When Quitting Doesn't Equal Failure

by - 3:00 PM


Late March saw me end up on a psychologist's couch. It was red, modern and not even half as fancy as I'd expected. I'd already been struggling with many things for many months, but as I sat there I realized one thing: I really couldn't continue my internship and thus my education. I had to quit, or it'd be the end of me.

Internships had never been easy for me. In 2014 I started a course to become a high school teacher. German was my subject. In my first year I taught at a high school in Rotterdam for eight weeks, which almost killed me. In my second year I went back to my old high school for 20 weeks and had a good time teaching there. Then, in my third year, I went over to my high school's rival. At first it was all okay, but soon I was to blame for loads of things that weren't my fault and the school said they couldn't keep me on unless I did exactly what they told me. And I, idiot that I am, complied. With every week passing I felt worse and worse. I realized I didn't want to become a teacher anymore, but felt like I couldn't give up now that I'd come this far already. I completely ignored my own emotional and physical needs just to get my internship credits at the end of the academic year. In the process, I destroyed more than I could've imagined: my relationship, my weight, my bond I had with my family, my hobbies and both my physical and my mental health.

As January came around, I found myself panicking every Monday night, because I'd imagine all kinds of horrors that would happen to me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when I'd go to internship. I'd be hyperventilating, crying over silly little things like diaper commercials, and finding excuses not to go. Some of these horrors actually did come true: I was yelled at while I was having a mental break down in the staff room. I was spoken to in a disparaging way on multiple occasions. I was to blame for problems that weren't my problem and in no way my responsibility. It caused me more stress than I could handle.
I could not go on like that. I asked both my college and my internship if it was okay if I finished the internship on the day of my assessment deadline, so I'd have the remaining six weeks of the academic year to clean up the mess inside my head. Both agreed. For a week or two I was happy. Then everything went to shit.

I had to get permission to apply for assessment, even though I'd already finished writing the entire assessment report. I'd get permission if a college teacher visited one of my classes. This happened the very last week before my deadline because they'd forgotten to schedule an appointment, which meant there was no time for a second chance if I messed up.
I messed up. Or so the college teacher said. He burned me down, said I was on the same level as a sophomore, that I hadn't met any of his criteria (criteria my classmates and I had never heard of until that day) and based on those criteria he wouldn't allow me to apply for assessment.
Somehow I convinced him to grant me permission anyway, but then the next hurdle came up: I didn't receive any feedback on my assessment report. My teacher just didn't read it. No feedback from her = no assessment for Envy.

By then the deadline was only four days away. I was panicking, crying, freaking out. It was worse than all the previous internship panic moments put together. I barely ate, barely slept and felt worse than I'd felt after my breakup. As I woke up to no feedback on the Sunday morning before the deadline, I took a drastic decision: I decided to quit. This degree course wasn't worth so much pain and panic for so many months. In November 2016 I'd already decided I didn't want to become a teacher, so why was I still putting myself through this much pain and stress for something I didn't want at all?

For a few days I felt like a complete failure. I hadn't been able to get a degree and become a teacher. That hurt. Not because I still wanted to be a teacher, but because my college had made it impossible for me to prove myself. Sure, I could've tried again next year, spend an extra year in college and become a teacher anyway. But I didn't want to. I hated teaching. I hated the lack of gratitude at internship. I hated the pointless college classes and I hated my career path most of all. I could not deal with this much negativity for much longer. And I definitely couldn't be unhappy at college for another two years. I chose happiness and health over my education. I don't think that makes me a failure. I think that makes me brave.

Sometimes we need to reevaluate what's important to us. I was forced to do so when my college screwed me over multiple times in April and May. As a result my already low self-esteem took a beating. I started having panic attacks and slept worse than ever before. I was going through too much pain for a degree that'd land me a job I didn't want. Now that I've quit college, I feel like I can finally breathe again. I smile more, I laugh more, I enjoy life a lot more. It might be difficult to get into a different college now, but there's no age limit to doing that. Neither is there an age limit to chasing your dreams, which is what I get to do now that I'm out of that horrible place. If you quit your degree course to chase your dreams, to follow your heart, you are in no way a failure. All you are is brave and strong. And a little bit scared and confused, in my case. Sometimes quitting can give you peace of mind and a chance at the life you really want. A college degree isn't the only way to find happiness. So don't be afraid to quit your course if the time ever comes.

x Envy

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24 Fellow Ramblers

  1. I think college environment is too brutal. You get out of high school and get into a whole different thing, too aggressive, too much pressure. Some of us can't handle it, especially when you are surrounded with the wrong kind of people and with teachers who are far more interested in ruining students lifes instead of actually helping them - that's what they were supposed to do.

