Holly Reed The Lady Life Blog


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How dropping out of university improved my life


It's time to get real guys. University is a pretty big and scary commitment to make; you are literally deciding how you want to spend everyday for the next 3-4 years then using what you've learned to make a career. Jeeze I hope I didn't just freak you out! soz.

My univerisity experience is something I haven't really talked about to anyone except close friends and family. I still don't like to be 100% honest when I talk about it but for you guys; it's time to come clean!  

I will try to condense this a little because we are talking about several years of my life. I will also offer some advice at the end of the post too. You can also contact me if you ever need to talk things out. 

Making My University Choices

It really start's with your subjects. Thankfully, my aunt recommended I pick the subjects I enjoy since I didn't have a career path chosen (btw, what 15 year old can make that sort of decision?!). The only poor subject choice I made was History over French and this was purely because my previous school wouldn't let me partake in the class so I had to follow through in this so called "passion" that I had for a subject I practically failed.

When I came to filling out my applications I was dead set that I wasn't going to stay in Ireland so I didn't even look at the Irish CAO.

When I was a lot younger I always secretly fancied myself as a teacher. As I got older I discovered makeup, set up a YouTube and set my heart on becoming an SFX Film Makeup Artist. At 16 I was spotted by a pretty well known UK MUA and offered a place in her college and an apprentice position on the set of The Hobbit which was about to start filming. My folks said I needed my education. People kept saying "You need a real qualification to get a job". I turned down the college and job.

Looking a little worse for wear in the middle of my Leaving Cert exams. 

Looking a little worse for wear in the middle of my Leaving Cert exams. 

At Halloween 2012 I began filing out my UK UCAS application, still with no colleges in mind. I really wanted to go to uni and experience University but I didn't know what to study. My passion for makeup was pretty much grinded out thanks to the stress and workload of school, being told to monetize my YouTube and my outside commitments. Total buzz kill. But people kept saying "You're good at makeup, why not do something in that?". By some miracle I found 2 Bachelors Degree courses in Makeup for Film and Theatre. I got an early offer from University of the Arts London but I withdrew that application shortly after. I got into Bournemouth Arts University (Yes, even after I told them I aspired to be Tim Currey in a spur of the moment impromptu interview question...sigh). 

Leaving Home

Everyone was so proud of me! I was proud of me. I worked hard and I earned this yet I didn't want it. Like I really didn't want to go to University or study makeup.  Honestly, I knew it was all a joke, if you were skilled and passionate then you'd make it as an MUA. I understand the course was about learning new skills and techniques but it just wasn't for me and I wasn't about blow a bizzilion pounds on it either. I felt guilty for bullshitting everyone the whole way along but I was scared because I was in too deep. By deep I mean I was sitting in my campus bedroom with my new bike chained up outside. Deep.

I felt awful. I was totally alone with this crap decision. I'd given up my friends and family to be here. I got in debt to be here. But I went on with it. I went to my lectures, I made friends, I went to parties and movies and events. I ate pasties on the beach with my friends watching the surfers in the sunset. I had fun. I lived a little.

House Party  bantz  with some amazing friends.

House Party bantz with some amazing friends.

In the thick of it my boyfriend broke up with me. He was in Switzerland and I was living a Univerisity life, notorious for going it alone and meeting new people along the way. We stayed in touch and he was a huge help by letting me talk out stuff and figuring out how I was going to tell everyone I was dropping out of univerisity. He was the first and only person I had told. As far as he was concerned all my dreams where coming true! I had a lot of fun and I worked really hard but this was breaking me, killing me. I was seeing the Univerisity Psychologist the whole time I was there. I made the appointment after an enlightening talk with the University Reverend durring Freshers Week. It really helped. I felt a little lost without her when I finished my sessions to return to Ireland. 

Breaking The News

I finished my first term of university at the end of November 2013.  I had been in the UK on my own since August. My dad had sent me money as an early birthday present to by my round trip fights home. I booked one way to Belfast and didn't tell a soul. My best friends at uni suprised me with Bucks Fizz and chocolate cupcakes as an early birthday treat when they came to pick me up. We drove to Kate's house, went to London's Christmas Market and they drove me to the airport. It was the best send off I've ever had! But one I didn't deserve. I hugged Claire and Kate extra hard and stepped on the escalator at Gatwick airport.

My Leaving Party Commitee throwing a proper send off! 

My Leaving Party Commitee throwing a proper send off! 

I bullshitted my way through Christmas and New Years. At parties, I listened to my folks brimming with pride and nodded in agreement with my hard work and success, passing my exams with yet more Honours. I felt awful.  

After the holiday season passed, I knew my parents would start asking when I was going back. I decided to tackle my rational father first instead of my emotional mother. Turns out I didn't know them as well as I'd thought because my father exploded every kind of emotion before taking me to meet my mother who talked rationally over a comforting coffee. My dad booked my flight back to the UK. I wanted him to come with me because I couldn't do it alone but work commitments ment he couldn't come straight away.  

I went and spoke to my tutors, it was hard. One tutor who was particularly cold and hard with me in the classes put her hands on my shoulders and told me she knew I was too good for this place, she said I was going to do big things, she always knew that. I won't lie, although the work load was huge, I didn't feel like I was learning anything I didn't already know how to do. I know that would've changed as the course delevoped but this only added to my list of reasons not to stay. I didn't want to be wasting my time trapped in a school for 3 years of my life! I wanted to get out there and see what I had in me.

The Aftermath

I got everything wrapped up and sorted out and I made my way hope. I rode out my depression for a further 4 or 5 months until I started to come out of this thick , blurry coma and things started looking up. Don't get me wrong, everyday was getting a little better. It just took me a while to shake off the feeling of guilt and betrayal and confussion and anxiety. I just felt so raw and sensitive. I got back together with my boyfriend and got in touch with some ole pals and I began looking at new prospects for my fufuture. The whole ordeal was awfully stressful and emotional. It really took me a solid year to get back to my strong, creative self. Although It has only been in this last year (especially since my blog started) that I've gotten back into writing and makeup and all the other stuff I used to love once more. I have finally come out the other side.

Housemates at the Fresher's Ball,  George Close Buddies  for life! 

Housemates at the Fresher's Ball, George Close Buddies for life! 


If you're going through something similar, I've a few words of advice that might help you. 

  1. Make the decision for yourself, not to please someone else. At the end of the day it's you who will have to live with this choice. 
  2. Choose subjects you love and really enjoy. It makes studying a whole lot easier.  
  3. Talk to someone! Your teachers, your parents, anyone. Someone else can put a new perspective on the situation. I'm not religious but speaking to that Reverend really helped me see things differently and get the help I needed. 
  4. If college isn't right then don't be afraid to change course or leave. Speak to your tutors and they can help you figure out your options. I looked at transferring but I couldn't choose a course (again).
  5. You're allowed to change your mind!  Do what makes you happy.

So I hope you were able to take something way from this bizarre happenings in my life. Don't get me wrong, my time at University was fun, it just wasn't right fror me. Have you got a similar experience? Why not tell me about it below and how you tackled it. And remember: feel free to Contact Me privately if you you got a problem and just want to talk! 

Welcome December

Welcome December

DIY: 2 ingredient pore strips using Geletine sheets