A year ago things were looking pretty rosy. I’d quit my job, been accepted onto a Masters course and generally believed that I was about to be moving on with my life, finally doing the things that I wanted to be doing.
Turns out I had been wrong on more than a few accounts.
I discovered pretty quickly that once you have left home, moving back in with your parents is never a good idea, not matter how financially appealing that it may appear. I get on well with my parents, and you may think you get on well with yours. But, and this is very important, once you have tasted your own independence for the first time there is really no going back from that. Going back to living under someone else’s rules and schedules really just doesn’t work out how you think it would. Essentially it is important to remember that no matter how old you get these guys are your parents; it’s their house, their rules. They will not be the equivalent of older house mates for you.
I also later discovered that postgraduate study is really not what you expect it to be. I would advise anyone thinking about it to think long and hard, and then think about it a little bit more. As I write this nearly a year after I started I am no longer studying; I have opted to cease my studies without the submission of a dissertation. This may seem like a waste at first, after all my course wasn’t exactly cheap at £3,500.
Whilst the sheer workload had been a bit of a shock, it had not been an unexpected one. What had been unexpected was how violently postgraduate study would turn my against my subject. The more I delved into it, the more I began to felt alienated from reality. I no longer felt as if I was pursing anything worthwhile, but merely absorbing and regurgitation information for the very sake of it, and the further I got the more I began to realise that this was the modus operandi of probably 90% of the academic community. The deeper I got into my subject the further I felt from it; I no longer experienced the excitement which first led me towards history, and this is what affected me the hardest. Something about which I had once held so much passion had now become like a dead shell to me, nothing more than a repetitive exercise of verbal masturbation.
It is sad that I have come to feel this way, but deep down I know that the spark of interest has left me entirely, and at this level unless you can sleep, eat and breathe your subject then it will be very difficult to make progress. Postgraduate study is most certainly not for the faint of heart.
What all of this did make me realise is how much I had abandoned the things in life which I really do enjoy. I no longer read for pleasure, for it had become nothing more than a chore to me. This was probably the straw which broke the camels back; I figured that if I could no longer take pleasure in the things in life which I used to enjoy, then I needed to cut out that in my life which was taking so much of my time that I no longer could pursue these pleasures.
And that is the story of how I became a graduate drop-out. I’ve never ‘failed’ anything academically before, but I guess there has to be a first for everything, and it has still been a big learning curve for me, albeit in a way I never would have first imagined.