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Contemplating dropping school

My mental disorder is going to be diagnosed in a few weeks or so, not really sure about that yet or how it's going to happen. Anyway. School is coming up, I'm going to be 17 and I'll be finishing year 12 next year. But I have a feeling in my gut that I'm not going to cope so well this year. We had an 'orientation' week before the holidays for a 'taste test' on my new year level and the workload is quite heavy. I have english, maths, two art subjects and my mum is making me go into media because "four subjects is a little light" even though she's aware i have a condition. English and maths are my main concerns, english involves public speaking (which i cannot stand) and maths has quite a heavy workload. The art subjects I'm okay with since it's something i love, media my mum suggested cause apparently it's a very laid-back subject and you get to choose different types of media projects you want to do (photography, film etc...). Anyway.

I can slowly feel myself slipping, I'm losing hope, I'm not depressed or anything, I just can't be bothered anymore. Knowing something is wrong with me mentally is making me feel worse. I haven't decided which friends I'm going to tell about my problem and I don't know how this year is going to play out. I'm just super stressed and school is one of those things that makes me stress the most and I just can't handle that and I probably won't this year. I don't know how to bring it up, I know people hate school at some point but I don't feel like it's for me. I'm at a legal age where I can make the decision to drop school but I just don't know how to bring that up to someone. I don't hate education, I just don't feel like I'm going to cope in my school environment. It's too much and I feel awful going back.


I know some people regret dropping school, but if it anyway helps me recover then I'm all for it. I'd rather focus on studying things I want to and get better in the process rather than sticking with assigned tasks and deadlines. 


I just don't know what to do. 

Re: Contemplating dropping school

@superlock164  I suggest you think through very carefully. At the end of the day it will be your choice, you have to lead your own life. 


I suggest you get an appointment as soon as possible in regarding your mental health. Mental disorders can get worse over time. It may get easier, once you start treatment. You should definately talk to a professional. 


I know it can be difficult to keep yourself going with a heavy load. Just do the best you can, you are only human, we have our limits. 


I  actually have a history of depression. The psychiatrist recently diagnosed me with bipolar. Sometimes its really difficult to motivate myself to study. Then I'll eat my own guilt, I can become really stressed out to the point I have a panic attack. In fact, I took less subjects during my first year of university because of it. 


I think you need to accept your limits. It is something I also struggle with too. 


I hope it gets better. 

Re: Contemplating dropping school

Hi @superlock164,

I reckon a lot of people here on ReachOut have been through the situation of trying to study while also having some mental health issues. So hopefully you'll get lots of useful replies and tips. Smiley Happy

When you're at the start of the path to getting diagnosed, it can be hard to work out whether you can study, or how much you can study. I actually chose to study uni part time because I thought it would be easier for me, and that has worked so far. But I did need support from my friends, and a uni counsellor, and my regular counsellor!

Dropping out is a big call - and it may be the right one for you, or it might not. Hopefully the counsellor who is helping you right now (the one you said was doing your diagnosis?) will be able to give you guidance and tips on studying while you're also trying to get well.

Here's a ReachOut fact sheet which might help you too:
Thinking about dropping out?

When's your next counsellor appointment?




Re: Contemplating dropping school

Hey @superlock164 


Like @Creativegirl12 has said, it would be beneficial to you to make an appointment soon and start with what you can do to make things better and easier. It can be tough knowing that you have a mental illness or disorder and you're not quite sure what that is just yet. But I believe that with you sharing this with us, it's one step closer to becoming a stronger person. So don't lose hope. 


As for school, it can be really tiresome once you're close to finishing. I remember in Yr 12, I just didn't care about anything anymore (to the point where I was slack on major assignments and openly snacked in class...I regret nothing Smiley Happy ). I did feel really low at the time but stuck around to finish. I think what got me through it were three good friends.  With telling your friends about it, take one step at a time and don't feel the need to rush. But it is important not to bottle it all up inside; friends can understand and help you out more than you think. 


 If the school environment is becoming detrimental to your wellbeing, then it would be good for you to consider other options. You could visit a careers counsellor at school to help you explore what you would like to do as well as talking about it with your mum too. There are many pathways in working in media - institutions like TAFE, CATC Design and private art colleges are all great places that offer a variety of art and media courses. If you plan on sticking around at school, getting a tutor to help you with the content could make it easier for you. 


Take care and good luck!

Stay excellent

Re: Contemplating dropping school

Hey @superlock164 

Welcome to the forums!


I know myself, just having finished year 12 last year, how much strain it put on me and my mental health! As said before the call it totally yours and in the end you have to make that choice. What do you honestly think is best for you? I chose to stay on through to year11+12 and try my best at it, like @Myvo, I also became quite slack during the last year of school, and somethings weren't done to the absolte best I could, but it was the best I could do at that point, and I don't regret it today. It's a journey of learning and discovery!


If you dropped out of school for this year, would you consider finishing year 12 the year after? Eg taking a years gap? A girl I know started year11 when I was in year10 and found it too strenous, and took most of the year off, practically 'dropping out' but then came and started year11 with me. That gave her the year she needed to get help, get on top of her mental illness and feel able to complete the final studies. This could be an option for you.

Or another thing you can do, is arrange to do your final two years of school over 3 years, which means that deadlines are not as close together and it should be easier and less stressful for you. You would have to talk to your principal about whether that could be possible.


superlock164 wrote:

I can slowly feel myself slipping, I'm losing hope, I'm not depressed or anything, I just can't be bothered anymore. Knowing something is wrong with me mentally is making me feel worse. 

