Why I dropped out of university

It’s all about the course


“University is the best time of your life”, is an expression I think most people have heard. If I’m honest I actually agree with it. It’s an opportunity to start a brand new life: new city, new friends, new way of living and have independence while you’re young. All of this I have loved experiencing since I started university nine weeks ago, but what about the course I’m paying £9,000 a year for? Not so much.

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I think it was about four lectures in I began getting an awful sinking feeling in my stomach. We had just began the course, so how could I be regretting my course choice already? I hadn’t studied Sociology at A-level, but I had done so much research into it and the modules I found so appealing and I was excited to start.

I did my best to ignore this dreaded thought and carried on attending my lectures and threw myself into my work for the first several weeks. But I couldn’t completely ignore my gut feeling as it was impacting me in several ways. I was restless at night, sleeping a maximum of around five hours, I couldn’t eat properly and ended up losing a fair amount of weight, and I was constantly feeling emotional and stressed, even though I was on top of my work and my readings.

Although I was told these problems are fairly common with first years at university, I just knew deep down this is not what I want to be doing for the next three years.

So about seven weeks into the course and about three weeks too late to change courses, or even universities, I acknowledged and accepted I had made a mistake. At first I will admit I was frustrated, confused and really upset with myself for making such a wrong decision, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

For more years than I can remember I have wanted to be a journalist. In fact, I applied in 2014 (deferred entry) and 2015 (because I didn’t get the grades for deferred entry) to study a journalism degree. So here I am, in 2015 studying Sociology…confusing I know. But I now realise the reason I did it – I doubted my capabilities to make it into the journalism industry and have a job which would provide me with a comfortable salary.

So I picked a subject which could open more doors to multiple future careers (even journalism). I ignored what I love most which is being able to write creatively and learn more about about the media industry which has been my ambition throughout my teenage life, and attempted to be a sociological academic wiz kid which I’ve discovered I really am not.

The point I’m making is, you shouldn’t doubt yourself. I’ve always wanted to go into journalism, so why did I make myself believe I couldn’t do it? Saying all this, it hasn’t been the worst experience in the world. I didn’t enjoy my lectures but like I said, I’ve loved the independence and the social life, however I don’t think a good reason to stay at uni is because you love Crazy Tuesday’s in Sobar with your new set of pals.

My friends and I as Zombie smurfs for Halloween, obviously.

So right now, I’m sitting in my bedroom at probably the poshest student accommodation you could get, knowing I’ve made the greatest of friends and had some fun. But I’ve chosen the wrong course. It’s not the end of the world but I still feel anxious about this decision, as anyone would. But reading this article by the Telegraph gave me some reassurance as it quoted a young man who had dropped out and changed courses saying…

“Choosing to switch to English was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had planned for a long time to study law and had a place at one of the UK’s top schools, but studying a rigorous course at a leading institution isn’t much good if it makes you unhappy.”

And that is it in a nutshell. You need to do what makes you happy. Maybe university isn’t for you, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be working at McDonald’s for the rest of your life either. You can still be motivated, learn from your job (whatever that may be), move up the career ladder without having the debt of university. If you’re wanting more evidence of this, read A Little Grey’s blog post, and you will see an example of a girl who prioritised her happiness over higher education, and is succeeding in her career without a degree and in an environment she feels comfortable in.

Feeling much happier now, hot chocolate helps!

Feeling much happier now, hot chocolate seems to help.

I’m still unsure of what I will do myself, whether I will go back to university or if I’ll end up going straight into work, but I now don’t feel like I’ve failed or that I’ve let anyone down, but in fact feel quite brave and driven by the experience and am in a much happier place (probably too much happier as my appetite has come back in full swing and I’ve eaten more jam doughnuts than I can remember). But I have my career goal set and I’m sure one way or another I will get there, even if I have a few hiccups along the way.

If you are having doubts about your course or university, the best thing I can advise is going to speak to your personal academic tutor, and talk through it with family and friends. Better letting out your feelings than keeping them tucked away, you’ll always feel much better for it.