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What Dropping Out Of University And Starting Again Taught Me

What Dropping Out Of University And Starting Again Taught Me

Here is what dropping out of University taught me and why sometimes it is the right decision to make. This is a look at my journey.

When deciding where I wanted to be, I looked at what I wanted to be when I grew up – a journalist – and decided to work backwards. I wanted to be a journalist, and to accomplish this I would need to study English or some variant of it at University. To study English at University, I would need to study it at A Level, to study it at A Level didn’t matter because it is a core module and has to be studied anyway. With all of this in mind I decided to take fun subjects along side my Englishes and I took Art and D&T at GCSE, and then took Media Studies (much to the dismay of my parents), English Language, and English Literature at A Level.  I believed these creative subjects would help me to be a more creative person, and perhaps they would influence my writing. Take a peak at the reasons why dropping out of University was right for me.

Decision Time

With these thoughts in mind, I started looking at universities and found Queen’s University, Belfast. It seemed perfect. It was a Russell Group university, it was beautifully red-bricked, it had a perfect course: English with Creative Writing. This course combined English Language, English Literature and Creative Writing into one neat little bundle. I thought it was the ideal course for me and the more I researched the University and read the online reviews of students who had been there, the more I thought how right I was about going there.

I worked hard at A Level, passed my exams, and got into Queen’s University. I was ecstatic when I found out I had got in. I did more and more research and found the best student halls to live in and even found a few people on Facebook who would be going to Queen’s that September.


It all seemed so perfect

Once I got to Queen’s however it all changed. The people I lived with were kind and friendly and I got one with them well enough. But I never felt like we clicked, I always felt like something was wrong and that I didn’t have enough in common with them. I told my friends at home that I didn’t feel happy and they told me it was just blues from moving away from home. I agreed and kept at it, I went out in Freshers (and hated it), I tried to join societies and only really stuck to one.

When the first weekend came around, I found out that in Belfast most of the Northern Irish students would go home for the weekend. This meant that for about 3 days a week, the accommodation was deadly silent. I made friends with some Northern Irish students, but they would go home; and I’d be on my own again.  I tried to become closer with the English and International students living in my accommodation, but with them being such a small minority, it was hard to find people that I shared that much in common with. I felt like I was having to change who I was to make friends.


I went to my lectures and I sat in my room. I talked to my friends at home and watched as some of them thrived and some of them failed at University. I felt like it was my fault that I wasn’t enjoying myself, that I should go out more, meet more people. But every time I did, I just felt worse.

It got to the Christmas holiday, when I finally told my dad that I wanted to drop out. I was doing the washing up and just said to him ‘I’m not going back to Belfast next year.’ It wasn’t a question, it wasn’t an option for me to go back, I couldn’t face two more years. My parents were supportive, they knew something was up because I kept coming home. I spent most of my loan for that year on plane tickets to and from Belfast. Dropping out of University was a very trying time for me.

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Society Pressure

I knew that I didn’t just want to drop out of university, I knew I still wanted to be a journalist and would need a degree to do this. I spent my Christmas holiday looking at alternative degree courses, I read a lot about dropping out, about transferring and decided that that was what I wanted to do. I had enjoyed the course at Queen’s, the English Language especially. I decided to look into transferring and found out that if I wanted to continue at a Russell Group university then transferring wasn’t really possible. I would have to start again. I decided to keep my options open and applied to the University of Reading and The University of Manchester. They both gave me the same offer: a 2:1. I had to complete the year at Queen’s, if I completed the year and got a 2:1 I would be able to either transfer into 2nd year at Reading or start again at Manchester. This was one of the reasons dropping out of University was stressful.

I felt elated with my choices and went back to Queen’s for my final term feeling confident and happy with my decision to leave. I still had time to try and turn it around in Belfast, so I tried. I moved flats into a different Halls, a move that caused me to lose my previous flat mates as friends – one even calling me a ‘two faced bitch’ for deciding to try and fix things.  It felt like a completely new start going back after Christmas. My new flat was not particularly welcoming, and I didn’t really make friends with any of them, so I continued to live in my bedroom and work at Uni.  I started working hard at Queen’s Radio and helped plan the summer formal.  I came out of my first year with a 2:1, just. It was enough and after the year I had had, I decided to start university again. These are the processes I went through while dropping out of University.

Moving Time

I moved to Manchester, I went out loads in Freshers (hated it again) and made friends with people on my course. I now live with some of these people and will be again next year. I’m in a much stronger place in my life and I am even writing for Society 19, starting my career as a journalist.


Going to the wrong university really taught me a lot about who I was and what I wanted. However, I only discovered those things because I felt like I had lost them whilst living in Belfast. I am now a much more confident person, and I know who I am and where I want to go. University isn’t for everyone, but maybe the University you are at just isn’t for you. Starting again was the best decision I’ve ever made; it has got me where I should be: living, working and studying in Manchester. So there you have it, a look at dropping out of University and what the journey was like.

Which of these dropping out of University facts surprised you? Let us know in the comments.

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