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Failed University


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#1 icm

 
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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:37 AM

A bit about me...

I was diagnosed with autism when young. I have mostly recovered through a long and tedious home program along with daily supplementation of Kirkman Super Nu Thera caplets. I'm 20 years old.

I have been gluten free for > 10 years.

I've had a healthy 10 years on the diet until about a year ago while I was away at university at college and decided to spend lots money on lollies.

(below I'll talk about how this started)...

The kitchen staff at my hall were really careless about the gluten cross-contamination and I told them very regularly about how serious the CC issue is. The head chef made some pretty rude remarks, particularly when I asked about the deep fryer situation at college. ("Look, mate! That very little bit of gluten honestly shouldn't hurt.") (this was about 2 years ago).

One reason I decided not to press the issue is because I tend to be a fairly easy person to please and I generally don't tend to want to be a hassle for anyone else. People describe me as a gentle and compassionate person and I didn't want to change that. I figured that if I at least tried to be gluten free (i.e. not intentionally ingest gluten), I'd be fine.

Slowly but surely over the first several months while at this college away from home I started to get increased abdominal discomfort and brain fog. I tried to not be accusatory so I would often try and blame it on something else (like sugar, spices, etc.)

The food issues aside... I also stopped taking the Kirkman Super Nu Thera caplets on an every day basis (that I had been doing for most of my life) about a year ago. I read somewhere online that taking high quantities of B6 may negatively affect me and cause nerve damage. I was taking 10 caplets (5 in the morning, 5 in the evening) as this was the single thing that made the greatest difference in my development and relative recovery from the ASD.

At first I felt better, my kidneys seemed to be more at ease as I took the caplets less frequently. This was in September, 2011.

On the other hand, I noticed I was feeling sick and tired a lot when I ate the meals at my residential college (prepared by the aforementioned kitchen staff). I now suspect that gluten contamination had something to do with it.

I also found that I was behaving abhorrently in many aspects once I got completely off the Kirkman Super Nu Thera caplets altogether (January 2012). In some ways my kidneys seemed to feel better but my urine was becoming very foamy (toward the end of May 2012). I had terrible GI discomfort and couldn't think one bit clearly at all. :huh:

I was also getting really sick and didn't know why. I immediately got back onto the b6 super nu thera megadose and took the 5 morning and 5 evening protocol and within a few days the foam in my urine cleared up (maybe there's a connection between the body and autism here??).

Now back to the food...

But I was still sick (end May, early June). It was interesting because in the past every time I went home for holidays and my mother cooked for me for the few weeks break I would gradually feel better again so that by the time uni started I would be back in order.

But this time things just got really out of hand for me and I fell apart. My dorm room was a mess, I lost friends and I was a in quite a mental mess. I failed all of my courses for the whole semester and due to a previously poor academic record at university (probably partly due to the food and autism issues) I will probably never be able to attend university again. I have been kicked out.

Has anyone here had a similar experience? I'm in the process of trying to find a job and am back home and really discouraged. Any advice or warm words of encouragement or others' venting and understanding would be appreciated.
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#2 1desperateladysaved

 
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Posted 18 August 2012 - 05:25 AM

Well, this is the first post which I copied from the forum. I think it shows what continous small amounts of cross contamination can do. I think it shows me that diligence is necessary. One must either cook it themself, or you do have to be informing others with some degree of force. My current plan is not to let anyone cook for me outside of my home.

I wanted to add that others may not understand, but I being a Celiac can see that this could happen. It sure is hard to think, remember, and produce when one has fatigue and fogginess.

Sorry you went through this. Now, I hope you will get control of your diet and your body. Then I hope you will find a school that will take you. Maybe near home, so momma could cook. I recommend College Plus if you can. It might depend on how much college you finished successfully and a host of other things.


