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Why I dropped out of university after 2 months

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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.

 

Why I dropped out of university after 2 months jolie janine

Why I dropped out of university after 2 months jolie janine

Why I dropped out of university after 2 months jolie janine

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.

30 comments

Everardo 6. November 2017 Reply

Thank you for the reminder. 🙂 appreciate you! and your courage. Much love from LA

And admire your courage to be yourself! 🙂

Ana Sofia 7. November 2017 Reply

This really inspired me. I’m currently trying to figure out what to do with my life and what to study. Right now, I’m traveling, working and living a life I’m grateful for but I know that eventually I will have to go to uni.
Meanwhile, I’m really enjoying life, I’m getting to know me better and the most important thing: I’m feeling happy.
Thank you for your post, I really felt related to it.

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Thank you for your comment. Yes, feeling happy is seriously the most important thing <3

Katie 7. November 2017 Reply

Thank you for posting this, I dropped out of university in England after moving away from home and studying for 6 months.
I absolutely hated it, I was misrible and had no quality of life, I was like you, not myself always in a bad mood and it took a complete break down for my parents to turn around to me and suggest dropping out. I dropped out with no idea as to what I was going to do, but the second I made that decision I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
I dropped out in February this year and have not looked back. I feel embarrassed when I tell people I dropped out and then I have to remind myself that I shouldn’t be embarrassed because at the end of the day we’re not going to do something that makes us so unhappy to please everyone else when they ask the dreaded “what are you doing with your life” question!
Loved this post, nice to know I’m not the only one! Thank you!

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story! I can relate so incredibly much. In the end, it doesn’t matter what others think. I think a lot of people who I used to be friends with, now look very skeptical at my decisions (whereby most of them are probably just jealous that they don’t have the courage to change anything in their lives). I truly wish you all the best!

Linda 7. November 2017 Reply

Thank you so much for this. I literally cried when I read this because I can relate so much to your story. Whenever you’re feeling discouraged ,know that you’re not alone. 😘

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    I appreciate your support so much 🙂 Thank you! xx

Chelsea Maliakai 7. November 2017 Reply

Amazing Janine! Our stories are similar yet unique in their own way. Most important thing is that you continue living from that place of authenticity and intention while allowing your heart to be your guide. Keep going and know you are exactly where you are suppose to be! Light & light xx

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Thank you. “continue living from that place of authenticity and intention”- I LOVE THIS! All the best to you, Janine

Dani 7. November 2017 Reply

Wow… i feel exactly the same as you felt (when you studied)…. all my joyful funny and interesting soul is gone… I hope I will find it again… thanks for your text.

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Wishing you lots of strength and all the best :)x

Kristi 7. November 2017 Reply

I really relate to this post at the moment… I’m going to start studying Nature Conservation in George end of January.
The reason I decided that was I’d like to work in nature and with animals, and the campus is beautiful, 20min from the ocean etc (its NMMU George)

The downside is that the course is mainly science, which I’m not very fond of. At the same time, the lifestyle of a conservationist is out in the open air/not an office job…

The problem is I dont really know if I’m going to last a whole year. I’m afraid I’ll want to drop out like you.
I’m mostly afraid of wasting my own time.
Now I’ve been accepted and dont know if I should just cancel everything and do volunteer work/experience life…
I have way too many interests and its lowkey destroying me lol

Sorry this is so long! I’m really conflicted but cant seem to find the answer within myself as you say 😔

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Hi Kristi, Thanks for sharing! The way I see it: if you never try, you will never know. If you got accepted, why don’t you just give it a shot! It sounds like this is something you would really like to work with later in life, so I think you would probably enjoy the degree. If you just say “NO” before giving it a try you might regret it later. If I would have never tried at UCT, I would have also never known what I want. Maybe you will love it! Wishing you all the best, Janine

Savannah 7. November 2017 Reply

Thank you for this amzing post! So true and so inspiring. 💗

Lots of love from Stellenbosch!

