I Almost Dropped Out of College

Being back at my home university for my last semester at college has, in so many ways, reminded me how I have grown in the past three and a half years.

When I came to college, I was 17 years old, unwilling to leave the nest and despite being the maturest teenager ever – I was not ready to grow up. I saw college as a death sentence. In fact, I distinctly remember crying before bed on Christmas Eve of my senior year thinking that it was my last Christmas as a “child” and how I didn’t want to leave home.

me

And when I moved to college my freshman year in the fall of 2010, it was as bad as I imagined. The world seemed to be crumbling around me and, in so many ways, it was. The isolated existence that I had created for myself was lonelier without my parents and despite joining clubs, I couldn’t seem to connect with anyone. When I returned for spring semester in the spring of 2011, I came dangerously close to dropping out.

I repeated this same process again the fall semester of 2011, when I got so precariously close to leaving school that my finger was centimeters from the withdrawal button.

But, I stayed.me2And by the spring of 2012, my second semester of my sophomore year, I had made a few friends and for the first time, I didn’t spend the semester quite as lonely in my dorm room.

Things continually improved until the fall of 2013 when I shocked the hell out of not only my parents but also myself when I got on a plane to go to England for three months.

Flash forward to now, the end of my first week of my last semester of college, and all I can think is, this has been one heck of a ride. College has been hard for me. It has been a constant struggle, an endless battle to confront new things, and to grow as a person. For me, college hasn’t been about just the classes, but the life exercises that my time here has put me through.

Today, I look at the new freshman and, I can’t help but remember myself three years ago – lonely, angry, and scared. And maybe I am projecting but, I can’t help but think where my life would be now if I had given up when I wanted to. If I had dropped out of school and moved back home three years ago, where would I be?me3And, I guess I am writing this not just for myself but, for everyone out there who is wondering – can I make it through this? There is hope. If I could go back and talk to my 17-year-old self, I would tell her one thing – take a deep breath.

Especially in these past few months, I have noticed the calm that has come to replace what used to be panic. As a teenager, everything always felt like such a big deal – everything was the end of the world, but as I have grown and confronted the things that antagonize me, I have been able to move past them.

And, to anyone out there who is contemplating a rash decision – whose finger is hovering over their own withdrawal button – my advice? Take a deep breath. Think about what you are doing. Realize that life is long, and this moment is just that, a moment. Do not let your fear define you. Think about who you want to be in the future. Think about how that person would think about this decision.

keepgoing
Credit: http://www.in-spirelsmagazine.co.uk/

Because if college has taught me anything, it is this. Taking the easy route, making the comfortable choice, while satisfying in that moment, can so often lead to regret. When life gets hard, buckle down and keep trucking. Tough love (thanks mom and dad) can be the most necessary kind. And fear can only define us if we let it.

If you think that I went to England and didn’t once question why I was there and, just want to give up and go home, you’d be wrong. England was hard. There was tears, homesickness, and periods of loneliness. There were a lot of times I wanted to give up, only to stop and think how much stronger I would be if I stuck it out.

Your choices matter, really matter, and for anyone struggling – keep going. Life is going to get easier the more you confront what you are running from. If I had given up on college when I wanted to, I would have spent the rest of my life wondering “what if.” There is no weakness in pain, it’s what you do with that pain that determines what kind of person you will become.

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11 thoughts on “I Almost Dropped Out of College

  1. Selene January 31, 2014 / 10:07 am

    You are wonderful and I enjoy reading your blog so much! I’m glad you chose to go abroad since now you are my go-to blog while in here studying in London.

    And thanks for being brave. I knew a lot of people in your shoes back at home and I am so glad to consider them my friends. Good luck with your future endeavors and again, thanks for sharing!

    • Sam February 1, 2014 / 10:00 am

      Thanks – I really appreciated your comment :) I hope you are doing well in London. :)

  2. jackiraivo January 31, 2014 / 6:51 pm

    I love reading your posts! I took a semester off myself my sophomore year, which was a really good decision for me at the time but I certainly wish now I could have spent it abroad like you did! : )

    • Sam February 1, 2014 / 10:01 am

      Thank you :) Going abroad was definitely a great experience for me.

  3. PK February 1, 2014 / 1:44 pm

    Sammi, I love reading your blog, Your Aunt Karen signed me up for it and I am so thankful she did. I have laughed, smiled and cried reading your entries. I remember her telling me how much you struggled your first semester and I felt so bad for you and now reading this blog I am so happy for you. I have a daughter that is graduating high school and will begin college in the fall. She is also a runner and will tell everyone and anyone how much running changed her life, how it gave her strength , courage and the more she did it,, the harder she pushed, the better she became and realized the same applies to life. Good luck on your last semester, I hope you finally get some decent, well deserved roommates.

  4. Jenn February 1, 2014 / 5:48 pm

    I can relate to you with the dropping out of school. I actually did after the first year. For me thou, I just wasn’t ready. I was pushed to go when I wanted to take a break off, and I ended up doing horrible in my classes. I eventually went back after a few years, on my own terms and did so much better. I even joined the honor society, was the VP of our region, got to travel with it and graduated Cum Laude. It takes a lot to keep with it. I regret not sticking with it, but the outcome was better for me in the end. The thing different thou I lived close to my school that I stayed at home which was a HUGE difference for some that weren’t. College is a growing experience and I think shapes you more than anything at a young age.
    I did a panel at my college at incoming freshmen and answered questions and talked about my experiences there and other schools and it was nice to see they had the same concerns as I did. I wish more schools did that for kids.

    • Sam February 5, 2014 / 7:59 am

      That’s fun that you got to do a panel! I remember going to a panel when I was applying and, the students were really honest and, it helped a lot. The faculty in charge kept trying to moderate them because they were telling how it actually was, but the honesty really helped me figure everything out!

  5. calliecoker February 3, 2014 / 2:46 am

    this is such a great post! I really liked hearing about your college journey, given that I am currently almost halfway through mine! :) It’s funny how much a person can grow in just four short years. Congratulations on being so close to being finished!

    • Sam February 5, 2014 / 8:00 am

      Thank you :) I think college is a great way for young adults to get their initial exposure to “real life”. It’s the first time that I was really confronted by stress that I had to deal with on my own, and I think that really toughened me up as a person.

      • calliecoker February 5, 2014 / 3:30 pm

        Yeah, I definitely agree! I’m really enjoying figuring out how to deal with life on my own :)

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