Today’s entry is inspired by a post by my fave, Rihanna.

She posted this image a while ago, of her wearing a t-shirt with the words

Art School Dropout

This first thing I thought after I read that was, “omg I need that shirt”.

Because I too am a “Art School Dropout”.

I’ve always been the kid who does everything they are suppose to.

I started school at 6, finished at 17, I knew what I wanted to do with my life so I happily enrolled at UNAM for the Visual Arts course the next year.

I was not the biggest fan of UNAM’s visual arts curriculum but I still soldiered through. I loved what I was doing but hated the system.

I majored in Art for Advertising (I really wanted to work for an agency one day/run one) and Fashion Studies (Because I love fashion). Art for Advertising taught me principles of design, branding, typography and Fashion Studies taught me how to put a garment together.

PS: I hated fashion, whew. That’s too much hard labour for me, lol.

The first two years were a whole lot of playing and enjoying varsity for me, I basically dragged myself to third year.

Third year is were it got so hectic. This is when we chose our majors and minor. I had Advertising, Fashion and German.

Everything became so demanding. I had lost my dad in second year, so my mental health wasn’t doing so well too.At the end of the year my fashion lecturer even lost my marks and had me fail a fashion module. *big sigh.

The next year (2013) – final year got even harder, obviously.

One of the worst years of my life to be honest.

Final year for art students (that year) meant – for fashion, that you create a ten garment collection. For advertising that you create a project, from start to finish and present progress every month.

That year my sister was due to give birth in May, which she did. To my beautiful nephew, Jaeden.

Sadly, her c-section wound got septic, went into a coma and then passed on, on June 23rd.

Which left my two younger siblings and I without parents or a guardian. It meant my 1 month old nephew was without a mother.

Between running errands for my aunt who was taking care of the baby – buying nappies, formula, clothes etc, making sure my two siblings were okay in Tsumeb and presentations. I really wasn’t coping.

So after her funeral, my siblings and I went back home to Tsumeb and there I went back and forth on whether I should quit school or not. Being that kid who does things the way they should be done – obviously, graduating was important to me. I didn’t want to fail. It’s not in my nature.

So I came back to school second semester, I tried to continue from where I left off. I completed my advertising final year project and merged it with my fashion. I created a punk inspired fashion line and did branding for it. It was amazing. I had most of my 10 garments complete, I think. I even started my compulsory internship.

And then – I fell into deep depression. I didn’t see it coming or did I?

I wasn’t well. I locked myself in my hostel room for an entire week, didn’t answer any calls, I’d hear my friends come and knock at my door and leave because I wouldn’t say anything or let them in.

One day I decided to pay my lecturers and Head of Department a visit to tell them I wasn’t coping and that I wanted to leave. They were very understanding and reassured me that it was okay and that I could come back the next year to complete my studies.

I did not come back.

It’s been 6 years since.

That is how I dropped out of art school, final semester of my final year. Should I have just pushed through? I’m not sure I would have survived it.

Should I have gone back the next year? Probably, but I didn’t have the money and I had two (maybe 3) other people to take care of. Being a student wasn’t going to allow that.

Will I go back to school? I plan to but not for the same course or to complete it, I’m fine with not having “a degree” from those four years of my life. I will probably go back to do marketing or business related courses or I’l go and study arts abroad.

I managed to pull out of the situation I was in that year. Barely.

Today I still look back and go “What the fuck was that?’. But I’m glad I’m at a better place now then I was 6 years ago and that being an “Art School Dropout” doesn’t define me.

School is important, please finish and graduate. But if your mental health demands that you take a break, please do that.

And if you dropped out of school, because of reasons such as mine. Please know everything happens for a reason and that everything works out in the end. I realised that I actually never wanted to work in an agency or that I didn’t need to. I learned that I didn’t have to be a fashion designer to be involved in the fashion industry.

I just needed to trust the process.


That’s it for today, please comment your thoughts or questions. Or simply find me on social media. @bettysibeso

Till next time,

Betty Sibeso


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