My mom would strongly disagree with me, but I feel like dropping out of University is one of the best things I’ve ever done. And by far one of the most difficult and scary choices I made. It’s been a little over 3 years since then and today I want to get more personal: share with you the reasons why I decided to quit and also what honestly makes me feel like I’m better off than most of my friends who went to Uni after high school.
Before I say anything else, let me state that by no means is this post intended to influence you into any way, especially not into making a big life decision like this. I am aware that education IS important, but for me so is mental health and happiness. So let’s start with the reasons why I dropped out of University.
- I wasn’t passionate about it. Have you ever felt like you got yourself into something just because everybody else is doing it? That’s how I felt. Society tells you that you have to go to University if you want to have/build a future. Your parents do the same. People around me had high hopes seeing I was a good student in high school – at the end of it, after passing all exams I ended up being second best in my highschool, with a 9.36/10 score.
- I did not know what I want. On the last year of high school everyone was stressing out about where they are going and what subject to pursue. While some of them were passionate about something and knew what they wanted to learn or what career they hope for one day, I never knew what I really wanted in life. Sometimes I still don’t. Call me shallow, but I am more interested in immediate results, materialistic stuff and the happiness of a moment rather than a piece of paper with my name on it after 3+ years. Not knowing what I want, I just decided to do something that I thought would be easy, make my family and everybody else happy and get over it, which leads me to my next reason…
- I thought I chose something easy, but in reality I hated it. For me, learning 2 new languages seemed a lot easier than learning marketing techniques, politics or studying law. I learnt English playing online games and later on watching movies without subtitles, it was a piece of cake, so it didn’t seem difficult. But I made the wrong choices. I went for Portuguese as the main language because I thought ‘hey it must be close to Spanish and that one is easy!’. Also, I didn’t have to take an exam to get in, nor did I have to pay any money due to my good highschool grades. German was my second choice and I really enjoyed that one, but Portuguese… oh boy. Let me tell you, apart from writing and other bits and bobs, Portuguese and Spanish are nothing alike. I strongly disliked the language (no offense), not being passionate about it meant I could not remember anything even if my life depended on it and even though I could always find a way to cheat on the exams if I wanted to…
- I saw no point in wasting 3 years of my life doing something I did not enjoy. And not remember anything at the end of it. Okay, maybe I could eventually get some stuff to stay in my brain, but it still wouldn’t have been something that could ever pike my interest. And if it doesn’t make me happy, why the heck should I hang on to it? One of the biggest lessons I learnt in my life (working on that post for next Saturday, keep an eye out for it!) is that if it doesn’t make me happy, content or excited in any way then it has to go.
- Mentally I was not in a right place. Family drama, money problems and so many other things that were making me feel either really miserable or really aggressive. I am not a naturally angry person, nor do I enjoy feeling down, lost or sorry for myself so as I said, it had to go.
- I am not sure if University even really matters where I am from. Ah, Romania… beautiful little country, gorgeous landscapes, lots of stuff to do, but when it comes to corruption and people not even looking at you if there’s nothing in it for them, a University diploma is just as good as toilet paper. Yes, you got that right. If you don’t know the right people, don’t have a ridiculous amount of money prepared or if you aren’t willing to open your mouth or spread your legs, nobody cares if you are a ‘cum laude’ graduate. Sorry mate, but I don’t have a brand new apartment or a flashing car to offer you in order to be taken on an unpaid apprenticeship and my legs are staying closed… which means after all that time spent studying I would end up at Lidl or selling flowers in the market just like everybody else – nothing wrong with that, but I would most definitely expect more after University.
- I would much rather learn something practical. I’m not sure if this is only in Romania, or if it is a common teaching practice, but man, all that theory was doing my head in. If I want to learn a new language, I want to learn how to actually make conversation and it would be cool if my brain could think in that language. Do you know that most of the time my inner talks are in English? I rarely even use Romanian, not even when I daydream or think about something, because my brain is wired to think in English. Do you know how many times I sat my University classes thinking to myself ‘Lady, I want to learn how to SPEAK, not know the whole entire history or how your stupid words morphed and were formed’? Way too many times. I would rather know how to do something without having to stuff my head with all the science behind it. If I wanted to become a scientist, then I would become one, but that’s not for me. Neither is stuffing my head with useless information.
