Hey. If you happened to read one of my previous articles from my “other” category, you might know a little about me by now. For this article are important this 2 articles ” I – an artist where I explain my interest in art and connection to the pharmacy and this one called How I became a vegetarian and how my mental health made me stop – very personal article explaining a lot about what happened to me in last few years.
You don’t really need to read those articles to really understand this one (even though it would be super nice of you) as I’ll try to sum it up in here as well. This is the story of my University drop out.
Introduction to how I got here:
As a kid, I loved to draw and my dream job was to be an artist. My mum is a pharmacist assistant and she used to take me to her job a lot as a kid. When the time to make my life career decision came at the great age of 15.
I stood in front of the hardest decision any teenager could possibly make. What next?
Of course, the inner child in me screamed “artist” but the realist in me started questioning this dream of mine. I was good at chemistry and biology. I was a straight-A student thanks to my parent’s strict nature. No B or worse were ever allowed as I would get grounded, banned TV or computer. I remember crying a lot if I did not get 100% at some test or ever got B that was way much worse. Primary school was over and here comes the next part.
Part one in my breakdown:
Because of the perfect results of mine, it was easy to get to Medical Vocational High School to study pharmacy as my mum did. It was the same school my mum attended, the same (very old) teachers taught us both and I even lived at the same girl’s dormitory as she did.
But I was no longer a straight-A student (like my mum was ) and it upset me a lot.
Looking back I’m so glad I made it and I’m so grateful I have some profession now. It is much easier for me to get a job than if I went to grammar high school.
But it was hell no matter how glad I am I went through it.
Far away from home. Living on my own. The school was harder than I thought and the pressure of following in my mother’s footsteps was noticeable.
Being a depressed teenager who feels like they are failing their parents in not bringing in the greatest grades was when my first health problems started.
I was stressing way too much, shaking, hyperventilating, vomiting, and having my first panic attacks before almost every test.
But yeah no one else is feeling that way so I’m just weak and need to pull my shit together.
I started taking pills and drops to calm me down. Worked for a bit but you can’t expect them to fix me for the next 4 years.
Even the worst year (in my case 4) must end sometime and I was finally a Pharmacist assistant as my mum.
And check this out: WTH STRAIGHT A FINAL CERTIFICATE.
High school is over – What next?
I had all I needed to work and get paid pretty well already but as my parents ( who never went to university) wanted just the best for me and wanted to give me the opportunity to get my degree and have a slightly better life, I started thinking about university on their behalf.
Part 2 in my breakdown:
So proud of myself, full of dreams and great belief I could be more than just a pharmacist assistant I set myself higher goals. To be a doctor or dentist. I send out 4 (very expensive) applications – 3 to Bratislava – to medical, dental, and pharmacy school and 1 to Hradec Kralove – pharmacy.
I attended every entrance exam which I studied very hard and paid a lot of money for extra tutorage.
But the results that came was not something I was prepared for.
I wasn’t good enough for any of them.
I remember me and my classmates were at this cottage in the forest having our last goodbye party when the results came and not one of us who send out an application to Charles University in Hradec Kralove pharmacy got in.
We all cried and got so drunk that night.
But that was not the end for me. I refuse.
Quickly I send out appeals back and waited if they could find one more spot for me if someone from the students already accepted would choose not to study there.
I and my family were on a family holiday in Bulgaria at that time when I got a letter from Charles University. Stating that they reconsidered my application and decided to accept me into their school. I remember my mum coming to my room with tears in her eyes and hugging me saying I got in.
That night we got drunk as well.
The funny thing is I never really wanted to send my application to Charles University. I did not want to study pharmacy anymore. I had it enough for the last 4 years and I was interested in something new now. But my parents convinced me to send it there as a safety in case I did not get into the school I actually wanted – medicine.
But when I found out I got accepted to the pharmacy and seeing how happy my parents were I was actually relieved I did not disappoint them again.
I convinced myself that this was my destiny and I am supposed to be a pharmacist with Mgr. degree.
This is what I want from now on. No one other from my class got accepted there so I was facing moving to a different state and studying at an old famous university all by myself.
Part 3 of my breakdown:
I was 19 and starting university right after high school. After my stress-related problems, I was very worried about how would I manage a university that was supposed to be way more stressful than any high school exam could.
But for my and my family’s great surprise, I was OK.
No panic attacks no stress. I should have known something was odd as I was feeling nothing at all. No stress, no worries, no pressure, no excitement no nothing.
But I was too busy studying, making new friends, exploring a new country, and of course, as any first year at university – partying.
I was passing my exams quite ok, some at first and some for the third time. But there was this one I did not make – Organic chemistry 1.
It was very upsetting for me cuz I knew I understand this subject very well and I was teaching and explaining it to my friends, who all passed it but I couldn’t pass my own exam. I was always missing 0,5 points. If I did not pass this subject I could not take the Organic chemistry 2 exam and some other subject related to that so I would not have enough credits to get to the second year. So what I and many other students before me did in these situations is this:
quit your first year, send the application to school again, pass the entrance exam and get accepted again, go to the first year again, ask for acceptance of all your already passed exams and focus on organic chemistry and subjects from the second year.
