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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45 comments

  1. This is such a helpful post and it was great to see the insight into your experience with university. I'm so worried about what I'm going to do once I leave sixth form but this really does help weigh things up!
    Lauren
    www.teastainedlauren.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Oh that's so good to hear, glad the post helped you! Leaving sixth form is so scary but you'll figure out what's best for you in the end! x

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  2. University is honestly something that still gets me down a bit. I didn't end up going last year for various different reasons and so I decided to reapply again for a different course. I have an interview at the end of the month and if I get in then I'll be living at home which is what I want. As soon as I tell someone that fact I can literally say 'cue the judgy moment' and it'll happen. Everyone's advice is to move out and I don't want that. Sometimes it's almost hard to go against the grain you know?
    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

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    1. Yep there's so much pressure to live in uni, whenevr I say to anyone at uni that I don't live in they're always so shocked but it's definitely better for me x

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  3. Great post and such a great read! It was great to hear what it is actually like living at uni. I lived at home while going to uni and graduated over a year ago, and it was the best decision ever!

    Emma at www.collagemepretty.com

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    1. Living there just wasn't for me, I know loads of people love the lifestyle but I think more people should realise that some people just don't want to! x

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  4. I studied a degree at home and although sometimes I wish I went away I know it was probably a good choice because like you I don't think I was mature enough. It can be a difficult one knowing what fits, well done for changing your mind and going back when you were ready.

    Hannah | Oh January

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    1. I think deep down we all know what's best for us and I knew living there just wasn't for me! x

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  5. I did the exact same. Left home because I felt it was the natural thing to do, left my family & boyfriend to move over 3hours away. I hated it, really didn't enjoy the student lifestyle so after a couple of weeks I left and reapplied to a local uni where I commuted. It worked out so much better for me too, I just don't think the whole 'uni' lifestyle is for everyone xx

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    1. So glad it all worked out for you in the end! There's just so much pressure isn't there xx

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  6. This was such a helpful post and you have a really interesting viewpoint! I sent my UCAS application just this Friday and it's making me so nervous! I'm really thankful that I know what I want to study, Fashion Communication & Promotion (which I discovered through my blog), but all the universities that offer this course are really far away from home and my first choice is nearly 7 hours away! I'm a super shy person and although I drink and like to go out, I think it'll be really hard for me to adapt into a new friendship group etc etc. It was really nice to read this post and get a different perspective about maybe starting university later. There's so much pressure to go to university straight out of sixth form, like you said, but there are definitely other options people need to be aware of!!! xx

    whiteshirtchic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I'm sure you will have a fab time at uni! Living there and the student lifestyle really suits most people but I just knew it was't for me straight away. Good luck with it! xx

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  7. this was such a great post to read. I think so many people have a miserable time at uni but are too scared to drop out due to the intense pressure! I'm so glad you're happy now and took the courage to really make that bold move.

    rachel // Style Soup

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    1. Exactly, it's so expensive and time consuming there's so much pressure to stick it out no matter what! People should definitely be made more aware of other options x

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  8. Really loved hearing your thoughts on this subject! I currently go to a local college and live at home as I wasn't ready to move out. Just thinking about moving away from my family shakes me up. But, next year I have no choice---I'm going to one of the top universities in the country (which don't get me wrong I'm over the moon about!) to study what I've always wanted, but it's three hours away from home. Local universities don't offer the program I want to major in so I'm just going to have to brave it up! Thanks again for the lovely post, Amy <3
    xxx
    She Will Be

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    1. Aw so glad you like the post! Good luck with the move, I'm sure you'll love your course, it can just be a bit daunting at first! xx

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  9. This is a great post. My boyfriend felt pressured into university and ended up having a full breakdown at the start of second year. He intermitted that year, completed second year the next year (whilst commuting 90 minutes each way) and is now in his final year and back living there again - so there's another option to staying or dropping out too. Of course, this only worked cos he wanted to do the course he was already on! Wishing you all the best in the rest of your degree! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Oh that's awful, so happy to hear he's doing okay with his degree now though! x

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  10. I am so glad you wrote this as I completely agree, I started brighton in 2012 doing english and had the shittest time, I hated it and got really depressed so then start Open Uni in 2014 and it is SO much better! Going to uni isn't for everyone or the only route xxx

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    1. You're so right, there is way too much pressure to go! xx

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  11. This is a great post; I genuinely enjoyed the read. I can totally relate. I really wish now that I had taken a gap year to work full-time so that I could put some money away and gain a little bit of confidence when it comes to the workplace. I rushed into university because it was the done thing and seemed like the only logical thing to do at the time. I study law in central London and will be graduating in June. I am just thankful that I didn't let anyone pressure me into moving away to uni! Commuting can be a real pain, but I just wasn't ready to leave home and everything I know. I kept the same part-time job and am still close to my boyfriend of four years. For me, that was the best decision!

    Laura | Lala London: Beauty & Lifestyle

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    1. Exactly the same as me, I just wasn't ready to move! There is so much pressure to go straight to uni from sixth form, a lot of people just don't even get the chance to consider a gap year if they aren't travellling! xx

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  12. well said Amy! it's so true tho, how on earth are we meant to decide the rest of our lives at such a young age, no wonder so many people supposedly "get it wrong" the first time. It's good to read that it's okay to start over!
    BeHappyyy

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    1. Yep I know! So many people end up choosing the wrong course simply because they don't know what they want inthe long term, it's quite sad really xx

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  13. I've been in a similar situation (blogged about it too - in fact I recently blogged about the whole 'my scholarship didn't make things any easier' issue) and I just wanted to say I understand. I re-enrolled at my hometown and couldn't afford it, and then I just sort of gave up. I'm happy being self-taught. But I'm glad you're back at uni - actually, law is the only thing I still think I'd study if I had the chance to go back to school!

