Dropping out of University

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Photography by the lovely Georgia Sillitoe

Dress – Zara
Shoes – Kurt Geiger
Necklace – Smashglam

A year ago today I broke the news to my Mum, boyfriend, family and friends that I had made the decision to drop out of university.

At the time I felt like my whole world was falling apart, like I was a complete failure and that I was letting everyone down.

Some people may read this and turn their noses up at how dramatic it all might sound but truth be told, this time last year marked a fairly tough period of my life.

I had let everything build up, emotions and anxiety were running very high and I had reached breaking point.

Looking back now, I feel like a completely different person and I’ve come a long way in the last year. I’m proud of myself. And thats not a statement I would have been even close to comfortable with making this time last year.

It’s taken a lot of pep talks, a lot of doubting myself and honestly, a fair few counselling sessions to get me this far. I was so lost, confused and incredibly disappointed. Not only was I disappointed in myself but also with the university as an education system, I felt they had really let me down. I became completely disillusioned with the entire education system and swore blind that I would never go back. Even now as I’m faced with the decision of whether or not to go back to university I feel very reluctant.

University isn’t for everyone and sadly, some of us have to learn that the hard way but if I’ve learnt anything in the last year its that life is far too short to be anything but happy. I try to make a conscious effort now do more things for my own happiness rather than other people’s. At the end of the day, its my life and if I make the decision not to return to uni and it ends up being a massive mistake, then so be it, that’s my mistake to make.

I’m so grateful and incredibly lucky to have such a supportive family and circle of friends around me. Not once in the last year have any of them forced me into making decisions or put pressure on me in any way. For the most part they’ve accepted that this is my path (cringe but accurate) and I decide the route to take and for that I couldn’t be more grateful. I haven’t taken the most conventional route but it’s definitely got me places that I could have only dreamed of as I stared out the window of my lecture halls this time last year.

I dropped out because I was unhappy in many ways. My course wasn’t giving me the fulfilment I needed. As much as I will always find history and politics interesting, my heart is in writing, fashion and a verging on worrying, magazine obsession. My living situation really wasn’t working out and friendships were falling apart before my eyes as I watched in dismay when I found out the hard way who was and wasn’t a true friend. Problems in my personal life crept up and me and as realities set in, I felt myself completely knocked sideways.

Despite being one of the lowest points in my life so far, I still had a little fire inside me and was determined that dropping out of uni wasn’t to go down a route of travelling or finding myself. To be clear I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with taking that route but for me personally, taking this time out was about focusing on my career goals. Ironic considering I’d just given up further education…

Over the last year I’ve learned a lot. I’ve got back some of my confidence. I’ve embraced my love of writing. I’ve developed a slight shopping addiction. I’ve learned the value of surrounding yourself with the right kind of people. I’ve slowly learned not to care what others think. I’ve started drinking coffee. I’ve moved 4000 miles away from home temporarily to intern. I’ve learned to say yes but also that it’s ok to say no sometimes if something isn’t right for you. I’ve learned not to judge others right off the bat because you never know what’s going on with them behind closed doors. I’ve learned that there are so many people out there that want to help, all you have to do is ask. I’ve learned that I don’t cope well without structure and routine. I’ve obsessively watched Sex and the City, read Vogue, ELLE, Cosmo, Stellar and any other magazine I can get my hands on.

Overall, I’ve learned that things don’t always work out the way  you thought they would but in the end it all works out. I’ve still got a long way to go, especially as I’ve now returned to the ever tedious job hunt (anyone looking for an editorial intern/junior writer – I’m your girl) but it’s been a pretty productive year and although making the decision to drop out of uni and leave some of my best friends behind as I moved back home definitely wasn’t easy, I’m so glad I took the plunge to do what was right for me.

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