In the lead up to starting uni, I spent nights lying in bed just staring at the ceiling, wondering if I’d made the right decision. I was terrified of the unknown and by the time the first day rolled around, I was a nervous wreck.

I gave it a good crack; going to classes, doing my assignments and listening to lecturers. But, by the time I got to the end of my first year I knew that uni just wasn’t right for me. So, I dropped out.

Despite the stigma that comes with dropping out (and literally everyone telling you you’ve made the wrong decision) I haven’t looked back since. Since then, I’ve had a bit of time to figure out some of the reasons why uni just didn’t work for me.

1. I didn’t want to be just a number

Coming from high school, university was gigantic. I was completely shocked by the sheer size of the campus and the number of students in my lectures.

I was the smallest possible fish in the biggest bloody ocean. I didn’t like the idea that my lecturers didn’t know what my name was and that it would be possible to get through my degree without making a single friend and only interacting with people through group assignments.

It’s not that I needed the attention that I had in high school; I knew that once you’re out of that bubble it’s up to you to make the most of whatever you’re doing. But I’d just spent my senior years being told that my value was measured by my ATAR and, as cheesy as it sounds, I wanted to feel like I was a part of something real, surrounded by people who felt the same.

2. I didn’t know what would happen once I graduated

During high school I’d been sold the idea that my career had a linear pathway–finish Year 12, go to uni, get a degree then land a job.

Turns out, things don’t quite work that way and you want to be racking up experience as soon as you can. When your uni is putting you under the pump with assignments and exams and you’re trying to balance work on the side, squeezing in any sort of work experience opportunity is hard and I was constantly stressing about how I was going to get a foot in the door of the industry I was keen on.

3. The university teaching style wasn’t for me

As much as I’m all for independent learning, the teaching style at uni wasn’t for me. You’re thrown into the deep end from the get-go and if you never learnt to study properly in high school (who did?) then keeping pace becomes bloody hard.

The number of students combined with the amount of content meant I never felt like anyone cared whether I was actually learning anything–I was just having information thrown at me in the hope that it would stick.

While I never expected anyone to hold my hand (I was actually keen for teachers stop breathing down my neck like they were in high school), trying to find support when your tutors and lecturers are busy with hundreds of other students and you’re drowning under your own work is hard.

Going to uni isn’t for everyone. If it works for you, congrats! You’re going to absolutely ace it and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it heaps more than I did. For a lot of people, it’s exactly what they should be doing.

But, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t stress. There’s plenty of other options out there that’ll help you get to where you want to be.

One of those options is our mates at Kaplan Business School. They offer degrees such as a Bachelor of Business with a tonne of different majors (like Hospitality & Tourism, Marketing, Management, Finance and Accounting). They have small classes which means you won’t be thrown in the deep end and they know you’re more than a number in the system. Plus, they help you get real world experience so that when you graduate, you actually know what you’re doing.

Basically, they’re exactly the sorta place I wish I had known about before I started uni–check out more info from them here.