Question: I don’t like my degree course anymore and I want to drop out. My lectures are boring and I don’t engage with any of the content. Do I just push through with it and finish my degree anyway, or do I drop out and do something else with my life instead?
Answer: It is a truth universally acknowledged that at some point in your degree you are going to want to drop out. Seriously, if you ask absolutely anyone here if they have always loved their degree and have never fantasised about dropping out and not having to deal with the academic stress anymore, I guarantee they would answer ‘no’. The issue is if that feeling doesn’t go away. For me personally, at the start of every term (typically when I can no longer just chill and I suddenly have 6 2000 word essays to write in 2 weeks) is when I begin to daydream about leaving university and living a simple life in the countryside. Then I remember that I actually want to live in a mansion in a city, and I need money for that, so I suppose I will finish my degree. Then I write the first essay and I actually don’t find it impossible, and sometimes I find the external reading to actually be quite fun, and then I fall in love with Durham again.
The question is, how long have you felt this way? Because for most people, they fantasise about dropping out and then they score high in a paper, or they remember Riverview pancakes, and they accept that Durham actually is where they want to be for the time being. Yet, if you have felt this way for the entire time you have been here then I would absolutely listen to your gut. University really is not for everyone, and it does not have to be for you. I heard a story from a friend about someone who studied chemistry at Durham University, and in the final exams of first year she received the highest marks out of everyone, but she dropped out at the end of first year because she just didn’t like the stress and pressure of university. She now lives a quaint life in the Lake District, working in a bakery with her boyfriend. Sure, if she stayed she may be earning more money, but what is the point of that if it really isn’t your passion anymore?
The point of that example though, is to show that dropping out is not embarrassing, and it does not mean that you weren’t smart enough to stay at Durham. If you take some time to think about alternative paths you could pursue instead of university, and assess whether you would truly prefer to do those instead, then there is absolutely no shame in that. Talk to your welfare officers/student support about how you’re feeling. Ask yourself whether you just need to choose a different course, or even university, instead. Regardless of what you decide to do, just know that you should not force yourself to go through some miserable years studying a course you truly do not want to do anymore. You need to prioritise yourself and really be honest about what would make you happier instead, and how realistically you can achieve that. Only you can decide what is best for you, and I really hope you find out what that is.
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