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Some people love college, some of us don’t. For those of us that don’t…dropping out may not be an option for you so you’re pushing through these few years of your life. College (especially grad school) was a huge struggle for me. I was miserable, I hated driving there, I hated walking around campus, I hated sitting in class, I hated studying, I hated writing lab reports and research papers, I had a very negative outlook on my school experience. I almost dropped out.
However, I made it through. I graduated Magna Cum Laude for my undergrad and with a 3.7 gpa for my Masters. I still did well because that’s who I am. I don’t have it in me to completely not care about my work. It was difficult, but I worked through shifting my negative perspective into one of positivity and growth. School was just a step into where I actually want to be. I learned a lot academically, but I learned even more about myself. The battles I could overcome and what I’m able to handle. Without grad school I don’t know that I would be the same person. I realized a lot of things that I actually want my future to look and feel like because of it, I met really amazing people, I conquered fears.
So if you’re on the verge of dropping out, I understand. If you don’t want to disappoint yourself and just hang in there…keep reading.
1. Be Grateful
This is for sure number one because gratitude will get you far in life, in all areas. There are people on the streets and people in third world countries that would literally kill to be in your position. School isn’t a bad thing, even if you hate it, you’re still learning, you’re still pushing through, you’re still growing, appreciate that.
2. Make it more exciting
Simple things make me excited. For example I would purchase cute notebooks and colorful pens just to make it more fun for me to take notes and do assignments. I also love planners so I would take the time to fill in my schedule and due dates/exams coming up. You could also make things more exciting by planning to do something fun after you finish some amount of work. Maybe you could start a YouTube channel teaching a subject you’re really good at. I also suggest a study group that knows how to be serious about work, but that’s also not afraid to sometimes go off subject…I loved my study group.
3. Stay on top of it
Trust me, I know how difficult it is to study and work on assignments that you dread. But if you’re like me you still care about your performance and grades. Do your best to focus on the work, study hard, and get everything in on time. You’ll feel worse and more stressed if you get behind. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either.
4. Find your outlet
Preferably a healthy outlet. For me that was the gym and meditation. You’re going to be stressed, you may feel unhappy, you have to find something that allows you to release that. Something that makes you feel good, makes you feel happy. Not even students take the time to care for themselves physically or mentally. Working out gets the job done and you’ll feel better overall. Make it a habit, make it something you look forward to after a long study session.
5. Keep your other goals in mind
I went through my whole Masters knowing I didn’t want to use this degree for anything. I knew I would be miserable if I did that. While I made school a priority I tried to keep my vision in mind. I would imagine my future how I want it to be, where I’ll be, how far I’ll go, chasing my dreams. I would also try to work on my blog with the time that I could. You can still work for both, it’s difficult but it’s possible.
6. Avoid burnout
This was probably one of the biggest things I did wrong throughout my Masters. I swear I still feel the effects of burn out even 3 months after graduating. I never took a break from school. I went through all of grade school, straight into undergrad, straight into grad school. Not that that is a huge problem, but I went about things the wrong way. I put way too much on my plate. I got both my degrees in Biology, a hard major to begin with, I was a full-time student just about every single semester, for grad school I had to do research in a lab on top of my studies, I was teaching a microbiology lab, and I was working part-time as well. All of that while trying to juggle a relationship, getting to the gym 6x per week, meal prepping, pets, etc. I never felt “rested” or non-stressed. There was constantly something I could be doing, so if I wasn’t doing something productive I would feel guilty. I rarely took time for myself to recuperate, it just didn’t seem like an option.
You have to make that priority. By the time I reached my last semester I was so far done with school that I started not to care, my performance dropped, my emotions peaked, I was literally counting down the days until graduation. It was really a struggle for me and I think I would have prevented that if I took more days off. This effects me now because I got into a bad habit of procrastinating, slacking off, and low quality work. Something I’m still trying to break and improve on.
Should you drop out of college?
I feel like I could write a whole blog post on this, but I personally do not believe college is necessary for success. I mean there are many high school drop outs that now own top companies. This is entirely up to you and how you see yourself. If school is literally the worse thing in your eyes and you have an alternative plan of action to get you to your goals, it may be something you can consider. However, remember that having a degree may benefit you JUST IN CASE and in more ways than one.
You don’t have to have everything figured out when you’re 18/19, this is a huge flaw in society’s idea of success. How does everyone expect an 18 year old to know what they want to do for the next 40+ years? It’s scary, and you’ll probably change your mind or question yourself multiple times. So you gotta do what feels right and dedicate yourself to that entirely.