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009: how and why i became a uni drop out

what course?:
fashion promotion and imaging
the university for the creative arts (the epsom campus)
why did i choose uca originally?:
• i loved the diversity of the course as i was so excited about learning and exploring the industry that i thought it was perfect.
• it's also a £6.55 train fare away (including underground ticket!) from london, instead of the
£50 fare from home to london. 
• and lastly, i loved the vibe, on the open day it felt so creative and homely.

why did i leave?:
i was hardly in, for someone that loves working hard and finishing things i felt like i rarely did anything (whilst this isn't saying we didn't get set any work!). we had two scheduled days off and on the other days i was timetabled to do something i would be in for 2 hours tops. this wouldn't have bothered me at all if we weren't told on the open day and even on the time tables we were given it said we'd be in 10am-4pm. i know friends that are hardly in as well but, it would have been nice to have had a more realistic timetable in the beginning - plus they aren't somewhere as quiet as epsom. 

• this leads me on nicely to the fact that it just wasn't worth the money. now clearly there are very few courses (if any!) that are worth £9,000 a year but i just felt like this barely came close to the figure.
• i had an unbelievable amount of free time and went home almost every thursday. which doesn't sound like too much i guess but, home was 2 1/2-3 hours away and a £30+ journey away every time.
• which add ups and leads on to the point where i had a little bit of an awakening- the day i hit £0.00. i had spend a lot (and i mean a lot) of money keeping myself occupied and knew i couldn't go on spending so much just so i wasn't bored in my room for weeks on end. 

• going back to the point where i said i was only in 2 hours tops, i also felt really uninterested by the lecture sessions. however, i don't for a second think i choose the wrong course because i was so excited about learning. i found sitting for two hours listening to someone talk about their life or watching a film really quite boring. especially when we were close to deadlines and were told to attend film viewings i thought it was a little bit silly and like they were trying fill in time.
• another factor was my facebook news feed - it was full of my friends enjoying themselves at university and it made me realised how much i wasn't enjoying it. uni should be an experience, not just a degree at the end of 3 years and a debt. i especially think this relates with creative courses because it's the work experience and contacts that gets you places in the industry. 
• as well as all of this home just made a lot more sense. i mean there is a good university here, i'm closer to my family, my friends and alex, plus i'd have my car back.

how do i feel about leaving?:
• honestly i feel like a failure, university is something i've been working towards for so many years and it's just not worked out. i've wasted a lot of my own and my families money and time and there really isn't much i can do about it.
• but, i am also happy that i am happy and back at home. it made me a very grumpy bunny and as soon as i stepped off the train and on the epsom platform my stomach just sank and i felt like crying. so for now, home is good (central london would be better, but home is good).

• i do feel like i've leant a lot about myself i have to say (without sounding like a cliché!) and i've cemented how i want to learn and explore the industry of advertising, marketing and fashion. 

what is next?:
• well firstly, i'm working on getting a job as this was something i missed so much - and something i am in desperate need in!
• i'm also working on some really interesting work experience/shadowing with a marketing agency at home that i'm really excited about.

in the future?:
• living at home and going to the university of gloucestershire - which ironically was the first plan before uca. i'll be starting in september as a year one student as i have got two unconditional offers and i'm a very happy bunny.
• once i have a job (and saved a lot!) alex and i have made tiny weeny plans to move in together.

please note: i'm not trying to troll on the university as i'm sure many people enjoy it there, but personally it was a disappointment  - as i think university in general is too! a lot of people asked for a post about this topic so i thought i would write one. i would also love to hear your experiences with university as well!

lots of love, 


  1. Lily, this post is so honest. I am in my final year at Uni doing photography and have been tempted to leave so many times before. Even now, six months left from graduating i just want to give up but I feel I have to soldier on. It's so true about uni should be an experience, not just a degree. I feel like i am almost buying my degree instead of earning it simply because I am so lazy! I wish I had left right at the beginning to be honest. Well done for going with your instinct and leaving as soon as you realised you was unhappy. Wish I had done the same!
    Ashleigh x | www.beingashleigh.com

  2. this is a brilliant post lily, although it may feel like a negative subject it is brilliant you have had the courage and know-how to leave something that wasn't serving you ! don't feel bad about spending the money, that will all get forgotten and it would have been spent some other time anyway :) good luck with the rest of this year and with uni of gloucestershire !
    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography - www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  3. I think you were so brave to drop out, to be honest I think I went to the wrong university and did the wrong course (I'm a second year) and wish I had the courage to just say "enough, I want to go home." Money plays a huge part in my decision to stay here, I'm halfway through my degree so would still have a huge debt, may as well finish it now :/ x


  4. It's a shame to hear your first time at uni wasn't a great experience, but hey, life is a journey and sometimes we need those moments in our lives that don't work out in order to learn more about ourselves and what we want for our future. I had a really great time at uni as I loved what I was learning, but to be honest, by my last semester, I could not wait to leave! I'd been in education for so long and just wanted to get out. It can really get to you, but you just have to trust your gut and know when something is or isn't worth sticking out. Whatever happens in the future, you will find your place in this world. :) As someone who studied advertising and marketing, I can say that it's really fascinating and I thoroughly enjoyed my course. I'm now looking to get into digital marketing/social media. I spend way too much time on the Internet, so I figure I may as well get a job in it, since it's what I love!