I hope you will work hard and one day have that college diploma. Keep us posted.
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#3 rosetapper23

 
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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:57 AM

Your post made me very sad. I feel that your university failed YOU and not the other way around. They poisoned you! Your tuition and room/board $$ should all be returned to you, and they should send a letter of apology. Of course, this is the real world....and you'll never see these things, but please know that that would be the RIGHT and FAIR thing for them to do. Are there no laws in your country that would serve to protect you in such circumstances? Was the university not obligated to feed you properly? From your statements, I gather that you may live in Australia, New Zealand, or England, but I could be wrong. Aren't people with disabilities given some type of accommodation in your country?

In the interim, perhaps you could investigate an online university to get you back on track. And, during your job search, please be careful to avoid any place where wheat is present. Once your brain fog is gone and your strength returns, I hope a plan of action will be apparent to you...but you'll need to plan carefully. I do wish you all the best--you sound like a very nice, genuinely caring person, and you don't deserve to have these types of setbacks.

Regarding your urine, I would like to encourage you to see a specialist about it. You may be experiencing a health issue unrelated to gluten that is affecting your health. What you describe is NOT normal, and a urologist may be able to help you. Please do not delay in contacting a doctor NOW--these types of matters can be very serious....but easily resolved. Here's a link to the Mayo Clinic where foamy urine is discussed--it indicates that there may be too much protein in your urine:

http://www.mayoclini...y-urine/AN01702

Good luck to you!
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#4 icm

 
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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:49 PM

Sorry you went through this. Now, I hope you will get control of your diet and your body. Then I hope you will find a school that will take you. Maybe near home, so momma could cook. I recommend College Plus if you can. It might depend on how much college you finished successfully and a host of other things.

I hope you will work hard and one day have that college diploma. Keep us posted.


Thank you for your kind words. It has been a struggle. I will definitely try and stay near home where my mum can cook. She's gluten-free as well. I'm in the land 'down under'.

I thought that when going down south for uni, at one of the best universities in the country, I'd be fine and the kitchen staff would have it together. It was a smaller residential college too, so I'm dumbfounded as to why they didn't do a better job accommodating my requirements. :rolleyes:

Your post made me very sad. I feel that your university failed YOU and not the other way around. They poisoned you!


Yes, I'm sure what you're saying is true (at least to some degree). I know for a fact that while I did everything I could to make sure I wasn't wilfully ingesting gluten, I also messed up in another area (not taking my B6 like I should have is probably a major factor). I was also going into town for lollies in the evenings as I mentioned before.

Unlike a portion of students, I have never been big on the alcohol, booze or anything like that. I have yet to be drunk so at least I accomplished that much. Yet I trashed myself on lollies. :(

All I can remember is that it was difficult for me to think on a straight line when I had constant abdominal pain.

Your tuition and room/board $$ should all be returned to you, and they should send a letter of apology. Of course, this is the real world....and you'll never see these things, but please know that that would be the RIGHT and FAIR thing for them to do. Are there no laws in your country that would serve to protect you in such circumstances? Was the university not obligated to feed you properly? From your statements, I gather that you may live in Australia, New Zealand, or England, but I could be wrong. Aren't people with disabilities given some type of accommodation in your country?

In the interim, perhaps you could investigate an online university to get you back on track. And, during your job search, please be careful to avoid any place where wheat is present. Once your brain fog is gone and your strength returns, I hope a plan of action will be apparent to you...but you'll need to plan carefully. I do wish you all the best--you sound like a very nice, genuinely caring person, and you don't deserve to have these types of setbacks.


As I mentioned (more subtlety above ;)) I live in Australia. I'm sure that if I tried to make a stink about it, it would just simply be 'my word against theirs'. The kitchen staff have never admitted that they're wrong. Even when I insisted that a meal I ate at a previous session caused me a gluten-like reaction. They have had a lot of 'fad' dieters and a lot of students who are sensible and seemingly responsible often think of those needing to be gluten free as slightly 'mentally off' (which is probably true, if they're telling everyone they're gluten free but then knowingly munch on Tim Tams and regular crumpets on frequent occasions in front of these same people). A lot of these 'fashion-type' dieters who say they feel better on the gluten free diet but don't stick with it very well were still decent enough all round people (to me, anyway) so I didn't see any point getting off side with them. They seemed to respect the importance of my gluten-free needs but perhaps were giving a distorted view of what coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity are.

