I have recently read a number of stories about individuals dropping out of university, and I have also spent a decent amount of time telling others why I made the decision to drop out. However, my explanation has been quite minimal. Today, I feel inspired to tell the full story of why I left university, and why it was the best decision I ever made.
While I was at university, I came to the sudden realisation that the career I had spent so long striving for was no longer my dream. It was a terrifying feeling that seemed to smack me in the face and lead to a whirlwind of questions. Should I call it a day? Should I persevere to the end? Should I give up on my dream?
I wasn’t like a lot of young people who struggle to figure out what they want to do in life, as I had envisioned becoming a fashion designer from the age of ten. I loved art and drawing clothes, and I intended to become the founder, manager and designer of an organisation that created clothes for curvier figures.
I set out a step-by-step plan to reach my goal, and nothing or no one was going to deter me. Study Art & Design, Textiles and Business Studies at GCSE. Check. Study Textiles and Business Studies at A-Level. Check. Then before I reached the world of work, there was just one more thing to tick off my checklist. University.
As soon as I knew that I wanted to become a fashion designer, I set my sights on going to the London College of Fashion (LCF). This was my dream university and I was determined that I would be there in September 2010, starting my degree. Completing a Foundation Year was not a part of my plan, which saw me draining myself to create a stand-out portfolio and build on my fashion knowledge to ensure my place on my chosen course.
My hard work did pay off and by the time my A-level results were released, I was enrolled on the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development course. I was excited about taking on an amazing course that combined business intelligence with the creative side of fashion. And to top it all off, it was rounded out perfectly with a placement year in the middle.
However, as I worked through my first term, I sensed that something was wrong. I tried and tried to like my course, but for some reason I couldn’t. No matter how long I stayed, I did not feel comfortable at my beloved LCF. Despite all these warning signs going off in my head, I made the decision to stay put and persevere. This had been my dream for so long and I was not giving up now.
University got harder and harder, and no matter how hard I was trying, it seemed that I was not progressing. In fact, my marks seemed to be getting worse and I hated that, because I have high expectations of myself. I also found myself feeling emotionally and physically drained, as I gave up all of myself to my degree. There were times when I even found myself dreaming about my projects, which was a little unsettling.
When it was finally time for me to find a work placement, I struggled and ultimately ended up without one. This cut me deep, resulting in my feeling rejected, angry and not good enough. It was the wakeup call I so desperately needed to reconsider what it was that I wanted in life.
Instead of taking a placement year, I took a gap year to re-evaluate where my life was heading before returning to final year. However, as I delved deeper into self-meditation, I realised that I no longer wanted to work in fashion, although I did want to complete my final year so that I would at least have a degree.
As I began making the necessary preparations to return to LCF, feelings of distress and unhappiness began to burn up inside me. I finally took the time to really see how sad and depressed my degree had made me over the two years. I knew that my final year would destroy me, so I refused to go back.
Although I still had a strong love and interest in fashion, I could see that my heart was not in it and that a part of me that was not pursuing fashion for the right reasons. Some individuals think I’m crazy for not finishing my degree, but I knew that I had to go back to basics and discover my true calling. However, it wasn’t too hard, because writing has always been my real passion.
Changing my career path threw me off-balance and brought numerous fears to the surface, but that’s okay, because writing is what I truly love. Just like one of my tutors from LCF said, it’s a good thing I discovered this now rather than 10 or 20 years down the line.
Staying at university would have been extremely damaging to my emotional and mental health, especially when I felt that I was not getting the type of support I needed. Leaving LCF was one of the bravest things I’ve ever done and it has helped me to become happier than I’ve been in a long time.
I have also been able to properly kickstart my writing career by gaining experience and working on my own projects, which is what’s important. Although I have no clue about what the future holds for me, I do intend to be successful and prove all those who thought I was crazy completely wrong. Dropping out of university is seriously the best decision I have ever made.