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Forums / Young people / dropping out of high school- what do i do now

Topic: dropping out of high school- what do i do now

15 posts, 0 answered
  1. spontaneous sunflower
    spontaneous sunflower  avatar
    48 posts
    30 January 2020

    I am 17 and this year is supposed to be my final year of high school (year 12). I mentioned in another post that due to anxiety and depression that resulted in me not passing a couple of my classes, instead of graduating this year I would be graduating in 2021. Basically spreading out year 12 over two years. I was hesitant to make this decision at first, because of what people might think (don't care about that anymore) but more so, I wasn't sure it would make much of a difference to my mental health. But I decided it would put less stress and pressure on me, and that was that. So I thought..

    I didn't attend headstart classes at the end of last year. I don't even know what subjects I'm doing and I'll probably wind up with subjects I don't really like because I missed out. I've been pretty happy these summer holidays, going to the beach, hanging out with friends/family, etc. Majority of the days/moments where I felt anxious, depressed or upset were when I was reminded of the approaching school year. On Jan 1st, I quite literally broke down in tears telling my mum I couldn't go to school anymore. I can't do it anymore. For 5 years I've been struggling, I've seen multiple professionals, been put on medication, created plans with teachers, moved schools... and I still can barely get through a school year. And I'm smart, I get good grades, I enjoy learning. But I don't like school. I can't stand it.

    I guess I want to drop out. I literally don't know how to finish high school. Doesn't matter if I could graduate this year, or next year, I can't do it. I am so exhausted of feeling like shit all the time. The problem is if I drop out I'm not entirely sure what to do. Like I could go do a course at tafe, but I wouldn't know which one to do and where it would take me. Like could I somehow go to tafe now and then go to uni later? If it helps to know, I was interested in doing a media and communications course at uni. My interests are travelling, writing and photography.

    If anyone knows what my options are if I leave high school, please let me know. I don't want to end up working at maccas or whatever for the rest of my life, I want to accomplish great things. But i swear if I went back to high school, I would burn myself out in no time. I'm already holding on by a thread. I don't think I could handle another year of struggling with school. I don't think I've properly enjoyed my life in 3 years and I can honestly say it's because of school. I just want to live my life

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Yimchi
    Yimchi avatar
    1 posts
    31 January 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower
    Hi Spontaneus Sunflower,
    I read through your post and have discovered I'm in exactly the same position as you and feel the exact same way as you. Last year I didn't attend a single class throughout semester 2 due to depression and anxiety and received an N for my unit 2 subjects. I went back for headstart but then during the holidays thought otherwise of going back. It's nice to know I'm at least not alone with this feeling.
  3. Deckt
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    31 January 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower
    I think that one of the biggest disservices that society spreads is that if you don't finish high school, don't go to uni that it will affect the rest of your life. It's simply not true.

    I didn't have a great time in high school either. I had no idea what I wanted out of life, and unfortunately, didn't have much guidance.

    You need to take care of your mental health. That is way more important than a year 12 certificate. You can go back after a break. You can go to TAFE, or look into other study programs. You could start an apprenticeship. You can go to uni later in life. You can get a job. There are many, many options available. The important thing to remember is that every day is a new opportunity to try something different. You are young, which means you have plenty of time to figure out what you want out of life, and how to get it. I'm showing my age a bit with this song, but give it a listen. Particularly the part about advice. :)
     
  4. Deckt
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    31 January 2020 in reply to Deckt
    Ok, didn't realise that we can't post links.

    The song is called Everybodys Free (to wear sunscreen). It's on YouTube.
  5. Zephyrus
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    4 posts
    1 February 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower

    Hi Sunflower,

    I went through the exact same thing. I was halfway through year 10 and hating even just the thought of going to school. I stopping going altogether shortly after I had confessed this to my Mum. I had a long period of randomness until I found my way through to my passion which is now what I do day in, day out.

