A few years ago from now, I was struggling with severe depression and anxiety in high school. I went to university, but everything went down even more. After trying and trying again, I decided studying was not for me anymore. I stopped and moved to London. It was the best decision I have ever made and no matter what people say or think, I won’t ever go back to studies. — Still now, I learn from every day life events and I still feel like nothing would have been the same if I kept trying so hard on studies. Here are the lessons this journey taught me :
1) It is NOT because you are not studying, that you are stupid.
When I stopped, I felt (and was) constantly judged. I was being compared to people around me who continued their studies. So much that I started comparing myself as well. I felt so stupid and I eventually believed that I was not as smart as people around me who were studying, whether they were my friends, my family, or complete strangers.
Truth is, you don’t need to study to be “smart”. Intelligence has nothing to do with studies or grades, or degrees. Remember when you couldn’t understand a thing about your maths lesson ? And someone next to you could understand it all ?
Did it mean you were less smart then them ? No. It just meant you didn’t understand it, when they did. It meant that someone would need to explain it to you in a different way. You just needed more time to get it. And it doesn’t matter how long. It doesn’t even matter if you eventually never understand it. And most importantly, It doesn’t matter if you get a bad grade at the test. The test doesn’t define your intelligence.
We all aspire to different things and love different topics. We simply are different. If there is one specific topic you have difficulties to like or to understand, it doesn’t change your worth or your ability to understand another one, quicker than anyone else. Why would it mean you are stupid ?
It is not because there’s no subject in high school you are good at, that you won’t find your path. You can have other talents and gifts that we never took the time to study in high school.
I didn’t even know exactly what I wanted to do with my life by the age of 18. It didn’t mean I was stupid. There’s no age to find your right direction. On the opposite, this is “stupid” to expect everyone to know exactly what they want in life by a certain age.
Stopping your studies just means you realized it was not what you like, and it is not the path you want to take in Life. It means you took the time to reflect on what it could bring you or not. It actually means you have other ambitions. How on Earth could it mean you are stupid ?
2) It Is Actually a Brave Decision To Stop Studying
In a society where some people praise your level of “intelligence” (based on what they actually think intelligence means, aka your degrees or grades), it is very difficult to decide otherwise for yourself. Stopping your studies and doing something else with your life is actually BRAVE. And it has to be for yourself, and only yourself. No matter what people think, if it is the right choice for you and you know the reasons why, then no one’s opinion should matter.
It takes courage to realize what isn’t good for you and what you need in life in order to grow. How could we not think someone who decided to follow their dreams, no matter how ambitious they are, isn’t brave ?
I thought going to university was okay because at least I would follow people’s path and, let’s say, “the normal and usual path”. The thing is, I didn’t want to follow everyone’s path. I didn’t want to be “usual” or “normal”. All I wanted was to be different. I needed challenges (in my own words, which meant moving to another city and not pursue my studies but my dreams). And when I think about it, it was quite courageous from me, wasn’t it ?
3) Studying Doesn’t Lead You To Everything
No matter how much studies can help some people to reach their goals, and how much it can be the perfect path for some, I also believe it is not because you stopped, that you won’t go anywhere in Life. It is not always all about your CV or the number of diplomas you own. Sometimes you can have a lot of them, yet still not find what you want, or what makes your heart beat.
I am currently working in retail in a luxury department store, and I met so many different people who all stopped or finished studying, but didn’t use their studies for their actual career. Does it make them less worthy ? No.
A good friend of mine who is a manager in the department store, once told me he interviewed a few people in his life, who had the best CVs he ever read. They had all the best qualifications to have a bright future and an amazing career in their fields.
But after meeting them, he realized it was not all about it. He realized that to have a bright career, yes qualifications and degrees can definitely help, that’s for sure. But obviously you need a true personality. And this is something school or university can’t teach you, and probably never will.
4) There Are So Many Other Ways To Learn
Since I stopped studying, I moved to London. But I also got the chance to travel quite a lot around the United Kingdom. (Here are 5 Cities I discovered through it all) And I won’t lie : it taught me so much more than any schools or universities would have. I also got in trouble a lot, but after all, that’s what taught me too, and made me grow.
Even my actual job that I have for over a year now, probably taught me more than school or university taught me in more than 10 years.
What I think is not really great about education (no matter how many great things it can also have), is that you won’t learn how to save money. Or how to have a mortgage for a house, and how to raise children. How to heal a broken heart or how to fight depression or other issues. How to pursue your dreams and how to find your real talents.
It won’t teach you exactly how to apply for the job of your dreams, neither will it teach you to have an open mind on the World. It sometimes won’t even teach you to believe in yourself.
While traveling and trying to survive on my own, I got the chance to learn some of these, I guess. At least more than if I stayed in school. I got to see with my own eyes some things I used to see in schools’ books (and to be honest at that time I couldn’t care less, when it definitely sparked my interest while traveling).
I also got to love topics I used to hate or dislike. For example, I hated going to History lessons. When I started traveling around the UK, I was truly passionate about the History of each and every city and place I got to visit. I used to hate having to learn German. Today, I wish I could speak so many different languages to get into the culture of all the cities I want to discover. I used to hate above everything, having to read books I didn’t care about at all. Today, I love spending time buying new books, reading and learning, when I can choose the topic.
5) Studying Can’t Work For Everyone, And That’s Okay
As I said, in high school I used to deal with high depression and anxiety. (More About it on my Video about Mental illness) And having to go there every day would be a real struggle. It was hell. And when it comes to mental health, nothing matters more than your own wellbeing. Your mental health is so much more important than your grades. You can’t even compare them.
I used to struggle reading because I had reading OCD. So going to a literature lesson and having to read a 500 pages book in a week, was HELL for me. It would make me cry, drive me insane and make it even worse. And obviously, teachers wouldn’t care about it. Today I can choose to take the time to finish a book if I want to, at my own pace. And that’s the best option for me. It makes me love it all over again, and not see it as a chore.
Also, my anxiety would make it SO hard if not even impossible, to talk in front of all my classmates without crying or fainting, or wanting to vomit. So imagine the pressure when a teacher keeps telling you in front of everyone that you are being dramatic and you are faking it. And if you actually continue you would be banned from school (yes, I’ve been told that). —
I am not saying studies are only a bad thing and you have to stop. They work for some of us. Some people are even passionate about what they are studying and that’s amazing.
But it doesn’t mean someone who struggles at school or university, should feel worthless or stupid, and think they have no alternative option. If it doesn’t work for you, it is the way it is and if you know it isn’t good for you anymore, then stopping might eventually be a great option. If of course, you know what you want in life (well, kind of !) —
So, tell me more about you. Are you currently studying,
and do you like it ? If not, what would you like to do in Life ?
Thank you for reading me, & see you next time ! Estelle.