I'm quitting university

Discussion in 'Community' started by mrjamin, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. mrjamin macrumors 65816


    Feb 6, 2003
    Well, after 2 failed first years, i think its time i cut my losses and quit while i'm ahead.

    My plan for now is to earn some cash (got a job in a rehersal studio and websites coming out of my ears), pay off some debts, work on the band and explore my options longterm. I'd quite like to get into photography, and there are a load of evening classes at the college up the road from me starting in February.

    It all came about when I started thinking about why i even started uni, and realised i was just carrying out my parents' lives. They're going to hate me for it, but i'd rather deal with that than carry on being unhappy and under-achieving. I've delt with so much crap over the last 2 years, depression, finance issues and lonliness to name a few, and learnt from all of it so the last two years are by no means wasted.

    It seems that in the uk, everyone's going to uni because they don't have anything better to do. A load of my friends have just graduated, they have a good degree but can't get jobs because they lack any practical experience in anything. Only one of my graduate friends has got a job, and thats not even related to his degree. My girlfriend graduated 4 years ago with a first class degree from one of the uk's best universities, then did a PGCE (teacher's training), then taught primary school for a year, then went into academic research is now jobless, and having to start back at square-one; she's now looking at doing a very poorly payed internship just to get experience. I don't want to find myself in that situation in 5 years time.

    My heart was not in my degree, and i could never picture myself graduating.

    Quite why i'm venting this on MR, i don't know, i guess its just healthy to get everything down in writing to order your thoughts! I'm ringing my folks tonight to give them the news - wish me luck :confused:

    I don't mean to belittle anyone going to university, anyone at university, or anyone with a degree - for a lot of people its the only way to get where they want to go, and its the best time of their life. For me, it isn't. I'm smart, but i'm not academic.

    So yeah, share your experience and your advice - i need all the help i can get from here on out....

    Thanks guys
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    I started going to a community college straight out of HS, and was not very successful. Parties, girls, booze, drugs, all that stuff got in the way, and with work too it was just impossible to devote time to school. So I dropped out and worked full time. That wasn't really doing it for me though because I wasn't getting anywhere, and the jobs were mindless and boring. After 4 years out I went back, only this time I was completly on my own, no parental assistance. Four more years later I had finally finished community college, and promptly found the longest program I could at a university (not by design, it just happened that way) and have spent the last 5 years getting my degree.

    All I can say is that not everyone goes to college, and that's fine. I watched many people drop out of my program because they were no longer into it. Some found it too hard, some just had no interest and were there to please their parents. Those are definetly the wrong reasons to be in school.

    Whatever you decide to do, just don't burn your bridges with the university. A year off may change your perspective if your job prospects aren't panning out the way you planned, you want to be able to go back if you ever feel the need. And if your job isn't making you happy, find a new one until it does. The point of school and work should be to be doing something that you are excited about and interested in.
  3. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus


    Jan 2, 2001
    Metairie, LA
    I come more from the school of hard knocks than formal education. I struggled in high school, but made it through. I rebelled, went to a University College to study nothing really. When I screwed around for a year and got nowhere, I decided to pursue art once again.

    I went to a Community College for about 2 years, and felt I wasn't getting enough out of it. I didn't want to sit through Math, Science, History or whatever other classes that didn't pertain to what I wanted to do...so I dropped out.

    I ended up at a technical/vocational school, where I basically bought my diploma. It was an 18 month thing, and I got to focus on graphic design. It wasn't the best education, but it opened doors to other things.

    While in school, I managed to get an internship with a local NBC tv affiliate. I worked there for 8 months, and ended up producing television graphics for the daily news shows. I also learned a bit about production, and some things about tv.

    While doing that, I also got a part time job at a 1 hour photo lab. I learned a lot while there, and must have developed an eye (no pun intended) for photography.

    Anyway, the whole point is...u go where u feel u need to. I made lots of decisions I could have done differently; but, in the end, they all got me to where I am now. Not only am I working at a hot ad agency as an art director (in training), but I've developed a small photography business for myself...I've even had a handful of my photos used in ads around town.