That’s what I did- I was first-year student 2 years in a row on paper but I was studying the second year with the rest of my classmates.
I tried to screw the system but in the end, the system screwed me.
At this time something in me broke and things got pretty messed up.
Now would be really good if you could read the whole story of my mental health issues HERE.
But to make it short I was going from doctor to doctor for around 6 months.
Final diagnosis the Panic disorder and severe depression.
I missed most of my lessons and couldn’t attend the exams. I ask my school to excuse me from my duties as I had health problems. They refused to accept it as a valid reason to miss school. Even though I had enough credits for next year they simply send me to “middle year”. I was no longer first year nor the second year even though I had most of the second year finished.
I was pretty angry as I hit rock bottom for this school, spend 2 years of my life there and they still treated me like nothing.
At the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year, I’ve spent most of my time at home as we were building a new house and I was helping out a lot. In the second part of the semester, I found a part-time job at KFC to earn some money and spend time as I was having only one class at school every 2 weeks.
Bussy with my part-time job and blogging job I tried to spend all of my free time studying. Unfortunately ( or maybe luckily ) a few days before my exams my notebook broke down with all of my notes, books, and other study materials.
Obviously, I failed the test, and even though I still got one more chance to retake it. No one from the professor would set another term for us.
So basically got kicked out of university and I never felt so free.
There is still a chance for me to send out an application for the first year again but honestly, I don’t have the nerves for any of that crap anymore and study 5 year school program for over 8 years and pay a shit ton of money for it.
I don’t have an interest in being tested anymore.
So I quit.
How do I call it?
My stubborn refusal to quit no matter what sigh was thrown into my way?
Godsend me a clear message when I did not get accepted to university but I said:
“No God I don’t like your plan I’m gonna do it my way”.
Then after the first year, he said:
“Natalia listen this school really is not for you and you should quit”
And I was like
” Nope, you’re wrong, I’m gonna try it again and make it this time”
“K – Here have depression – will you quit now?”
“Eh.. nope? Let’s try it again”
“How many times do they need to kick you out for you to realize this is not what I have planed for you?
“Well I guess you’re right I’m gonna quit now”
It took me a while to sort my life priorities into the right order and put myself and my happiness first.
It took me 3 years and several suicidal thoughts to realize this.
I can’t keep living trying to make everyone around me happy except for me.
I appreciate everything my parents did for me and I tried to give back and did everything they wanted me to do but in the end, I’m studying for myself, not my parents. Of course, they are so disappointed in me and ashamed for being a uni dropout but they are also ashamed to have a depressed daughter, still think I’m making it all up, don’t approve of any of my life choices, critical of my work, art, blog or fashion brand I’m currently creating.
Maybe a university degree would finally please them but I’m not gonna risk my health for the possibility of my parent’s approval.
They need to say goodbye to a daughter they dreamed to have and try to settle for the daughter they have.
I could write down all of the cheesy self-empowering quotes and be all sloppy about the new-found point in life. But I cringe at just the thought of that.
Here is the list of stupid questions I got asked so far and my answers:
Won’t you regret it when you’re older?
Maybe but it’s what I want right now. I never really planned my future before as I never believed I could have any, I always assumed I would die till I’m 25. Now I don’t plan for the future cuz there are just so many things I want to do and have the opportunity to do I can’t limit myself to something simple like “plan”
I don’t even regret not quitting sooner. If I quit earlier I might never fall into such health problems but I would also never met people I met, friends I made on the way, a blog I created, countries I traveled, and I would probably not be in this clear and free state of mind.
Couldn’t you just keep it for few more years?
No. Last year I thought I was gonna die for real and realized I’ve spent the majority of my life worrying about school. I’ve learned so much about myself and I learned how to listen to my body as it knows best what I really need.
What will you do without a degree?
I’m a pharmacy assistant, I’ll work in a pharmacy.
You would earn much more money if you finish university.
(Not really a question) Yeah, I’ll probably miss the money, but I have a blog, sponsors, and own fashion brand as an extra income so I think I’ll be fine.
You wasted 3 years?!
Let’s talk about the definition of “wasted” for a bit. I believe we all have a different definition of this word as we all consider useless something else.
I’ve spent these 3 years studying. Making new friends. Working. Traveling. Reviewing. Writing. Creating. Changing and growing as a person and if you consider that time wasted because I don’t have 3 extra letters in front of my name. Well, I can’t really fight you on that.
You give up too easily. Every other student made it.
Do I? Really?
I don’t have the strength to explain how we are all individuals with different abilities, interests, and qualities anymore.
Let me just tell you that every year Charles university accepts around 500+ students to the first year. Fifth-year and degree get 50 people a year. Yay school system.
Why am I writing this down?
I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, judge me, or anything even though it’s ok if you do.
I just want to show how unpredictable life is. You can have planed every single aspect of your life until it all comes crumbling down. So you can build something better.
If you are a student, truly interested in what you study I wish you all of the luck to do what makes you happy. If you are a uni/college dropout like me I wish you all of the luck to do what makes you happy.
Take your own time and pace.
The comparison will kill you.
Thank you so much for your attention