- I wanted to be rewarded for my time, to see results, I wanted money. I did mention in two of the above points that I was struggling with money and that I am more interested in materialistic stuff. In the Christmas/winter break I started writing some articles for a friend, and he would pay me about £1/post, it was easy and having free time meant I could work as much as I needed to and be rewarded for it. £1 may not seem like a lot for you, but for an almost 20 years-old Romanian girl who had no pocket money, it was everything.
- I would not have studied and worked at the same time. Many people do, but personally I would have never had the energy and patience for that kind of stuff. Especially since my classes were at the most weird times ever.
- I was in it for the wrong reasons. One night during my winter break I found one of those quote pictures saying something like “When you want to quit, think why you started”. I dam’ sure wanted to quit. So ok, why did I start? To make my parents happy and proud. Because apparently I have to, that’s what society told me. Because it would get me somewhere, one day… we already covered that one. What about me? Did I start University for myself? Not really, I didn’t even know what job I could get from that in the end anyway. So obviously I started for the wrong reasons, and I wasn’t doing it for myself.
So after the said winter break, when everybody was going back to University in January I decided to drop out. Of course it was not an easy decision, and everybody from my parents, family, friends, ex-boyfriend, to random irrelevant people was against it. EVERYBODY. Not a single person encouraged me to quit what makes me feel miserable and go be happy. They all moaned ‘but education is important!’ or ‘one day you will regret it!’ or ‘you have no future then!!’. And I was standing in front of them, speechless, thinking ‘I did not deny the importance of education, if I regret it I can always sign up again and well, I will have no future after these 3 years anyway.’
Obviously, the sort of work I was doing for my friend died out after half a year, but gaining my own money felt way more rewarding than studying ever did. Put it this way: I was 2nd best student when high school finished. Okay, so what. The joy from being congratulated lasted about… 5 minutes? However buying a pair of jeans with my first ever worked for money was the most satisfying thing ever. Nobody congratulated me for it, but I did not care. I earned it and I was proud of myself.
And I still am proud of myself. As I said in the beginning, I am aware that education and learning is important. If I dropped out of University it doesn’t mean I’m stupid or a waste. It just means that I am more selective with my learning. I learn all the time at work. I learn from the people I come in contact with. I read books that interest me, can teach me something or just make me disconnect for a few hours. Not because I have to, but because I do enjoy it now.
Of course not having any source of income anymore, I decided to come to the UK and start working here. You see, in Romania I only ever worked for my friend and a few of his buddies. I refused to find a 9 to 5 job because all the stress and struggles for £150/month (if even) never seemed worth it. Whereas where I am now, I started getting paid by the hour. I am still on hourly rate. Except £150 is what I make in a night and a half, not in a month. And better yet, I got my job because I gained it. Because a few people believed in me and decided to give me a chance. That for me is trully awesome. The University diploma was, as I expected, not needed.
And now let me tell you what exactly makes me feel like dropping out of University was one of the best things I’ve ever done…
- As I just mentioned, I got my job because of me. If my former manager would have thought I’m dumb, he would not have sent me for an interview with the company I work for today. We only became buddies afterwards, and the interview came with no strings attached.
- I didn’t have to open my legs for a job either. Again, when I got promoted it was because somebody chose to believe in me. That person did not care that I am from a foreign country, that I quit my studies or that I am a 20-something years old girl. That person gave me a promotion thanks to my beliefs (work related, not religious!) and because in his opinion I was the fit candidate for the job, not fit for the sheets.
- My diploma wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere. What I was trying to study vs. what I am doing today have only 1 thing in common: couple of my colleagues are Portuguese. But hey, it’s England so they speak English. My Portuguese or German wouldn’t have gotten me far. They for sure wouldn’t have taught me how to set up machinery, how to lead a team of people or other many how to’s that I need to know for my job.
- I could move abroad. Far away from a joke of a country. Well, the country is beautiful… it’s the people that pollute. And of course somewhere where working is actually rewarding, people are way nicer and more polite and the opportunities are way bigger.
- I am financially independent. To a certain extent of course. I am not rich yet, in spite of the fact that many of my colleagues make me to be a millionaire. But after all my monthly expenses I still put away some money that allow me to do whatever I want. Looking back at the people from my high school (well, either these that I keep in touch with or that I still have on Facebook) there is only a couple of them who can say they work for their money, their job pays off and they are not struggling. I was making a good living when they were only starting their 2nd year of University, and I sure as hell have a better paying job even now, after some of them finished.
