I graduated high school in 2003. I excitedly went straight into a private Christian college. I was told I could wait to pick a major. Wrong. I was pressured by teachers, admissions, and the dean to pick something after just three weeks! I chose music education. Then I realized I don't want to deal with a class full of brats.
After a week I realized I had made a mistake when I left. I had gotten as many grants as I could and some loans, but my family hadn't helped with much of anything. I didn't know what I was doing and I had no money. I wound up doing my laundry in the floor's bathroom sink and borrowing supplies from a friend. I didn't have any idea what I had gotten into.
The college was located in a primarily Amish town and my dorm was populated by cheerleaders. Literally, cheerleaders ALL AROUND ME. I wasn't their type and the result was hostile. Fights in the hall and the bathroom. Eventually I just started sticking to my room and fell into a terrible depression.
I started drinking everyday. I did shots of vodka before and between classes just to make it tolerable. It was a dry campus so I hid it in a water bottle labeled as plant food next to my bamboo. My roommate and I both would drink it and fill it out of the bottle in her trunk. (My roommate was my best friend from high school and was having a hard time just like me.)
Neither of us made it past the semester. I missed all but one of my finals. It was a waste of time and money. I moved back to my hometown, but my mom had moved across the country so I wound up staying with my roommate, who also dropped out. (Thankfully, she had more luck at the next school.)
I then went to a community college. This time I chose to get a Business Administration degree. The classes were mind numbing, but I had to work two jobs this time. It was harder then I had imagined it would be. I would go to one job and leave for another, then have class all night. I could only get sleep if I broke it up and tried to get a few hours here and there. I started taking over the counter sleep aids and became addicted.
My mom had a couple strokes, my brother disappeared, a move fell apart leaving me with only half my stuff, and then my dog, of over 16 years, died. The stress was too much for me and I broke. I lost my job. I managed to talk my other boss into giving me a couple weeks off. And I stopped going to my classes. I subsequently failed. I was too depressed to get out of bed. I started using recreational materials and 'cutting' to cope.
That was about four years ago. Life is hard, but I am getting it together. I only drink or use drugs every few months, usually even less. I haven't hurt myself in almost a year. I have a new, stable job, am getting in touch with my family, and I am finally talking about getting a new dog.
I also plan on going back to finish my business degree this year. I only had about six months left to finish when I dropped out, so it may be possible. I may not even use it, but for me its just to prove to myself that I can. When I started I had several people tell me, "College isn't for everyone." That may be true, but I don't want to wait tables for the rest of my life. And their negativity definatly didn't help in either situation.
A word of advice to anyone just starting out in college, don't let anyone push you around. If you don't know what you want to do, take the general courses so you won't have to mess with them later. Or you may even want to wait a year. Save money. You're tastes will change, be prepared to change majors. Don't let drama rule your life. Have options. And last but not least don't let go of the important things while you're out there having some of your most exciting experiences to date. Don't forget to visit home or call regulartly. AND Go to class! You are paying for it... or you will.