Deciding to drop out of college can be a huge life event for young adults. It can be incredibly emotional with feelings of failure, shame, or fear. It is important to remember that dropping out of school is not the end of the world. Some young adults may just need a break to regroup and refocus on their goals. Other young adults may find that college was not the right fit for them, but a career path or a trade school is a better fit.
Leaving college does not mean that you are destined to never be successful. Often, that pressure we put on ourselves of, “what do I do now”, can be debilitating. The first step is to just take a breath. Remind yourself that everything is not over because you decided to drop out of college. It may feel like everything is up in the air, but the reality is that you are in control.
Getting Back on Track
It may be helpful to identify the issues that lead to you making the decision to drop out. Were you overwhelmed by the coursework? Were you lacking the support you needed to reach your goals? Did you lack self-discipline and motivation to complete your work? Were you feeling isolated? Were you struggling with mental health or family issues? Once you identify the reasons behind leaving, you can assess how to best address those issues. For example, if you were struggling with anxiety or depression, it is crucial to seek out treatment and support for your mental health before you can decide what your next step should be. If you didn’t feel motivated to do your work, explore why that was. Maybe you were pursuing the wrong major. Or maybe you need to work on some life skills, like time management and accountability that can help you succeed in the future.
Once you’ve identified the issues, it is just as important to remember the positives of your college experience. Chances are, not everything was bad. Maybe you made some great friends or joined a club you loved. You may also have learned some important life skills and abilities. Remembering the positives can help you reflect on your time at college and turn it into a positive learning experience rather than viewing it as a failure.
Next, you can explore your options as you move forward. Education doesn’t just happen in a classroom. There are many opportunities for continuing learning such as volunteering, workshops, clubs, internships, and on-the-job education. In reflecting on the positives of your college experience, hopefully, you can also identify your interests. Pursuing your goals through these different avenues can give you real-world experience and life skills while also building a network to use if you decide to focus on your career path. You may also find that after some real work experience, you feel more focused and prepared to return to college to pursue a degree in the field of your choice.
And lastly, remember that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. You are not alone. Instead of succumbing to negative feelings around dropping out of college, reach out to your support system. This can be family, friends, or a mentor. You may also benefit from working with a career coach or participating in a residential program that provides a supportive environment while you decide what your next steps will be.
Journey Home East Can Help
Journey Home East provides key supportive interventions in a home-like setting. We include various types of interventions including group, individual, and family support. As a transitional independent living program, we also help our residents work on independent living skills, develop positive peer and community relationships, help them with academic success, and provide exciting recreational activities.
Journey Home East helps provide the opportunity for greater freedoms and responsibilities entailed in pursuing further education or having a job. Residents are being supported in this process by our skilled staff. For more information please call (828) 408-0767.