Dropping Out Of University Is Not The End of The World

Hiya everyone!

As some of you may be aware, I dropped out of university in September 2017. Why I hear you ask? For my mental health. I was in first year and I moved to Manchester from the other side of Birmingham on my own and it was terrifying. I honestly don’t think that it was the university situation, I just think it was bad timing. I just think my mental health would have relapsed regardless of whether I was at university or home. I was going through a break up, I was struggling with eating and on top of that, I was thrown into a new city on my own. Probably not a good mix.

So yeah, I dropped out. And I guess you’re either reading this because you’re just curious as to why I’m writing a post about this or because you are thinking about it yourself. I’m here to say it is not the end of the world if you drop out of university. It truly isn’t. If you really think university is for you, then you’ve got the rest of your life to go back.

I’m planning on going back next September to a local university in the Birmingham area. You can do that too. What’s important is how comfortable you feel and how ready you are. There’s no point struggling through a three or four (or more) year course, unhappy because you think you’re trapped and you think it would be a good idea for you to go to university for your career.

I’m telling you it’s not. This day and age, we are forced to believe that we’ll be a nobody stuck in a dead end job if we don’t go to university and get a degree in law or medicine. There are so many ways you can get into your dream job. You don’t have to go university and like I said previously, if you want to go back you can. Whether that be next year or in ten years time.

I know someone who is going an apprenticeship in childcare to become a teacher eventually. It will probably be a lot easier to go to university but she is still getting into her dream career in another path. I know someone who wants to be a nurse and they are doing an apprenticeship for that too. Getting into your chosen job isn’t linear.

The thing is, you’ve gotta put your mental health or physical health first and that’s all there is to it. There’s no point forcing yourself when your health is gonna be whack at the end of it.

Dropping out of university has a lot of negative stigma around it and I’m gonna debunk it ever so quickly. Dropping out of university itself is fairly easy. You simply have to sign a form saying why you are doing so and the date you last went to any lectures and once that’s processed (it took my university a matter of hours), you’re out.

They contact student finance for you. I think this is so someone doesn’t just drop out university and keep the student finance for no reason. If you’ve dropped out for health reasons like me, they are a bit more lenient in terms of repayment because it’s expected that you may eventually return. It’s so simply because you really don’t have to contact student finance and go through that process because the university just kinda ring them up and say “so and so has dropped out so she doesn’t need her finance anymore”.

The hardest part, I’d say is cancelling your contract with student accommodation if you’ve got that. My accommodation company was a private one, not attached to the university, so I’d imagine that if it was university halls they’d do that along with everything else. I had to prove that I wasn’t just dropped out for any reason and that it was for my health. I just had to go to the doctors and get proof of me going to them for support after leaving, to prove that I’m actually ill. I know it’s annoying because what does a simple doctors note prove, but I guess it’s just protocol.

Then that’s that. Done. You’re officially dropped out of university. Bet you thought it was more difficult than that, huh? The reality of things, for me at least, it took just under a week to drop out. This would probably have been shortened if I did everything myself but I was so very ill at that point that I couldn’t do much for myself.

I hope this helps you ever so slightly with your struggles. And remember, if you are thinking about dropping out, it isn’t the end of the world AT ALL. Your life will continue just fine and all that really matters is your health.


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62 thoughts on “Dropping Out Of University Is Not The End of The World

