[side note: this is also in video form on YouTube, find the video at the end of the post]
This may not be what new students want to read just before they start university, so feel free to skip this post if you’re a first-year. University was a very important time in my life and I have absolutely no regrets about going, but I did drop out whilst halfway through my second year and I think the internet could benefit from my story. For context: I went to the University of Gloucestershire and studied Television Production BA (Hons), but graduated with a CertHE as I left early.
My first year of university was 99% great. I made amazing friends in halls, partied a bit, kissed too many boys (the 1% that wasn’t great was because of boys!) and generally had an awesome time.
But, in my second year, when my grades actually counted towards my degree and I decided to put some more effort in (I still got a 2:1 for first year), I realised something: I really didn’t like my course. I didn’t want to go into Television when I graduated and all I really enjoyed was Editing, which I never actually got an opportunity to do as we were all given roles in each programme we created. There was so much theory (which I didn’t mind) which felt completely irrelevant and I wasn’t interested in it, so in October ’14 I decided that I wanted to leave. I met Chris in October too, so I had his support in my decision. It actually took two months to be able to leave, so my last day was officially the 13th December 2014.
I probably could have stuck at my course if it wasn’t for something that happened towards the end of first year. Someone on my course who I had been casually seeing suddenly decided to ignore me for weeks, without actually telling me why. This confused me, because we were friends as well, but he started being really horrible to me behind my back. Cut forward a few weeks and an argumentative car ride later and he was drunk outside my flat and told me he was in love with me. I told him to get out. A few days later, he was sober and doing the same. I told him I didn’t love him (because he was an arsehole, although I didn’t say that at the time). That’s when it really started. He started a vendetta; turning people against me and spreading rumours like I’d slept with half of Cheltenham and even with other people on the course. He even drafted in a friend to help him. He then started to be really rude to me whilst working together on a programme. Luckily he was an Editor and I was on set so I didn’t see him, but he would be horrible to me via the group chat we had on Facebook. It got to the point where I was worried he would sabotage my grades by slagging me off to the lecturer, so I told the head of the course about it. By then it was too late; I needed to escape that toxic environment.
The university didn’t have a bullying policy, but thanks to my situation they created one. That’s the legacy I left behind, I guess! Too bad it only took effect after I dropped out. When I didn’t go back to university after the Christmas break, I felt like a failure and weak for letting the bastard control my life so I cut everyone out that reminded me of uni and moved in with Chris, which meant I lost my housemates’ friendship but I felt it was the best choice for me at the time.
Now that I’ve settled into a new home and a new city with a new husband I’m starting the Open University! I’m doing English Lit and Lang part-time, so it will take a little longer but I can learn at my pace and whatever time I want to.
This storytime was a little bit upsetting to write, because I still have so many regrets about things that happened, but I met my husband thanks to university, so I can’t say I regret the whole experience. My advice to everyone applying to or starting university is: don’t sleep with your coursemates until third year (so there’s only a few months left if things go sour) and make sure the course you’re doing isn’t too specific, so it doesn’t restrict you in terms of a career after you graduate. Think long and hard about what you want to do.
Has anyone else dropped out? Let me know in the comments. Below is the YouTube version of this post, please like, comment and subscribe!