Monday, March 14, 2011

New Direction?

This past week has been tough for me. I've had a lot of homework, assignments, and other obligations to fill and I've hardly had any time to breathe. I haven't been able to read anything besides school books. I've only written a couple thousand words this week, which feels like torture when I have so many ideas and so much pent-up excitement about this WIP.

I've been thinking lately that I want to leave university. It was fun for a while, but now I have to force myself to finish assignments, torture myself into studying, and bully myself into even going to class. I have no passion for what I'm learning, no drive to do anything. To put it bluntly, I hate it.

I'm supposedly in a creative writing program, but nothing I'm reading or writing for school feels like it has any relevance to my life and writing career. Most of the program is focused on poetry (which I hate) and super pretentious literary short stories (which I really hate). I am in a children's lit class, which I like, but even so, it feels like I'm studying the very, very basics.

So I've decided that I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to stay in a program I don't care about. I don't want to have to force myself to care. I want to be doing something I love.

So I'm not going back next term. I'm going to slog this term out as best I can, then I'm going to work all summer, save up money, and probably go to France for a big chunk of September. That's the plan.

After that? I may go back to school, start a different program, but maybe not. Maybe I'll just work part-time and focus on writing. My parents won't be too pleased (Mom won't, Dad'll be fine), but I really think I need to stop doing things just because I feel like I have to. Besides, I'm going to school on my own dime. They can't stop me.

Am I crazy? Should I stick to my guns and follow those dreams? If anyone has any wisdom or advice to share, I'd love to hear it.


  1. Hey, I understand exactly how you feel. I've been having a hard time in college as well. I actually just applied to transfer to another school for my next semester.

    As far as leaving university, how do you think it will affect you in the long run? I mean, if you do decide not to go back. I think that's the most important question. Although, taking a semester or two off might be just what you need.

    I say, follow your dreams; take some time off if you have to. When you get back you might even decide that a break was all you needed. :)

  2. I can relate because I, too, found myself very unhappy at my university a while back. I've always loved learning, but everything felt like a burden while I was there. I wasn't succeeding in the way I imagined I would be and, ultimately, it wasn't worth the amount of money I was paying. I ended up withdrawing from the school and I think it was for the best. I haven't decided what my next move will be, but I appreciate this "breathing" period where I can consider the multiple options I have.

    It definitely sounds like you at least need a break from the school environment/program, so I think you're on the right track. There's really no point in feeling so suffocated by something you should be enjoying, at least to a certain extent. Good luck with whatever you decide! :)

  3. I went through something similar in college, and I did end up quitting. I just flat out hated school, and I was sick of it. I told myself it was just going to be for a semester or two. And it's actually been three years, and I'm still only tiptoeing around going back - and only for an online class or two a semester at the most. I managed to score a pretty good job that I'm happy with, and I actually don't regret quitting, but there is a tiny part of me that wonders where I would be at right now if I hadn't. I see a lot of my high school classmates getting ready to graduate, and I constantly wonder why I couldn't go through with it. I do also feel like I'm being judged a lot of the time because I didn't finish my degree.

    Really though, it's all about being happy. If you're miserable, take the steps to make yourself happy. There's no point in wasting time doing something you hate when life is so short to begin with. And a break in Paris sounds like just the place to figure out your next move! ;D

  4. Aw, that sucks, being torn that way. I definitely say do what feels right. Fo sho.

    And if that means stopping school and going to France, then why the hell not? (If you're paying for everything you're doing anyway). Maybe with the break you'll get a new look on everything, new ideas. I know writing's your thing, but if you did go back to school, maybe you could study something else? It's working out great for me. Maybe you'd find something you love just as much that wouldn't drain the fun out of it.

    That being said, school isn't always all it's cracked up to be, like you said. Maybe what you're doing/going to do is the best thing. Maybe your life will become the awesome-est it can be :) Good luck. You can do this.

  5. Sorry to hear it isn't working out as you had hoped - I think it sounds like you're burned out and should definitely take a break! Maybe you'll want to go back in future.

  6. Hello! I just wanted to add to the above sentiments - you're totally not alone. Being an author is my dream, so I thought I would major in creative writing. But after a good portion of classes, I realized it wasn't helping me at all. I probably had one teacher who really helped me. He was great, kind, supportive, but he was only one professor.

