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Mom, Dad, I’m dropping out of college.

Erin Martiens is a senior graphic design major, and worked as Design Editor for The Scout. Photo via Erin Martiens.

“I’m dropping out,” is what I would say to my friends, family and classmates probably once (or maybe 16 times) a week during the last two years of my college career. 

School has never been something I’ve been interested in doing. But yet, I’m here, two weeks away from my bachelor’s degree. How in the world did that happen?

Since my first day of school, way back in kindergarten, my mother said it was always a struggle to get me to go to school. I was extremely shy, had the attention span of a goldfish and my dad claims I got my stubbornness from my mother. 

I remember putting on an Oscar-worthy performance, pretending to be sick just to avoid school. I even went to the extent of making fake vomit out of milk mixed with the leftovers in the fridge. I know it’s gross, but what can I say? I was committed. 

The gig was up one day when my mother caught me belly-laughing to all my favorite shows and forced me to go back to school. After that, she told me that I had to be on the “brink of death” in order to miss school.

Homework was always a struggle, I could never focus. Everything I learned was going in one ear and out the other. Don’t even get me started on tests. Testing anxiety is real and always has me second-guessing what I know. Just ask all my math teachers who put multiple (and may I say aggressive) question marks next to my equations that seemed so right in my head but were completely incorrect in so many ways. 

When I got to college, everything was different. By different, I mean I had a choice. 

Before with school, it was always, “you HAVE to go to school.” With college, I was presented with the option of, “you don’t have to go to class.” I think I was hit with psychological reactance, or “reverse psychology.”

This is where the stubbornness comes to play, people. I don’t enjoy someone telling me what I can or can’t do. School before college had strict rules and no behavioral freedom. But college was like “eh, do what you want, as long as you pay for it.” Since I was given the freedom of not going, I did the exact opposite. I actually wanted to go to class.

I did really well in school for the first two years. Then I transferred, turned 21 and I hit the senioritis road bump a bit too early. The not-wanting-to-go-to-school feeling came back, and with every frustration, the phrase “I’m dropping out” followed. 

Of course, everyone knew I was only one percent serious about dropping out, but they were all still concerned for me. 

I would like to thank those professors who were real with me and made me learn the quality of the time and effort it takes to pass a class, and who basically told me if I don’t show up I will fail. They set me straight and I actually learned something in those classes. 

The fear of failure is the other reason why I’ve made it this far. I don’t like failing in front of others. When I feel like I failed, I’m embarrassed and feel the need to avoid the people I’ve disappointed. That may be why I hated going to school in the first place. 

But somehow, I made it. I don’t have to tell my mom or dad that I’m dropping out of college. Instead, I get to show them my diploma that I receive in the mail. That is more than enough because I am proud of this accomplishment and excited to see where I’ll go in the upcoming years. 

So long school, for I will not miss you, at all. But thanks for all the friends, knowledge and memories you’ve given me throughout all these years.

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