You were ready for college. Things started off well, but then the unimaginable happened and you had to pull out; either due to force majeure or because you felt confused about your career. Before you hide under your covers and vow never to speak to anyone again, read this: You are NOT the first this has happened to and you certainly won’t be the last. Even though you feel overwhelmed by your new situation, you have not failed by dropping out of college. In fact, many well-known entrepreneurs, self-owned businesses, and happy employees did not graduate from college and went on to lead happy, fulfilling lives.
Here we leave you 10 things you can do so they don’t call you nini and get your life going:
1. Take a breath
Inhale. exhale. Inhale. exhale. If you start to feel anxious, take a breath and come back to the present. Although it sounds simple and silly, stressful times and times of change are perfect for relaxation exercises. Being aware of your thoughts in the present helps you stay centered and calm to prevent your mind from running in a thousand directions at the same time.
2. Take advantage of what you have learned
Even if you didn’t graduate, your time in college gave you a ton of skills. Think about when you started and how lost you felt. And now you have learned to live away from home, to break the ice when talking to strangers, to organize your time, to investigate, to cook, to visit a new city and many other things.
3. Travel the world
Dust off the passport that the world is waiting for you. Traveling helps you escape from your monotonous life, takes you away from the uncomfortable questions about your student life and allows you to experience other cultures, foods, landscapes and ways of seeing life. But where should you go? Find inspiration on blogs, social media, chatting with friends, brainstorming, or spin a globe and stop it at random. There really is no better way to reset your life than a few weeks (or months) away.
4. Study a language
Studying for college requires commitment and time. Although now it is not possible for you to dedicate yourself to your university studies, it does not mean that you cannot commit to other things. Learning a language is a great way to use the time you now have for something good, while still planning for your future. By taking a class, you’ll meet people, have a new purpose, rediscover discipline, and learn skills that can be applied to new studies and employment. Something even better is to combine language learning with traveling and taking a course abroad. As for which language to study: Chinese, Arabic, German, French, and English are excellent options.
5. Learn something new
Photography, cooking, design, sewing, woodworking, painting, hiking, surfing, music, or anything that catches your eye. Take a class in something, anything, to lift your spirits and regain your confidence and challenge yourself to try something new. Who knows, you might find a new calling in the process.
6. Take up an old hobby
Over the course of high school to college, we put aside our hobbies to focus on our academic pursuits, which is understandable; however, a life without interests outside of studying and working can be very boring. Now that you have time to spare, picking up an old hobby can be a great way to relax and think about new possibilities for the future.
7. Start a business
All these classes and hobbies will surely bring out your creativity. All this energy plus a little entrepreneurial spirit and BAM! you are the owner of a new business. Whether your idea involves freelancing, selling crafts, planning events, or something else entirely, there are hundreds of blogs and online communities that can help you define your goal and strategy for attracting customers. It won’t be fast, but with time and dedication you will be able to work part-time or even full-time as your own boss.
Find purpose and be proud of yourself by volunteering. There are plenty of organizations and foundations looking for help. Choosing which one you are going to volunteer with is your first task. Start by considering what you’re passionate about, whether it’s animal rights, the environment, education, ways to end poverty, or finding a cure for a disease. Volunteers can find opportunities in their own city, country, or around the world. Some even require long-term commitments, which would give you the opportunity to live in another country for several weeks or months.
9. Find a part-time job
Earning money increases the sense of independence and therefore increases self-esteem. Polish your CV (make sure to include the skills you gained at university, if you did any volunteering and the associations you belong to). Depending on the type of job you are looking for, you can apply through agencies or in person. Tip: When you apply for a position in hospitality or sales, most managers appreciate it when you come into the store and introduce yourself.
10. Talk to a career counselor
If you start to feel like going back to college, consider seeing a guidance counselor sooner. They will help you define your future goals and decide on a course and curriculum that you will enjoy. It’s never too late to start over!