This may seem like a bit of a random post but I was thinking the other day about how dropping out of university was genuinely the best decision I have ever made (aside from ending toxic relationships, those were definitely good decisions) and I wanted to tell you all about my experience. You might be a bit confused thinking ‘Oh, but I swear she’s at uni?’ and you’re correct, I am. Let me explain!
Growing up I wanted to be an actress (yep, I know what you’re thinking). I was part of an acting club and I really enjoyed it but I think deep down I knew I wasn’t the best at it. I think I quit at the age of about 14 to start a cheerleading club and I soon realised that my previous dreams of becoming an actress were changing. Also around the time I was 14, I started playing the guitar, singing and attempting to write my own songs. I definitely wanted to be a mini Taylor Swift at the time, going to open mic nights and singing covers and even one or two of my own songs at times! So for a little while I think I thought this could be the plan, but being honest I lacked the confidence, technical skills and probably a good enough voice for it. So gradually I stopped playing as much, stopped writing songs and stopped singing. Which is actually pretty sad. So I’m vowing to myself to start it up again, because I did really enjoy it. But anyway, by the age of about 16 I knew I wasn’t going to be an actress, and I knew I wasn’t going to be the next Taylor Swift, so I got all ‘adult’ next and decided I wanted to be a lawyer!
I’ve always been academic, so I definitely could’ve made a success at being a lawyer, if I put my mind to it. I’ve recently been reading a lot of Beth Sandland’s posts and what she’s taught me is that it’s totally okay to own your abilities and achievements, so I guess that’s what I’m doing here! She is also the most stylish, support and inspiring blogger so if you haven’t already check out her blog at http://bethsandland.co.uk. So I thought law would be a great idea. I remember going to Nottingham University open day 2 years earlier than I needed to apply because I wanted to check it all out! I did some work experience with a barrister and I picked my A-Level subjects based on being able to get into a good university to study law. But, again things changed. I think I decided I didn’t like the idea of such a serious job and If I’m being totally honest a law taster day at Cambridge University, where the university bar SHUT at 10pm and everyone was ridiculously posh, freaked me out a bit and totally put me off the Oxbridge route.
So I was back to square 1. Then it came round to applying for universities and I’m not 100% sure now why, but I decided to apply to study Psychology. I think I thought it would be a safe bet as I enjoyed the subject and thought it would keep my options open, so went for that. Come A-Level results day I easily secured my place at the University of Sheffield to study Psychology and I was mega excited to move to a new city.
However, 2 months into to University and I hated it. I didn’t manage to find a big group of friends that I got on with (there were a couple of lovely girls I met, but other than that!), I chickened out of trying out for the cheerleading society, I was feeling pretty poor, and most importantly I.Hated.My.Course. I remember being sat in lectures completely zoning out, not paying any interest, or when I did listen I was just mega confused as I’d seemed to pick a course that was heavily based on the biological and neuroscience side of psychology, rather than the behavioural side I found interesting. I also had no idea what I was going to do with the degree afterwards. I know people say that doesn’t matter and that you just need the degree, but I think thats changing now. It’s so easy to get a degree now, companies are looking for specific courses or experience. I also wanted some purpose. I’m one of these people that needs to have an end goal to stay motivated and without a clue of what I was going to do for a job when I graduated (despite only being in my first term), I couldn’t see the point. So, in December 2013 I decided to quit.
Beret- Urban Outfitters
Jumper- Urban Outfitters (Sale)
Jeans- Topshop (linked similar)
Reebok Trainers- Urban Outfitters
Sunglasses- Hashtag Sunglasses.com
Bag- Topshop (Old)
I had it all planned out. I’m lucky enough that my Mum and Dad are mega supportive so as long as I had a plan, they’d be fine with it and support me. So, what was the plan?….Well I’d been looking into courses and I came across a couple of Fashion Buying courses in Manchester, Leicester and London. I wasn’t 100% sure on what buying was but once I researched into I realised it would be perfect for me. I’ve always loved fashion, ever since I was a child, but I never thought I could pursue a career in it because I thought fashion was limited to being a designer and I hadn’t done that at GCSE or A-Level (Little did I know). But a course in buying was the perfect mix of creative and academic for me.
In the end I decided to opt for the Fashion Buying/Marketing course at DMU as I didn’t really want to venture to a city as big as Manchester or London at the time and to be honest I really didn’t fancy going back into Halls again. I got a mixed reception from a lot of people who I think expected me to go on to get an academic degree, from a Russell Group university, and achieve great things. I’d see their confused faces clearly thinking ‘Oh, so you’re going from the University of Sheffield studying Psychology, to De Montfort University to study Fashion?’ and it used to really wind me up. Yes I am, and it’s going to be the best decision ever. And it genuinely has been.
Making the choice to drop out of university was the best decision I have ever made. I’ve listed below all of the reasons why it was the best decision and the events as a result that probably wouldn’t have happened.
- I gained 6 months experience as a full time Visual Merchandiser at Topshop (in the gap in-between leaving Sheffield Uni and starting at DMU)
- I’m doing a degree which makes the most of my academic and creative side
- I got the chance to complete a year’s placement as part of my course, at the company George at Asda as an Assistant Buyer.
- I secured a contract for a graduate role before I even started my final year of University
- I’m motivated to finish my degree and pursue a career in Fashion Buying
- I started this fashion blog (something I don’t think I would’ve done if I hadn’t continued to develop my creative side
I have no regrets. Not in the slightest. I can’t begin to imagine having carried on with that course, it would’ve been absolute misery. When I was at Sheffield, for that short fleeting time, there were lots of others like me who hated their course and thought about quitting. But were told to ‘stick it out’ or at least ‘give it a year’. But I genuinely think that is THE WORSE advice you can give someone in that situation. If they genuinely aren’t enjoying their course (not just the like oh I cba to go to lectures type of ‘not enjoying’), they shouldn’t continue with it for the sake of it. I mean, uni is ridiculously expensive for one thing! Secondly, life is too short for being miserable. So for anyone out there perhaps in their first year of uni or for those applying- if you go to university and really don’t like your course and it’s too late to swap to another, don’t be afraid to drop out. Here’s my advice-
- Think of jobs you might enjoy
- If you can’t think of a job you would enjoy (see point 1)- take a year out to think about it (it’s not a problem to be a year or two behind your friends)
- Make a mind map with the skills and experience you would need for your chosen job
- Research university courses/college courses/Apprenticeships
- Apply for 3 options
- Plan what you will do in-between to make your un-expected ‘Gap Yah’ productive
Finally, I think the school system is flawed. It may have changed since I was doing A-Levels almost 5 years ago now, but it feels like schools are machines that just want to get the highest % of students into universities, and especially red brick universities, as possible. If you’re an academic student, it feels like your only option is to apply for academic courses, because you aren’t taught any differently. As I mentioned before, it’s becoming harder and harder to get jobs. Therefore getting the right course and experience is essential. This means, if a college course is best for you- go for it! If an apprenticeship is best for you- go for it! If university is best for you- go for it! But make sure you don’t disregard any path because others push you in a certain direction.
And that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into my life and have maybe taken some inspiration from it. Not all the advice I’ve given will be right for everyone reading, so bare this in mind, it is solely based on my own personal experience. Most importantly do what is right for YOU and what you know will make YOU happy.
Until next time,
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