    There is always a path to what you want, especially if you want it bad enough, you'll find the way. It might not be the way society dictates you go about things and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with doing things a different way, the way that's right for you. That takes care of you is every way, shape or form. I spent some time to figure out what I truly wanted to do, everything else didn't matter. I luckily found it and worked my way there. I spent two years in TAFE leading up to my Uni degree which I am due to finish in May of this year. I am so glad I did things the way I did because it was right for me.

    Do things how you need to, the way you feel is right.

    1 person found this helpful
  6. linkyia
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    3 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower
    Hi! im in the exact same position atm, i have only around a term and a half left of school but im so drained and exhausted and MISERABLE, i haven't been for half the term and am finding it hard to keep going, im considering dropping out, what did you do?
  7. Brightside0208
    Brightside0208 avatar
    1 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to linkyia
    Hey Linkyia,

    If you're interested I was in a similar situation, missing a lot of school and struggling with my mental health in year 11 and 12.

    I ended up leaving high school at the start of year 12 because I was caring for my mum, and everything was just getting really overwhelming and I was falling behind.

    It was a really difficult decision to make, and I was really unsure of what I was going to do next. Honestly, it did create some obstacles for me when I realised what I did want to do a bit later in life.

    Despite that, I'm currently back studying a diploma as a pathway to a degree in order to become a paramedic, and I'm loving it.

    Leaving school when I did gave me the time and space to work through a really difficult time in my life, without having to balance studies on top of that, and that allowed me to learn and grow a lot.
    It's also what put me on the path to finding my passion, and its not that bad getting back in to studies a little bit later in life (stated this year, just turned 24) so it isn't always a bad thing.

    My advice to you would be to reach out to your school for some support and guidance, have a conversation with the people close to you. If you find the strength to get through, it is a good thing to have. But if you need to you shouldn't be afraid to put your education on hold to look after yourself.

    You can always go back and finish it later, or go through a certificate course at TAFE or similar to help secure a career you enjoy later on.

    Do what you think is best for you, don't second guess yourself, and do your best to make a decent plan for whats next, and you'll be fine.
  8. linkyia
    linkyia avatar
    3 posts
    5 August 2020 in reply to Brightside0208
    Hi! i have been to my school counsellors and support team when i have managed to go for a day but nothing is really working for me, i have just finished a business diploma course so i have something to leave with if i chose to leave. If i were to drop out i was going to go into a photography tafe course and work on the side. as much as i'd love to keep going onwards with school its just making my mental health spiral and suffer, im really uncertain with what to do but i feel like dropping out of high school would be the best thing for me to take time and recover.
  9. linkyia
    linkyia avatar
    3 posts
    5 August 2020 in reply to Brightside0208
    Also, thank you so much for your words and advice, its a lot of help and gives me more to think about :)
  10. SarahZ
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    5 August 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower

    Hello spontaneous sunflower,

    Thanks for reaching out. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed yourself these summer holidays. School is always daunting and is something many people do not look forward to. The pressures from teachers, parents, and even from yourself to do well can be exceptionally hard to deal with. I remember year 12 was a nightmare for me. After telling your mum your feeling towards attending school what was her reaction?

    I definitely agree with what @Deckt mentioned - heaps of people who don't finish school do exceptionally well. School does not equate to a future. School may perhaps teach you different types of skills and knowledge; however, you can gain knowledge from various different outlets. For example, travelling can give you tremendously rich knowledge in areas which attending school cannot. I know you don't wish to work at somewhere like maccas, however, even retail/hospitality jobs give you skills that attending school cannot.

    I see you listed your interests as travelling, writing and photography, which is terrific. What if you take a gap year and just play around with writing and photography? (due to covid i assume travelling is most likely out of the question for now). Theres no rush to do anything. It's important to enjoy yourself, test out the waters, and see what you're really passionate about. The last thing you want to do is to attend a uni course you hate and end up with a job you hate. Life isn't about conforming to societal norms and expectations - that would give life no proper purpose. My advice is enjoy yourself while you're young and try new things out. Perhaps even get in touch with your school career counsellor (if your school has one) to map out different pathways you can take if you do end up deciding to attend university.

