Dropping Out of Uni

Monday, 7 December 2015

So, as from the title you can see I'm dropping out of Uni. There, I said it.  I'm going through the process of leaving university and I've realised not enough people have spoken about dropping out. It's like there's this automatic stigma that if you're a 'university dropout' you're some kind of failure. Its almost like the elephant in the room, if you will. There are many reasons that have cumulated to my decision, and I figured I'm probably not the only person in the world feeling like this. So I started university in September, all bright-eyed and eager to start studying English, something I'd always thoroughly enjoyed. After taking a 'Gap Year' or rather a year that felt like the longest year of my life, I was more than ready to start university. Seeing all of my friends having a wonderful time at uni, meeting lots of new people and generally having a sense of direction in life, had made me so excited to start my new chapter.

Fresher's Week was soon approaching and naturally I started to feel apprehensive about moving away from home, and moving so far away too. Although, I batted these anxieties to the side, optimistic about what living in the capital would bring. Freshers was fun. Lots of drinking, lots of chatting and meeting people, it was all exciting and I was looking forward to starting lectures and getting stuck into university life. As a person who struggles with anxiety, I felt I was taking this whole moving away from home quite well. But, after the first few blurry weeks of overwhelmingness passed, I had a gut feeling I had made a wrong decision. Now, don't get me wrong, I've always been an academic person. I enjoyed school, and worked moderately hard during my A-Levels studying Drama, English Literature and English Language. But there was something about English that just wasn't doing it for me. Yes, I love books. I love reading. I enjoyed analysing texts, I enjoyed applying critical theories to texts, but I wasn't in love with my degree. 

I started to become uninterested in something which I really enjoyed. I couldn't pin-point what was happening, I just knew it wasn't for me. I lost motivation. The texts weren't engaging me and it slowly started to bring me down. After a well rested reading week I figured I would try one last push at trying to make this work. I'm lucky, in that I have such a supportive network around me - I have parents who go to the ends of the earth for me and my siblings, and a level-headed boyfriend I can approach when I need to hear some home-truths. Others around me, like my flatmates, had started to notice I wasn't as bright and bubbly as I had been at the start of term, and then I knew. Something needed to change. It was only making my anxiety worse, and my mood was the lowest it had ever been. 

Don't get me wrong, there were aspects about university I loved - I joined QMA, and I've had the best time with those guys. If I have any advice for anybody starting university, join a sports club or a society! Joining cheerleading was the best decision I've made at uni, it's nice to have a network of people outside of your course and flat. Never did I ever think I'd see the day I'd attempt a back handspring, I was absolutely terrified of doing a backward roll let alone anything remotely gymnastic like. A part of me would just love to continue to year, training with the team and competing with everybody, and it's so frustrating that I just can't. 

Now I'm starting the process of withdrawing from my course, in a hope to pursue a degree with more creativity. From a young age, I've always been a creative person, from drawing and writing and acting, I've always been making things, exploring things, and I felt my degree wasn't allowing that to continue. I don't see myself as a failure, neither do I think my life is over. Yes, I'm 20 years old and next year most of my friends will be in their final year, but at the end of the day people need to stop living their lives wondering what other people are doing. It's an expensive mistake for me to make, and I don't want to get the end of my 3 years and think that I didn't enjoy myself. So, I'm looking out for myself, for my health, and my mind. I need to be challenged, I need to be creative and most importantly I need to be happy. 

I could ramble on all day about the pros and cons of university, but at the end of it all, my course just wasn't for me. I'm no less of a person, in fact, at least I can say I tried. It's definitely been an experience to learn from, there are things I would definitely change about my approach to starting university and I've discovered my strengths and what I enjoy doing. I don't regret applying to studying English at all, I've met some really lovely people and had a blast in London. It's just now time for me to start looking out for myself. So it's back to the drawing board for now.


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