    I did all of that on a 2 year, associate degree. ;)
  4. jethroted macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    It will be all right. I dropped out too. They say you can't get a good job without going to university but it just take a little more leg work to find one that's all. My parents were the same way. They wanted me to go so badly that they made me feel as though I would be the shame of the family if I didn't go. So after my first year, I said screw it. I'm not wasting my time and money to do something that I don't even want. It all worked out pretty good too. Now I have a great job at McDonalds, and I should get promoted to assistant night manager in a couple of months. All I have to say to my parents, & everyone who doubted me is "Chummmmmmmmp."
  5. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    A college degree ain't everything. I've met many lunkheads with degrees.
    Two of my friends worked their way up in their businesses. One started as a stockperson at a CompUSA and now he's practically the manager.
    The other delivered car parts and is doing well for himself now as a service advisor at a dealership.

    Me, well, after the Army I went to community college and I got my degree(graphic design multimedia) and I'm still hunting around for a decent gig. I'm working at a freaking warehouse right now considering my options. I could go on to a 4 year university and get my bachelors but I'm so damn sick of the mickey mouse, you know what I mean?
    I'm thinking about going to flight school to get into aviation. My first love anyway.
  6. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    Get a degree no mater what!

    If you have a band you can start studing Audio Engineer as I did, then I wasn't satisfy and I went to a Multi Media degree too.

    Now, any of those titles gave me a job, as your friends I need the experience too, but the in society a degree is so importnat, is like having kids without getting marry.

    Las week I got a O1 visa to the US, that is for "people with special skills", it is a visa more important than a work visa, I can go to the US and work free lance for 3 years, I couldn't achive that without having two degrees on my back.

    Do what you want, there is a degree for that but get the degree, it is a must that in the future is gonna save your ass big time.

    You do not have an idea of how many ussless things I have done that later on changed my life for better.

    Do never stay static, find yourself, check your past, we all have a talent for something, sometimes that talent doesn't even have a name or a degree. I'm a VJ, where can you study that? no where.

    Some good companies just will not hire some one if is not college graduated ¿what are you gonna do when you are planing to have kids and supporting your family?

    You are gonna start with your life now but there is gonna be something missing.

    Now most of my friends are making $3000 a month and doing what they want to do, some of them free lancing and making big contracts.

    Get the education, that is a big plus, do not be a "lawyer" because you make good money there, find your talent and go for it but get a degree now that you have the time and the resources.

    You may end up with more than one talent, well, choose one and develop that one first.
  7. idea_hamster macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2003
    NYC, or thereabouts
    I totally commizerate!

    I went to college right after high school and was totally unprepared -- didn't know what I wanted, didn't know who I was, etc. Needless to say, things did not go swimmingly, and after two years clinging on by my fingernails, I got cut loose. Failed out. "Dad, come pick up your idiot child."

    Spent some time in the Army. Hated it. Grew up a fair bit. Went back to school with a much better sense of why and where I was going. Mind you, I didn't get to where I was headed then, but I did get somewhere.

    Take deep breaths and remember that this doesn't mean you're any worse of a person. University will be there in a few years if that's what you want to do then. Until then, do what you gotta do.
  8. pEZ macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2003
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I'm starting my second year of college in a few weeks, and I totally understand that it isn't for everybody. I went to school knowing what major I wanted to go into (materials science engineering), but even so, I struggled badly the second semester my freshman year. My situation is kind of difficult though, because I really like what I'm learning, it's just very hard material. I'm trying to find an internship for next summer already, but because my GPA is so low from that second semester, I kinda doubt anyone will take me.

    Hats off to everyone who does what they love to do, not what they feel they need to do, no matter how difficult the path may be.
  9. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    I graduated just over 3 years ago and went straight into work (I had the job about 6 months before graduating). Where I work we pretty much do not consider people without degrees (and 2:1 or better).

