So, as you can see from the title, I dropped out of university.
The one thing I found hardest about it was telling people that I was leaving. In fact, I still haven’t told all my friends that I’ve left, and this is 4 months afterwards. But why not?
The thing is, I think many people view dropping out of university as such a negative thing, like ‘Wow! You’ve left, how awful’, when actually for me it was one of the best decisions, I think I’ve ever made.
One friend who I bumped into recently and didn’t know I had left said to me ‘I’m proud of you for leaving’ and this really resonated with me. It is human nature to not want to admit to being wrong or making a mistake, but the weird thing is that we all do. Yes, some may be bigger mistakes like picking the wrong course but it’s still fixable. My friend was pointing out that it takes guts to admit you’ve made a wrong choice and correct yourself.
Personally, the main reason I left was that I didn’t like my course. I was doing combined honours with a mix of three different subjects. Doing three subjects was hard and I had some issues about fitting in the modules I wanted to do, so ended up doing ones I was less interested in. In hindsight, I can clearly see that I picked the wrong course. I did mainly science A levels but then for some bizarre reason decided to do humanities at university, even though I HATE essays. This time around I have spent many hours researching courses and the specific details of them including modules, contact time, field trips, and much more. After visiting my top three choices, I can almost confidently say that I believe I have made the right decision for my course this time. I am also much happier about the location of the university and the vibe of the town it is in.
So now my advice. My one key bit of advice for people choosing their universities now is to research. The main reason I ended up doing the wrong course was that I didn’t look into what the course involved. I highly encourage you to look at the modules you are going to be taking and see if they interest you, because after all if they don’t, you’re probably not going to enjoy them and want to do work for them.
And my advice for anyone at university, perhaps wondering if they’ve made the right decision is, DON’T PANIC. I remember at one point sitting in one of my lectures and thinking ‘I hate this so much, what am I doing?’ and almost crying right there and then. I can’t promise that everything will end up perfect, but if you follow your instincts, you’ll end up in a better position than you were. If you are thinking about leaving university make sure you don’t rush into it, after all, you may just need more time to settle into your course. I personally stayed at uni for over a month after I’d decided to leave, just in case I realised that the course was growing on me.
Having my impromptu gap year has really helped me to grow (cliché, I know). I’ve realised that you don’t have to rush to university to get started on your career as soon as possible. It’s OK to take time out and think about what you really want to do. While doing A levels the thought of a gap year terrified me. I almost saw it as being left behind as everyone else left to go to university. I also couldn't picture myself going travelling, but now I am and am very excited to go.
I’ve also really appreciated having time out of the education system and the constant stress of deadlines and exams. I know it will be tough going back into it all next year but at this point in my gap year (OK, like only 4 months in) I really miss learning. I never fully appreciated how much school stimulated my passion for learning and I’m excited to learn so much more next year at university.
Oh, and in case any of you were wondering I’m now off to do Conservation Biology, and very much looking forward to it.