After 2,5 years of pretty much constant travelling, working in small jobs here and there and starting my blog, I felt relieved when I was finally able to respond to the ever dreaded question asked by friends and family: “So Janine, what are you currently doing with your life?” In the past I quickly discovered that the answer “I learnt how to surf on Bali, I found myself in Cape Town or I am starting to work with social media” is less accepted than a plain “I am studying law”. Thus, I somehow I felt a lot better when I was finally able to respond that I would soon start studying at the University in Cape Town.
As you might already know: I lasted at university for 2 months. After starting in February this year, I decided to quit in April. Why? Well, I could give you a long list of the different aspects I didn’t like about my courses or tell you how I thought this degree wouldn’t really help me later on in life, but I won’t. Instead I am going to tell you how I truly felt inside whilst I was studying at university, because that was what it all boiled down to.
The answer “I learnt how to surf on Bali, I found myself in Cape Town or I am starting to work with social media” is less accepted than a plain “I am studying law”
I am usually very ambitious, passionate, energetic and motivated when it comes to doing things I enjoy and tasks that will help me grow as a person. When I was at uni, however, I was quite the opposite: unmotivated, bored, constantly fatigued and uninterested in everything. Some of you might think: “well you are simply lazy and you don’t understand what studying is like”. In school I was extremely hard working and always used to be the top of my grade- I thoroughly enjoyed learning. With the degree I was doing at university it was different. I was hoping that the subjects would be of more use to me later on in the working world and I really couldn’t find any interest in the topics I studied. I usually jump straight out of bed in the morning, however when it came to attending the lectures I had to drag myself to class.
Long story short: I was simply feeling miserable when I went to university.
During my nearly 3 years of travelling, I had made so many life experiences that you will never learn at university. Looking back, I have grown so much ever since I graduated high school. When you go to school you don’t really have as much opportunity to expand: if you want to succeed you simply follow the rules, do as you are told to and evolve most of your life around school. When I first started travelling I got thrown into the real world. I no longer had any teachers telling me what to do, good grades to motivate me or rules to tell me when I must hand something in. I rediscovered the fact that this life is yours and you can shape it in whatever way you desire. Living by no one else’s rules but my own, I quickly got more and more in touch with myself and started exploring who I am and who I want to be in this world. I discovered my true passions, got in touch with like-minded people and realized that life is not about following a setup path. With all this knowledge in mind, studying something that I didn’t enjoy just to get a degree, felt like putting a paper bag over my head and simply ignoring everything I had learnt over the last years.
I discovered my true passions, got in touch with like-minded people and realized that life is not about following a setup path. With all this knowledge in mind, studying something that I didn’t enjoy just to get a degree, felt like putting a paper bag over my head and simply ignoring everything I had learnt over the last years.
In order to keep going and to fit in with the system I had to become someone who, at the core of my being, I was not. This became evident when I was spending time with friends. Instead of being the joyful, inspired and interesting person, who I used to be, I was always in a bad mood, complaining and not adding any value to anyone’s life. I think life is all about being the best version of yourself and discovering your true potential. Being so unhappy with my university situation, I stopped doing the things I loved (working on my blog), I spent less time engaging with things that inspired me (reading or listening to books) and I started eating unhealthy because food was the only “highlight” of my day.
No matter what it is you think you “have” to do in life, it should never make you feel miserable, prevent you from being who you truly are and stop you from achieving your full potential.
This post is not supposed to say that university is bad because is not at all. I simply didn’t enjoy the degree that I was doing and at that particular point in time, it was just not the right place for me. Perhaps, one day I will even end up studying something different, that truly excites me.
The reason I am sharing this with you is that I want to bring across the lesson this difficult decision thought me: Always focus on how you feel because it is your guiding path through life towards your real purpose. No matter what other people say, what society suggests or what you think you “have” to do- nothing is worth it if it doesn’t feel good to you.
No matter what other people say, what society suggests or what you think you “have” to do- nothing is worth it if it makes you feel miserable and out of tune with yourself.
Certain chores such as washing the dishes or doing your taxes might not make you feel good whilst you do them, but you simply have to do them in order to feel good in the future. This doesn’t apply to career choices or the path you take in life because with those decisions you have to be 100% honest with yourself.
If you are not honest with yourself and you don’t appreciate your own feelings, how are others around you supposed to respect you? How is life supposed to give you the best it can?I know how scary change can be. Once you tune it with yourself and you know what you really want and what your heart desires, the desire for change will be greater than the fear of the unknown.
Dropping out of university after 2 months made me realize that life is not a straight paved out path, more so it is a hilly ride with lots of ups and downs. To find out where we have to go we need to listen to ourselves because otherwise, we will never know which step to take next.
I ended up choosing uncertainty over security and even though it is scary at times, it feels incredibly good and I wouldn’t want it any other way right now.
Some pictures from a breathtaking hike in the Wilderness national park, which lead us to this waterfall. Beautiful moments like this one is what I live for.