Why Leaving University Might Just be Your Best Option

words by Year13 | photo by @alice.horn

A few weeks in and already worried about your uni course? You’re not alone. In fact, when we asked you guys, 62% of you said you thought about dropping out of university at some point, and 1 in 5 students drop out within their first year. So basically, everyone is having these kinds of thoughts. You’ve just gotta decide whether the concerns you’re having are going to go away, or whether they’re actually having a negative effect on your motivation and your happiness.

There are hundreds of reasons uni might not be working out for you

The course might not be what you were expecting, or the lifestyle isn’t really your jam, of you’re just so completely over staying up late, wired out of your mind on Redbull, trying to wrap your head around content you don’t understand. For some people, uni can feel a bit like swimming in an ocean where you just can’t quite reach the shore. You cruise along for a little while just bobbing on the surface, but eventually your arms get tired and your legs start to cramp and before you know it, you’re totally out of your depth.

If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to seriously consider whether dropping out of university might be the best way for you to go.

Switching from university is not failing

It’s easy to see dropping out as some kind of failure. You’re made to feel that it means you ‘couldn’t hack it’, or you ‘weren’t coping’. But in reality, the real victory is cutting yourself loose from something that clearly isn’t working for you and trying something new, rather than slogging away for the next three to four years doing something you hate. There’s a lot of bravery in going against what you’re supposed to be doing in favour of pursuing something that is going to make you much happier in the long run.

That’s why dropping out is often times the best choice you can make for yourself. And just because you’re leaving uni, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue your education in some other way. It doesn’t even mean you can’t continue studying a bachelor’s degree. Chances are if your school encouraged you to go to uni, then they possibly didn’t tell you about all the other education options out there that could be a helluva lot better suited to your learning style.

Find something that matches your learning style

Did you ever really consider courses that you can study at TAFE NSW? They tend to be a fair bit cheaper than a university course, and often shorter too. This means you can study for anywhere between a few weeks to a few years depending on what you’re after and still get a qualification at the end of it.

These shorter courses give you a taster of the content, so you can decide if the subject matter is something you want to keep studying, or whether you want to start fresh with something new. And if it’s something new you’re after, then TAFE NSW has 1,200 courses to choose from in just about every industry under the sun. Wine, horseracing, mental health, food science, hat making… they’ve got it all.

University isn’t the only place where you can study a degree

TAFE NSW offers bachelor’s degrees too. The benefit of completing a degree through TAFE NSW is that the classes are more practical and hands-on, focusing on giving you real experience so you’re workforce-ready when you graduate. It’s a method that’s much better suited to people who find university lectures tedious and want to see the more tangible applications of their studies. Plus, there’s plenty of work-placements and internships connected with TAFE NSW degrees, so you can get a head start on all the other recent grads out there looking for jobs.

 Find a better campus lifestyle

And if it’s the uni lifestyle that isn’t living up to your expectations, TAFE NSW might be able to sort you out on that front too. Because TAFE NSW has so many courses, the amount of people studying each thing is much smaller than uni, so you’ll be able to actually get to know your study mates. Teachers know your name and there’s a community-vibe going around, which helps if you’re feeling a bit lost.

If your course isn’t working for you, you don’t have to wait around for your anxieties to just go away (particularly with census date coming up—bail before you have to pay for it!!!). It’s so worth sussing out some of the other options out there, simply because they could work so much better for you. Then, switching to TAFE NSW might just be the best decision you ever make.

You can find more information about TAFE NSW right over here.