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Articles > Student Life December, 03, 2007

Why I’m going to drop out of University

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I’ve had enough. I really can’t stand it anymore. Tomorrow morning I’m going to ring my parents and tell them to come and get me from Uni and I’m never going to return.

Ok…so that might be a little over dramatic, but I’m almost certain that this thought crosses every student’s mind every once in a while. But come the clear light of morning you realise that things aren’t really so bad after all.

Even if you don’t seriously consider leaving, there are plenty of stresses in your University ‘career’ that bring with them the temptation to give up.

As a fresher, the first obstacle to overcome is the ‘I don’t know anyone’ dilemma. You’re thrown headfirst into an intimidating situation with a load of strangers whom you have to make friends with from scratch.  It’s like the first day of primary school all over again, except with a lot more alcohol and hormones. “What if I don’t fit in?” you ask yourself, “what if I don’t find anyone I like?”  Or even worse: “what if no one likes me?” These thoughts are obviously terrifying but there are so many different people to meet, especially in halls that you’re bound to find people who share your interests and they’re all in the same boat as you are.

My main problem was forming judgments of people too quickly. The girls I met on my second day and thought “God what bimbos, there’s no way they’d gel with my rock-chick image” turned out to be the nicest people ever and have been my best friends and housemates for 2 years.

Also in the first year comes the stark realisation: ‘Oh my god, I’ve had my mum’s home cooking for 18 years, how on earth will I live without it?!’  If you’re in catered halls then you’re pretty much sorted, unless you’re particularly fussy because the food really isn’t up to much. But if you’re in self-catered accommodation then you’re out in the big wide world of planning and cooking meals yourself. And even then you get so bored of living on beans-on-toast or pasta that your cooking skills slowly but surely develop.

Next is the ‘Who the hell do I live with next year? I can’t make up my mind; maybe I’ll just drop out and move home’ dilemma. After being at Uni for only two to three months you’re expected to make this massive decision. It’s definitely a tough one.

The first wave of ‘I’m pretty poor right now’ also strikes. Money starts to dwindle, your overdraft begins to shrink and often the temptation to prevent any more accumulation of debt by quitting and working full-time seems overwhelming.

Then comes second year and living in a student house. Depending on the standard of your accommodation, you could be met with mould, damp and even vermin, far from the luxury you’ve enjoyed at home for approaching two decades. And there are the arguments with your housemates; there may be few or there may be many but most will leave you missing home and longing for the petty squabble with your brother or sister.

It’s now that the ‘I’m really rather poor right now’ feeling really starts to grate.

Come third year what really starts to hit home is the back-breaking workload, first year’s pretty much a breeze, second year is difficult in comparison but in light of what hits you in third year it’s nothing. Again, it’s ever so tempting to get a 9-5 job that doesn’t require slaving away during what seems like every waking hour.

I swear hangovers get worse as you age. In third year one feeling certainly becomes more frequent: The ‘I’ve got the worst hangover anyone in the world has ever had, I don’t think I’m ever going to recover, I must quit right away…once I can face moving from my bed’ dilemma. Well this one’s not that much of a toughie to overcome. Take some Alka-Seltzer and next time, just don’t mix your drinks.

I for one have personally suffered all of these anxieties and have often thought how easy it would be to just quit, but I’m still here enjoying the challenges and by God has it been worth it!

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  1. Fynn

    Wow, I posted the last reply so long ago! I did leave Newport university and didn’t quite complete my first year…. But It was the best decision of my life!! Although I would have finished a degree by now if I’d have powered through unhappily, but now, at 24, I am back at university, in my 1st year at Trinity Saint David in Carmarthen studying Music and Media and through the medium of Welsh language. Although I am a lot older than a lot of students here I am now mature enough, and know myself well enough to know what I want and how to get there. You have to work, but if your heart isn’t in it, it’s not worth wasting your time or other peoples. Take time out, get to know yourself, learn about the world, go and experience different places and go on many adventures and learn to respect others and love who you are! Then you will be ready to study hard and actually make the most of your time at university, and ready to part with £3000+ a year for all the right reasons, not because that’s the done thing nowadays.
    P.s. Never let a boyfriend and/or family’s stop you from reaching your goals. By the time you finish you will go home and nothing will have changed, and if your boyfriend loves you, you will make it work and he will be there for you every step of the way until you have completed what you need to do. Not saying it’s easy, but when your young if you can’t grow separately and come back together and still be able to grow together they might not be Mr/Mrs Right after all. “Young hearts run free, never be hung up like my man and me.”