    1. Thank you! Fingers crossed that someone struggling at university will understand it’s okay to do this if it’s truly the right thing! I struggled to find any people who dropped out for whatever reason so hopefully this starts it!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is so true, thanks for sharing! When I made the decision not to go to university, I got a lot of backlash from people around me. But like you said, there are different routes to your dream job and you have to do what’s right for you at the time. I’m glad you did was what was right for you x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am hopefully going back in September but I’m not too sure yet! I feel like I only want to go because it’s the accepted route to go after college but I’m not sure if I’m applying because I genuinely want to go too! It’s difficult!! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It really is! I felt like there was so much pressure to go to uni. I knew so many people who only went because they felt it was what they had to do, and they hated it. At least you have plenty of time to figure it all out x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sophie, you make the world a better place! I dropped out of Villanova in my second year. I had a $15,000 loan that was not paid off until ten years ago. I never returned. My mental health was not good, although I didn’t recognize this at the time. My father lay in a coma, my anorexia at its peak, and I was raped in the dorm room of the man I was “dating” at the time. I can honestly say that I went through another time like this, two years ago, when I put my mental health above a career in private duty nursing. The man was abusive, and I took care of his mute wife, the daughter was schizophrenic and my heart went out to her, but she too became physically abusive. That decision weighed on me for a year, but now I look back, I have won my Social Security case, I have a fulfilling (if not interesting) life and am happier than I have ever been. If you find yourself forcing anything, especially college or career, then it isn’t for you. xo~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry all of that happened to you. It’s fucking dreadful but I glad you feel a lot happier now! That last sentence is truly amazing to me. I think it’s gonna stick with me for years to come! Thank you! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So true! I took a break from college because my depression had gotten so bad. I was a year away from finishing but it was just too difficult to be five hours from home and to only be able to see my psychiatrist to manage medication on breaks. I’m so glad I took that time to heal and I ended up transferring to a school that was a much better place for me. Because I took time off, I was much more motivated when I returned to school. It’s so easy just to get stuck on a conveyor belt, going through the motions of what people expect from you and stop making decisions based on what’s best for yourself. Thank you for speaking out about this! It needs to be talked about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It truly needs to be talked about! I struggled to find any stories about people dropping out online (not just for their mental health, but for whatever reason!) and it was scary for me. But I’ve come out okay so hopefully I can be a story that people find when they are in a similar situation

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you in Manchester, but you are absolutely 100% right to put your mental health first. You are spot on that it isn’t the end of the world. There are many ways to access higher education now, local universities, distance learning and on-line access to education to name a few.
    Good luck with your health and education and I hope one day when you feel up to it, you come back and enjoy Manchester as a visitor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I am visiting on Friday for a concert which I’m both excited for and scared. I feel like I hold Manchester negatively because of what happened but I know as well that it wasn’t the city, it was just the timing. Hopefully it’ll get better in time

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can understand that you associate Manchester negatively. Hope you have a fantastic time at the concert and have some happy experiences and memories of Manchester to counter the negative ones. Best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree with you! I dropped out of uni after moving away from home for it as well because my anxiety got so much worse. That was January 2016, i went back closer to home in September 2016 after getting help and I am now half-way through the entire thing! It is very hard but it is possible, I wish you the best of luck! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this because it’s true, dropping does have a lot of negativity around it. Not going to college or dropping out is never the end of the world and people seem to think that in order to be successful you need college – it’s a must. We really need to change that, and I agree with a lot of the things you say here because as a college student myself, I have found myself struggling with my mental health. Good luck with everything and hopefully you’ll like this new university! x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you made that choice. Only one of my friends who was having a difficult time in school (all for various reasons) decided to leave when he thought it was time. He went back and is also the only one to consider it a positive experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I dropped out of University due to my mental health about 10 years ago now (I am so old :(!) It was one of the best things I did. My only regret was going back the year after to re do my second year. This ended badly and I wish I had just gone home or gone somewhere closer to home to study. Your right, there is so much stigma on dropping out and pressure to have a good time and always go out at University. If I had any advice it would be to not go to University! I feel it was the start of my depression and a Degree hasn’t got me that far! Apologies, a rather long comment but I very strongly agree with you and well done for leaving and doing whats best for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You have to do what is best for you.

    When I started my freshmen year I thought everything would be fine. I had no diagnosis (it was 1993 and I lived in a super small and slightly backward US southern town) but a running theme of “getting sick” while I was away from home (now I know those were anxiety attacks and some small panic attacks). I went to college 3.5 hours away from home without my car (my parents wanted me to make friends and didn’t want me to be driving home on the interstate 3.5 hours every Friday and then again every Sunday).

    I honestly thought I was going to die.

    The campus nurse (we had a tiny little old lady as our single health resource on campus) gave me cough syrup. No one ever considered that possibly my ongoing sickness was anxiety or depression.

