“Help! I’ve Changed My Mind About Going to School”

Don’t panic. Here’s what to do. In GIFs.

So, you’re all set. Those floppy graduation hats are ready to be thrown, fresh yearbooks are ready to be signed, and tears (who chopped all of those onions?) are welling up in your eyes, ready to be cried.

University acceptances: check. Dorm fees: check. Summer plans and/or job: triple check. High school is on the verge of finishing, and you’re in the right state of mind: relaxation, having fun, and enjoying those highly-sought after two months of bliss…

…except that you’ve hit your quarter (or fifth, or sixth, whatever) life crisis. And your career pathway has either flipped 180 degrees or disappeared altogether. Panic mode: on.

First off, chill. Because there’s a solution out there for everyone. The clock’s ticking, but there’s still time. Think of it like a work in progress, written in pencil. You’re still a student. Students have brilliant ideas, and the energy to try, try again.

Applying to a Different School

Every province’s universities have different deadlines for applications, so you’ll have to check the application centre website for important dates. For example, the OUAC’s absolute final day to add additional programs and choices is by May 4, but again, it varies from program to program. And if you can’t make up your mind (which is FINE), and you feel like you need another few months to decide, another common option is enrolling in the winter semester of January. You don’t have to start in September.

Getting Tuition Back

What if you’ve already accepted and paid the fees? Stomach: sinking…sinking… Okay, don’t lose hope just yet. Before the beginning of the school year, there are plenty of ways to retrieve that moolah (and sanity) back. Again, double-check with the school’s website, and make sure to check with the application policies in you province. The most direct approach would be to contact the university via phone and ask for help. Dealing with bureaucracy can (will) be tedious and frustrating, but sometimes it’s just what you’ve got to do in order to get your money back.

Talking It Out With the ‘Rents

You’ve probably noticed that the old ‘rents aren’t always so ready to deal with that whole “change” thing. Especially if you’ve already laid out your giant thought process flat like a blueprint. Everything was flowing smoothly. And suddenly, bam! This whole new plan just unraveled itself in your mind. Honesty is the best policy here—be completely genuine, and work your way through your decision systematically. Just remember; nothing will get done if you voice your thoughts in an aggressive manner. The three C’s are your friend; Cool, Calm, and Collected.

Chronic Indecisiveness

Maybe, even after scrutinizing all of your choices, you still can’t quite decide. Your plan B and plan C might totally work out… just not right now. So what about that super-cool side project you’ve been tweaking on for hours? Follow your passion and commit yourself to trying new things, and figuring out what your path might be. The worst thing would be to waste tens of thousands of dollars on an education you don’t enjoy and/or never use.

An Alternative Option: Taking a Gap Year

Maybe it’s too late to apply to other universities or change your mind. But, you know that there must be some magical solution floating out there. Well, nope. But you could take a gap year. A gap year, defined literally in terms of time, is simply taking a year off school. Luckily, it could mean far more. Travelling. Trailblazing. Networking. Exploring. Inventing. Connecting. Relaxing. Anything, as long as it’s not being cooped up at home surfing the net all day—because that’s just wasted time; a poor excuse in and of itself. Contrary to popular belief, gap years are not for lazy students. They are for the open-minded, the bold, and the ones who think outside the box.

Fellow student, you are not alone. There are people out there who can help you — be it guidance counsellors, teachers, or older students. There are resources both in print and online, so check them out! Changing your mind about school? Take action now.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.
Lily Li

Lily Li

Lily is an aspiring environmentalist, personality junkie, and lowkey psychic. She plans on having her handwriting become a web font, one day.