Over the last 5 years as a Collective, we have run a plethora of programmes, involving a lot of young people all with different backgrounds and lives. At least 90 percent of the time things go great and people see the projects from start to finish, but there's a select few that unfortunately due to different circumstances, apply, pass the interview and then *poof* we never see them again.
Sometimes it can be difficult to start a conversation that you want to exit a programme. Sometimes things can slip your mind. Sometimes situations can cause anxiety. If something isn't for you, it's important to do what's right for you but leave relationships comfortably so there will be future opportunities open and ready for you. To make it easier on everyone, from the young person, to the organisation, I want to give you a few tips to leave a project gracefully.
1. Consider your availability
Starting right at the beginning, whether you feel like you're not doing much or you are applying for all of the opportunities to kick start your future - make sure you're taking into account your current schedule; including time to take care of your mental health. Think about what you're doing now and if you have time to spare. Can you work around your work or college schedule? Think ahead. If there is a list of dates, check them with your calendar, if there isn't a list of dates, enquire - it will also show that you are very serious for the opportunity. If you get onto the programme and two weeks down the line you get more busy, let the organisation know - there may be chances to work with you or around your current situation.
2. Consider that you might get accepted for more than one opportunity
Linking with the last point, this may not happen often, however in the scenario that you do get offered more than one opportunity - think about the practicality of the situation, think about the future, do you have anything coming up? Are you willing to spend more than 3 - 4 days a week working on different projects? Will it lead to your burning out? Do you have to apply for all of them at the same time or will the project come around again next year? Prioritise what you want to do the most, again if you communicate this with the organisation it won’t hinder you getting on to another project in the future.
3. Be honest
Most organisations value feedback and honesty. If something is becoming a barrier to you being a part of a project; including expenses, atmosphere, circumstances or lack of enjoyment - let someone that represents the organisation know, you can let them know you want to keep it confidential too. A text, email, face to face conversation or phone call is all fine. Try and be honest, and don't leave it 'til the last minute. It might even be a case of the project re-evaluating to see how it can better help participants.
4. Keep those involved in the loop
Don't disappear off the face of the earth, not only does this pose concerns, but if everything is OK and you've just lost interest, you could be taking the place of someone that really wanted a place on the project. There are plenty of ways to leave relationships in tact, and often honesty will keep a healthy relationship, leading to future opportunities sent your way; and more ways to work together in the future.