If you’ve been following these blogs for the last few weeks then you will probably remember my mid-term life crisis (see what I did there?). If you did not happen to catch it then here is a quick recap (or you can read the full post here: http://www.careeroptionsmagazine.com/the-under-dog-deja-vu/).
More or less I was beginning to re-evaluate my ability and my desire to continue to pursue music as a career. Would the stress of constant practice and my position of being the ‘under dog’ be worth it in the end? At the time, and I still consider this to be my point of view, I did not think it was. Music was becoming less and less of a passion and more of a chore. I mentioned that I was going to give the rest of the year a shot and then look at my choices over the summer but upon closer examination, I’ve decided that in my case it’s best that I get out of my program sooner than later.
Dropping out of a program is not a decision to be made lightly. If you are in a similar position to where I am then there are a few things you have to consider before going to the registrar to withdraw.
1) Why? If you are considering leaving your program you should first look at the reasons why. In my case, I feel it is in my best interest to get out of music for a while and explore other avenues of interest. As well, I’ve never had a proper job. You know, like working in a grocery store or a mall or whatever. Don’t drop out just because you do not like school. Only professional students like school.
2) Who does this affect? For one, you would be the most affected person. You are making a huge decision that could be extremely stressful – especially if you plan on applying to new schools. This is the part I am dreading most. However, your decision also affects your friends and family. Talk over your concerns with them. If you have good reasons to want to leave your program other than “school sucks” , they’ll probably be quite receptive and can help you make some of these plans or decisions. In my case, it was important to let my friends know. At first most people are shocked; some might even be annoyed that you plan on leaving, but in the end they usually come around and are empathetic to your decision.
3) What Are Your Options? Leaving school in the middle of the year can be quite a disruptive prospect. It may be too late to get refunds for tuition, residence, meal plans etc. If money is high on your list of concerns, you might want to just stick it out for the rest of the year or until you know it is possible to get your money back. At least you’ll get the credits. It is also a good idea to have some plan of what you will be doing while you are not in school. Do you plan on applying for a Winter semester somewhere else? Maybe you plan on working for the next semester and intend to apply for schools for the Spring or Fall semesters. Either way it’s best not to go blindly into the unknown.
4) When? There are some dates that you’ll have to check out as well. When is the last day to withdraw without penalty? When does residence need to know if you are moving out early? When will applications for Winter/Spring/Fall semester be due? You can find out most of these dates through a simple meeting with a guidance counsellor or by stopping by your residence office.
If you just have fleeting thoughts of dropping your program then it might be worth your time to check out the post I linked you to at the beginning of this one. Otherwise, take my advice and think about what you are considering. Leaving a program should never be a snap decision. It took me around two months to make a final, solid decision, and I feel entirely comfortable with the choices I have made just as you should about yours.
Until next week, good luck with your final assignments, presentations, performances, studying and the like!