Dayna

The Dropout Stigma

By Dayna Spear, January 10

On average, 1/10 people drop out of uni before their second year.*

I’m a university dropout, and I say that proudly.

Proudly, you’re probably wondering?

Well, I’m proud of myself that I took a big, brave step in making myself happier by leaving university: something which was just not working for me. A lot of people would be worried or scared to do so (understandably) but I plucked up the courage, and I dropped out.

Strangely, when I left university, lots of my peers told me they agreed with my reasons and thought the same. If they agreed so much, why wouldn’t they drop out too?

Clearly, it’s the dropout stigma. And I’m not just talking university. I’m talking sixth-form, college, work… anything.

Being seen as a ‘dropout’ may make people judge - you’re a failure, a waste of time and money, or lazy.

In fact - no. You’ve realised something isn’t for you, that it’s not worth your while, and you’ve actually done something about it. For that, I salute you!

I know it wasn’t easy to drop out of university for an apprenticeship. Even though I knew it was better for me, I was worried because of all the above things.

Trawling the web, I’ve come across loads of people that want to do an apprenticeship but are worried to drop out of wherever they currently are, such as sixth-form.

Think about it. Have a long, hard think about it. If you’re going to be better off education-wise, happiness-wise and generally gaining more from the apprenticeship, go for it. Let’s beat the dropout stigma!

Now, I’m obviously not advising anyone to drop out, because it’s not the right choice for every person in every situation. I’m just making a point that it is okay to change your mind, especially if it’s for the better.

I'm also wondering why there should be negativity attached to dropouts. If someone is feeling lost and unsure about the opportunities that may lie ahead of them, let them know it's okay. Nobody should feel bad for changing their minds!

If you want to read a bit more about my university experience and why I decided it was best to leave, check it out here.

Do you think there’s a stigma attached to dropouts? Get involved in the comments below or #tweet us your thoughts. We’re intrigued!

* Channel 4 study

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