    Having said that this does not mean that it is worth sticking it out at something you hate. A friend of mine struggled through a degree he thought he'd love but ended up hating at the same time and has not worked any job where it was usefull in the last 3 years.

    Whilst a degree can be easy if you are really into the subject (I did not find my degree very hard until my final year) it can be a living hell if you cannot get into it.

    Take some time out. Think about what you want to do. I agree that in the UK a lot of people are going to Uni because they don't know what to do at the end of school, they think they have to or their parents think they should. All of these are very bad reasons!
  10. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I'm sorry to hear of your current situation mrjamin. I wish you all the best. Hopefully your parent will be understanding.

    I struggled through high school also. It wasn't until I had a focus on a career, my goal was what gave me encouragement.

    You may find that dropping out of college and getting a job will give you a whole ne perspective. I think that doing what you love is very important inb life. There is no reason to be miserable, life if just too short!
  11. frescies macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA

    I'm a nerd. I like college a lot. I like learning, and I don't even have to consider the fact that the feild I want to end up in requires tons of school. I hate everyone else at my community college. They are wasting their time. They are people who hate learning and hate working even more. They want to be successful without raising a finger. They think they will suddenly be satisfied when they reach a position that requires lots of effort and endurance of stress, all because of the posibilities of money.

    I'm glad someone out there knows what they really want and isn't interested in being a Cliche.
  12. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    Y'know, Shakespeare penned down some of the best advice ever: "To thine own self be true."

    My sister is about five years older than me, and decided to use her college savings to buy a car and enter the workforce right out of high school. Independence, not more academics, were the priority. She struggled for a bit, made some irresponsible decisions, and learned from them. Now she's married, makes a good living, and has a wonderful two-year old son (if this proud auntie does say so herself). She's also earned a degree in homeopathy and is starting up a home healing business.

    I went straight to college from high school and got my BS in computer science (now horribly outdated, but that's another story) because I knew I needed a career choice that would work for me until I found a true calling (still looking). My first job, an extension of my internship, ended in disaster and I was out of work by the August after graduation! But now I too make a good living, own my own home, and am constantly busy with friends and family.

    We're both happy and successful, though our paths to that success were vastly different; but we each took the path that was true to ourselves. So if you're just going to school for your parents' sake and not your own, and you feel that it's not where you belong, you're probably right. Choose your path, stick to it, and work hard, and you'll get where you're going.

    Good luck! :)
  13. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I'll wish you luck.

    I'm not certain what the right choice is for you but it is definitely not living someone else's choices. I can tell you that from experience.

    I went to uni straight from high school and failed because I was always being pushed. However, when the work failed a couple of years later, I chose (!) another course of study, went back to school and succeeded.

    Now, I'm back in classes after many, many years of work because the economy has pushed me.

    I hope you find what's right for you. Always stay open to change.
  14. Gus macrumors 65816


    Jan 1, 2002
    Maybe it's just different for music degrees, but I think the best combination is to work in your field doing something, anything, while you are in school. I am finishing up my DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) degree, and I have been teaching and performing since the first day of my college career. I played a LOT of free gigs with players who were not as good as I was just to get performing experience and to play different kinds of music. I taught private lessons and volunteered my time to local bands for help and advice, just to see if I wanted to be a tewacher, a player, or what. I taught college part-time for a year, and then went to the public schools for a year and taught middle school. I took positions with orchestras and joined a funk band. Basically, I tried every aspect of my field, music, to find out which part of it excited me the most.

    Do you have an area in particular that you like?
    Have you looked at all the available career options for that field?
    What exactly disinterests you about school? The teachers? The classes?
    Are there businesses close to you that will hire you as a temp or low-level position?
    Is there a job that will send you to school to learn more?
    Are there distance-learning opportunities for your field?

    Most importantly, I think, do you know someone in your field who is currently working in the field that you could sit down and chat with? Maybe even an old professor.

    I'm not trying to talk you into staying in school if it is not what you need, just making sure you've explored all of the options first.

