School isn’t for everyone. Sure, there are lots of students who thrive at school, but for others, school can be really, really dismal. Depending on your situation, sometimes dropping out can be a better option than suffering through it. You’ve just got to make sure you’re doing it at the right time and for the right reasons.

You can’t just drop out and do nothing. If you’re going to drop out of school you need to drop in to something else. You need to find a way to utilise your time, ideally in a fulfilling and profitable way. You need a game plan. So here are some options to consider before you dropout.

Start an apprenticeship

There are plenty of reasons that an apprenticeship is an attractive option. For starters, Australia is currently undergoing a national skills shortage, which means that there’s plenty of work in the trades. This skills shortage generally means that job security is solid and wages are good.

Another benefit of an apprenticeship or traineeship is that you actually get paid while you learn. This is huge, especially considering that university students finish their degrees with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Tradies earn tens of thousands of dollars while they get qualified.

To apply for an apprenticeship, check out the Housing Industry Association (HIA) – they have apprenticeship opportunities all over the country. Note that, to apply, you need to have to have completed school up to year 10, have access to a car and possess a driver’s licence.

Do an internship

Completing an internship is another good option. Contrary to what you may think, an internship isn’t just a job where you don’t get paid. It’s actually defined by the National Society for Experiential Education as, “a carefully monitored work or volunteer experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience”. So basically, an internship is a set period of hands on work experience where you set out to learn certain skills.

The goal is to get hired when you finish, either with the organisation who provided your internship or with another one. Sometimes you get paid a little bit but usually you don’t. You can do an internship pretty much anywhere, depending on what field you want to get into.

Get a job

Getting an entry-level job is a super valuable experience. Not only do you learn practical skills that will come in handy down the track, getting employed and earning money is a great way to get some perspective on your life. You don’t have to work the same job forever, but you’ve got to start somewhere.