    Please keep us updated if you feel up to it!

    Wishing you all the best and sending you positive thoughts :)

    1 person found this helpful
  11. spontaneous sunflower
    spontaneous sunflower  avatar
    48 posts
    12 September 2020

    wow I haven’t been on here for a couple months, thanks for all the replies!

    For those asking for updates- I did drop out. After conversations with my school’s career adviser and my psychologist, it seemed the best choice for me was to leave behind VCE and high school and find an alternative. I unfortunately have yet to find an alternative.

    I did consider TAFE for a while, but was unable to make a decision as I didn’t want to go into a course I wasn’t particularly interested in just for the sake of doing it. Of course covid has made it all more difficult. All courses this year have been online, which is something I personally don’t think would work for me. I tried looking for a job but it has been super hard, even more so now as I’m in Melbourne and we’ve had strict restrictions and lockdown for a couple months now, with no definite end in sight.

    So I currently stand as a high school dropout with no job and no definite plan for the future. Not ideal at all, but I am not despairing. Despite my current situation, I do not regret dropping out at all. After years of struggling at school, I had enough and I needed to leave that all behind. I feel a lot better mentally now compared to how I felt at school. I still struggle of course, especially in these covid times but I must say my outlook on life is completely different. I think I have become a lot more confident since leaving, despite being faced with the unknown. Leaving school allowed me to clear my head and really reflect on everything that’s happened to me. While I will most likely end this year with no certificate and no job, I will genuinely be able to say I grew so much, learned a lot and overall everything I have experienced this year will stick with me for life, even more so than sitting in a classroom learning about trigonometry would’ve.

    Some days are really hard and I don’t feel great about how this year has turned out, but I try not to be so down on myself. Covid and my home situation (life at home has not been great) has made this all quite tough. But I am proud of myself and once lockdown is done with, I plan on doing anything I can to make the next step forward.

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  12. spontaneous sunflower
    spontaneous sunflower  avatar
    48 posts
    12 September 2020 in reply to SarahZ

    Hey Sarah,

    Thank you for the lovely reply.

    Your suggestion of taking a gap year to travel and play around with writing and photography is probably what I would’ve done this year had covid not gotten to this level, haha. I was toying with the idea of going to tafe for a while before realising I did not want to do a course just for the sake of doing it. I wish I spent less time earlier this year researching tafe and more time looking for a job that at the very least could’ve earned me a little money to save up for when travel is allowed again. But it is what it is!

    As I wrote in another reply, I have learnt a lot this year that school probably wouldn’t have taught me, so I agree strongly with your statement that you can gain knowledge from various different outlets. School is not the be all or end all. I do appreciate all that school taught me, I can see how it works wonderfully for others and I am not opposed to returning to some form of education, such as tafe or uni, in the future if I decide I want to do that. But when I first wrote this post about wanting to drop out, school wasn’t serving me in the way it should’ve.

    I think once lockdown is over (I’m in Melbourne so I’m in stage 4 lockdown currently, what a bummer), I would love to get a job, even if it’s a job at maccas, and travel around Australia (since international travel is off the cards for who knows how long). I am trying to explore my different interests and passions as much as I can via the Internet, so at least there’s that.

    Thanks again for your reply, it really confirmed for me that I shouldn’t conform to societal norms and expectations and that there are many ways to live a successful life full of knowledge and purpose.

  13. SarahZ
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    13 September 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower

    Hello spontaneous sunflower,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and giving us all a wonderful update! How have you been feeling lately?