    I stuck with it because parents. My dad was sick of my constant calling home and sobbing and said he and my mom should just pull me out if it was just that bad. My mom said absolutely not. I ended up transferring to a school only an hour away from home where my high school best friend was going.

    Going to school a lot closer to home, having my car, being with a friend – these were all things I needed but didn’t know I needed when I went away for the first time. When my parents moved the following year (from small southern town to large southwestern city – literally the span of the country…sigh) I was slightly more prepared. By then I had made a small group of friends that helped handle the anxiety. The depression not so much. But I could function through the depression better than I could the anxiety.

    I don’t want to be one of those older people saying things are so much better now, but they are. People actual recognize, if not respect, mental illness. In 1993 it wasn’t something we talked about. Anyone who had mental illness was shunted off to a Christian academy. These were kids who had tried to kill themselves and their parents wanted to pray away the pain. But it was a really bad school and the kids were all very, very troubled. It was not a school for kids whose faith was Christian.

    But because I have the past as my experience I say use as many resources as you have to help yourself. And if leaving school is a resource to keep you feeling better, use it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I dropped out of university last year too, because of the same reason. I’ve joined a local university in my city this year. No one was completely supportive of my decision. But I’m doing fine now. In fact, I’ve also started helping my dad with his business. My life is back on track again. Hope you find yours back on track too.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hear hear! I’m a university dropout and whilst some days I wish I had the piece of paper, I don’t regret moving back home for self care and self love, because I truly was not coping. There is too much emphasis these days on going to uni and having a “piece of paper”. You don’t need a degree to prove your worth and just because you don’t go to uni it doesn’t make you a lesser person.
    Check out my story of dropping out of uni due to depression. It’s titled “Autumn Leaves”
    xx Caitlin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you chose the right thing! You can truly go to university whenever you want so if you ever feel ready to do so again, you can! Not everyone’s life is the same and not everyone can go to university at the typical age!


  12. Thank you for sharing. Very proud you. I’ve dropped out of university twice, once three months in due to figuring out it’s not want I wanna do with my life, second 6 months before final exams due to my declining mental health and being 3 hours away from home. Each time there were people judging, saying stick it out to the end of the year it’ll be worth more. No matter what others said my mental health was worth more than the certificate at the end and the student debt I have logged somewhere on a computer. I hope being closer to home helps you and you enjoy the experience it brings. There are always people here to support 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh I know so much about this too. I loved high school but felt forced to go to college by everyone around me, even though I was terrified and had no idea how college would help me get what I wanted out of life. I suffered through a year before dropping out and pursuing life in other ways. My mental health was a huge issue at the time too. I am now 33 and still have no desire to go to college, but I’m still writing and still learning, just in un-traditional ways!


  14. A wonderful and brave thing to share. Thank you for doing so! I dropped out in my first year as well (in 2015), and I started back this September just gone.
    Get lots of rest, take care of yourself, do what is best for you and only go back when you are ready.
    Much love to you xx


  15. I nearly dropped out of my undergraduate studies. Everyone must forge their own path that is healthy for them. Sometimes I think I probably should have taken more time off to get into a better mental state.

    I’m glad you did what was right for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s interesting to read this from ‘the other side’ in that my son decided to withdraw just about half a year prior to graduating. It was one of the most frustrating things to have to go through and even now, months later, I’m still trying to accept it deep down inside. I agree that mental and physical health are the most valuable things we have and that we should do what we must to ensure our health. I applaud you for choosing a school closer to home and the steps you’ve taken to look after yourself. I’m wishing you all the best 🙂 Thank you for sharing this very personal account of such a major decision in your life..

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you so much for writing about this and for putting your mental health first. I struggled along to my third year before I finally made the decision (to drop out) which I knew I should have made sooner. You are a brave and inspiring person. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Well done on doing something for you. I am a parent of teens (one is 20 actually not a teen any more) and I feel that there is an awful lot of pressure on young people to make choices at this stage in their life. It can feel like it’s ‘now or never’ and that it will be the end of the world if they don’t get their uni places, don’t know their career path or aren’t achieving enough outside of education. It’s really not a big deal to take some time and explore possibilities, or just take things at your own pace. Thank you for writing this and well done! Julie x

    Liked by 1 person

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