    But I refused to let all my hard work go to waste. So I switched majors to History (another subject I love), and worked my bum off to graduate as soon as I could. I've been graduated since Dec 2009, and I currently work part-time in a library, have a few other money making work-at-home sort of things, and I focus on writing, reviewing, and blogging.

    This time I'm taking now, to figure out my life, to work on the things I love so much has been the best experience. Yes, I don't have a ton of money to spend, but I'm happy where I am. So basically I'm saying do what is best for you! And good luck with whatever you choose. =)

  7. Which will you look back on and wish you had done?

    I say, go to France.

  8. Ah, I should also add that I'm a little biased. I came home from a four-year university to spend a month with a best friend in Mexico, blowing off steam and sorting my brain out, before I said "yes" to marrying my husband.

    One of the best stories of my life when it's told with style ;)

  9. Hi,

    I'm Kate Evangelista, author of Taste, and I just wanted to take this time to introduce myself. If you have the time, please stop by The Coffee Bar by using the link below:

    I hope to see you there.


  10. Like a few others have said, I think taking a break from school sounds like a good idea. You don't necessarily have to write off the possibility of finishing school forever (you may want to go back to it someday, and that's fine!) but you should give your dreams a chance!

    I went to college to be an elementary school teacher and taught for three years before I realized that I wanted to be an author, not a teacher. It was a hard decision, but I took a year off teaching to write and go after my dreams of becoming a published author.

    Writing full time sounds wonderful (and it is!) but there are downsides, mostly about the money. I work part-time to pay the bills, but it's still hard to make ends meet. (For example, I pay for my own health insurance and my coverage isn't great. I had a medical emergency a few weeks ago and was hospitalized - those bills are going to be hard to pay! They were a very unexpected cost!!)

    I'm glad I'm going after my dreams because now I won't ever look back and regret not trying. But I'm also glad that I have a college degree and can "fall back" on being a teacher if I need to.

    Whatever you decide to do, keep us posted, and best of luck to you!

    Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

  11. i agree with erin and the others. a break sounds like a good idea. either way, best of luck! :)

  12. I've been there, for sure. I think that a break would be good for you. Sometimes it helps to take a step back, relax, and figure out the next step, rather than just continuing to torture yourself. Maybe just take a leave for a semester, then come back and try a different program. The answers will come with time. Good luck!

  13. I think we have all been there (and this is coming from someone who is working on her second Master's degree and is hoping to be pursuing a PhD in the next couple of years). Formal education is not for everyone, and if you aren't getting anything out of it, then leaving might be the best choice for you. It really just depends on what your ultimate career goals are and if that piece of paper is going to aid you in getting there or not. Eventually you may decide to go back, and when you do, I would advise you to do a lot of research and find a program that works for you. I have some personal regrets in that department. I just simply didn't know about all the alternative kinds of programs various colleges offered when I did my undergrad. Regardless, you seem like you know what you want in life, and I have no doubt you'll be just fine whatever you decide. Good luck!

  14. There seems to be some good advice here already, but I'll give you my opinion as well!

    If you honestly don't feel that you're getting anything out of your course, then I don't think there's anything wrong in leaving. Take some time off, re-assess, it's not like once you've left, you can never go back if you decide you want to finish it, after all. And then if you do, you'll be more committed and get more out of it. If not, then there's another path that's right for you out there.

    Best wishes with making your decision - I know how hard it can be. I left uni twice (but eventually finished my degree externally). Now I'm thinking about going back again. Sucker for punishment, I guess. :-)

  15. An education can never hurt you. School debt can hurt you. Hating what you're doing can hurt you. Follow your passion, but know that education is a good thing. How's that for no help what-so-ever? :) But know: the right decision will feel right.

  16. I have a PhD so obviously I've slugged it out in school. Margo is right, having a degree opens doors that will be forever closed to you without one. So take your time off, enjoy France, and then, for 2012, find a program that is better suited to your desires and personality. Maybe that is an online program where you can spend less time going and just sitting in class and more time focusing on the important things. Lots of options out there so don't pen yourself into a traditional program.