Life is too short to waste on studying the wrong thing. I know. How? I stupidly did this. That is I wasted almost six years of my life studying towards an education degree that I would never use. And never even finish! Finally I came to the realisation that even after completing 31 modules out of the required 40 (all but six completed with distinctions mind you), it was time to pull off the band-aid and face reality. It was simple. I despised what I was studying and even though I did an amazing job of hiding this fact for five plus years, I could no longer force or will myself to continue. It was finally over……… However, the relief I feel is tinged with permanent regret (even though I know I simply cannot go on any longer or waste any more time and money on this).
Now I know what you are all thinking. Why on earth would anyone study something they hated? And, why on earth would anyone continue doing this for so long? Well let me try and explain where I was coming from.
A few years ago I decided that I would like to emigrate to another country and since I had nothing but a love for writing and limited business studies behind my name, I knew the only way this would ever happen for me is by obtaining a degree. Since I had no idea what to study, I did some research on the internet in order to find out which degrees were the most sought after worldwide. I then came to the conclusion that education studies were the way to go since they came up as an option in almost every single search I did. So education it would be then. I registered, worked extremely hard my first year, passed with flying colours each semester and felt quite good about myself. All the while realising that education studies would never be a passion of mine. I just figured back then that since I was doing so well in the beginning I would be able to easily breeze through the rest of it.
Boy was I wrong. Each new teaching practice/practical experience (which lasts up to five weeks at a time), became more torturous. Every new assignment I had to complete seemed to take me longer and longer. This was due to the fact that I kept striving to better myself! Accepting nothing less than a 90% average on every assignment became the norm. Each exam I had to prepare for became such a burden that I stressed myself into an ulcer and a hernia. Yet I let the degree consume me more and more, until it took over my whole life.
So it went on until this year when time came for my last teaching practice/practical experience. That is where I caved. I just could not take all the pressure and work any more, and within 24 hours I had quit my whole degree. It took me a few days to sort through and chuck all the years’ worth of work and preparations I did. Almost broke my heart to do it because it made me realise just how hard I had worked and just how much time I had wasted. I still could not understand why I couldn’t force myself any longer. This caused me to resent myself. I stopped sleeping and eating. Then all of a sudden it dawned on me.
We as human beings cannot lie to ourselves forever. Even though we all keep pushing ourselves towards things we have no passion for, thinking we will adjust to it or even learn to like it, in the end we only land up doing ourselves in. How many people study certain things just because it is the line their parents or others have pushed them into? How many of us get stuck in careers and/or jobs we hate? Life is too short and nobody knows how long they have.
Why waste it making things harder and more complicated for yourself? Now I know many of you out there have managed to do what I could not and all of you are probably thinking now what a weakling I am for not being able to force myself the whole way through. Maybe you are right. Maybe I am weak. All I know for sure is that unless you are passionate about something, you should not pursue it. Yes it still hurts me and yes I still can’t sleep at night because I beat myself up and keep telling myself what an idiot I am for quitting and throwing away everything I worked so hard to achieve. But the fact remains, I had no passion for what I was pursuing and this ultimately killed it for me.
When in life you have choices to make, make sure you make the right ones in the beginning so that they don’t come back to kick you in the rear later.
Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2016
2017 Update – Life is too short to waste on studying the wrong thing
Edit: We are now in July 2017. Back when I wrote this post I had lots of doubts on whether I did the right thing or not. Today I can tell you in all honesty that I have no regrets. I realise now that the choice I made to not become a teacher, was my best move ever! If you are not passionate about something, it will never work out for you. Even if you manage to finish a degree in something you don’t like, in the long run you won’t find career happiness. Again I say, life is too short to waste on studying the wrong thing. So if you make the wrong choice, rather cut the cord and quit. You won’t regret it as soon as you find the right path to follow (study and career wise). Good luck. And don’t let feelings of guilt stand in your way!
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