I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’m terrified. Making this announcement means that my decision is real and public, much more than the sheet of paper I signed to confirm it. So, deep breath. I’ve dropped out of university.
Leaving university was an important choice for me because I realised I wasn’t there for me anymore; I was there for some traditional idea of success and for the other people in my life that wanted that for me. My year out last year enlightened me on quite a few things in my life. I know that I no longer want to be a scriptwriter and I am done making sacrifices and pushing myself so far that my mental health suffers. Being back at university, even with so little time there, I slipped back into the unhealthy coping mechanisms I had last year, moved further away from the boundaries I tried to build for myself and once again felt trapped by suicidal ideation. I knew there was no way I could combat the stress that final year brings, especially when I don’t want to be studying the topic, and try to keep my head above the water at the same time. It was an extremely difficult decision to actually drop out though because it meant admitting I couldn’t cope, admitting I didn’t want what I had put so much work into, and it meant I was in for a complete upheaval of my life. Of course, I also had worries about whether this was right for me.
I really hate using the term “dropping out” because it has such a negative connotation. Honestly, it makes me feel like a failure and a loser, and I don’t think that there should be this stigma around leaving that environment. I’ve left university and made this HUGE change to improve my life – it should feel positive. It felt positive at the time I first decided and knew it was what I wanted, but now not so much. You see, my decision has been met with a barrage of disappointment, anger and those awful looks that make you hate yourself. I hate that it’s become this terrible thing that people are convinced is going to ruin my life and that I’m going to regret to the end of my days. I might regret the decision at some point, but everyone has doubts about their choices. I feel like I am owed this. After the year I’ve had, I am allowed to make changes to my life that are in my best interest and start getting the things I want out of life.
I do want to thank everyone in my life that has been supportive of my decision. I don’t think I could have kept it together if there hadn’t been people that love me so much. These people listened when that I told them I needed this and they just went with it. I am even more grateful for the people that have understood my decision and helped bolster my confidence in following it through. I owe you for rescuing me from the six months of my life that would have been spent in misery. I am so thankful to have you all in my life.
So, the new truth I suppose is this: I’m Grace Richards, a 22-year-old woman who’s left university. I’m still grieving the losses of this year, managing my recovery process as carefully as I can, putting in boundaries for my life and my mental health. I am clueless about what lies ahead for me, but I’m still hopeful, eager and ready for what awaits me.