Currently I have no idea about what I want to do. I have registered with centrelink and applied for a disability support pension (due to my autism). I also mentioned my gluten intolerance. My mother, grandmother and some good friends of ours have found me to be very good at teaching (and explaining new concepts) and that maybe I could become a tutor. B)

Regarding your urine, I would like to encourage you to see a specialist about it. You may be experiencing a health issue unrelated to gluten that is affecting your health. What you describe is NOT normal, and a urologist may be able to help you. Please do not delay in contacting a doctor NOW--these types of matters can be very serious....but easily resolved. Here's a link to the Mayo Clinic where foamy urine is discussed--it indicates that there may be too much protein in your urine:

http://www.mayoclini...y-urine/AN01702

Good luck to you!


I had my urine checked at the University Health Service the day after the evening when I had foam in my urine and everything appeared normal from what they could see. When I did an intestinal permeability urine test, I had mild to moderate leaky gut syndrome.

The foamy urine seemed to have something to do with a genetic weakness that apparently stops many autistic children from being able to clear toxins from their bodies when they don't take a B6 and B vitamin megadose. Seems like it's quite independent of the gluten intolerance and may have come from a different side of the family. I'm not sure... <_<
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#5 GFinDC

 
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Posted 19 August 2012 - 08:26 AM

Well, that sux. But you made a good try at doing it and that itself is worthwhile. Many people never even try difficult things, so making an attempt, even if you fail, is very worthwhile. It shows you have come courage and fortitude, or what is properly called gumption. You may have done just fine if you were in an environment that was truly gluten-free or if you made your own food instead of eating what the staff prepared. I found it very hard to concentrate and remember things when I was eating gluten years ago. Just being in pain constantly is very distracting and disturbing to the learning process.

But there is no law you can't try again right? Over here in the US of A we have community / technical colleges and trade schools. They often have classes aimed at older students who are starting a 2nd career. So their entrance requirements are very different and they pretty much take anyone who can pay. And they are not generally live in schools. You drive their and that means you can eat whatever you want, no meal plan. So maybe something like that would work. There are also internships available for some jobs. They don't usually pay much but are a good way to get experience.

So there may be some other options to think about.
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Proverbs 25:16 "Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it."
Job 30:27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
Thyroid cyst and nodules, Lactose / casein intolerant. Diet positive, gene test pos, symptoms confirmed by Dr-head. My current bad list is: gluten, dairy, sulfites, coffee (the devil's brew), tea, Bug's Bunnies carrots, garbanzo beans of pain, soy- no joy, terrible turnips, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and hard work. have a good day! :-) Paul

#6 rosetapper23

 
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Posted 19 August 2012 - 11:41 AM

Thank you for your detailed responses, but those responses have made me think a bit. You express yourself EXTREMELY well, and you seem patient, understanding, and analytical. These skills are desperately needed in Sydney right now. My daughter lives in North Bondi and works in Sydney (I visit her every year and LOVE Australia), and her company has had a terrible time trying to find employees with your attributes. These are all skills needed for customer service jobs (my daughter works for a type of technology company), and currently the unemployment rate is so low in Australia, her company simply can't find employees to fill positions. I would assume that this is also the case with other Aussie companies.

When I've visited Sydney, I've been over-the-top happy about the gluten-free options and how carefully my meals are prepared. There's a Brazilian barbecue place downtown where almost every single option on the menu is gluten free, including the pasta and the cheese bread! At the Westfield Mall, the food court offers gluten-free pizza and other options. If I could choose to live anywhere in the world, I would choose Australia.

So...please don't sell yourself short. You have much to offer the business world! You would probably make a wonderful teacher with your skills and natural abilities; however, while you're going to school, I think you may have a great career in some type of customer service position--believe me when I say that exceptional writing and communication skills are very hard to find.

