Sunday, 8 November 2015

Dropping Out of University Was The Best Thing I Did

I know what you're thinking and yes, I am currently at university. However, some of you may not know that before I started studying law in 2013, I started studying psychology in 2012 and dropped out. I've seen so many people stressing on social media about uni, debating on whether they should or shouldn't have gone or whether the decision they made was right or wrong. I decided to write this post because dropping out of uni is not something I've really talked about but it turned out to be the bets decision I ever made.

I finished my A Levels in 2012 and came out with A*A*A, which I was over the moon about, and this meant I got my place at Durham University to study psychology. I was estatic; my two years of hard work had finally paid off and I was going to one of the best universities in the country. However, I was worried. Like worried worried. I had given into the social pressure that comes with university and I was going to live there, despite the university only being a 15/20 minute drive from my house. For some people, this is the best thing about uni and the main reason they want to go. The partying, the drinking, the social side of it is really what makes university for some people and I honestly felt like I had to live there, not because anyone in particular had pressured me or said anything, but the societal pressure is huge. 

I moved into my room at the end of September 2012 and instantly hated it. It was expensive and my student loan wasn't enough to cover it meaning I'd have to rely on my parents to fund the rest and I'd somehow have to pull money to survive the year from somewhere, and this was one of my main concerns as someone who has always been so careful with money from a very young age. As soon as my parents and Karl left me in my room I just felt lost and didn't know what to do with myself. I went outside my room to join in with the Fresher's Week socialisation and threw myself in at the deep end.

I don't make it a secret that I don't drink and I hated drinking even when I was 19 and had just gone to uni but then I was much less mature and much less inclined to admit it. I just didn't like drinking or "partying" but everyone else around me did and I felt stupid and "boring" so I tried to join in and yes, I'll admit it, I was trying to be someone that I was not. Don't get me wrong, I had some great times while I was living in uni and met some great people who were really supportive of me when I was being miserable or when I just wanted to sit in my room. I was only there for 2 weeks before I dropped out but it felt like a lifetime and if the people on my corridor weren't so great it would have been more like a day. 

The stereotypical student lifestyle of partying, drinking and staying up until 6am every night just wasn't for me and I tried hard to make it for me but it just didn't work. I made the decision that I didn't want to be there very quickly and I went to see my College President who was really supportive of my decision but who also warned me of the dangers of dropping out. There was a lot to consider and I had to make sure I was making the right choice but I think deep down, I knew that I was.

I dropped out of university and it was the best thing I did. I reapplied for a different degree through UCAS and got accepted again at Durham University to study law, something I've always been interested in and most importantly, I decided to drive to university instead of live there which has made the most difference for me. I rushed into choosing psychology and I think that's the case for a lot of people applying for university. One minute you've just left secondary school and the next you're applying for your five universities on UCAS. How are you supposed to know what you want to do for the next sixty years of your life at the age of 17? Heck, I'm 22 and I still don't know the answer to that question.

My year out of university gave me the chance to go into the world of work and build up some skills, build up my confidence and mature. I was not ready for university the first time around and I think there is so much pressure on young people to go to university straight out of sixth form, they really don't think about alternate options. If you drop out of university or don't go at all, you aren't a "failure". As long as it really is what you want to do and you have carefully weighed up all of your options, you can do what you bloody well want. Like uni and like the partying lifestyle? Fabulous. Don't like it and don't want to go to uni? That's fabulous too. The only important person in these situations is you. Don't feel pressured by anyone into doing something you don't want to because chances are, you'll end up unhappy.

Of course, don't let me put you off going to uni. Most of my friends who have moved away absolutely love it and it has been the making of them but I just wanted to make sure that everyone knows that it isn't the only option and it's okay to feel differently to the majority.

Amy x
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