“I’m not in school anymore,” I stated boldly to the woman. she asked me what I was studying at the university i had left a couple months prior. “oh,” she looked surprised, baffled even. “why not?”
I went on to tell her what i tell everyone- how I really did not enjoy college, the whole atmosphere of it. how it wasn’t for me, how I didn’t know what I wanted to study & felt like I was wasting money. I told her how I went to a university in the first place because I felt like I had to, not because I actually wanted to.
“oh, honey,” she awkwardly smiled. i laughed and thought to myself “yup, she thinks I’m an idiot.”
I am a quitter. a college drop out. I won’t get a degree. my highest education will be my high school diploma.
flashback to my freshman year at the University of Kansas. I joined a sorority, lived in the dorms, did the whole freshman thing. I was so unhappy right off the bat, that I literally went home the weekend before school even started.
i hated it. the partying. the endless amounts of alcohol and sex that almost everyone except me was partaking in. i was confused and felt conflicted 99% of the time. we are here to get an education, right..? why didn’t it seem like that? i immediately felt like attending this school was a waste of my time.
from then on, I seriously contemplated dropping out every single semester. but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I had to go to college. this is what you did at my age. it made me worth something.
I told people my desire to quit. they told me “oh, but emma you really need that piece of paper,” “jobs won’t hire you,” “you really should finish…”
so, in the meantime-i bought in to that whole outlook and i stayed. i changed my major 3 times in 2 years, trying to come up with some degree that i had at least a little bit of interest in. i tried my hardest and got really good grades. all so i could be worth something. and i cried. a lot.
shortly, my plan to stay came to a screeching halt when i realized how absolutely miserable i was. i’m getting this degree because i feel like i have to. because society tells me that i should. because i don’t believe in myself and that i can be successful without a degree.
i couldn’t bear finishing another semester at college. i had to get out. so i did just that-i quit. my sophomore year was my last.
i’m happy, as a 20 year old woman not in school.
i smile to myself when someone asks me about what I’m doing these days, just waiting for the same reaction from one person to the next. it reminds me that there is a certain mold of a twenty something that our society buys into. that our grandparents and parents buy into. that our friends buy into. and that i don’t have to fit in to it. and neither do you.
i can be whoever i want to be.
sure, people look down on me because i dropped out. and maybe a job will turn me away. and sometimes i feel stupid for doing it-like i can’t be worth something without that piece of paper. but this, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
college doesn’t define me. i am no less of a person now that i am out of school. and if a job or person can’t see that-their loss-not mine.
being miserable so people would think highly of me was not, and never will be worth it.
i don’t think i will ever go back.
sweet freedom. from endless amounts of homework, finals, research papers, stress, classes that i slept through, frat parties that i felt pressured to go to, shots i felt pressured to take.
but most importantly, freedom from the person i thought that i had to be in order to be worth something.
I’m worth it.