Saturday, 27 April 2013

I Am A University Drop Out

I dropped out of university while I was in my third year studying there. Not my finest moment you might think, but actually Im very glad I did.

Uni was never really the best of time for me and after years of schooling, teachers and even family friends telling me 'I would never get anywhere in life if I didn't go to uni' after I passed my A-levels I was off to uni. I decided on a degree I thought I would find interesting and a career option I figured was better then nothing. I decided on a Theology degree while at the same time studying to be a teacher. That would give me three years for my degree and a year for a PGCE (the thing you need to teach). I decided to move out and live in Birmingham where I was studying. It wasn't far from home so I could still see my family, but it was a busy area with lots of things to do, all the time.

My first year at uni ready for a freshers night out

I remember walking into my uni not being phased by the idea of leaving home, everyone else was queueing up with their parents waiting for their room keys, and to set up payment plans and things like that. There I was all alone! Thats when I met what is now my ex! We got chatting for a while and he convinced me to go get my parents not for any reason other then they probably wanted to experience everything with me! So after everything was set up, we trundled up to my room (minus the ex I should say!) and set up my room. Everyone was great on my landing, there were three other girls to share a bathroom and kitchen with. Everything seemed like it would be really good. After the freshers week and returners week (when everyone who isnt in their first year come back) it was down to lectures.

Day out with friends

All I can remember thinking is this whole uni lark was pretty much like school, just longer lessons and more nights out. It was in my first year I got really home sick and really didnt know how to cope. I threw myself head first into going out, pretending to have a good time and forgetting everything else. It was around this time I started dating my ex. He was my first real long term boyfriend, the first guy I had sex with and the first guy I fell in love with. It was a few months of dating that I realised I was withdrawing from everyone and everything. I noticed my own grades slipping but didnt care as in my uni our first year didnt count for our actual degree, I started to talk less, drink more and just generally became miserable. I couldnt pin point it at the time, but it was a mixture of being terribly home sick and being with a person that was wrong for me on an emotional level. At the end of the year, my ex split up with me, I was devastated. My friends rallied round my and knowing I would be home for summer was a good help. However the pain of the breakup was so raw. There are alot of unanswered questions I have, probably the main one is was he cheating on me. I know a few weeks after he was with a new girl and in our last couple of months he always blew me off to see her, but Ive never found out if he cheated or not!!

Me at the end of my first year!

My second year I came back with a new lease of life, I knew which friends had stuck with me during the summer, especially as I lived by none of them, and those first few weeks back were brilliant. I came out of my shell a little, started to be me again. However I still wasnt really enjoying the whole uni experience.

 One of the many nights out in my second year.

I decide to do something about it, I joined sports teams, became part of the badminton team and was a substitute for basketball, hockey and every other sport going! I joined societies including a music and drama one, being behind the scenes and doing all the set work, and I joined the people and planet society. I decided to do some good with that society and chaired it for two years. It meant I did the organising of everything and raised awareness of human rights and environmental issues. However that meant spending alot of time in the student office which meant spending alot of time with my ex as for the second year he was president of the students union, where all that work on societies and sports teams is organised. As I hadnt really got over him at the time, once again I threw myself into drink, nights out and a whole other host of things! I changed my looks alot during this time, as I view this part of my life as trying to find out who I was.

One of my new looks, I walked into a hair dressers and told him to do whatever he wanted!

Bin Bag Ball Anyone?

Sadly with all the drinking, partying, and social life I failed my second year. This was because I failed a school placement for not being prepared enough! As it wasnt something I could fix and pass in the summer break I decided to return on my third year part time, and do my second year again. I knew deep down my heart wasnt in it, I didnt want to be there, but I would end up nowhere without uni right?! I retook a few other subjects in my third year and promised myself I would really get my second year grade the best it could be!

So my third year arrived me and a friend decided to move out of uni accommodation and into a small town by uni that was famed for its student life. Now I knew in my heart uni wasnt really what I wanted, but I felt so many pressures from everyone that I had to be there. So I buckled down in my second year and for a while it was great, until life started to crumble around me. The friend I moved in with moved in her boyfriend, and I felt completely uncomfortable in my own home. People I was retaking my lectures with, knew more then me, and I had the feeling I was completely failing. By this time inwardly I was withdrawing again, and I was only a few months into my third year. Out came my defences again of pretending everything was ok and throwing myself into everything else. I neglected my uni work and went into full of social student. Funnily enough I realised I was finding out who I was and was gaining social confidence. After years of being shy it was a great thing for me. The more I threw myself into social activities the more I forgot my life was falling around me. I hadnt been receiving my student loan (I had no money and the bad side of that was not paying my rent - cue an angry landlord) I had a flat I didnt feel I could sleep in, a degree I was badly failing, and no enthusiasm for the work I was supposed to be doing.

 I found a way to cope, I focused on everything social and good I was doing at uni, my friends, my sports, my society, at my third year I organised nights out for the whole uni, organised a recycling facility for the uni, got them fairtrade status and produced two shows, including making a 6ft puppet that I stood inside and moved for productions the drama group I was in put on. While I concentrated on these, as strange as it sounds I could forget my life was pretty shit. I never stopped at my own place, but people that knew me knew something was wrong. By this time I ended up going back to my ex on a casual basis and realised he made me feel like I was worthless. It was a realisation I needed. Because up until that point I still always wanted to get back with him. As I was focused so much on other people I hadnt realised that my landlord had now phoned home (numerous times) and everyone at home realised how much deep shit I had actually gotten myself in. 

While I had buried my head in the sand as it were, and concentrated on what I achieved in my social life (awards for societies and sports) I forgot that I had a real life. It was almost as if I lived in a fantasy world of friends taking me out and being a social buddy to everyone!  It was about a week before the end of that year that I was told I was being evicted. When my mom rang me that day I hadnt answered my phone to anyone in three months. I decided to answer as I wanted to hear my moms voice. I broke down. I sat in the middle of the road and told her everything. I mean everything, how much debt I was actually in, how miserable I actually was. Despite the offers of being able to return and try again, I declined. I dropped out of uni knowing it wasnt what I wanted. I couldnt do it anymore. Thankfully at that time I really found out who my friends were, they came to me at my greatest time in need, paid for me to go home and helped me out in more ways then any of them ever know. My parents sold alot of their belonging I sold what was to be my car, and with alot of hard work I paid off all my debts. (This year I actually finished paying my parents back too!)

I didnt leave behind my uni life there. I still had alot of friends that were there and I kept going back every now and again to see them all. 

My best friends graduation night ^_^ Im so proud of her

After I left uni I returned to one of the part time jobs I had at matalan. Its where I was re-united with my now partner and a new chapter began in my life. 
Well If you have made it this far, I want to say thanks for reading and I have one simple message for you, Never do something because other people tell you its what you should  be doing. Since leaving uni I met the man of my dreams, got a new full time job, Im now training for a management position (not at matalan I left that job!) I have a new flat, I can control my money, most of all I still have fantastic friends from uni, and while they may live in London, Cornwall and Warwick (no where near me) I know I have friends for life. Am I glad I went to uni? Yes it taught me alot about lifes ups and downs. Am I glad I dropped out of uni? Hell yes!! Ive gone on to be a much happier person. Will I go back to uni? I would never say no, I like the idea of learning something like textiles or fashion design but Im not in any hurry to go back! Although I do miss the messy nights out!!

While this is a long post about a difficult time in my life I learnt alot and if you have any questions dont hesitate to ask them! 

Lots of Love

x x