Falling leaves brings falling grades: Dropout prevention month

October is an exciting month for a lot of people. Pumpkin spice lattes and sweater weather and Halloween is just around the corner. But with all the fun things October is associated with, it’s also known for raising awareness about dropout prevention.

Being the second month of school for universities, classes really start to get into the swing of things and by mid-October most students (at university/college level) are dealing with midterms and assignments.

National dropout prevention month, I feel, shouldn’t be so much about trying to force people to stay in school and make them see the bad parts about dropping out, rather it should try to educate people about their options. Dropping out is okay if you really need to but it’s better to know what you’re doing, even just a little bit. So if you’re contemplating dropping out, have a chat with some friends, an academic advisor, an employer or anyone else you trust and see what your options are. In the end, you want to make sure you’re doing what’s best for you.

Being overwhelmed by the amount of schoolwork students are assigned is surprisingly not that high on the list of reasons behind dropouts. However, it does contribute to other factors and is thought to be a  common cause to the issue.

According to tests and research done in early 2015 by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, the reasons behind student dropout rates have not changed that drastically over the course of 60 years. Some of the recurring problems are a failure to keep up with school work, feelings of not belonging, and a general dislike for school.

I definitely understand the reason behind wanting to prevent people from dropping out of school. Increasing job rates and the amount of people in the work force and all. However for most people it’s probably an issue they’ve been dealing with for a while and something will eventually drive them to leave school if they aren’t completely into it.

Lack of interests, constant failure and overwhelming academic pressure are all very similar and can play off one another most of the time. If someone genuinely isn’t interested in pursuing schooling, it’s really hard to push them to do it. So many people expect that in our society you have to finish high school, finish four years of some post-secondary education and then finally find a full-time job somewhere where you’ll work the rest of your life. A lot of the time it doesn’t work out that way, and that’s completely normal.

Academic pressure can also really mess with your head and make you feel awful. If things start to pile up on you and you just can’t handle it, a lot of people’s natural reactions would be to give up. There are also tons of ways that you can get help and guidance in situations like that, and dropping out isn’t your only option.

Sometimes there doesn’t even need to be some deep reason behind someone wanting to drop out. It can be as easy as being offered a really interesting job and the potential to go places in that field, and that’s all they need. If you’re happy in your work and in your life choices then it’s up to you to continue your schooling. It’s always good to weigh your options and see what the best course of action is for yourself and your future. If you want to finish off your degree, go for it. If you think this is the end of the road for you, so be it. It isn’t anybody else’s decision to make but your own.

There are also a lot of times when dropping out can seem like the only option because of severe bullying and the inability to fit in. At the university/college level, bullying is a little bit easier to avoid with campuses being as large as they are (and more so relevant in high school situations), but it’s still possible to feel like an outsider. It can even be even more difficult for those with anxiety as it makes everything harder to cope with if you feel small in such a large environment. Or in some cases too large to the point where you feel like you stand out and can’t handle being put on display. It makes you feel like dropping out is the only way you can make yourself feel better and get the feelings of anxiety to die down and bring some form of peace into your life.

There are always ways that you can get help, and if you’re in a situation that you don’t feel comfortable with, seeking help is always a good idea. There are always options open to you.

Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t have to justify to others why you believe you should drop out. If a reason is good enough to you, it’s valid, and it’s your choice. Most people push against dropping out because in today’s society it’s believed to be a requirement to have three degrees and be fluent in four languages before you can get an entry level job.

The people who tell you that “you need school for a job” are only trying to look out for you, but it is possible to get a job and have stability if you choose to leave school behind. Just make sure you’ve got a plan for yourself.


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