Shirley Temple,

Some say that winners never quit and quitters never win. It’s something I myself used to say. A lot. But is it true? Quitting in College can mean winning too.

Starting college and making your way through this 4-year journey (for some of you, maybe a 3.5 or 5 year trek) means tons of new experiences and taking on roles that you’ve never tried on before. Think about it: jobs, internships, classes, relationships, friendships…some will be great and some might just suck. As a freshman I brought with me the old attitude that staying the course and sticking with a choice, no matter how good or bad it seemed to get at times, was always the way to go. Because quitting would, well, make me a quitter. However, that changed really fast.

I think the first thing I quit in college was a scary stats class I tried to take my first semester without realizing that it simply isn’t done. Freshmen don’t take that class and do well, at least not first-semester freshmen who really aren’t great with numbers to begin with (zomg that’s me!). So I withdrew from it, but only after I was stubborn enough to try seeking tutoring through the College Learning Center and asking a hot guy in my class for help. Random aside: he turned out to be into men (beware, ladies!) but is still a close friend to this day. So anyhow, I took the W on my transcript and felt shitty and sub-par and idiotic for a good while after. But stirred in among those feelings of inadequacy was a feeling of…self-satisfaction? Relief? I don’t quite know how to describe it. But in quitting that class, I think I really won. I saved myself the F on my transcript anyway, because that’s what I would have gotten. I understood nil. The bottom line is, I realized something wasn’t working for me, and I bowed out as gracefully as possible.

Since then, I have quit many, many other things. Do I regret quitting any of them? Not really. Okay, hell no! I quit America Reads because I realized I hate kids. I quit the College Democrats because the liberal-ness of NYU sort of brought out the Republican in me and I never had that much free time to devote anyhow. I quit several classes because they weren’t a good fit. I quit a campus work-study job that was kinda friggin’ boring. I quit an internship that I had outgrown. I quit another internship that was friggin’ boring. I’ll bet you I’m even forgetting a few items! Oh, and I quit one of my majors — take that NYU!

So why all the talk about quitting? My friends, I am quitting my current summer job. It’s a job I’ve had since the beginning of the previous school year, and one that pays me more than I probably deserve but my boss is also what I could say is emotionally abusive at times. It was not an easy decision to make, and I just sent my bosses an e-mail giving the proper two-weeks’ notice a few minutes ago and am terrified of their response, help me!

But really, in quitting, I feel happier and more relaxed than I have in quite awhile. Isn’t that something? Instead of feeling like a non-winner, a.k.a. a loser, I feel like a million bucks! In situations like this one, quitting something can simply be about having self-respect. I’m finally getting some and trying it on for size, and boy does it feel good! If something’s not working for you, change it. We’re in college! When else in our lives will it be this easy to quit or drop something with minimal consequences (at least compared to if we were, say, 30 or so)? This is the time to learn the game of life and start getting to know ourselves, oftentimes through trial and error. Enjoy the error part folks; sometimes it can lead to something even better!

So to my fellow quitters out there, past, present and future, keep on keepin’ on and to thine own self be true.

With love,

Shirley Temple


About the Author: Shirley Temple, who has asked to be an anonymous guest blogger, is a student at New York University.

Photo courtesy of Carey Ciuro via Flickr (licensed under CC BY 2.0).

Do you have any times in college you decided to quit? Share comments below!