    Yes, it can be confusing, sometimes you may even get sad about this, but it was the best decision. The cost was being way too high, unbearable. And nothing is worth it. Now it's time to step by step try to mend the things that got broken.

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    1. I agree with everything you say. The difference between high school and college is huge. I remember being a freshman and getting to hear I had to make APA references in my work, not knowing what those were and when I asked they just said: 'You're supposed to know that'. No one every explained it, it's not part of high school curriculum and in the end I had to steal documents from another college to teach myself. The teachers didn't care, they never did anything to help.

      It was definitely the best decision. I'm now forced to take a gap year, but at least I'm not stuck in that hell anymore.

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  2. I'm sorry you went through such a horrible time but I am glad you are now stronger for it. It's also amazing to share your story for other who may go through something similar. xx

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    1. I'm still getting back on my feet to be honest. It's been a long, difficult time. I'm glad it's over now.

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  3. Always use these experiences to strengthen you!💓

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  4. You are absolutely not a failure!
    You are strong and brave, just like you said. You're amazing.
    Cora ❤ http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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    1. My mind keeps telling me I'm a failure though. That's the difficult thing about an inferiority complex... But I'm glad I quit. Now I can focus on my health, work a little and gain some experience, and most importantly: travel & work on my blog :D

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  5. You are so strong babe I am so proud of you always!

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    1. I am so glad I have your support and that I can call you my friend <3

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  6. You have to put yourself first.
    Sometimes that's a very difficult thing to do, but a necessary thing.

    You sound like you're in a better place, E. You've grown so much from this.

    Steph
    www.socialspying.com

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    1. I have trouble putting myself first. I think this was the first time in years that I did it. At first I didn't feel like I was in a better place, but now I'm 100% sure I am. It's like I've given myself a second chance.

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  7. Oh my gosh. Good for you. I'm so sorry about how the program treated you! But you're so right-- there's absolutely nothing wrong with backing up, saying "oh...kay this is not for me" and trying again. Definitely a hard decision, but probably a super rewarding one. Be strong!
    xx
    steph
    strictlystephanie.blogger.com

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    1. I wasn't even the only one in the program who was treated this way, which is what makes the whole situation even more frustrating. If they'd treated me differently I probably wouldn't have quit, but in this case it was the best thing to do.

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  8. This is one of the best posts of yours I've read; I'm so sorry you had to go through all that, and I hope the future is brighter for you x

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    1. Oh thank you. It was a difficult one to write. I hope things are going to get better from now on too. I feel like I've had my fair share of shit already for all of 2017 :P

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  9. Before I started my college course last September I had quit my other college in February because my mental health was utter trash. This post made me feel better that I wasn't the only person who's felt in a similar way. I love your writing style xx

    Itsallzara.co.uk

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    1. Thank you! And I'm really glad to hear you went through something similar. Makes the situation just a little less... lonely, if that makes any sense :)

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  10. There's absolutely nothing wrong with quitting anything! You're not a failure, and college isn't always the best environment. I personally hated college x

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    1. That's all so true, and I can totally see why you hated it. I didn't mind learning entire books from front to back in a month, but the way the teachers treated students... That was just an unhealthy situation and it had horrible effects on me. I may feel like I'm a failure, but deep down I know I did the right thing

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  11. I'm so sorry to hear about this rough time period in your life, but glad you're in a better place now! I like to think we are put through challenging times to improve and strengthen our character!

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    1. Maybe this was life's way of preparing me for university. Or maybe it'll make me appreciate university even more after going through this hell :)

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  12. College has always been a tough experience, and quitting is never a bad thing so don't beat yourself about it! I hope you can get through this time in your life, it gets better <3
    with love, Bash   |   HEY BASH

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    1. I'm slowly making my way through it. I still beat myself up over it some days, but most days I'm just glad I don't have to go back to that terrible place anymore :)

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