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Ever feel like school’s a complete waste of time?

When you’re not sure where school is getting you, it makes sense to want to be somewhere else.

You might be finding yourself at a bit of a crossroads asking, “do I keep on with school, or should I work instead?”

For a lot of students, dropping out and heading into employment seems like a pretty sweet deal; you’re making bank, you don’t have to deal with teachers, and you don’t have to deal with those people you’d rather dodge on a daily basis.

But the reality of working instead of going to school isn’t always what we make it out to be (sorry to be a downer).

Here’s some realities about leaving school early:

Without completing high school, you’ll find that you won’t have as many options as you would, had you stayed at school. So while you may have a plan for now, you may find yourself limited if you want to change careers in the future.

No more teachers doesn’t mean you’ll be saying goodbye to authority figures – you’ll still have people that are giving you direction, and you might not always get along. The same goes for your peers – you’ll find work-mates that you may not click with.

You’ll still have a workload and a number of hours you’ll have to commit to on a daily basis, often starting earlier in the morning and/or working till later at night. In a lot of jobs you’ll have to give up your weekends and those party invites too. So while you may be free from homework and assignments, you’ll still need to put in the hard yards.

Even with that in mind, you may still be thinking, ‘but why waste my time at school when I’m not getting anything from it?’

Just remember there’s a lot of value in education. It’s okay if you’re feeling a bit lost for direction, think of school like taste testing a bunch of ice cream flavours. At school, you have the time to learn and decide what you want to do, while keeping the door open to the largest number of opportunities available.

For some of us, deciding to drop out of school isn’t because we hate the experience. For a lot of people, it might be because of financial reasons. The alternative – juggling school and work – can be pretty stressful; but it’s not the only option! Financial support for students to continue their education is available.

Finally, If you’ve got clear goals for where you want to head after leaving school and have a job that aligns with these goals, make sure you’ve shared your plan with the right people at your school. They can provide valuable advice to help you make the next step.

Alternatively, if you’re feeling like the classroom isn’t the right fit, or you have a vocational career in mind, you may want to consider an apprenticeship or a traineeship. A school-based one might be a good place to start to see if it’s something you like.

In the end, whether you leave school early or not, your school wants to make sure you are best prepared for a life that sees your passions and ambitions being fulfilled.

And remember, it’s always good to leave on a good note – who knows, you may not like the career that you head into and may want to return to school – don’t burn that bridge!