Take some time to recover, regain your confidence, make plans, and then take advantage of the opportunities that I know await you. I have no doubt that you will be successful.
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#7 anabananakins

 
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Posted 20 August 2012 - 06:13 PM

I'm really sorry about the hard time you had :-(

With regards to not being able to go back to uni, I gather you were "excluded" (for non-Aussies, this is a term they use when you drop out with fails and without following any of the procedures). That doesn't mean you are excluded for life, you just need to explain when you reapply what went wrong and that you're in a better position to be successful with study. I got excluded too when I dropped out suddenly when I was 19 but it was fine later when I reapplied and I was able to complete my degree. Have you considered doing distance education and staying at home? The University of New England are great for distance studies and there are other places too. I really enjoy distance education, I can work full time and fit in my studies. I've actually found it easier to get to know other students too because before we were all commuting and super busy (Australian unis don't tend to have the same community aspect, most students live at home and commute, or in shared flats. Living on campus is pretty rare).

Rose, the situation in Sydney hasn't been as great as it used to be, a lot of people have been laid off and we definitely get more applicants for any advertised positions than we used to. But there's still work available. It is a super expensive place to live as a student though. Paying sydney market rents on the types of jobs students get meant years of soul crushing poverty for me. So I wouldn't recommend a move here unless there was some support network in place.
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#8 icm

 
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Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:46 PM

Thank you for your detailed responses, but those responses have made me think a bit. You express yourself EXTREMELY well, and you seem patient, understanding, and analytical. These skills are desperately needed in Sydney right now. My daughter lives in North Bondi and works in Sydney (I visit her every year and LOVE Australia), and her company has had a terrible time trying to find employees with your attributes. These are all skills needed for customer service jobs (my daughter works for a type of technology company), and currently the unemployment rate is so low in Australia, her company simply can't find employees to fill positions. I would assume that this is also the case with other Aussie companies.


Thank you so much for your encouraging words!!!

I'm not sure about Sydney (or NSW for that matter) but I know in Queensland there have been some real issues with employment (as of the last couple of months). Many people already with skills are jobless and even my parents and others in our family are half wondering about the stability of their own jobs.

There was argument within our family as to whether I should go through the disability umbrella for employment. Mother thought that there was absolutely no question but others were very much against it. They seemed to not want to acknowledge that I have special needs.

When I've visited Sydney, I've been over-the-top happy about the gluten-free options and how carefully my meals are prepared. There's a Brazilian barbecue place downtown where almost every single option on the menu is gluten free, including the pasta and the cheese bread! At the Westfield Mall, the food court offers gluten-free pizza and other options. If I could choose to live anywhere in the world, I would choose Australia.


Australia really does feel like home for us. Every time we've travelled overseas, gluten free options are always more limited. My mother is American and thus was aware of what was needed in a home program to help with my recovery from autism, and give me a chance for success at life.

I'd love to know of some of the gluten free places in Sydney that you've come across. Our family experiences there weren't that great (but that was some years ago). We found Brisbane to be far superior. Unfortunately, restaurants/cafes that offer gluten free options up north have become more scarce in the last few years.

But... there is a good cafe in on the River if you head up to North Queensland some time. They (currently, anyway) prepare cakes (most of which are gluten free), which are a real treat. Great to have them down the road from the new house we just bought (after moving from the Atherton Tableland region) and now that I'm home, I'll be able to enjoy going there on a regular basis which I missed while at college. :)

Please don't sell yourself short. You have much to offer the business world! You would probably make a wonderful teacher with your skills and natural abilities; however, while you're going to school, I think you may have a great career in some type of customer service position--believe me when I say that exceptional writing and communication skills are very hard to find.

Take some time to recover, regain your confidence, make plans, and then take advantage of the opportunities that I know await you. I have no doubt that you will be successful.


My Mum concurs with your suggestions. I had my interview for the disability support pension and once we hear back on that (which is likely to be several weeks from now), we'll be able to look at next steps.