- I get to travel!! With most of the money I earn I go in holidays. This only started last year (see my 2016 Highlights post) but honestly it’s so amazing. I feel like I get to learn a lot more about places, people and cultures this way, way more than any of my teachers could have actually taught me. Because it’s something else when you do/experience something yourself. You may not be big on travelling, but I am – I am actually going to start doing some travel posts soon – and I love it. You know what I am doing now, while you’re reading this post? I am strolling around in Dubai. Most of the kids from my high school, including my best friend, are stressing and preparing for their exams. I want to see how many of them have the chance to go to Dubai one day, see the pyramids in Egypt, enjoy the beautiful black sands in Tenerife or do whatever else in which ever country. I know one of them has been to Dubai, another one visited Paris and Spain, but for the most part I don’t actually have my hopes up that they will make it, travelling involved or not.
I did not waste my time. When you eventually come to the conclusion that you only live once, the idea of wasting years of your life doing something you hate is going to scare the living hell out of you. The idea of having to spend 3 years to graduate University, then few more years to further my useless degree terrified me. Because you don’t know if you are going to make it through these 3 years. The way the world works today, you don’t even know if you will make it through the night: drunk drivers, guns, earthquakes, natural disasters, war and so on. I don’t mean to scare you, but I want you to realize that time IS precious and the present is indeed a gift. 🙂
I drive my dream car. Car brand that is, my previous car that was everything I dreamed of I crashed before Christmas (covered it a little bit here). But I do in fact love the car I have. Which makes me think about some of my friends… sure, some of them aren’t bothered about driving or cars. But either way I suppose even my £500 first second-hand, rusty old Clio would have been way too expensive for them. Because University doesn’t mean money, especially not money that you get to spend on what you want. Put it this way, where I am from, you graduate, you get a job, then at the end of the month after you’ve finished paying all your bills you are left with a negative balance. Social life does not mean bills, so given all the money go on household good luck trying to go for a coffee or a meal out.
I make my dreams come true. Yes, most of my dreams are more shallow, we already covered that. But as I said, just because I don’t have a diploma doesn’t mean my life ended or is a waste. Anything I want, I get. And if I can’t get it, I sure as hell put all my energy into it.
I have free time and I am happy. I cannot imagine what having spent 3 years not doing much because ‘I have to study or do my homework’ would have meant. Probably hell, so props to these of you who are or who have gone to University. I like my freedom, and luckily free time is something I can have plenty of when I choose to. All the things I do make me happy. Yeah, I don’t have the best job ever, in terms of I never actually pictured myself working in a factory… nor have I ever dreamed about it. But it pays well and it allows me to do whatever I want whenever I want.
My parents are in fact proud of me, and so are any other relevant people in my life . No, I am not on the career path my parents had in mind, but that’s ok. You know why? Because I chose to be my own person and not make someone else’s dreams come true. Of course I could do more if I wanted to. But I am at a good point in life, I am happy with who I am and how far I’ve became and so are they. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the relationship I have with myself: and I can absolutely say I am at peace, grateful and happy with where I am today.
And there you have it. The reasons why I dropped out of University and why I feel like these have been some amazing 3 years in which I grew as a person a lot more than I expected.
I do feel the need to stress this again, this is not a post to encourage others to drop out or make big life decisions. This is just my story. Maybe one day I will go back, or maybe I won’t. Either way I do not regret any of the choices I made so far. Was it scary and a bit of a bumpy road at times? Of course, but I am 100% proud of myself and my lifestyle. Also, who these of you who are in still in school, I’m not saying that I am better than you. I’m only saying that I am fully content with how my life turned out. 🙂
I don’t usually ask for this, but I would really appreciate you sharing this post on social media! It took a lot to open up and tell a part of my life story like that, so it would mean a lot if more people get to see it. Who knows, someone you know might actually be going through miserable and tough times too.
Anyway, what do you think about today’s post? I plan on expanding my topics from beauty/makeup to personal and travel too. I love writing about things I am passionate about (you can probably tell, 3000 words and counting!) so why not? 🙂
Until next time…