    Good Luck! I hope your parents are understanding. I'm sure they will be if you tell them how you feel.

  15. crazytom macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    Dropped out after 2.5 years

    ...not by choice, but I was one of those HS kids who breezes through classes without ever trying. I took some classes at the University that were below my math level and failed the first exam (I didn't show my work, even though the final answers were 100% correct). Hard knock #1. I took programming classes out of order..the harder ones first...aced those, then took the easier one. The grade for the second class was heavy on the written test (hell, how can you compile a written test?!?) So I got a D in Pascal, while getting ace-ing the C language the previous semester. Hard knock #2. Then I took a math class that was out of my league. I tried to drop it, but they shortened the drop period that year and wouldn't let me do it. Hard knock #3. There were many other little things that just didn't go my way. Finally, it came down to the point where I needed at least a 3.0 GPA, at the end of the semester, due to another hard knock, I ended up with a 2.998 and booted me for a semester. I never went back. I like to do many different things and learn new stuff all of the time. After that, I studied guitar, piano, woodworking, automotive/small engine mechanics, golf, audio engineering, agriculture, electronics, made boomerangs, construction, web page design, videography, photography and more. I've never liked anything enough to get in it for the long run, but I've made my way pretty well. I'm not rich (my wife's a career school teacher), but I'm not starving.

    I subscribe to the advice: Find what you love to do, then figure out how to make money doing it.
  16. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    I stayed two years in college and took a year or so off to figure out what I wanted to do. I had no real idea at first.

    But I eventually got back and graduated - and I'm glad I did. I wouldn't give up on getting a degree - just because your friends are not getting jobs doesn't mean sqat. If you had to go up against someone for a job and had a bunch of experience where they had a little experience and a degree - I'd wager the person with the degree would win out most of the time.

    Its tough, but worth it. Take some time off it you think its right and then see where it takes you. Who knows, you might get lucky and it will all work out.

    Good luck,

  17. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    i got most of my education after high school, took five years off, finished the AA degree and then got inspired enough to finish BA and went onto grad school

    when i first dropped out of school at 23, i never thought college would be there for me later, but it is...i still take classes at the junior college, just for fun, almost a decade after i finished my four year degree...i turn 40 in a couple of months

    my parents in their late 60s and mid 70s still take classes at the same junior college (my mom since 1959)

    basically, learning in college or elsewere, never ends

    think of k-12 as the work and college as the lifelong, fun hobby:D
  18. Chomolungma macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    What is an AA degree?
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I think its a 12-step program. ;)

    I have always sucked ass at at school, my ADHD didn't help, but I didn't even know I had it in high school. Oh well. Anyway, ADHD people usually struggle badly at school, and it never gets better. I went from high school straight into university, and although I admit that I attended uni because that's what I thought people did after high school, I had considered dropping out of my Medical and Health Physics (ie: Medical Radiation Physics) program since I seemed way over my head. I hated all the work, but I can't imagine graduating with any other type of degree other than maybe a business degree. I'm lucky that way.

    The best thing to do is to take a year off and find an interest that you'll enjoy studying at school. A degree is definitely worth it. I don't think you can do much nowadays without a degree, although I realize that this isn't always the case. However, I believe that the education-vs-work situation nowadays is much different than it was 10 years ago, or even 7 years ago. So many people in your age group are going to university or community college that its almost necessary to get a job.

    NOTE: To be considered for a Janitor position at the Hershey Ice Rink near my home, you need to have university/college education of some sort.

    Quit school if you want, but always go back for your degree eventually.
  20. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    an AA or AS or AAS are associate's degrees for completing two years in college or a course of study

    ...and it's half of the BA/BS, a third or an MA/MS, and a fourth of a PhD

    so in a nutshell, you learn two years of sh** after high school
    then get your full on BS which stands for bullsh**
    then, if you can't find a job, get an MS, or more sh**
    and if you feel that the real working world is not for you, you can "Pile it higher and Deeper" for the PhD

  21. cr2sh macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2002

    Dude that's tough.. the one thing i'd be concerned about are your actual motivations. i had a few bad quarters, had a few girls dump me, got down and considering bailing on it... I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew I was miserable. In the long run I managed to stick it out, I have a great job now and i'm glad i worked through it so really... what made you decide to give up now?

