University for myself, was an absolute screamer. Parties every single day, maybe even twice a day If that’s your yardstick. Pure. Relentless. Hedonism.
You lumber your belongings into your accommodation, bid farewell to mum and dad and then you’re stuck in your room. This is it; this is your home for the next year; or in my case, the next six months.
The experience was one of kind, freshers week was a constant series of hit and miss, one moment you’ve found your tribe, the next you find yourself trundling home alone with a complete sense of dread that you may be beyond your age bracket.
“I had only been away year, since when did Tik Tok become a big deal?!”
“What even is boomtown?”
“Is 19 too late to head to uni?!”
Turns out, this was just my inner hypochondriac saying hello. The weeks went by and suddenly, flat 3.1 became the go to hub and the regular batch would be turning up every evening ready to do it all over again. This university thing was beginning to work out. I was loving it. The people, the raves and first year doesn’t count anyway so it just became a drug fuelled binge disguised as a coming of age awakening.
Elon Musk was quoted saying “college is for fun and learning to do your chores”, I took this as gospel and slowly it became that never-ending bender many of us can relate to. Studying became my daily Mont Blanc and the constant comedowns left me more or less meditating on Instagram until nightfall (and the dealers) woke up.
My modus operandi was completely out of sync with the rest of the world, yet time progressed, and I met my girlfriend, an Australian exchange student, then suddenly everything became crystal clear. I was getting absolutely nowhere, and a sort of hopelessness seeped into my life. By February, I had clocked almost a year of living large with little aspiration. From the moment I left for South America in March of the prior year, my goal was to spend some time for myself after studying to the point where sleep became a time constraint. Only to realise A-levels are a simple pin prick in the grand scheme of life; however, they mattered to me at the time.
School was a grind up until that point, I never particularly cared, usually just waiting for the inter-year El Classico at lunch or the next house party. Fast forward to my second semester at university, you wouldn’t be wrong to believe I had come full circle.
So I left that February, armed with an appetite for Australia and a new life – surely this was all going to work out, right?
I’d see my girlfriend, find my passion and set up would be complete. Christ almighty, I was so wrong.
Covid-19 strikes, borders slam shut across the world and I’m living back at home, stacking shelves in Tesco and trading away my earnings on Tesla stock. I was on the gravy train for sure, attracted by the high risk, high reward stocks thinking a big win would salvage this year. It was not to be and by November I found myself jumping on the Amazon boom and starting up my own store. It’s still a work in progress and life is very lonely, feeling engulfed by lockdown after lockdown or rule after regulation.
It is very easy to feel alone and more to the point, depression always seems to be a stones throw away. It’s not an easy bumping and every small failure looks you dead in the eyes telling you that leaving university was a horrendous choice. It can bring you to the brink sometimes, but I will say you are not alone.
Take everything step by step and play the long game, sometimes its very easy to get caught up in this university dropout fantasy and expect google to pick up on your untapped-Steve-Jobs-esque genius but this life is a marathon and not a sprint.
You’re one of the 6% If you have quit University in the UK, meaning each year, there is 113,400 of us doing this. I expect that number to be far higher thanks to our mate corona.
You might be stuck, you might be lonely and you may be feeling hopeless but bide your time and treat failure as a learning curve.
Stop being so hard on yourself.