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Thank you Savannah 🙂 xx

Sarah 7. November 2017 Reply

Thank you so much for this.

I relate to this so much and a lot of the experiences you describe in your post mirror how I feel about things myself. I feel like whilst your still in school it’s like, without you realizing it at that time you’re kept in this golden cage, a safe environment that -even though it gives you some sort of security, like a constant place to see your friends, learn new things and evolve in a lot of ways- still alienates you from the real world outside, which is why I think so many people finish school absolutely overwhelmed and with no idea what to do with their life. I felt like that. Still do in a sense. I spent a gap year in Australia after school and it made me feel the very same way you described, free, growing as a person, happy and like I was finally becoming the person I am destined to be and those lessons make it so hard for me to conform to societies standards, because essentially I don’t think that is who I am as a person. I’ve always loved photography and editing and most of all traveling and getting to know people all over the world and how they live and generally the more creative things in life, I hope that one day I am able to make a living out of it. I think it is so great that you are so vocal about this topic, since I think it is something a lot of people deal with and will find inspiration by your example.

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Thank you so much for your amazing comment, Sarah. I truly enjoyed reading it and I can relate so well. Moreover, do I totally understand your love for photography and editing- two things I have grown very passionate about as well. I wish you all the best on your way! x

Reni 7. November 2017 Reply

I always enjoy reading your open-minded, candid posts. I’m sure many people find it inspiring including myself:)
I totally agree that you shouldn’t do something just because you feel like you need to. But it takes a while to realize it. After I graduated from college, I got really depressed and wandered aimlessly for a few months. Colleges often tell you that as soon as you get a degree, your dream life us just around the corner. Ha! Not so much…i realized that all my school years I was trying to please others and completely neglected my own interests. I actually forgot how to enjoy life in a constructive way i.e. not binge watching Netflix. So after a serious mental breakdown, I decided to do things in life that I actually enjoy doing. I rediscovered my own interests and they’ve helped me recover from a dark mental place. So now I’m a huge advocate of taking care of yourself and fulfilling your desires while performing other duties in life.
Oh, I forgot to mention but after an intense study abroad trip in Europe, I was forever changed. I knew that traveling needs to be a regular part of my life. I’ve learned more in that 3 month period than all 3 years at college. So i can totally relate to your desire to Travel!
XX from Los angeles

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Hi Reni, Thank you for sharing your story! It is very inspiring to read and I am so happy for you 🙂 Wishing you all the best! xx

Svenja 7. November 2017 Reply

When I read the part where you talked how studying made you unmotivated, bored, constantly fatigue and uninterested in everything, I got reminded of myself. When I came back home after traveling for 14 months and learning more than school could ever teach me, I began studying and I felt 100% the same way… but I still continued and I got almost depressed. I think our bodys are really smart to tell us that there’s something wrong in our life and we should change that. I admire your brave desicion!

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    So good to read that you have been through the same! And yes I think you are right- we need to trust ourselves a lot more. I mean why would our bodies try and trick us? <3

Sofie 7. November 2017 Reply

Schöner Blogpost Janine. Ich liebe deine Art wie du schreibst und ich finde es unfassbar toll wie gut du das was du fühlst in Worte fassen kannst! Ich liebe es wie viel du um die Welt reist und beneide dich unfassbar 😍 würde auch gerne so lange Reisen können nach meiner Ausbildung!!!! Und es gibt noch so viele Ort wo ich hinreisen und die ich entdecken möchte 💕

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Danke dir für deine lieben Worte Sofie! Es freut mich so sehr das zu lesen 🙂 Ich bin mir sicher, dass du nach deiner Ausbildung die Möglichkeit haben wirst zu viel zu reisen 🙂 xx Janine

Katia Eriksen 8. November 2017 Reply

Just what I need! I hvert been thinking of dropping out of my 3 year interior design education (2 years down). I am uinspirert, inmotivated and unhappy. I feel myself going into depression, I just want to stay min bed, sleep, watch Netflix. I am doing something so wrong just to please others. So I am booking that flight. Oh wow you May have just changed my life. Aha I love you!