    It's inspiring to see how much insight and perspective you have in doing what is best for you and not conforming to societal expectations. It's also super great to see that you have a solid attitude in accepting sometimes things don't go to plan and thats completely okay - it's life! I definitely agree that if school wasn't serving you the way that you wanted or needed, moving onto bigger and better things is best. Although the lockdown situation is tough and not ideal for exploring/travelling, it can also be a greatly productive time to do things like make small travel plans, look into jobs you want to apply for, or even things like writing up your resume in preparation once lockdown eases. However, I can already see you are making great use of this time as demonstrated by exploring your different interests via the internet. Hopefully reading up new things keeps you occupied and hopefully excited for the future! :) Remember to take breaks and take care of yourself. There is no time limit to anything you want to do; and as cliche as it sounds, it's not about the destination but rather the journey. So make sure you enjoy the journey as much as you can!

    I'm really happy for you and hope you are feeling better these days! Feel free to update us whenever you feel up to it :)

  14. spontaneous sunflower
    spontaneous sunflower  avatar
    48 posts
    15 September 2020 in reply to SarahZ

    Hey Sarah,

    Thank you! You are very sweet!

    You are so right, it is about the journey rather than the destination. For a while I was focusing on the destination, always thinking “everything will be better when XYZ happens” “I’ll be happier when...”. I’m trying to focus on the journey and focus on enjoying the journey.

    Some days the journey sucks! Especially in lockdown, there are days where it’s hard for me to look for the good and not think about all the things I could’ve been doing if covid hadn’t happened. Yesterday and today have been not so good days. I try to make the most of this time by working out, trying to get into better habits, etc. But the past two days, I have lacked motivation. Even though I have gotten 8+ hours of sleep and the day had barely begun, I was already thinking about the end of the day when I could go back to sleep. I haven’t exercised in a few days, and even though I know it makes me feel good, and no matter how much I think of how good it will be to look and feel good at the end of this lockdown, I haven’t been able to get myself moving the past couple days. There are things I’ve been meaning to do and I haven’t, and I feel pretty crappy about it. I try not to be too hard on myself, I try to break everything down into small tasks. The dialogue in my head today went like this “alright Nicola, you’re going to go get a glass of water. Then brush your teeth, and get dressed. And then we’ll see how you feel”. I still felt unmotivated, so I decided to sit outside in the sun for a bit. Felt more at ease but still unmotivated. Now I’m writing this. I haven’t worked out or done anything else I feel like I should do. I know it’s normal to have these days sometimes, but it makes me frustrated. I think my biggest mental struggles currently are being in lockdown and not feeling supported by my family. I try to be there for myself and be my own cheerleader but sometimes I wish my parents asked me how I was more. I feel like they’ve given up on me sometimes. I know I should reach out to them and tell them, but it’s hard. I think of all the times I’ve asked them for help with my resume, or told them how it’d help if everyone kept the house clean, but nothing happens. I love my family but being in lockdown with them has made me realise the impact this environment has on my MH and I feel like I’d get in these unmotivated moods less if i were in a more positive, encouraging environment.

  15. SarahZ
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    21 September 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower

    Hello Spontaneous sunflower,

    Sorry for the delayed response! I'm really sorry to hear that your past few days have been less than ideal. I definitely understand how covid makes it much more difficult to be positive and optimistic about the future. It can feel really suffocating stay at home everyday and going through the same routines. From where I'm located the whether has been really warm and sunny the past few days, which has definitely been a mood-lifter for me. How have you been feeling more recently?

    Covid is a really strange time for everyone and it can feel really demotivating stay at home all the time so try not to put too much pressure on yourself! Small steps are better than not steps. So even hopping online to write your post and reaching out is a wonderful step and actually are really big step since you are taking care of your mental health! Do you think you might be interested investing in a new hobby? or have a DIY project you might want to start?

    I'm really saddened to hear that you feel you haven't been supported by your parents as much as you would like. Talking about your struggles with family members can be really difficult. However, do you think it might be helpful having a conversation about your MH struggles with them so they recognise the severity of how their actions are impacting you? It seems like you have a loving relationship with your parents so I do feel potentially if they recognised areas they could work on and how important it was to your MH that they might take more initiative to be more supportive.

    Best wishes ~

    Sarah x

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