How Leaving Education Improved My Mental Health
Leaving education, when first thought about scared the living crap out of me. Little did I know that it would be the best thing for my mental health. What the hell was I going to do with all that spare time, maybe I’d go back into education and take my studies further. I didn’t know. Before I graduated my first time around with an HND (Higher National Diploma) my feelings regarding leaving the education system were always there. I felt good that I was going back into education to complete my course and get a degree.
September 2017 came around. Something felt different (I’d not graduated yet!) The atmosphere at college had changed. My best friend had left to have a baby and I was left completely alone. My class was TINY which didn’t help my feelings. I felt completely lost. I didn’t let this deter me though and I still continued to work my socks off even though I constantly felt uncomfortable. I just had to keep reminding myself that the last two years flew by and this one will too. I thought it would all be worth it in the end.
Graduation came a month later. I got to graduate with my best friend and my family came to see me graduate and get my (fake) certificate. To be honest the whole charade was boring but never the less I was proud of myself.
Some time passed and things started to become extremely difficult. I stopped going into college because of so many reasons.
I can not possibly tell you how many times that We’d be told something by a tutor, I’d write it down being the organised person I am and then a couple of weeks later, we’d be told differently by another tutor, We’d explain that we were told differently by another tutor, who would later claim that they didn’t say that. Clearly, I’m a nutcase.
This wasn’t the only issue. I’d ask tutors about whether or not I should write in a certain way, they’d say yes and then in my assessment feedback, they’d criticize me for doing so. I’d write so much that it had become a joke, a joke making me feel extremely conscious about my work meaning I was much more comfortable working in an environment where nobody else was around – at home.
so at this point I am feeling like I’m in a different dimension to everyone else because I’m writing down supposedly information that was never said, I’m feeling completely paranoid in my workload and also, asking the tutors a question for them to respond to me with a go ahead and then be later told that I shouldn’t have done that, my mind is not a pleasant place to be.
Things then started to become hard at home. I didn’t want to see anyone and I didn’t want to communicate with anyone because I was feeling drained, to say the least. I managed, to only just completed my final year at college. I was so close to quitting many times towards the end because honestly, I was finding it extremely hard not to say something I’d maybe, or in hindsight maybe not regret. The end of year show was the absolute nail in the coffin for me (you can read that post here) and mentally I couldn’t do it anymore. I showed my face at the main event because my family wanted me there but then I needed to get out before I did something I’d probably get arrested for.
Since leaving college in May, I’ve felt like a completely different human. I get days where I feel the ”aftershocks” if you like of how I felt every day when I was at college for that final year and it makes me so grateful that I am no longer living that life.
I am happier, I am feeling amazing. I know I’m not going batshit crazy and on top of that, I’ve got amazing relationships with everyone around me. I’m happy working hard on my photography, blog and other business adventures and I honestly cannot believe how leaving college could be the thing to make me feel better.
I’m often greeted with the ”Aren’t you happy you did the final year though?” and the answer is always, no. I learnt nothing new, everyone was so disconnected from each other and I could have really done without it to be honest. Even now, 2 months later, I am still feeling the incredibly anxious feelings about how that place made me feel just by reliving it through this post.
It’s important to remember that everyone has different views and opinions on their own experiences. People read situations differently to others but what is ultimately the most important is how you feel and how that affects the way that you feel and your mental health. If someone else had an amazing experience, then good for them. Don’t let them make you feel like your feelings are completely wrong because they had a difference in experience or opinion.
I won’t be attending my graduation in September and the last graduation was good enough to prove to me that my family will be just as proud of me this time as they were last time. I don’t need to go to the actual event but to everyone else going, have a ball.
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