have you been able to get him back on anti-depressants yet? sounds like he needs them?
I think he needs to just buckle down and get this hurdle out of the way. Once it's out of the way, he'll feel less stress and will, theoretically, feel better over all. He's got the plan and the exected outcome figured out. Now he needs to just do the work. It's not fun and it's a headache, and most definitely it's stressful and totally sucks... but he's got to be disciplined and get through if he wants it to go away. He's almost done... so very close. Just a couple of days of suck left and he'll be free (with the exception of Physics). Just tell him "do it to it!"
It sucks when someone else's stress sucks the wind right out of your sails, doesn't it? It's so hard to be excited for yourself when someone else is struggling. Chin up. You will see the other side of this mountain soon.
Congratulations on your certs though!
Pumpkin progress report: I said F it and we gave the cats more face time last night. We closed them both in Pumpkin's room and sat around to watch. Pumpkin went first to the top of the 5-drawer dresser (straight from the floor) and then cornered herself between a chair and the side of the dresser on the floor. Fae just lurked around and hissed occasionally. Fae sniffed some things and settled down on a duffel bag after a while. Pumpkin let Hulky scritch her and then she started to come out from her hiding spot and got on his lap! She does NOT stop moving when you pet her, she was rolling around the whole time. Even when Fae started hissing again, she stayed cozy with Hulky. We let them both roam around Pumpkin's half of the apartment for a few hours. Fae slept on the couch and occasionally hissed at Pumpkin, but there was no real aggressive behavior. I don't think Pumpkin is ready to explore the rest of the apartment yet, but this is really good progress.
It was well-timed too because Hulky was feeling really down in general and esp. about Pumpkin's progress.
Will you keep the cats together from now on then or will you segregate them again? Just curious. I have no idea how to acclimate cats to one another - I guess it would be much like dogs - the one that's been there longest will be alpha and the new member will bow to their greatness after a few pecking order squirmishes. Good luck!
And I hope hulky is about done with that danged homework! What a relief that will be!