Since year 9, I was absolutely dead set on becoming a paediatric nurse. I went through secondary school picking all my subject choices geared towards this aspiration. I then applied and was accepted for a child nursing degree course at University of Surrey in the south of England.
This should have been where I was jumping up and down, screaming to my mum that I got into uni and cracking open some cheap prosecco - wrong. The whole summer of year 13 I had this creeping feeling that this degree and career was not meant for me and I started to question whether I should go to university. However, it was too late to change my subject choice (not that I had a clue what else to study anyway) and I had some personal circumstances that prevented me from staying at home and potentially deferring my choice. I still went, just blaming my doubts on pre uni nerves… kind of silly, I know.
I went to uni, did the whole freshers thing and made a couple of really awesome friends who I still consider to be so even now. I found the lectures semi-OK and I even did well in my exams. However, reality sunk in and I discovered my course was definitely not for me when placement came around and I actually got out on a children’s ward- I was miserable and that is an understatement. Now, this isn’t to say that nursing courses are rubbish in the slightest, I have major respect for the nursing profession, they truly are the real life embodiment of superheros! Also, Uni of Surrey was the best university for nursing in England at the time, so I can’t blame it on that front in any way. It was a complete shock when I got out there and my overly idealistic view of nursing did not match the reality. Obviously, I had other reasons and it’s much more complex than that but you get my drift.
After lots of deliberation and crying down the phone to my grandma, I made the decision to see my personal tutor at university and resign from the course 3/4 of the way through first year. This was one of the hardest decisions I have made, and the “what if I regret it?” question was still in my mind even as I was signing the final form. I cried all the way home after saying goodbye to my flatmate and stepping into the unknown without a proper plan was incredibly nerve wracking, especially as I’m a massive control freak. Nevertheless, I knew that I had to do this and take some time out to figure out what I wanted to do.
Fast forward a few months to now- I know 1000000 percent I made the right decision, I moved to London with my boyfriend, got myself a job as a teaching assistant and haven’t looked back. I definitely want to go to university again, hopefully next September to study something totally different. For now, I’m just happy pottering along in London working and doing my thing which, admittedly, mainly consists of drinking tea and cosying up with my best pals (tea and Netflix).
Basically, if there’s anyone out there reading this who finds themselves in a similar situation I just wanted you to know: it is NOT the end of the world if you drop out of university. There are other options out there like gap years, jobs, apprenticeships, etc. and more often than not you make your subject choice when you’re young and haven’t had much real world experience. If I’ve learnt anything from this glitch in my life it’s that life is too short to stick out something that makes you unhappy, especially if you’re paying £9,000 for the privilege.