While sitting in a desolate village courtroom in Kenya during my first gap year and hearing a man sentenced to a week’s community service after running at a man with a machete, I had a sudden epiphany that law and order was the path that I must take. Big mistake.

I soon learnt that a glorified sense of justice in a foreign country does not mean that you can handle a law degree. It’s safe to say that law isn’t as riveting as Judge Judy, and that thoughts abroad do not necessarily follow you home.

After a few months of minimal contact with the university law school, I figured that however much I debated it, it wasn’t worth the £9,000 a year simply for the freshers’ lifestyle. As it was too late to swap to my new course, English Literature, I was faced with a second gap year. I had to pack up my plant, say goodbye to my amazing flatmates and hop back to Leamington Spa.

September soon came and I was an Endcliffe fresher again. I was honest with my new flat and confessed that I was a dropout, unlike my previous flatmate who’d been at university for a year and pretended not to know where the SU was.

I get why people don’t come clean about it, though. Who wants to be that anomaly who couldn’t hack university first time round? But I soon learnt that it really wasn’t that dramatic. Being in the ‘gap-year’ block, a lot of people were in the same boat as me. Perhaps I wasn’t as uncommon as I had thought?

Although nothing could beat my first time round as a fresher, I wouldn’t take away my dropout status. I sort of thank the man with the machete, as he gave me three extra months of Endcliffe village, blue pints and Thursday regrets.

Words by Alice Horsely
Image credit: Ian Taylor

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