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I Quit My Masters Degree & What I Learnt From It

I was 26 when I thought about starting a career path into numbers or finance, if you want to use the technical term. A challenge for a former legal mind but it was something new and exciting for my mind, something for me to bury myself into under the guise, in hind sight, of finding a purpose. I was excitement itself! Anyone that knows me could tell you that. I wrote a birthday post on it. I also wanted to do it as soon as possible and get it out of the way because I know myself, I would have changed my mind with the long wait. Explains why, instead of waiting for the September intake, I decided to start in January. All this decision making was done in 2017.

Fast forward to 2019, I am doing my last set of exams, extremely unhappy, toying with the idea of jumping into the Thames, but holding back because it was mid January at the time. I’m sure it was ice cold. I did not want to end my life per se but I wanted to harm myself and maybe have a reason that was easy for me to explain why I was choosing to drop out. I stayed put. 28 at the time, I thought of how I should finish what I wanted. “You’re a grown woman Marion, you have to do things that make you unhappy sometimes,” I constantly told myself. What I did not consider was that part of being grown included me doing things that made me happy. March 2019, after my last disagreement with my thesis supervisor on how I should structure it, I decided to get into therapy and write what I wanted. I even looked into ways to pay someone to do it for me. I failed it of course. My heart wasn’t in it. After talking to the head of my faculty, I asked for time off before I was to repeat it, still toying with the idea to quit. Then covid 19 happened and I realised it was time to let go. Here are some things I learnt from my experience;

  1. Make Decisions for You and Care Less About What Everyone Will Say; Through out this whole ordeal, my most dominant thought was what my family would think. The panic attacks and depression I had was not enough to tell me to let go. Calling my best friend almost every week in tears was not enough either. I waited for a whole pandemic to make me realise I was barking up the wrong tree and to cut my losses. Don’t be me.
  2. You always know when something isn’t working out; Get out when you notice it. You don’t have to finish what you started if it is causing you more pain than joy or it will cost you more than it did when you realised. It will still be in the books as my most expensive trial period. If you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, even when everyone is telling you where it is, look for where your light is and run to it. I had my next plan figured out a whole year before I jumped ship. I still wonder why I did not run to it then but I’m now working on it and that’s what matters.
  3. Have a plan B, C, whatever you want to call it before you quit; Now I know I sound like your older sister Deborah* when I say this but a plan is important. Do it for yourself. If it’s not something you want to do for the rest of your life, have one to have peace of mind and explanations whenever you’re asked the annoying questions about your decision. Ultimately you shouldn’t have to explain yourself, but it happens. We live in societies where people have a hard time letting things go, so just have a back up. You are allowed to change it after later on if you want to.
  4. Take your time; This should have been number one but you’ll soon find out that I choose to do things my way. Take your time when making decisions. I apply it to some areas in my life but I jumped into the masters because I was cocky. I did not take the time I should have to think. What annoys me about myself is that I had the time, no one was chasing me, but I ran head fast into it and here we are. Don’t get it twisted, I am still my glorious self. I just don’t like how I went about it.
  5. There’s more to life than changing your mind; You are human, you are allowed to change your mind as you go. It is not the end of the world and no one will imprison you for it (unless you are living in a place run by a dictator). They might be mad, disappointed, but that too shall pass. If they are your people, they will still love you. What matters in the long run, is that you are okay with yourself.

Now will I go back and try my hand at another masters degree later in life? Yes, I will. I have ideas of what it could be on too. Let’s wait for me to get over this ordeal first. I am just 29 after all. There’s still a lifetime for me to do it. I am not on a life track to break any records. And, most of all, I am currently happy. That is what matters in the end.