  2. JP response to the bf thing…its crap…I did a gap year and did a ski season and travelled so was away form home for 8 months….and i missed my bf who stayed at home…I miss him more now though, and my family. Im dropping out because of it basically!

  3. scaryfairy

    Thanks for writing this! I’m about to start my first year of law, and I’m terrified! Wasn’t until I read this that I realised it is JUST like starting school 🙂 Tell yo what though – a gap year REALLY helps on the missing home front. I only went abroad for 3 months, but that’s longer than any of my terms are, so it’s really prepared me for being away from home, as well as learning to budget and cook fairly minimalistically. The only thing that’s going to be weird is being away from the boyfriend I’ve lived with for the past 2 yeas. Any advice, anyone…?

  4. Emily Spaven

    Ohh thanks for your kind comments guys! Well I’ve finished university now and I can’t stop crying, it truly was the best time of my life and I’m so sad to be leaving. Third year was extremely hard but also so much fun I just can’t describe. To anyone who’s scared about going to University…please don’t be, I have so many memories and I have learnt so much that the time really has been invaluable. To those already there and not enjoying it: I really hated my first year but I stuck it out and it just got better and better. Right…now I’ve got to find a job….oh bugger. Emily xxx

  5. Hajira Ali

    Hey. Although i’m in my first year at college, this article have given me something to think about and prepare myself for University. I’m glad i have come across this article becasue now i know more about the life in university. i havd heard people talking about it but this artcile is unique and says alot more than i have heard. A great article and a greatguide with advice to whoever wants to go to university. GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!! =]

  6. Despoina

    I accepted a place at University starting in September… I’m really worried about losing my friends and starting a new life in London..It’s because I finish school this year and it’s a great change for me… However,I’m really excited about studying what I really wanted to and I’m looking forward starting my new life!!!!

  7. Julia

    I’ve just accepted a place at University starting in September. I’m only 17 and I’m so worried that I’m not going to know anyone and everything. I’m staying at home but none of my friends will be doing my course. I’m actually dreading it. I really want to go this year even though I’m young, I’m just really worried.

  8. Nadia

    ohh, that’s an interesting article, really! i’ve enjoyed reading about student’s lives at univ, and their feelings and so on. i’m the last year in high school, living in an eastern european country where the univ life it’s different. i applied for a business course at a univ in uk, and now i found out what i’ll have to go through 🙂

  9. ImZ

    LooooL, its all to familiare. why we put ourself’s through this i really dont know and yet we still battle through. because we all know that when it comes down to it…without a degree we’ll never be able to fulfil those life long dreams we’ve had. and because of that we cry, sweat and swear our way through 3,4 or even 5 years. because when we’ve run out of tears, sweat and swear words we’ll replace them with laughs and happy memories of all those nights we went out to burn our student loans on drinks and clubbing….XxX

  10. David

    I’m a first year medical student so I can say that I’m experiencing that but moreso than some. I’ve five years to do at university. That is a lot of debt to accumulate and thats a long time to be in education. I’ve already spent fourteen years in education and another five seem a long time. I’m currently trying to gather people for house for next year whilst hearing horror stories from some second years about their houses. I have pretty much about 25-30 hours of contact time every week so more than most courses, meaning I have more work to do and less time to do it. I could go and quit university, go back home and get a job BUT I’m loving my course, get along with my flatmates most of the time and I just hope I can manage to make it the whole way through without being forced off the course by failing some minor exam early in the course. My main worries has been and will be about being capable, not just for graduating but because I don’t want killing a patient on my conscience later on.

