College Dropout

For as long as I could remember, I loved where my great-grandma lived. I always wished we could move to Colorado just so I could spend more time there, with her. When I got accepted to a school in New York and to a school in Colorado Springs, I was torn. It was my childhood dream to live in Colorado, but New York would be such an adventure.

Then, my great-grandpa passed away and I made the decision to go to the school in Colorado. It was the best decision I ever made, but not for any reasons I could have foreseen. When school started, I was very optimistic. The walk to campus was everything I had imagined it would be and I felt determined to like everything about college. I had been nervous of course; but at first, I was mostly excited as I walked down the familiar road in front of my grandma’s house. The further I got, the more nervous I became. Then, one day, my anxiety was out of control.

Every class was fun in the beginning; I was excited to dive into each one. Then, slowly but surely, I begun dreading each class. I enjoyed what I was learning, but the other students and some of the professors bothered me. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing and I felt like I was failing at existing. The work wasn’t too hard, but the interactions were impossible. I hated being there and when I wasn’t there I was thinking about being there, hating it. I worked retail then and I didn’t mind customer interactions, so the anxiety I had at school didn’t make sense. I had to deal with people all day at work, but it didn’t bother me nearly as much as sitting in a classroom did.

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Almost two years later, I can’t really tell you why I dropped out. There isn’t any one reason. The time came and went when I could have been refunded for the classes. I chose to continue. It wasn’t until my brother told me that I could drop out that I finally did. His “permission” was everything I needed. I couldn’t stand another day at that school. The panic attacks could have been caused by anything, I guess. But, as soon as I dropped out, they stopped.

I’m back in school now, online, and I am having so much fun. I love learning, a lot. I don’t even mind going to school. I think it was something about that school or maybe a college campus in general that was too much for me. I never minded going to high school, though, so I’m still confused as to what drove me past my breaking point.

I am not sharing this story because I’ve discovered a cure to the anxiety surrounding school and human interaction. If you’re reading this, you may or may not have dropped out of college. You may or may not understand social anxiety. None of that matters. The reason I am writing about this is to say that it’s okay. If you must fail at something in order to take care of yourself, please fail. When you are faced with a choice to either keep going down a road you are terrified of or to get off the road, please pull over. There are times when you should encourage yourself to keep going, not give up. But, when it concerns your health and well-being, don’t push yourself too far. You know yourself better than anyone and you know how much you can take. If you need “permission” I am offering it to you. Take care of yourself. It will be okay. In fact, in may turn out better than okay. When I dropped out, I felt relived. And then I felt ashamed and embarrassed. And then I felt free. And now I look back and thank my brother and thank myself. Going to Colorado was the best decision I ever made and dropping out of that school was the second best. I’m finding my happy ending, and I hope you find yours.

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