    Janine Jahnke 8. November 2017 Reply

    Wow thanks for sharing. I seriously wish you only the best in your life <3

Genna Fulcher 9. November 2017 Reply

I am about to graduate from high school. I use to feel as though I knew exactly what I wanted to study in Uni and I guess you could say follow the crowd further into life. However I had a few things happen to me over the past two years which have made me question this decision that I was leaning towards.
I started to develop a desire to lead myself away from what people expected of me and do what made me happy. I looked at adults or people I knew who were already a few years into their Uni degree or in a stable job and while some of them did seem happy a lot of them were missing that sense of adventure and I guess you could say zest for life.
I told myself I definitely do not want to end up like this when I graduate. This world is such a beautiful place, I want to explore it and see all it has to offer. I love learning and I do know I eventually want to study something some day, I am just not too sure what at this stage and instead of rushing into something because that it what is expected, I want to travel and find myself. The only thing I have been asking myself is. ‘how do I get started, how will I sustain myself?’
When I saw your post it really resonated with me, so much of what you said is exactly how I have been feeling. You are so inspiring, if you have the time I would greatly appreciate talking to you or getting some tips for you on how to get started? Oh and I am originally from South Africa, it is so beautiful there, I miss it so much.
Thank you for writing this post, I am sure it inspired many young people to follow what their passion is calling them to do and not what society simply expects of them.
XXX

Diana 9. November 2017 Reply

Ist bei mir exakt dasselbe! Das Problem dabei ist vermutlich auch, dass wenn du erst einmal aus dem „Hamsterrad“ der Gesellschaft raus bist, und du merkst, dass du trotz deiner Alternativen Lebensweise klarkommst, erscheint dir das ganze noch sinnloser und deprimierender und du willst erst recht nicht mehr zurück. Menschen wie wir wissen was hinter dem Tellerrand ist: die große bunte Welt, unsicher zuweilen vielleicht aber bunt und so unendlich verlockend. Ich bewundere immer die Menschen, die jeden Tag von 9-5 arbeiten gehen in einen Job der sie langweilt oder den sie schlimmstenfalls sogar hassen. Eher würde ich den Job kündigen, meine Bude ausräumen, einen Rucksack packen und für immer abhauen. … Also na jedenfalls kann ich dich bestens verstehen. 🙂 Wenn’s als influencer weiterhin gut läuft für dich, dann mach das ohne schlechtes Gewissen weiter. Die Leute, die das kritisieren, sind im Grunde nur neidisch, weil sie nicht so ein „wildes“ Leben haben und es gern hätten oder die machen sich Sorgen um dich, weil sie dich wirklich lieben. So oder so, muss man dafür Verständnis haben. 🙂

Eva 28. November 2017 Reply

Thank you for that quick reminder. It takes a lot of courage. I am a bit in a similar Situation or not – I am in my second year of my masters degree – honestly I just have my thesis to do. But I am struggling so much and it always feels wrong. I am sure that this job is not what I wanna do the rest for my life. I wake up with a bad feeling and I go to bad with a bad feeling. And no one have to live like that. I am in a position where I can choose what I wanna do – other people don’t have the opportunity to choose. So why do I choose feeling bad instead of just dropping out of university and doing something better. Because that is the way society wants us people to live – school, university, job !
I have to make a decision soon – I guess in my head I already made the decision which makes it even worse to wake up every day and work on that thesis.

And at the end of the day all we have is who we are and we have to appreciate that.

Kim 29. November 2017 Reply

“Once you tune in 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.”

Just as I finished reading this part, I felt inspired and empowered. Then just as I looked up, dozens of birds leapt into the sky and took flight together and all I could hear for a second was the sound of wind and wings. Perfect timing. Little moments like this is what I live for too.

    Janine Jahnke 30. November 2017 Reply

    Those little moments are true magic 🙂 xx

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