“I’m not lost. To be lost you have to know where it is you are supposed to be, and I don’t even know that.”
So, this week’s post will be dedicated to a topic that is very much my reality right now. On Thursday morning I handed in two forms that effectively withdrew me from university; I am no longer a biomedical science student. It feels…odd. Was it the right decision? Who knows.
I was deeply and certainly unhappy in Newcastle, but there is no one thing that was causing this deep discontent, rather a multitude of things that climaxed in the handing in of two forms and a long car drive home on Thursday. Scouring the internet for 3 months for alternative life paths, careers in Nursing, Physiotherapy, Bakery, Teaching or anything-that-isn’t-this wasn’t normal.
While routing through Student Room posts, Newspapers and The Mighty Google looking for reassurances on my situation I did not find one piece of writing that helped, nor comforted me that what I was feeling was alright, or that there wouldn’t necessarily be grave consequences of choosing to withdraw.
1 in 10 students drops out.
I have dedicated last 5 years of my life and my work to medicine and I’ve spent longer aspiring for a career as a doctor. After personal circumstances that lead to my under-achievement at A-level, I wasn’t able to gain a place in Medical School, and I embarked on Biomedical Science. This was the alternative route into Medicine, which is a Science degree followed by a graduate Medicine degree, however I never expected to find myself on a Biomedicine course, I had narrow-mindedly set my head and heart on straight medicine without thought for Plan B. So, with hindsight it was probably inevitable that this would happen.
Things have changed. Now, I have a strange sense of inner peace with myself in the idea of not becoming a doctor which I have never had before, and this has helped ease the decision to withdraw because there was nothing binding me to Biomedicine. I feel that my happiness has been compromised by the degree I was taking, while interesting, the workload was intense and I wasn’t passionate about it so it was a chore to do. I was unable to train as much as I would’ve liked, I didn’t bake one thing while I was there (travesty, I know), while I made friends who were really lovely and I am sad to say goodbye to, I know that life truly is too short to spend it doing something you know your heart isn’t set on, and I will keep in touch with them anyway.
So, here are my 5 top tips for if you too find yourself thinking that university isn’t for you either:
1. Think about why
What is making you consider withdrawing? Is it the course? Is it the university lifestyle? Is it the location, the flat mates, the lecturers or the pressure? Think about whether whatever is causing you to feel this way can be resolved by seeking help and advice.
2. Do some talking
If you can’t talk about it to your parents, see if the university has a student advice centre, or speak to a personal tutor or mentor. Confide in your friends about your feelings, and if you start to believe withdrawing is the best decision speak to your parents; they love and care for you and only want you to do what makes you happy.
3. Research the implications
How will withdrawing affect your financial situation? Do you need to speak to someone about your accommodation, or find someone to take over your tenancy? Go to the student service at the university and speak to someone about finance because it can be scary and a big influence on many people’s decisions to withdraw.
4. Sleep on it
Don’t make permanent decisions based upon temporary feelings. A good friend once said to me ‘if you are doing something that is 80% good, most of us can tolerate the 20% that’s not so good. If that balance is out, it’s probably time to think about taking action to change that’.
5. Do not panic
It is extremely overwhelming and confusing to make life altering decisions like whether to withdraw from university, but remember the statistics; you are not alone. You will get people frowning upon your decisions, or trying to tell you the socially acceptable thing to do. Ignore those people and listen to the people who love and care about you, but ultimately listen to your head and heart because only you know what truly is the right thing to do.
So right now, I am no longer a student and the UCAS deadline for entry next September is fast approaching. I am so unsure of what I want now, so I have decided to not decide. I am going to live in the moment and take each day as it comes, hopefully get a job and not rush into anything. I hope that at least some of my readers will find this post useful if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Keep smiling, Claudia 🙂