In September 2019, I decided to drop out of university. I was sitting in a cute little Airbnb in Vienna with my friend when I made the decision. Doing a Paramedic Science degree was an experience so awful I couldn’t even describe it all in one blog post, I’d have to write a novella on it.
The university experience at Surrey was NOT for me
Whenever people talk about university, they said how it’s the best years of your life. That you’ll make lifelong friends who you met on Fresher’s Week. Well for me, it was the worst year of my life and I could only count the friends I still have from Surrey on my two hands (half of them being my workmates). I wondered why I wasn’t as close with my housemates who all got along so well without me.
I was under so much pressure
The pressure from my course wasn’t helping either. Paramedic Science isn’t like other subjects where you go to lectures, read what you’re meant to and you’ll get by. We had to do put the theory we learned into practice. We had to:
1. Study for our modules while
2. Practising our OSCEs (practical exams)
3. Worry about our upcoming placements and
4. Figure out where we were going to move during the summer when our student accommodation contracts ended.
This left no time for me to take care of my mental and physical health. It eventually got worse when I actually started placement which caused my panic attacks. I also felt unsupported and I believe the course was badly organised. I could never forget telling a coursemate that I was worried about finding a house for my second year and how my mental health was getting worse. My personal tutor interrupted our conversation to tell me and I quote “you have other things to worry about.”
Any university in the south is a no-no for me
The thing about going to a university that’s close to London is that they almost mimic London prices for rent. I was doing placement over the summer paying £650 a month (+ bills) for a house that I moved into. During placement, I was juggling 3 exams, working a part-time job, worrying about money for rent and travel to and from placement. Some nights I had a placement shift and I had to work 2 hours after that shift ended. My manager was so understanding about placement taking a toll on me but I couldn’t cut down my hours because I needed the money to survive. I’m so grateful for that job because I know that if I didn’t get hired, I wouldn’t have survived uni for that whole year. I would’ve been too broke to attend.
Throughout the year, I was having a battle in my head about whether or not I should drop out of doing Paramedic Science. “I’m not happy doing this degree and being in Surrey.” “But this degree will guarantee me a job straight after I graduate.” “But I really want to study Psychology instead.” “Maybe I’ll do a Psychology conversion Msc.” I was so conflicted about what to do. Firming the last 2 years of the degree was even considered.
So as I was looking back at the past year of university in that Airbnb in Vienna, I decided to make the decision. I looked for unis who were still accepting applicants, called them up, accepted my offer and filled in the RPA form (Record of Prior Acceptance form, basically a direct application to uni without UCAS). By a week, I was accepted into the University of Lincoln to study psychology. Finding someone else to replace me as a tenant for the house in Surrey was a STRUGGLE, but in the end, it was worth it. I’ve finished my first year at Lincoln and I’ve done well so far! I get my first-year results in a few weeks and I’m genuinely so proud of myself.
Word of advice for anyone at university: if you’re constantly contemplating doing a different course, then make that change. If you know you’ll be happier doing a different degree, then change it. Or even if you know you’ll be happier not going to uni at all, drop out.