Dropout. Loser. Dropkick. Misfit. Quitter. Failure.
These names and others are all things I’ve been called upon learning that I left school.
But the thing is, did I leave school to sit around and do nothing? Did I leave school to live at home and use the money of my parents? Did I leave school so I could sit on my ass and do nothing?
(Also sorry for the language. I’m Australian, it kind of comes with our culture.)
I left school because what are we told all throughout our senior year?
Work your ass off and make it count, because you only have one chance to do this right.
I was suffering from debilitating clinical depression, and I was a student in a school that was not only unsupportive, but also adding to my depression. The teachers, the students, and the principal in particular all treated me in a way that made me feel worthless and alienated me from the rest of my peer group.
On my last day at school, instead of sending me to a counsellor with whom I could discuss my feelings, my school decided to contact a higher power and have me forced to hospital. Not only did this make me incredibly unstable (something that lasted for the following six months), but also made me mistrust everybody around me.
This is not written here as some sob story to make you all feel sorry for me, but rather a way of demonstrating that in the end, I was not in the position to be completing my HSC.
And so I became a high school dropout.
I felt like a failure. I felt like everybody would make fun of me, I would never have a bright future, I would never be able to achieve my dreams.
Most of all, I felt left behind.
As the year progressed, I watched all of my previous closest friends complete the hardest year of their life, graduate, cry through all of the stress, and grow so much.
But what else happened as the year progressed?
I studied and worked my ass off. Completing my Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing was originally something I was doing begrudgingly just to pass the time, however my work placement turned the tables. I saw it as a stepping stone into my future veterinary career, and knew that I now just needed to do my HSC.
I’m now half way through completion of my HSC, and there are some days where I do regret leaving school because I feel like I am a year behind.
But in the end, if I had to do it all again, I would make the same choice.
This year, I am free from mental illness and I am in the right head state to be completing my high school certificate. I wanted the best chance I could get to be accepted into the DVM, and that certainly wasn’t going to be last year.
Yeah I’m a high school dropout. And I’m proud of it.
Congratulations to all of the people who have dropped out of school and made something of themselves. I don’t care if that means you went to university and became a doctor, or did an apprenticeship with your dad and became a cement-worker.
Congratulations also to all of the people who finished their schooling and stuck through it despite what school and life threw at them.
I’m proud of everybody who continued to work despite what life threw at them.
Keep working hard.
Keep being you.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum