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Hi, I want to get some additional opinions on leaving high school early to study somewhere else.

I am a 17 year old girl in NZ currently in year 12 (second to last year at school). I do not enjoy school, I used to but I find I am not interested in anything we do in class and find my self zoning out or not paying attention. I tend to pick things up well and am getting solid Bs and a few As (aiming for mostly As in final exams which are in November). After these exams, providing I don't bomb out, I will have university entrance already. I have am very interested in horses, I have been riding for about 10 years now and working through the Pony Club system of certificates (internationally recognized) and will be going for the highest level in January which not very many people make it to.

I am wanting to leave school at the end of this year to move 3/4 hours south to do a one year diploma in equine (I am looking at courses there are ones for riding, stable assistant, and coaching so still not 100% which one/s I will do as you may do 2 although it is tough). I love the look of the place and the courses and think I will do well in it and try as it is something I really love.

I have not yet asked my parents about leaving school early as they will probably just freak out and say no instantly. I did, however, sit them down today and show them the prospectus and other information of the school and although they weren't totally convinced (they are very eager for me to go to university because my brother did and he really enjoyed it but I don't think I will) but seemed interested. I am planning on getting them on board with the school itself before asking about leaving as I know throwing it all at them seemingly from no where (although I have been thinking about it for a couple of months) is not going to work.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how to go about this, or any opinions on what I am hoping to do? (sorry for the novel)
 

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Hi Lauren, I'm in Canada and so I have no idea how things work in the education system. A couple of clarifying questions:

If you leave school at the end of this year are you still eligible to go to university at a later date? You said "providing I don't bomb out, I will have university entrance already" which suggests maybe yes, but perhaps your university entrance is contingent on completing year 13?

If no, are there options for entering university at a later date without year 13, as say a 'mature student' or with 'equivalent experience?' or by taking a handful of upgrading courses?

In Canada the answer to the first question would be no, but the answer to the second would be yes, yes and yes. If I was the parent of a kid who was proposing what you are, I'd feel much better if I knew my teen had a Plan B and Plan C in case their current passion didn't turn out to be fulfilling and productive on a lifelong scale. Not that university is always the best Plan B, but knowing it's still on the table would feel reassuring to me.

Miranda
 

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I'm afraid my advice is going to sound very stodgy and hypocritical, given that my two younger kids were full on unschoolers, and pretty radical at that. However, the middle one actually started auditing university classes at 15, and both have done formal lessons of one kind and another. The youngest is extremely interested in horses (works with, shows, learning to train) and it turns out that one of her options IS university. (Unfortunately the equine studies program is now defunct.)

But you're SO near the end...I would finish. Then you won't have any credentialling problems should you decide to go on to higher education (my daughter got a substantially smaller scholarship than she would have if she hadn't had an "atypical transcript"). She was fortunate to get an on campus (residential living adviser) job that made up most of the difference.

Because your grades are good...think of it as a job that increases your future options and saves you money.

Deborah
 

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Finish school, your almost there. I have a 17 year old daughter who same as you, isn't thrilled with school, but is doing her last year, just to be done with it. As for horse college. I worked professionally with horses for over 10 years, it was a wonderful life full of fun and travel. No school can teach you what you can't learn on the job.
My oldest went to an equine program at a reputable school here, and as far as I can tell it was a waste of time and money, and she as easily could have got a job on a farm and earned as she learned.
Could you work at a stable while you finish your last year at school?
Don't mean to be mean, but horses aren't going anywhere, you can do all you want and finish school.
Good luck
Anna
 

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Hi!

I think it is so awesome that you are reaching out and asking for feedback and suggestions regarding your desired course of action. I'll begin by saying that you have gotten opinions from some very wise women. I very often take their words to heart and find myself pondering their thoughts. I am new on this journey of life learning and was very much a rule following, do what was expected of me, child, teen, and young adult. That said, I wanted to offer two stories. Take them for what they are - just two little snippets of larger life stories.

The first is about me. As I said I was the straight A rule following youth. However, I was under stimulated at school and sought outside activities to try to get what I needed. I also began searching quietly for something that seemed more fulfilling. In my junior year I found a program many states away that I feel in love with (it felt so right to me). It was a program that would require me to attend for two years, including my senior year of high school. Long story, short. My father wouldn't hear of it. Just recently in a conversation with my sisters (3) in which we identified the one thing that we regretted being unable to do in our lives, this was mine. Now, I have an AWESOME life. And if I had left my senior year behind and done that program I would have an entirely different life. And I'm sure I would love that one. No other option fits my philosophy of enjoying and making the most of the (relatively) short time we live this life. So again, yes, there is some regret in my mind regarding not being able to pursue that course of action but not so that it in any way effects my enjoyment of the life I do have.

The second story is about my youngest sister. Ahh, what a number of years and a different personality can make within a family. My sister actually did leave after her junior year of high school. For a variety of reasons she was just done. And she made it happen. She was going to pursue dance at a school in Chicago - worked really hard to make that happen and then decided against it at the last minute. She ended up traveling in India with a friend for a period of time, doing some intensive private dance, coming to live with me and my husband (during the time I gave birth to our first child) for a few months while she worked her first paying job ever, and discovered Permaculture and took an intensive class. She ended up getting her GED just to have it but has never looked back. That was 7 years ago and she has done exactly what she's wanted. She has a wonderful husband and beautiful little girl. They work hard and live a simple minimalist life in accordance with their philosophy of life. Her drive and passion has gotten her where she wants to be and has not been held back in anything she has chosen to pursue because she didn't get her high school diploma. At this point, if she decided she wanted to go to college for any reason, they would use other criteria to determine her eligibility to again, not a problem.

Just stories. Every person is different. I think that listening to others as well as your inner voice is important. Good luck to you. And whatever you decide may you enjoy the path you follow.

Cassandra
 
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