  11. Beth

    You describe my life. Being a student sucks. We shouldn’t have to make the choice to come to uni at 18. Can you honestly say that you are mature enough to? I’m 22 and looking back, I was a baby at 18- I should never have gone to uni. £15k worth of debt just isn’t worth the piece of paper we get when we finish. I’m sorry, but people going to uni for the sake of it are as deluded as I was.

  12. amy

    wait, thats my life youre describing!! I came back after xmas thinking i was sure i wanted to drop out. I’d planned my little speech to my tutor and everything. But now I’m here again I’m feeling i ought to fight for it. After all a Fine Art degree was at one stage a lifelong dream of sorts. …worst dream-come-true ever. just have to pray to god that one way or another I’m not wasting my time.

  13. Denise

    It’s such a shame that you feel so unhappy. Why don’t you talk to your personal tutor? That’s what they’re there for.

  14. Fynn Furlong

    All the things mentioned are true. My point of view slightly differs as I did an Art foundation last year and absolutely loved it! I stayed at the university I did my foundation at because it seemed good the previous year. As soon as I started this course it’s been nothing but disappointment after disappointment. I feel robbed that the fee is £3000+ & what am I getting for that??? The Fine Art space leaves much to be desired, and not enough space for the number students on the course, the tutor needs a reality check, there are no art supplies at all, we are lucky if we can get a piece of paper! And for those of us commuting it can be very difficult to do so on a daily basis! If they are not supplying art materials, the least I should have there is a drawer/locker to keep my things in over night/during term. I get talked at for an hour once a week, and feel very let down by my university making false promises! I really want to drop out but I will have to pay back all that wasted money & I would have wasted my time, also the other course that I am interested in, I have missed too much and will be extremely difficult to make up for lost time so I might have to differ until next year, yet again another year lost to education! I’ve always said if you’re not happy don’t do it, so I am in a right pickle at the moment! I hate my course rather than my university, but all the same I am very very unhappy.

  15. liz

    I couldn’t get a place in halls, so am living in London and commuting to Uni, and working 20 hours a week in a shop just so I can pay the rent (am still on the edge of my overdraft constantly). It’s hard, that’s for sure. I don’t regret it, but I do miss just working like I did in my gap year. I miss my family and friends a lot, and have little time for the ones I do have. And this is only my first year so God knows how I’ll do the rest. The degree is worth it so I won’t drop out, but that’s one of the only reasons I’m not.

  16. maiher

    this is so true im a first yr english lit student, i love the uni, the course and the city but im very very far away from home so when i’m feeling no one likes me i truly am alone i’ve just had to battle through it. i still feel this way but i know if i want my degree these are sacrifices i have to make. p.s i am so skint right now lol

  17. siobhan

    i quite enjoyed reading that article, cnt really say i know wher ur coming fromreally. Im in my frist year n its just like college really, take notes, write assignment, hand it in and pray 4 a good grade. im not particularly enjoying uni life any more than i enjoyed college life. the part i do agree with is the “im so broke right now” feeling, i think every student that ever lives will hav that problem for the duration of their uni life. (except 4 those rich kids who have parents 2 pay 4 it) boo hoo

  18. Chan

    Im thinking of going into halls in second year and at a different uni, I hope its gonna be worth it.

  19. lauz

    i agree!!!! im in my 1st year doing a law degree, and i rele thinkin, seriously is this what i want?? should i drop out and do something else???, bein in education for a long time does get borin after a bit, and a 9-5 job would seem pratical, not having to “slave away every waking hour” im going to carry on cos i do enjoy bits of university, and want to continue cos like emily said 1st year a breeze compaired to the other years, gonna have to take ur word 4 it, i still 1st year lol, but i have had mixed feelings, specially after my car crash, a couldnt attened for several weeks and missed alot, on both social and the academic side of university. which is very hard to get back into!!! its everyones diffrent opinions to university, but im guessin current students and pre-students arent goin for their health espeically with the amount of debt we gonna be in once uni’s finished so it is probably best to stick at it, and not worry bout paybacks until you finished and in a decent job!!