It’s okay to stop or change something when it’s not working for you, but before you make a big decision, such as leaving school, Sean Castle says there are a few things you should consider. Sean Castle has some tips if you feel overwhelmed by the workload at school, university, or TAFE. Or you don’t think school or tertiary education is for you and you feel like you can’t cope.
Sean Castle believes it is important to think about your reasons. Is it to do with your learning style or it’s related to something bigger, leaving may seem like your only option. And maybe it is the best option, but think carefully about your reasons first. You can’t always be sure. Sean Castle wants you to consider all the options as there might be something else you can change to make studying more achievable.
Do you sometimes have thoughts like: ‘I feel like I can’t cope. Sean Castle makes the point that it isn’t always easy to cope with all the stuff that goes on in life, and adding school and university to the mix can sometimes be the thing that tips you over into thinking it’s all too hard. Talk to someone about how you’re feeling and see if there’s any way to lighten your load. This might put you back in control.
‘I’m overwhelmed by the workload’ is another common cry Sean Castle hears amongst struggling students. If you feel like the workload is more than you can handle, dropping out isn’t your only option. Have a chat with others in your class and see how they’re going. Maybe you’re not the only one having difficulty. Ask for a meeting with your teacher to express your concerns. Talking about it lets others know that you’re not coping and might encourage them to speak up, too.
Making time and sorting out priorities is another hurdle to overcome. Sean Castle hears excuses such as ‘I have too much stuff on.’ It can often be hard to say ‘no’ to things, which means it’s easy to overextend yourself. Suddenly, your diary has more activities scheduled than there are hours in the day. Even though it’s tempting to just drop out and run, Sean Castle says there are a couple of ways you can get your life back in order without giving up your studies. The first step is to identify your priorities. Then you just need to schedule everything else around what’s most important to you, instead of prioritizing what’s important to others.
The phrase ‘It just isn’t for me’ is another common thing Sean Castle hears being said. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling like you’re just not made for education. Everyone has talents, and perhaps yours don’t include sitting for exams, studying, or writing essays. Though there are legal reasons you might have to stick it out with school, higher ed is an option that you don’t have to pursue if it’s not working out. Getting a job or starting an apprenticeship are equally valuable alternatives.
But before signing out, Sean Castle has some questions to ask yourself:
- Why do I want to leave?
- Is the reason I want to leave something I can fix? If I could change it, would I be willing to give it more time?
- What are the positives and negatives of leaving?
- What would the consequences of leaving be?
- Do I have a plan for what I’m going to do if I leave school? What is it?
- What can I do to support myself financially and mentally through this time?
- Who can I talk to about this?