    I always dreamed about changing majors, lord knows the hours studying strength of materials made me yearn for sketching 110... but who knows. It could be you're not made out for it, could be you're just burnt out on it... as long as you've thought it through, you know what direction you want to head, and you're at last happy to be traveling that path.. I don't think you can go wrong.

    Go luck with your rents.. if they give you any static just tell 'em I said it was okay for you to quit. :) Need to talk about ti we're here... giving up is a hard thing to do.
  22. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    sometimes college life can really suck and it's that which makes people bail out

    as for good money, college is not the only way...ask bill.g or paul.a or steve.j or shawn.f or larry.e...high tech types ;)

    my brother in law makes five times what my wife and i do combined and he quit school in his first semester...actually he makes close to what a baseball player makes in his first year

    my uncle in law never went to school and he's a millionaire many times over

    so basically the two richest people in my wife's really large greek and jewish family don't have degrees...and in one unit, there are seven brothers and sisters who all became doctors, dentists, or nurses and are not worth anything near the two i mentioned
  23. cr2sh macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2002
    I think that's one of the great downfalls of college.. it really teaches you to fall into line and think of jobs and careers. You go to school you get grades, you do what the teacher says and when you graduate you get a job and do what your boss says.. you follow the path and very few people become wealthy following that path.

    That said, there are a lot of broke college drop outs.
  24. Sincere macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2003
    Waste my days...

    Well, I am a senior, about to head off to my last semester as a Media Arts (Music Production) major. I feel that going to college has been one of the biggest mistakes of my life. As a musician, I went to school originally for music, but after a year of honors (and award-winning) work, I was kicked out of the program for not being able to read music. My question of "Isn't this a school? Can't you teach me?" fell on deaf ears. I dropped out, worked in collections, then at a music store, then transferred to Emerson College to go into music videos, but ended up in audio production as I couldn't abandon my desire to compose.
    Now I'm about to graduate from a well-respected school, and I feel I've learned precious little. My degree can land me tons of Hollywood jobs, but if I'd spent those years forming a band, travelling and playing gigs with other musicians, or even learning Logic or ProTools on my own, I would have a complete album and a higher skill level as a musician.
    Whether you need a degree or not really depends on what you want to do, but in my case, it feels wasteful. I hear "20 years from now, you'll be glad you went through it," but you know what? I won't. I spent some of my prime years learning what other people thought I needed to (or not learning but getting straight A's anyway). My real learning was through life experience, frustration and a few helpful people along the way (thank god for them).
    It may be harder for you to make a living, sure, but if you're living on your own terms, you can't put a price on that. Photography is a very difficult path, that is my other passion, but I'm still not jaded enough to deny that if you work hard enough, you can do anything. #1 album, here I come... ;)
    Best of luck, and remember, you can always go back to school, but you can never have a wasted day back.

  25. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    prolly more broke college grads...he he:p

    when i entered college, my private tutor who went to cal, told me that i should go to school to enrich myself, not use it as a trade school for making money...that is what the working world is for

    college, with the exception of a few fields, is about a broad knowledge of this field and that field and kind of like a supercharged high school education...it only helps a person's life, but does not necessarily mean job skills or money

    now trade school, that's different... or a college like embry riddle aeronautical university or heald college...those are strictly for job training and better income and they do work for that...but not much on the classics like the traditional university

    some universities have tried to shift their emphasis and become trade schools, but they are not philosophilcally set up from their foundation to work like the trade schools...but i think the cal state system has tried very hard and on one end, it has filled jobs in the state, but on the other end, academics see it is a degree mill with a low emphasis on education and again, the classics

    so i guess maybe doing both can't be a bad thing

Share This Page