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I Quit College at 17 Years Old – Here’s What Happened

The best decision I have ever made

You’ve probably heard at least one story about a friend of a friend who quit college and proceeded to ruin their life. You’re probably now reading this blog post asking yourself how quitting college was the best decision I ever made.

I’m not suggesting that this is the best decision for everyone, but it certainly was for me. I’m writing this blog post to show you that sometimes it is the path less travelled that makes all the difference.

I’d always had my education journey planned. Secondary school, then college, then university. I had been led to believe that the this linear educational path was the most promising.

There were no doubts that this is what I wanted to do; until I actually started college. My family have always supported me through my education, however it was a shock when I told them that I wasn’t enjoying college.

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College isn’t for everyone

The first few weeks were brilliant, everything was new and exciting, but that didn’t last long. Within a month I found myself making excuses to avoid going into college, believable, but not necessarily truthful. My parents believed me but I felt awful lying to them. I’d never lied to avoid going into secondary school, but there was just something different about college.

I was fed up and my journey through A-Levels had only just begun.

The teachers were genuine and supportive, I was fitting in and had already made new friends, but it just didn’t feel right. My friends were all enjoying it though so I thought that maybe I just needed to give it a little longer. I persevered and still attended college until I finally realised that were other options. I didn’t have to feel like I was trapped somewhere that I didn’t want to be.

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What makes you happy?

After researching other options for school-leavers, my eyes were opened when I discovered that there more opportunities than I’d originally thought. There were apprenticeships and vocational courses, options I’d never considered before. I felt a lot happier knowing that there were other options. I’d been in compulsory education since I was 5 years old, but now I could choose what was best for me.

What happens if you drop out of college?

The past few months had made me realise that despite what I originally thought, A-Levels are not the only route to success. College is not the be all and end all. Education is not one-size-fits-all.

Almost 9 years on, I can honestly say that quitting college is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Of course, there have been times where I have sat and contemplated “what could have been?” if I had continued at college. It’s natural. I’ve had similar considerations about “what would have happened?” if I had not met my now boyfriend, or if I had gone to a different university. What is important is that I didn’t get hung up on the outcomes of the infinite possibilities had I made a different choice. I accept that it is the present moment and the future that is important. I can’t change the past, I can only try my best to make the future what I want it to be.

‘Sliding Doors’ is the perfect analogy for this situation. It means “seemingly inconsequential moments that nonetheless alter the trajectory of future events”.

The path to your success is not linear

I have an undergraduate degree, and Masters degree, and I am halfway through a PhD in appearance psychology. All achievements which I never thought would be possible without A-Levels.

This is your sign that you will be ok. Be true to yourself and do what makes you happy.

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