Deciding to STOP study



This has been a while in the thought process but i thought it would be a good chance to help anyone else out there is who wants to decide whether or not to continue with their studies.

Course Content

I wrote a post last year about my decision to do an Arts Degree - Ancient History. I love studying and learning and ancient history is a topic i really enjoy. Unfortunately something i quickly came to realise is that i do not enjoy University.  Why? I feel like alot of the assignments are busy work, they don't actually achieve anything and they seem like alot of fancy words and fluff. I felt like it was less to do with my answer and more to do with how I referenced it. Don't get me wrong, i was getting Distinctions in my grades so it wasn't that it was too hard at all. It was more the content and the delivery were just not bringing me joy.

Finances and HELP debt

I initially had no issue with getting a HELP debt which in Australia means that the government pays for your degree and when you get to a certain salary bracket you start paying it back. Well im already in that bracket so it was about $150 a fortnight out of my salary. That's not alot. I was fine with this. However then COVID hit and the government decided that they were going to stop subsidising humanities degrees to give more funding to Nurses and health care. Which is fair enough. However this meant that my $20,000 degree will be more like $40,000 by the time i finish. For something i was doing more for interests sake then for employment this was not something i felt like was a justified expense.

Time to study

The time taken to study was not a burden while i was at work. It was considered personal development so i could use a few hours a week to study in the office. However when we went into lock down i found i was getting alot of anxiety about trying to work, homeschool and study. It wasn't that i couldn't balance it it was more that it was constantly in my mind that i had to study or that i had an assignment coming up and I felt it was causing me alot of stress.

During the initial shutdown period I pulled out of the units i was studying and decided to sign back up when things calmed down. I re-enrolled in one unit last month but again i felt like i just couldn't spare the time or mental space to get the study done. Not to mention they weren't even topics i really cared about as i am in the Humanities pathway which is basic academic skills, nothing to do with Ancient history. It was just plain and boring. Then i thought that this Degree will take me 6years to complete and did i really want to dedicate that long to this? I looked over the courses and decided that out of about 30 units, i only really found 2-3 to be interesting.

The decision to withdraw

The decision to withdraw was made very quickly. I basically have an assignment due next week and i tried several times to sit down and do it. It was only 1500 words and would have taken me a few hours at most to finish but i just couldn't focus. This told me several things, firstly that i clearly didn't care about this, second that i needed to really look at why i was doing it in the first place. The answer to the second question was simple. I felt like I SHOULD have a degree. Everyone else has one, i tell them i have two diplomas and they just nod, like its less of an achievement even though the time taken was the same as their degree, many of them are out of work and yet i have worked for the government for nearly 12yrs earning above average wages.

Then i wondered what would happen once i got the Degree. Well honestly i might get another job but it wouldn't actually pay more than my current one. Not to mention many areas that i could work in don't even require a degree and focus more on work experience. The jobs that i want are all very hands on creative roles, not management or higher level. So i decided that rather than spending my time and money on this Degree maybe my time would be better spent doing some short courses focused on individual skills that really interest me. They are a few months commitment rather than several years.

So you quit?

I know alot of people think of this as quitting, or "failing" but its not at all. Why on earth would i spend my time doing something that doesn't bring me joy or have any positive outcomes other than a bit of paper at the end? Many of my friends with Degrees have even said that all they got out of it was a debt at the end. I know alot of people finish things because they feel like they have to or people will judge them. Not me, i have always been one to stand up for the right to quit. I tried it, i stepped up and gave it a go. Then i was strong enough to admit it wasn't right for me and stopped to give myself the chance to find something that really does bring me joy.


So im asking you all now, what have you quit because you knew it wasn't working?



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