Choosing the right university for you is one of the biggest decisions of your life and trying to know which one will actually suit you is the most difficult thing of all. You may base your decision on where it is on the league tables, what your parents say or what societies you can get involved with. But, what if you make the wrong choice? What do you do if you realise ‘okay, this isn’t for me’ or ‘this isn’t what I thought it was going to be like’ or most importantly ‘I’m not happy here.’
This was my situation. Prior to attending Warwick, I attended St. Andrews. This isn’t an article about me slating St. Andrews. I just want people to hear my story and realise that dropping out shouldn’t have stigma attached to it. Moving to Warwick and taking a year out was the best decision I ever made. I hope that this article will help people realise that you should trust your gut when it comes to changing university, maybe it’s the course or the location, but you need to think, is it really worth it in the long run?
I didn’t fit in and it took time for me to accept that it wasn’t a reflection on me, but rather on the place
People drop out of university for different reasons – from not liking their course to just knowing that it wasn’t the right place for them. For me, it was the latter and I came to this realisation within my first month at St. Andrews. I started to come home a lot, skipped a lot of lectures, hid in my room and was sad all of the time. All completely out of character for me. I could feel myself start to change as a person in a negative way. This was the moment when I knew that I needed to make a change and I saw dropping out as the way to getting back to my usual self.
Another reason why I knew I needed to leave was the jealousy I felt towards others who were thriving at St. Andrews. I started to question why I wasn’t happy when others were and where had I gone wrong? The answer to this only came to me after I left. I didn’t fit in and it took time for me to accept that it wasn’t a reflection on me, but rather on the place. Coming to Warwick and fitting in the way I did proved this to me. It’s nothing wrong with you as a person, it’s just that some places are more suited to you than others.
Leaving university and admitting that you made a mistake is a brave thing to do. I felt so proud of myself when I got the guts to go to the administration office and officially withdraw myself. I felt a mixture of relief and pride as I packed my bags and left. To me, it wasn’t quitting. I left because I knew I could do better things and be happier elsewhere. Therefore, why do people have such negative opinions towards dropping out? If anything, we should admire those who are willing to admit they were wrong. Dropping out is a draining, emotional and long-winded process (at least for me anyway).
No one knows how brave it is to drop out
I am a huge advocate for leaving university if you don’t feel like it is right. I know I am much happier now that I am at Warwick and I will always be grateful to my 18-year-old self for admitting that I made the wrong decision. Yes, you may experience people saying that you are a quitter and that you were not strong enough to stick it out but no one knows how brave it is to drop out. In the end I am stronger and happier and that is the story I will continue telling people.