Why Dropping out of University was the Best Decision I Made for Myself

Personal Background

Since middle school doing well in the education system has come naturally to me. This lead to to the University pathway in highschool. I can tell you looking back now, that I cared a little too much about the numbers of it all. The fact that I would be disappointed with myself if my grade fell below an 80% is a little sickening to be honest. I was your typical overachiever and I’m sure many people had big plans for me, ones that I even had for myself.

I was a perfect candidate

University level courses, high average, overachiever. Don’t even try to tell me I shouldn’t go to University, “it was what I was destined for” attitude. At this point my attitude was very entitled, very much “I worked hard for this” I’m doing it. Probably if anyone had told me at this time not to go to University I would have told them where to go. I was the perfect candidate that Universities need to make their money! So off I went to Western University to join the “prestigious” Medical Sciences Program, attitude in tail.

Making the Decision
cont. from Summer in Alberta

I was not going to be happy graduating with a diploma that was generated from a bunch of 50’s and 60’s”

I decided to return to University for my second year after spending my summer in Alberta because I wanted to consider that first year was supposed to be hard and it would get better like everyone said. So off I went from Alberta with an emotional departure from Landon and back to a long distance relationship. Second year didn’t go any smoother even with my refreshed attitude, I really tried to go out of my way to help myself be more successful. I ended up failing all of my science course midterms. After this happened I sought out help from professors. My chemistry prof told me he was unable to go over what I did wrong on my exam because if he did that for me he would have to do it for everyone. This was my breaking point. I was at Western to learn not to be another one of their population statistics. Over that week I seriously considered if dropping out was what I wanted to do. I talked to my parents about it and they were more than supportive about my choice to leave. My mom would cry on the phone with me because she hated how upset I was about my grades and situation when I would call her. My mom reminded me that at the end of the day, it was my money being wasted. I also met with physchological counsellors because I wanted to make sure I was making this big decision based on fact and not emotion.

The difference between academic counsellors and mental health counsellors on campus

Academic counsellors work in close quarters with the University and are there to promote their business!! So you want to drop your course load? No problem! Why would they be upset about you staying another year or two at the institution where you provide them with 10k a year. I went to the academic counsellors first and all they tried to do to help were methods to lower workload. The individual I spoke with literally told me she didn’t recommend me to drop out. Her concern was losing a paying client, not the clients happiness. Moral of the story, if you need real advice that is unbiased (someone who’s job isn’t to convince you to stay in University) go see the mental health on campus.

The battle with my ego

“Am I really going to be a drop out?” “I worked so hard in highschool to be here” “What will everyone think about me” were just a few of the thoughts running through my head during this time. It took a lot to suck in my pride and make a decision that was going to benefit my own mental health and happiness. The pyschological campus Doctors really helped me in this, literally telling me to follow my heart and to only care about the decision that will bring me the most inner peace.

Im a University dropout and I’m proud to be

I made a choice that benefitted my own happiness. It took a lot of guts to suck in my pride and make this decision. Landon always reminded me though, that it might even take more to drop out of a program than it does to stick with one you hated for four years . Life is not about a straight, clear cut path, it’s about the zig zags and the trial & error. Leaving university was a positive change for me. I was no longer surrounded by a large population of “one track minded” people who believed all there was to life was becoming a Doctor. In addition, the migraines that I repeatedly suffered from during the time I attended university, dissipated almost completely. I’m proud of myself for making this choice for me.

Why I hate the “I just need to get school over with and I’ll be free” Mentality

1.) You’re always free
No one has you strapped to the walls of your post secondary institution. You are making the choice to be there and if you’re not enjoying it, why are you there then?
2.) If you die tomorrow
Accidents happen and life is unpredictable. Honestly you don’t know if you’re going to get in a car accident tomorrow so, sorry if I think it’s wrong to do what you want NOW rather than tomorrow when you might be dead.
3.) You are young and fit now
I would much rather use these days while I can physically do everything I want to do rather than trade them out for the days after I graduate and may have become a paraplegic or developed an illness. Today you are not sick. But tomorrow you could be.
4.) School has no time limit
Guidance and society makes you feel like school needs to be done right away. You can go to school at 80 but you might not be able to climb Everest at 80 as an extreme example
5.) After school life begins (maybe)
I’m not saying that after people graduate they don’t travel but I will postulate the idea that the percentage ratio of those who said they would travel after graduationg and actually did is inconsistant. Just consider the fact that after you graduate, you nailed an internship (especially college graduates) and they hand you your career. Will you say no? You just spent 4-8 years getting there. Will you wait until you retire then, or you get enough vacation time to travel?

​This is my main reason why I have not retried to attend a post secondary institution. I’m not ready to spend the rest of my life obligated to a career.

University wasn’t for me but that doesn’t mean I’m against it!

Yes I dropped out and yes it was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself but do I advocate it? Absololutly not. I think education is very important. If there is something someone is interested in learning, they should learn it. I also believe that sometimes if you are struggling in university there are other solutions than to land on dropping out. These things are as I did; talking to profs, academic counsellors, mental health counsellors.

In Closing

  • If you are in school, please be there for the right reasons and if you are, stop using phrases like “well I’m almost half way done” or “yeah I just have to get this over with”. Be proud that you’re doing what you want to, realize that those phrases don’t make you sound proud
  • Acknowledge that life is precious and everyday that you do something you’re not really enjoying you’re taking away time from doing the things that you do enjoy
  • If you’re seriously unhappy with your situation, change it! Drop out, dump him/her, move … Your options are only constrained by the constraints YOU make.


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