Thinking of Dropping Out? - Counselling Newsletter

Published: 3 Jul 2018

After a tough semester and some disappointing results you may be tempted to drop out of your degree. There are a couple of things that people commonly feel when they’re about to drop out. But before you make the big decision,ask yourslef some questions and see what your options are. It’s worthwhile thinking it all through before making such a final decision.

Not for everyone

University education isn’t for everyone. Whether it’s to do with your learning style or is related to something bigger, dropping out sometimes seems like the only option. But if you still haven’t totally decided to drop out, or for reasons out of your control you can’t drop out; there are a couple of alternatives.

What are your reasons?

“I feel like I can’t cope”
Coping with all the stuff that’s going on in your life isn’t easy. Adding uni to the mix can sometimes be the thing that tips you over the edge and makes you feel like it’s all too hard. Chat to someone about how you’re feeling and see if there’s any way of lightening your load. This might put you back in control.

Have a chat to others in your class and see how they’re going, make a meeting with your lecturer and express your concerns. Talking about it lets others know you’re not coping and might give others permission to do the same.

“I’m overwhelmed by the workload”
Some lecturers and tutors are really enthusiastic about giving heaps of readings and assessments. Though this can be a great way of cramming heaps of knowledge into your brain, it can also make you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of work. If you feel like the workload is more than you can handle, dropping out isn’t your only option. Perhaps you could withdraw from some courses and study part time? Or take courses that are less intense to give you time to learn good study habits. The Educational Support Advisers at the Hub can help you develop good study and time management skills.

“I have too much stuff on”
It’s easy to overcommit. Often you just forget to say no to things and all of a sudden you have a diary that looks like highlighter heaven with more activities than hours in the day. Even though it’s tempting to just drop everything and run, there are a couple of ways you can get your life back in order without dropping out. The first step is identifying your priorities, and then you just need to work your schedule around what’s important to you, instead of prioritising what’s important to others. Getting in touch with why you want a university degree, if you do, can help keep you motivated to keep going.

“It just isn’t for me”
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling like you’re just not made for education. Everyone has talents and sometimes exams, studying or essay writing just doesn’t sit well with you. Though there are legal reasons you might have to stick it out with school, higher education is an option that you don’t have to pursue if it’s not working out. Getting a job or starting an apprenticeship are equally valuable options. Advisers at the Career’s and Employment Service can help you discuss alternative career goals and pathways.  Perhaps what is needed is a transfer to a different degree that better suits you.

Some questions to ask yourself. Even though it can be tempting to just throw it all in and give up, it’s worthwhile thinking carefully about your decision as it’s hard to reverse.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Why do you want to drop out?
  • Is the reason you want to drop out something you can fix?
  • If you could change it, would you be willing to stick it out?
  • What are the positives and negatives of dropping out?
  • What would the consequence of dropping out be?
  • Do you have a plan for what you’re going to do if you drop out?
  • What can you do to support yourself through this time?
  • Who can you talk to about this?

Ultimately… Studying isn’t for everyone, but before you make the big decision to drop out, it’s worth thinking of your reasons and the consequences of doing it. Making a plan for after you drop out is important - you don’t want to suddenly feel like you have nothing to do or nowhere to go. Consider taking program leave first as all you may need is a break from study. You can take one or two semesters off without much difficulty and return to your degree if that’s what you decide. If you are an International Student go talk to an International Student Adviser about the consequences to your VISA. Counsellors, teachers, friends and parents are all good people to talk to if you feel like you’re at risk of dropping out.

Extract from Reach Out:





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