I can relate to what you've said above quite a lot. And for some reason this reasonates with me. Motivation can be a tough one to overcome for a lot of people. Maybe ask yourself why you don't feel motivated? Is it because you're not interested? Maybe it's not what you want? Or something else? I was (am) a BIG procastinator, and in my year12, I put everything off until I really had to start it. I was always in a cat mouse game of procastinating and trying to beat the habbit and be 'oh so punctual' which never quite worked out as brilliantly as it did in my head. Smiley Tongue


But what I'm saying is if you really want to get through year 12 you will. What is your goal afterwards? Is uni on your list, or maybe TAFE or a TRADE? For me, I wanted uni, but I told myself it wasn't worth all the extra stress and pressure to get the marks to make sure I got in, I knew there were so many options before I started. So I paced myself, told myself that if I was feeling too upset, than the work could wait. Sure I didn't get as much study done as I should have, but I got the homework done and my assessment tasks done, which is what really counted towards passing year12. I told myself I was going to do my best and worked hard at it evrey single day, always battling these thoughts of perfectionism and wanting to be 'the best' and better. And I'm sure other others will agree with me here, that sometimes you just have to put yourself first. And if that means taking a year off, dropping out completely, or just trudging along doing your best, so be it.



You mentioned that your mum is making you take media because "four subjects is a little light". I only did 4 subjects at school for my year12 along a tafe course. (NSW requirements to have at least 10units for year12 (12 for year11)). I wouldn't say that having 4 subjects is "light" I know here in NSW some subjects are very heavy, and taking on TWO art subjects is amazing, I really take my hat off to you, but if you love it, you'll find a way through (like I said above). With the public speaking for English (shudders) just try your best. I only had to do ONE speech per year. It doesn't sound like much, and you'd think with being a drama student I'd knock it over quite well, nope nerve central. I know how bad I am with public speaking and I know there are a lot of people who feel the same. With this it may be possible to organise with your teacher that you do the speech outside of class time, and therefore not infront of a whole class of kids. The work load in maths as you said is quite heavy, is there a chance of doing a maths that is a little easier that still gives you the same sort of thing? If not proper study through the year is key. I found once I started writting my summary notes and looking at those often, I didn't have to preactise as much to get the technique to stick into my mind. I wrote down formulas and for some I used examples on how to apply for formula, as that is the key point, if you dont know how to use the formula, you're stuffed - as I found out once when I forgot how to apply a formula! Oops Smiley Tongue



ANYWAY! I feel like I've ranted and raved on for ages here, and will finish by again stating that it is totally your call as to what you do. You've got some pretty amazing repsonses already, and I hope you decide what YOU FEEL is best for you.

Good Luck! Smiley Happy


Ps. It may also be helpful to talk to your doctor (or whoever diagnoses you) or even a counsellor, on their opinion, who can have a one on one chat about how you feel you will cope and what your diagnosis will mean, whether it will make things harder to the point of impossible or not. You can also try Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) with this too. I've found them to be quite amazing and very helpful through my final years of high school! Smiley Happy

Remember you're amazing just as you are Heart

Re: Contemplating dropping school

Thank you, I'll think about it. If I do drop out I'm thinking of applying to an art school or something, just as something to do instead of shutting the world out in my own house. I think I'm seeing my psychiatrist or my doctor Wednesday to catch up, don't know which but I'll talk to the both of them about my thoughts. I might take a year off, I might drop out completely, I might ask to drop a couple of classes and focus on the things that don't stress me out. 


My school's principle is a bit of an arrogant guy and I'm not too comfortable talking to him about it because I hate his morals and standards. We do have a careers worker and school counsellor, but I hate approaching people at school to be open about something, I'd prefer it if my mum tagged along. 


Everything ahead of me just seems like too much this year. 

Re: Contemplating dropping school

Can your Mum tag along? Even if it's just for the first time?


On the other hand, you might find it more rewarding if you go along on your own? Nothing feels better than that sense of accomplishing something on your own.

Re: Contemplating dropping school


Thats alot to be going through right now. But thank you for sharing your story here.


Firstly, being "diagnosed" with a mental disorder impacts everyone differently it doesnt mean there is anything wrong with you at all. Sometimes knowing that there is a reason why you feel the way you do can be a comforting factor. It can also help in knowing what to do in a partiuclar situation and if you get the right treatment chances are you will start feeling better about everything very soon. 


Secondly, It sounds like your mum is a great support. She probably is trying to work out what is best for you both mentally and at school. And the idea of doing media because you enjoy it is fantastic- it probably wont even feel like studying then :-) 


If you dont feel like you can talk to anyone at your school about it, i would suggest getting in contact with your GP or psychologist- they will be able to have conversation with you about it (with or without your mum present). 


Thank you for sharing your story . 




Re: Contemplating dropping school

Hi @superlock164 

Sounds like you are going through a hard time sorry to hear that but thank you for sharing your story and allowing us to help you. Firstly dropping out in general is a big decision that should be thought about and made by you, people can advice you but at the end of the day it's what you feel and what you want. I had alot of friends that felt the same way during high school, they just hated it some did drop out but others didn't. 

You defintely should wait to see what your doctor says and work on it from there. Don't let a mental disorder put you down or make you feel like you can not continue on with your life per usual. Ofcourse it's going to be hard and there will be adjustments that you might need to make but I really believe with strength and time you can do it. 


Have a look at the link below, it's an amazing story of one girls success in life by self belief. I think her strength and resilence is admirable.


Try speaking to your mum and telling how you feel about all this, maybe she's the help you need to get through this. Let her know your worries and work on them together, parents tend to always think they know best but sometimes they don't so its our job to remind them  Smiley Happy 


Goodluck, keep us posted


Re: Contemplating dropping school


ive said this once and i will say it again you just have to pass your vce (or state equivilant)

it looks good on your cv and if you dont get it will be a black spot on your employment .

and you just gotta remember highschool ends its one or two more years then you go out

those doors and u can be who ever u wanna be