Meanwhile, I'm at home and recovering well. I'm starting to regain that bit of weight I lost at college, and feeling a lot healthier. Which is what what I've wanted all along. :)


I'm really sorry about the hard time you had :-(

With regards to not being able to go back to uni, I gather you were "excluded" (for non-Aussies, this is a term they use when you drop out with fails and without following any of the procedures). That doesn't mean you are excluded for life, you just need to explain when you reapply what went wrong and that you're in a better position to be successful with study. I got excluded too when I dropped out suddenly when I was 19 but it was fine later when I reapplied and I was able to complete my degree. Have you considered doing distance education and staying at home? The University of New England are great for distance studies and there are other places too. I really enjoy distance education, I can work full time and fit in my studies. I've actually found it easier to get to know other students too because before we were all commuting and super busy (Australian unis don't tend to have the same community aspect, most students live at home and commute, or in shared flats. Living on campus is pretty rare).


Actually, I was one of the less common types of students (as you probably read above) that actually did attend a residential college.

As far my university record went, I began in 2010 and passed most of my first semester courses (followed by me failing most of my second semester courses). In 2011, I passed all of my first semester courses but then failed all of my second semester courses (as I noticed my health deteriorating) and was placed on academic probation. In 2012, I failed all of my first semester courses (with marks like 13 out of 100) and (as you quoted above) was excluded from the University and would have to show cause if I wished to continue my studies in that particular program.

I also gather that, reading between the lines, the admin staff (including sub deans) at my residential college were keen to see me go.

I didn't wish to go down the "self-catered" accommodation route because we worried that buying groceries and cooking meals would hinder my ability to concentrate on my studies. My heart didn't seem to be in it like it should have been and so I decided to "pull the pin" (so to speak) and come home.

I did well in my senior studies at high school, so I'm hoping that this will still count for something (should I wish to attend university in the future). I have no idea how they determine whether one is eligible or not but, given the record above I'm very doubtful. :unsure:
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#9 rosetapper23

 
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Posted 21 August 2012 - 09:08 PM

You express yourself so extremely well, I hope you consider writing a novel while you await your government's decision....and, no, I'm not kidding! Please don't waste your writing talents! I used to teach writing at a private college, so I reocgnize excellent writing when I read it. You're very gifted...and I hope you explore all of the opportunities available to you.

You're still very young, and once you get a handle on your health issues, I imagine that your future will be bright. Thank you for sharing your dilemma with us, and I sincerely hope that you can get back on the right path.

Give your American mum a high-five for me!
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#10 anabananakins

 
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Posted 23 August 2012 - 09:12 PM

Actually, I was one of the less common types of students (as you probably read above) that actually did attend a residential college.

As far my university record went, I began in 2010 and passed most of my first semester courses (followed by me failing most of my second semester courses). In 2011, I passed all of my first semester courses but then failed all of my second semester courses (as I noticed my health deteriorating) and was placed on academic probation. In 2012, I failed all of my first semester courses (with marks like 13 out of 100) and (as you quoted above) was excluded from the University and would have to show cause if I wished to continue my studies in that particular program.

I also gather that, reading between the lines, the admin staff (including sub deans) at my residential college were keen to see me go.

I didn't wish to go down the "self-catered" accommodation route because we worried that buying groceries and cooking meals would hinder my ability to concentrate on my studies. My heart didn't seem to be in it like it should have been and so I decided to "pull the pin" (so to speak) and come home.

I did well in my senior studies at high school, so I'm hoping that this will still count for something (should I wish to attend university in the future). I have no idea how they determine whether one is eligible or not but, given the record above I'm very doubtful. :unsure:


Yes, I saw that you were in a residential college, that bit of my post was more for general info. I can understand why you'd want to be in one, but the time taken to prep meals isn't too much after you get used to it, perhaps you could practice while you're at home?

It sounds like you've already shown that you can achieve at university and you've just had some big struggles that were beyond your control. Seriously, for the reasons you were excluded they *do not* exclude you for life. It's not like you were thrown out for cheating. You can absolutely go back again when you're ready. You'll just have to do a more detailed application as they will no longer just look at your school records. In my second year I started dropping subjects until eventually I dropped the last two after the cut off and was asked to 'show cause' for my two failures for withdrawing after the cut off. I didn't and I was excluded. I reapplied a few years later (for another course) and was too lazy to do a supporting statement. I didn't get in. When I called the university to ask if that was why they said I would've been admitted if I'd done the statement. Lesson learned and the following year I applied again with a supporting statement explaining what had happened. I included a letter from my doctor (I dropped out because I was depressed, even though I wasn't being treated at the time).

