For many students, getting into university is a challenge. On top of having to meet course entry requirements, there is also the whole attending of countless open days to worry about as well as the notorious UCAS system to deal with. So after all the hassle, you can’t imagine not wanting to study your chosen course to the end.

More than 20,000 students across the UK, dropped out of university last year. Naturally, most young people studying A Levels continue their education through to university. ‘They’ll be the best years of your life’, a phrase you grow accustomed to hearing before you begin university life and even though you commit and make a conscious attempt to immerse yourself, for some reason, you just aren’t ‘lovin it’ like you were told you would. Or as much as you enjoy the social sides of things, you’re struggling to enjoy your subject, and realise that you no longer want to pursue a career in this field.

Starting a new life away from your family can bring with it a surplus of potential problems. Whether you’re experiencing financial problems, are struggling to settle into your dorm or are having difficulty with the academic side of things, the association of being a ‘quitter’ and ‘dropping out’ can make the decision to do so all the more difficult.

It may take a week or a month to decide, in some cases, students don’t realised until the end of their second year that they want their career to take a different path. The key is to not be disheartened by this feeling. It really isn’t the end of the world. You’re far better off feeling like this now during your years studying, than after graduating, when it might be too late.

From personal experience, once the idea of dropping out of university was in my head, there was no getting rid of it. In 2011, I dropped out of the University of Sheffield because I realised Accountancy was just not what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I am now in my final year at Huddersfield studying a journalism course. Something which I enjoy and want to pursue as a career after graduation.

So if you’re in the boat I was in 2011 and are half arsed-ly going to uni, here is what you need to do:

Speak up – The worst thing you can do in this situation is hold back from talking about it. People really aren’t as judgemental as you think, and more often than anything are supportive when they realise you’ve been finding it difficult. Talking to your tutors is the best option. They can help you re-evaluate your career goals and can point you in the right direction, as well as advising you of the steps to take to quit your current year of uni.

Sort your accommodation – This is the most time consuming and daunting part of dropping out, assessing the financial state it will leave you in. Remember you may be contracted to pay for your accommodation even if you no longer continue to live there. So ring your landlord ASAP to see what your options are. You don’t want to be paying for an empty room!

Sort your Student Finance – Everyone agrees, the student finance application is tedious. But it’s also something you will have to deal with if you drop out. Ring them up and speak to an advisor so you know where you stand with your loan, grant, bursaries etc.

…and finally, don’t worry.  If you do drop out, remember your life is now headed in the direction you want it to. No point fretting about what you’ve done. Six months down the line you’ll love yourself for plucking up the courage to discontinue the course. Just remember, once you drop out, take time to evaluate your next step to be certain it is what you want to do. You don’t want to be dropping out again!