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My name is Emily, and I dropped out of college in my first year.
Dropping out of my program was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but some things are just not meant to be.
There are so many people going through some extreme life decisions when it comes to post-secondary education, and for some it doesn’t feel like we have a choice.
For me, it felt like I was failing, not just as a student, but as a daughter.
I come from a family that is very judgemental, on my father's side that is.
I have two sisters who are older than me. One of them is a university graduate, praised by my family and can do no wrong. The star child, the one that’ll do great things in life.
My other sister is a college drop out, shunned and condemned to being “the one that dropped out” for the rest of her life. My aunts and uncles love making rude comments about her, but she doesn’t join our family for events anymore.
So when it came time for me to make my decision, it was not easy.
My choices were: to continue on, miserable, sad, and lonely, longing to go home and be happy once more and finally sleep without crying for a few hours. Or to drop out, be happy and healthy, but live with my family treating me like I'm useless.
I couldn’t make up my mind. The weeks went on and I stopped eating properly. I was already underweight and I lost another 10lbs. I was not healthy and I was not okay.
I fell into a deep depression and I’d scream and cry at night about how I wanted my life to end. I had to stay at a women's shelter because one of my roommates attacked me.
I finally realized that this was a much worse reality than what would come if I dropped out.
So I did.
By the time I had made my decision, it was the end of first semester and exams had started. I went to every single one, but if I failed one exam I failed the entire course.
So I failed, on purpose.
The next day I woke up to an email, stating that I could not continue on in the course due to my failing the exam.
I was happy, but scared. Scared of what would happen when I went home.
My phone started ringing. My father was calling me. I reluctantly answered it, terrified.
My father asked how my exams went. I started crying when I told him I failed, but I also told him that I was not happy.
I’ll never forget when he told me, “That’s okay; you did good and stuck it out. Next year you’ll know what you want.”
I’ve never been so shocked. We talked for a while and he had gone out for lunch with my sister for the first time in years. She told him what it was like when she dropped out.
Maybe it’s because he’s getting older, but sometimes talking with him helps him to understand it’s not easy to live with his siblings judging us all the time.
Always remember that YOU make the decisions for YOUR life. In the end, I chose that my happiness was more important than if my aunts and uncles were “proud” of me. Today my family still reminds me of when I dropped out, but all I say is “it was the best decision of my life.”
I am happy, living with the man of my dreams, in the best college program that I could ask for. I developed some health conditions caused by stress that I’ve gone through surgery for, but I’m on my way to being healthy again (almost three years later).
Stay happy, stay healthy, and do what’s right for you, because that matters more than making others proud.