Don't let anyone tell you that you won't be able to go back to university. Don't even tell yourself that. You absolutely can. If you want to stay home, then I highly recommend distance education. You have a supportive family. I was 25 by the time I finished; I'd been incredibly depressed and incredibly broke but I managed it and you can too :)
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#11 justlisa

 
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Posted 23 August 2012 - 11:13 PM

ICM,

I've been following your thread...just wanted to stop in and say, I'm proud of you.

Also, have you given any thought to online colleges/universities?
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#12 icm

 
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Posted 03 September 2012 - 06:15 AM

Thank you all for your support. A lot has happened since I last responded to this thread (including Government decisions, helping out with fixing up our recently bought house), and more.

You express yourself so extremely well, I hope you consider writing a novel while you await your government's decision....and, no, I'm not kidding! Please don't waste your writing talents! I used to teach writing at a private college, so I reocgnize excellent writing when I read it. You're very gifted...and I hope you explore all of the opportunities available to you.

You're still very young, and once you get a handle on your health issues, I imagine that your future will be bright. Thank you for sharing your dilemma with us, and I sincerely hope that you can get back on the right path.

Give your American mum a high-five for me!


My mum was right about my needing to go through disability services, as I actually did qualify for a disability allowance and have just attended my first appointment at the local Disability Employment Services centre. So while I might not redeem *all* that was spent on my studies and catered dorm life, it is definitely a start.

I will be looking into possibly getting some work experience in time. I will also be participating in some work skills sessions run by the DES centre within the next few weeks.

The suggestion about writing a book sounds great. I have a good collection of well over 15 DVDs that contain video recordings of me in my home program (1994-1997) that I just finished editing. They may become useful years from now. I was never a straight A student in English (I excelled in Information Technology and Music) - If I can recall (at this late time of night) my writing skills came from my Mum teaching me during my early home program.

Don't let anyone tell you that you won't be able to go back to university. Don't even tell yourself that. You absolutely can. If you want to stay home, then I highly recommend distance education. You have a supportive family. I was 25 by the time I finished; I'd been incredibly depressed and incredibly broke but I managed it and you can too :)


Thank you so much for sharing your story. I do not plan on returning to my studies at this time but will absolutely keep your suggestion on hand should I someday return to tertiary study.

I've been helping Dad with lots of housework at our new place and we've actually accomplished a lot! Far more within the last few months than probably in years had I stayed down at uni. So it's not all bad after all. :)
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#13 rosetapper23

 
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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:47 PM

It appears that you have a plan--that's great! Obviously, you possess a number of talents, and you'll have to learn through experience which ones to apply to make your future successful...and to be happy while you're at it.

Your home life sounds very peaceful right now, and I'm sure your parents love having you at home. So glad to hear about your ability to earn a disability income (yay!), which will help ease the adjustments to a new way of life for you. You're at a fork in the road, so to speak, and opportunities abound--good luck to you!
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#14 icm

 
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Posted 07 September 2012 - 05:33 AM

Earlier today, I received an email from the University.

Dear icm,
 
SUBJECT:  Academic Progress (Undergraduate)
   Outcome
 
The Academic Progress Committee recently considered your academic progress standing, with particular reference to semester 1 2012 study.
 
The Academic Progress Committee noted that you have voluntarily discontinued from your program; your academic record reflects this decision.


I withdrew from the program a long time ago... So...

This email came through pretty late, as most students are already well into their current (i.e. Semester 2, 2012) semester of study. Now, I have a question...

What does it mean when they use the word "standing" as quoted below:

The Academic Progress Committee recently considered your academic progress standing, with particular reference to semester 1 2012 study.
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#15 shadowicewolf

 
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Posted 12 September 2012 - 09:41 PM

Errr... typically, standing is where you are at now. So basically what your gradepoint adverage for your classes. From my understanding, they reviewed your record up until you started to go down hill.
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