I Dropped Out of Uni

Sometimes life has a way of not giving us what we want so that it keeps the best for us..png

While I was still in high school, prepping to complete my A-Levels, I was eager to put an end to that chapter and start writing the next one. I was excited for new beginnings and study a subject that I would be a hundred percent passionate about, and to ‘meet the world’ as I wrote in one of my diary entries.

Unfortunately, I was not accepted on the student list of the very selective conjoint degree I was willing to pursue. This left me with a bitter feeling. Still, I accepted the challenge that life had put my way and entered university, hoping that it would turn out to be the right thing for me. The first few weeks were interesting, though not compelling as I’d wish. Then, I slightly started giving in, skipping classes and avoiding the workload. At the same time, I was not getting used to the new environment I was in. My shyness kept hindering me from getting to know my classmates. I was feeling weird, as I’d always had, and like I didn’t belong. But then again, I had also felt this way in high school. And I had felt this way almost everywhere I’d gone. At the end of the first semester, failing my exams, I decided to change my course to study something I knew would rivet me: English. Obviously, classes such as civilization were enthralling, whilst grammar, on the other hand, seemed ludicrous.

A new location and new acquaintances, despite my honorable grades in literature, soon made me give in once again. I started skipping classes again. I was feeling ridiculous, hiding to find a place to eat on my own to the point of eating in the bathroom a few times. I kept on telling myself that I would never fit in at university. Thus, I ended up persuading myself and my family that I didn’t belong at university. My lame explanations were that I just wanted to start studying genuine journalism immediately.

And so, I dropped out after my first year at university.

Despite my family’s disapproval and lack of understanding, I chose to follow my instinct. I did as my heart told me to and this has been the best thing I have ever done. Unlike many tend to think, I’m not giving up studying. I will go back to my studies eventually. I’ve always been fond of listening to lectures, writing essays and reading textbooks. And, at the moment, I do miss doing all of these activities.

Looking back at this first year at university, I’ve come to realize that the reason for my failing may not be that ‘university doesn’t fit my needs’, but perhaps it just wasn’t the right time for me to enter it. Deep down, I am well aware of the fact that I’m not as mature as I like to think of myself. Unlike in the States, gap years are not extremely well thought of here in France, if even talked about. That’s why during senior high, I never ever thought of it. I was made to believe that the only path after high school was higher education. But whether it is at a human level or regards studying, university does require a certain maturity. And there’s nothing wrong in not being ready. Because truth is, as much as it fascinates me, I wasn’t ready to enter these great, wide world.

Society has also made me to believe that coming back at university at twenty (yeah, only twenty!) was not normal, that there was something wrong in it. It’s made me to believe that repeating a year was a bad thing. But none of this is abnormal. Every path in life is different, the same way that every individual is unique, and there’s nothing wrong in being different, in doing different.

There are so many misconceptions about dropping out of university. People who adore studying may drop out too and straight-A’s students are no exception. Dropping out doesn’t mean not going back to it, neither does it mean that you’re going to spend the year doing nothing. In fact, there are many alternatives, such as travelling, getting your very first job or even moving abroad. And, above all, it certainly doesn’t mean that you’ve failed.

Therefore, you must keep faith in yourself. Believe that what you do, no matter where it leads you, is always a good choice. Be it right or wrong to the eyes of your close ones, listen to your heart. Merely by following your instinct and with a bit of rationality, you’re making the right call.

On my last day of senior high, my history teacher asked me what I would be doing the following year. After telling her about my disappointment of being on the rejected list for the much-touted conjoint degree I had applied to, she added something like: ‘Sometimes life has a way of not giving us what we want so that it keeps the best for us.’

That’s what I choose to remember from this experience, because after all I have still learned a lot from it. And perhaps I’ll even be going back there next year. Who knows?

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22 thoughts on “I Dropped Out of Uni

  1. I’m happy for you that you’re finding your own way in life. 🙂

    If university isn’t for you, or not for you at this time, then that’s your truth, and you should live your truth. Heck, there are many successful people who dropped out of college. Below is a website I found that lists a few people you may know. It also contains a wonderful Mark Twain quote: “I have never let school interfere with my education.”


    Keep doing what you’re doing, Giulia. I’m sure the best of everything is coming your way. 🙂

  2. This post was so inspiring! I’ve been applying to university this year and you’ve really made me think about my my choice. While I still think it’s something I really want to try, I definately think it’s something people are pushed towards, despite it not being for everyone!
    Great post!
    Freya xx

  3. ‘university does require a certain maturity’ YES, thank you for that sentence Giulia! I’ll be graduating from high school just in a few days and I decided to take a gap year next year for that exact reason – I don’t feel ready just yet. I feel like I need that time to figure out who I am & what I actually want to do because I’m not sure if I even want to go to university. Whenever people ask me what I’ll be doing after graduation, I never know how to explain why I’m ‘taking a year off’ though but that sentence explains it perfectly. I just need to grow as a person first & become more confident in myself. I really don’t think there’s just one right path to take either & I wish more people realised that x


  4. A beautiful post and i truely believe that there is good in everything and if you bieve you will find it. I went to uni many years ago and i was a shy one to.. i failed some exams and resat some.. but i passed with honours even though my father passed away in my funal year. Society and pressures they mess us up.. but go out and do your thing and believe in your heart.. i am truely grateful for my degree and my time at uni and who i was back then it gave me something… but you know life will always give lesson and experiences and we will always grow and learn if we want to. I think stufying is life long. .. i cant recall whuch week of quotes i posted a quote which is all about life long learning..

    Wish you luck with the game of life and the choices you make.

    Oh yeah in my final year of uni we had mature students come to study..they where 50 plus years old..

    All the best

      1. You in life there is always bigger challenges. I accept my achievements but i never want to be one with a big head. There is a saying..that if one accepts praise then be ready to accept defamation.. therefore humility for me is the base line

  5. I know exactly how you feel, i know like 3 people on my course and yet everyone seems to know everyone, I’ve missed lectures, but luckily the workload isn’t too bad at the minute! Best of luck for the future anyway!

  6. I completely understand the feeling of judgement you get from others and even yourself when you quit something. Most people don’t realize that walking out of one door doesn’t mean that you cant walk into any others. I actually wrote a post today that touches on what led to my decision to drop out of Art School if you’d like to check it out.

  7. I really wish there was a stronger focus on waiting between high school and university if you’re not set on what you want to do. But as it stands there’s a perception that if you’re not studying after high school you’re either lazy or not aspirational enough. But it would’ve done me some good to have waited a semester before starting, to get my head around what was coming. Or even encouraging starting uni with fewer modules to ease into it.

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