Wednesday, February 13, 2008

High school dropout and the lessons I learned

I'm a high school dropout. That's a very hard thing for me to admit. I was always really good at school. I tested well, was in advanced placement classes. Once, for my birthday, I asked to go to summer school. I was never a teacher's pet, but usually the teacher's favourite. I studied a lot, got good grades and generally enjoyed going to school. But I hit a rough patch in high school. I was still reeling from my parent's divorce, I had quite a few abandonment issues, control issues and in my depression, I stopped attending classes. Stopping finishing school projects or doing my homework.

In the fall of 2000, as I was starting my fourth year of high school, I was informed that because of my failing grades I was still considered a sophomore. It was easy for me to lie to my father. It was easy to sneak my report cards out of the mailbox and hide them. It was easy for me to tell my dad I was still getting As and Bs. But what surprised me is how easy the rest of it was as well.

It's not like in TV programmes or movies. There were no concerned guidance counsellors who called me into their office to discuss my grades or where I saw myself in the future. There were no notes from my teachers to say 'see me after class' to discuss my Fs on papers. There was no rallying around of my friends to provide study groups, I wasn't aware of a tutoring programme in my high school for me to fall back on. And I know that it wasn't up to the teachers or my guidance counsellor or my friends to bail me out. It was up to me to ask for help, but I couldn't do it.

When it finally did come to the end of the line, the point where I had to 'fess up and admit that I was failing out of high school to my father, I had a plan. I was going to take summer school, I was going to redo my classes, work after school to complete my missing credits. I wanted to work to solve this mess I had made for myself. I thought my dad would be proud that I wanted to fix this problem with hard work and dedication. Instead he advised me to drop out, get my GED. If I had a college degree, who would care if I recieved my high school diploma or not? he said. He figured it wouldn't be a big deal in the long run and I believed him.

He was wrong, and I realise that now. In taking the easy way out, I learned that it's better to walk away from things that are too messy. Things that are too difficult or that would take much time and effort. Now, with so many things, it's second-nature for me to just bail on the tough stuff, find the exit. I wish I'd stuck with high school, even if I had graduated a year later than expected. It would have taught me the value of hard work, given me something to be proud of. Instead, I'm a high school dropout and there's nothing I can do to take that back. I just hope I can learn from my past mistakes and when I start my university degree again, I hope I will be able to work hard at it, not give up, and finally succeed.


  1. Being an unfinished Psychology major, I tend to psychoanalyze EVERYTHING, much to the dismay of my husband and close friends...
    And yet this one basically slapped me in the face.
    You are right.
    I know a lot of people who went the GED route. (easy way) and this is exactly what they do in life. Then you have my little sister. She just quit. No GED, no nothing. And she is a quiter. She never follows through with anything...

    So, how do you combat that? how would you encourage anyone else to combat that?

  2. Yup, this is me too. Did fine in GCSEs, failed A Levels completely and then dropped out of uni. One of the reasons I am trying to do some OU stuff.

    Thanks for your kind comment yesterday, I am feeling better today.

    So much better that I'm afraid I have to tag you. xxx

  3. I guess I wasn't made for school.. I didn't become an offical junior untill my junior year was almost over.. Skipping school everyday in 9th grade was not the bestest of ideas.. I don't regret getting my GED. I think it was the best thing I could of done for myself.. I dunno.. I guess thats just me. I don't see it as a failure or an easy way out.. I had to work for my GED. My mom made me go to th classes the College offered to help you get ready for you're test's. I worked hard for the scores I got. I had one of the teachers tell me that my Lit score was the highest they had seen in awhile in that class. Made me feel good. I get defensive when people tell me I'm a high school drop out.. yes I did drop out, but I also got a diploma. I had a cap and gown ceremony. but I guess everyone's experiances are differant..


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