  5. You definitely made the right choice Lily! I hope UoG works out for you. Uni fees are so crazy these days, I'd love to start a course now but at my age (and with previous student debt from the first time around) I just can't afford it. You're so talented and you're definitely going places, you're just taking a slightly different route. <3

    Tara xo

  6. I am a Gloucestershire gal too.I lived in London for three years studying Drama at St Mary's.I enjoyed the university experience and aspects of the course but I did not enjoy the lack of structure .In my first semester in third year it got to the point when I was in for two hours a week to rehearse for a 10 minute scene for 30 credits.It is hard to know before you go but I always knew that I wanted to move to London to study Drama.You have done a brave thing and don't feel like a failure.London can be a very lonely place.I know some people who have 1st class degress from choosing studying over socialising but they are stillstuck in boring jobs x

  7. It takes guts to drop out, so well done lily. I spent a year at uni whilst still living at home and didn't really enjoy it, I spent more time at my part time job than I did uni. I decided to move out for second year but the closer it came to it the more I dreaded it. I hated the idea of not working/earning money and the fact that I'd actually have to spend most of he time at uni instead of at home. I dropped out two weeks into second year and was really miserable for the time before and after. It's definitely the best decision I've made though and I'm pretty happy now. University isn't for everyone and I think more people need to realise that. So many people told me I was doing the wrong thing but I really think you have to do what makes you happy. I really hope everything works out for you xx

  8. don't feel like a failure for leaving! that was a mistake that i made when i first dropped out, i felt like i didn't understand why i didn't like the school but everyone else gushed about how wonderful it was. each person is different and you really can't compare yourself to anyone else, as tempting as it is. good luck finding a job and on your shadowing possibility, and i hope all works out for you xx

    Little Blue Backpack

  9. It was a brave decision to leave, and a brave decision to post this! When I first started in September I felt the same because I felt so alone, but I persevered and have grown to love my course after making some amazing friends. To be perfectly honest, I probably would have dropped out in a heartbeat if my parents had been okay with it but I knew how much time, money and emotions they had invested in me going. It's a bit of a different situation for me being Scottish as my tuition fees are all paid for so it's not something I need to worry about right now. In the end I'm glad I stuck with it because it's an amazing opportunity and I'm just grateful I can do it while it's paid for. Nothing ever suits everyone though and I admire you for having the guts to do something about it. I hope UoG works out for you and best of luck for everything else xxx

    Charlotte / coloursandcarousels

  10. Really admire you for posting this. It takes alot of guts!
    I too worked so hard towards getting into the best uni for my course and boy it felt amazing getting in. All summer I couldn't wait to start but when I did start I knew straight away that it wasn't for me...I gave it until Christmas & I still hated it and I even started to hate illustrating which is something I love. I left and I think it was the best decision i've made. 3 years on and I blagged myself an incredible internship and i'm in a job I actually like doing! Sometimes you just have to do things that YOU want to do, not other people. Sounds like you've got a great plan ahead of you! Good Luck with everything xxxx

    Taz and Bear

  11. I'm the same age as you and didn't even try uni - I worked incredibly hard to secure GCSEs and in particular 3 good A Levels but was lucky enough to bag a competitive Social Media and Digital Marketing apprenticeship. I'm happy, learning and gaining experience - uni is definitely not the only route, whether you choose to delay it or not go at all! I admire your bravery and honesty, I know it takes a lot to go against the grain in this area and not feel like you're a disappointment :-)

  12. I feel so guilty for telling you how great UCA was... but I guess different courses bring different experiences and although it was the right thing for me, it wasn't for you. I am so proud of you for following your heart and gut and leaving. It takes a lot of courage to do that and I am so happy you are now happy. You should definitely not feel like a failure because you're not. Different Unis and courses suit different people and this one just wasn't for you.

    You are an extremely talented and beautiful girl and you will go so so far whatever you decide to do. That is something I have always known, from the first time we exchanged words to this day.

    I love you so much and wish you all the best at home with Alex && hey it gives me an excuse to come stay with you again!


  13. I'm not sure if you read it when I published it, but I wrote about how I felt at uni too, and, although it was obviously a different experience, I can see a few recurring themes. Do not feel like a failure lily, because you really aren't - you've achieved far more than I had when I was a fresher, so it's not a big deal! All the best with the future, and I'm always a message away :) xx

  14. You're definitely not a failure! I had to leave university due to illness and I felt like my life had fallen apart. Look at it as a life experience, it'll make you so much more appreciative of what you have at home and what you've got to come :)