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    1. So glad you're happy with being self-taught, if that's what makes you happy then that's most important thing! I love doing Law it's something I'm interested in and I'm so glad I decded to make the switch

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  14. I was lucky & completely loved uni and the whole experience of moving away.. but I do agree that there is far too much pressure put on teenagers to have everything planning out... who knows what they want to do at 18/19?! I graduated at a year ago and (despite working for a year now) still don't have a clue what I want to do.

    This a great post for showing it's okay to not know or that uni isnt for everyone :)

    x

    Small&Blonde♥

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    1. So glad you loved uni and had a great time, so many people do really love and it is the making of them but there shouldn't be anywhere near as much pressure on young people! x

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  15. Really agree with this post Amy, I decided to defer my uni entry for a year and although I didn't do anything except work during my gap year, I felt so much more ready for it, I just couldn't have coped if I hadn't. I also decided to stay living at home and drive to uni and it was the better decision for me personally, I had some great times partying at uni and made the best friend I've ever had so I'm eternally thankful for uni, but I wouldn't change anything. Stick with your gut.

    Lucy x- Yellowicing

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    1. Yeah i was the same and just worked for the gap year, it really made me feel more prepared! Fab to hear you enjoyed it in the end xx

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  16. I did a very similar thing to you and had an 'accidental gap year' after deciding to leave my first uni and start afresh at another. I still think I rushed into university to be honest but I know my experience was better having had a trial run the first time :)
    Megan x
    London Callings

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    1. Accidental gap year is the best way to describe it ha! Great to hear your experience was a good one in the end! x

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  17. Really loved reading this as am in the middle of deciding whether or not to go back to Paris for the second semester, or whether to just take the rest of the year off and work etc.
    I'm glad that you found your year off such a positive experience - so so comforting to me as I'm feeling so mixed about taking my own.
    Fingers crossed I will go back to Paris, but if I don't I know its not the end of the world!

    Imii xx | nettleandblackberry.com

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    1. Aw Imii I hope you get it sorted soon! It must be such a hard time for you at the minute but it will work out in the end! xx

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  18. This is so relatable. My first semester at university was very similar to yours but I decided to stick with it. Can honestly say it is a huge source of unhappiness for me though x

    Martha Jane | http://www.marthajanemusic.com

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    1. Oh no! I really hope it works out for you, I'm sure once you have your degree you'll be glad you stuck with it but I honestly hope it gets better for you! x

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  19. Needed this, seriously. My parents expect me to go to uni next year, but I personally don't think it's for me. I don't want to go into uni if I'm not so into it, you know? It'd be a waste of money. And the worse part is, yes it'll make me unhappy. I'm so confused right now, what do you think I should do?

    ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

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    1. It's your decision and your decision alone and you are the only person who knows what is best for you! You have your whole life to decide whether to go to uni or not and if you aren't ready now there's nothing wrong with that. You don't ever have to go if you don't want to. Like you said it would be a huge waste of your money and your time to do something for three years you aren't entirely happy with. Really hope it works out for you! xx

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  20. This is a lovely post, because there is such social pressure to leave school/college and go straight to uni. It's good to hear another side to the story. Personally, I did go straight to uni and ended up choosing the right course for me... But to be honest that was probably sheer luck more than anything - it's so hard to decide what you want to do when you're a teen!

    Claire // Technicolour Dreamer

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    1. Definitely, there is so much pressure! Most people who I know love uni but it's okay if you don't too! xx

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  21. This is a great message! I'm still not at an age to go to college, but I do feel a lot of pressure about it from a lot of people around me. I think I know what I want to do, but who knows...

    LIVING IN PLAID - Personal Style Blog from Brussels

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  22. I know how you feel when you say you're not into drinking that was something I struggled with at university. I didn't really have the typical university experience and didn't manage to make any friends as they all wanted to party. I graduated a few years ago and many times I thought of quitting but I knew if I did I would go back. It was made easier as I'd lived with my now husband and drove to uni but I did find it hard.
    I think it's great advice for anyone going to university.

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  23. I have to admit when I applied to study Psychology it was partly because it was the cool thing to study around that time and because I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I don't regret studying it at all though because I enjoyed it and then when I did decide to return to university to study further it was the perfect course to get me onto the Masters I wanted. Another I never dreamt I'd go any further than that in education I did and I know have a PhD x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

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  24. I dropped out of university in May and I have to say it was the best decision I ever made. There is so much hype surrounding university, but the truth is it's just not for everyone. Since leaving uni my health has improved massively and I'm in a job that I enjoy. Remember, you know what's right for you. Don't stay somewhere you're unhappy.

    Alice
    www.aliewah.co.uk

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  25. I know this post is from a while back, but it's helped me so much right now! I suspended my Uni studies for health reasons in January, so still have one term of my degree to finish. I've decided to do it from home; i'm only an hour away from Exeter, as i live near Bristol, so it's absolutely doable. Like you i just didnt get into the uni life - i actually just did a post on getting through Freshers as a homebody! So really empathised with this; thank-you xxx

    Bumble and Be

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