a place I could go to be alone. No other students seemed to go there, though the track team would run through this area occasionally. I attended university in a rural area, and the scenery there was beautiful. It inspired me to continue working on my art, maybe try painting.


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There's more that happened, but I'd rather not get too much into it. My point is, despite how horrifying everything gets, the bad times aren't going to last forever. And there's always tomorrow. It's important to believe that, even if your world comes crashing down briefly.

Maybe someone will get something out of this. Or maybe not. But at any rate, hope is something worth holding onto.


I feel you too anon. I got into a top school but I just can't afford to go, no way for my broke ass to finance it. I should be applying to other more affordable places but I can't motivate myself to even get out of bed. All I do is browse the chans all day and try to ignore life. Just wish I could upload myself onto the internet and not deal with this shit.


>da office


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It's been another year so I may as well give another update.
After my contract ended in April 2023 I was a NEET again until last February. I somehow managed to get a bunch of interviews at some incredibly high-profile places but I think I was too autistic in the interview for all of them. Eventually I found another part-time research job in February, which has been pretty comfy (and way, way below the skillset they were asking for - a PhD was preferred for a role that has just been printing things off and proofing things for other people). So I can't really complain too much.
I've also been offered a spot on two doctoral programs. One is 4 years and offers a full scholarship with just enough of a stiped to live off but I'd have to move to Asia for it. I've not heard back on funding from the other one yet but it's only 3 years and has a (much) better reputation, so I'd prefer to go there. Either way I'm making progress. For the first time in a very long time I'm not worried about the future.


As someone who's considering doing a PhD, your post fills me with hope, anon


I'm glad you found this useful. If nothing else I want this thread to show that you can do stuff with enough ability, effort and patience.
Best of luck with your applications, and consider applying internationally, especially if you need the money. Anecdotally, I had two interviews for PhDs in the Netherlands last year and both paid very well. I understand Switzerland pays very well, too. The University of [spoler]Hong Kong[/spoiler] offers funding with every place but it's barely enough to live off, unless you get the big fellowship, in which case it pays very well.

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