Should I continue my studies or work?

Blog seminar

This Thursday, the Federal Minister of Education presented a study on university dropouts. Here a former student describes what it is like to find out that you have made the wrong choice.


Cancel, give up, fail. These unpleasant states can occur in many situations in life. But is it really a shame to realize that you have been wrong with your chosen subject? That as an ignorant high school graduate you made a decision that was too hasty? Admitting to yourself that you were wrong about your ideas?

After graduating from high school, a huge number of pupils are released from compulsory education every year. Suddenly free. It is celebrated, slept and enjoyed. The first steps have been taken. But only a few, who saw themselves as future doctors in elementary school, have a precise plan of how they want to shape their further free life. Most feel unprepared after school and have no idea which further path is best for them. Many try to gain new experiences abroad and hope for inspiration and a guide that tells them where to go. But the many possibilities that exist today are overwhelming. It is so infinitely difficult to find out with which further training you can create the best, most suitable basis for your own life. Although you have already completed a few career counseling and future tests in school, you can rarely do anything with the results.

That was exactly the situation I found myself in at the end of last year. One of the considerations for me was to just start studying - maybe you're lucky and it's made for you. I decided on a subject, a place to study, looked for an apartment and did all the paperwork. All things that are exhausting, but once everything is done and you feel comfortable in the new environment, the joy is great. Find new friends, explore the city, savor all the trappings of student life to the full. Now only the subject had to fit.

But unfortunately it turned out differently. In the daily lectures and tutorials I noticed that the topics only aroused my interest sparingly or not at all. At some point I only rarely attended the lectures, and I got through compulsory lectures in a bad mood. At the latest during the exams, when you are forced to deal with the material, you decide whether you want to fight your way through or not. Whereby: That studying is fun from start to finish is of course a dream. The fact that you have to struggle through subjects and courses is quite normal and also feasible as long as there are other study modules that fill your heart. If that is not the case, however, it is difficult to cope with a three-year course and of course the question arises whether that makes any sense at all.

A degree is actually there to help people with their special interests advance; you are prepared and trained to achieve something useful with the appropriate degree and to get hold of a job that you enjoy. According to a study by the “German Center for University and Science Research”, however, almost a third of Bachelor students drop out early. So is studying today primarily an experiment? Isn't the pressure so high these days to stick with what you started? The high number of dropouts definitely shows that you are no longer as stuck as you used to be. The general environment apparently no longer has such a derogatory view of a change of course or dropping out. Often you even get praise for the courageous decision to admit that you were wrong. And yes, it feels brave!

Of course, one can still think that “dropouts” are only acting out of convenience. But it is quite clear to them: The time after the termination is associated with a lot more effort than simply continuing to study. You have to worry again about what you want to start next, and the internal pressure is even higher, because you don't want to go wrong again, of course. Basically, you go through the same procedure as before starting your studies. So it is by no means an easy decision to break off.

And then there are the internal conflicts. It is well known that you are good at the things you enjoy. But far too often you don't even know what you really enjoy. That's why you can see it this way: A degree that has already started can help you to find out more precisely what you could be good at - what you enjoy. Even if it doesn't work the first time, it's not wasted time, because you learn a lot in the process, for example you become independent faster.

But it is also like this: studying is not for everyone, and training is now a respected alternative. Earning some money right from the start and generally having more practical relevance is definitely attractive, and the chances of finding a good job afterwards are by no means small. Perhaps a burning idea occurred to you during your short studies and you are now ready to found a start-up with which you may still make it big. The alternatives nowadays are endless, and you can achieve something with almost anyone.

Many things in life, I tell myself, take several attempts before they turn out for the best. Why should it be any different with studying? Especially since it is an exceptionally important and difficult decision. Life is long and high school graduates are young, so don't put too much pressure on yourself not to waste time.

In any case, I finished my studies after the first semester. In retrospect, I haven't regretted trying it. After a short period of perplexity, I had what is known as “perspective coaching”. It was very good to talk to someone who doesn't know you personally and who specializes in dealing with precisely this perplexity. All of this has shown me that you simply mustn't despair, but rather have the courage to look further. I am curious which detour I will take next.

And who knows if he won't take over a coffee roasting business after completing his law degree?


Click here for a blog article about "Student Doubts"

Keywords: dropping out of university
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Studying is difficult, dropping out is even more difficult

From Frida Kehnel

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