Penning down this uncomfortable part of my life for any student who may be in a similar situation.
Ironically enough, I am going to start this rather personal article telling you how I’ve never quit on anything in my life. Professionally speaking, working in startups requires 100% commitment, a can-do attitude and a strong-as-stone determination level. And I take pride as a hard-worker. Getting in the University of Melbourne (referred as unimelb) was definitely one of the best things that happened to me. But it also didn’t just happen, there was a lot of hard work and wishing that went behind The Decision.
Leaving the comforts of home is hard.
When I left my work-life and social circle in Delhi, I had no idea what I was in for. They say, you get more and more comfortable as you get older and it’s harder to study after working for a certain period of time, or to even live in a new country. And they’re right. Maybe different people react differently to dramatic changes, but this step was exceptionally hard for me.
My first semester at uni was tough.
They were the longest 4 months of 2016. I had anticipated difficulty in assignments and to be honest, it was a bit of a struggle to get used to the referencing style and citations but I thoroughly enjoyed the advanced level at which our professors made us think and research. I’m pretty proud of most of the essays and took the liberty to publish them on LinkedIn and my website.
Accommodation was another struggle but after a decent semester I was ready for the next.
For a lack of a better word, in the first week of our second semester I realized I was scared to commit to living a life in Australia after I graduate (which made sense after having spend thousands of dollars on education). Did graduating from unimelb hold any value if I didn’t see a future here to begin with? Of course it did. It’s one of the best universities in the world but who could explain that to someone having a major panic attack?
I talked to noone – just went ahead and withdrew from the course. Just. Like. That.
…The next day, I spoke to close family and friends who reminded me of the core reason I was pursuing post-grad in Melbourne – To be a qualified PR professional. People are unaware of how anxiety can play a large role in your demeanour. I came across a Quartz article elaborating on a significant percentage of graduate students in different countries suffering from depression.
A lot of people don’t know this but getting a job at LinkedIn was a huge motivating factor behind getting a post-graduate degree. No surprise that I absolutely love the platform that LinkedIn provides millions of people and it would be amazing to work for the largest professional network in the world. In the middle of all the craziness I also wrote to Mr. X, a senior guy at LinkedIn, asking for his opinion on whether I should continue at all. To my surprise, people, busy people, do reply to panic emails! And it was really nice of Mr. X to emphasize on me completing my degree.
Needless to say, I am thankful that my uni has a grace time period where you can apply for re-admittance. If you are a student and you have thoughts to quit college, do not panic. Easier said than done – but it’s better waiting a couple days and talking to people you look up to before signing yourself up for a ton of paperwork.
Remember why you made The Decision.
The following quote by Anne Lamott inspired me to write this article:
You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.