For many young adults, the most terrifying conversation you can have begins with “Mom, Dad, I don’t think I want to go to school anymore.”
But never fear, you’re not alone; according to educationdata.org, the dropout rate among college students in the US is 40%— more than 1/3 of enrolled students.
Growing up, my parents drilled into me that no matter what I wish to do, I must get that special piece of paper to do it.
You can imagine how proud they were when I received a full scholarship to pursue this education.
From day one, I was looking for a way out of it. I wanted to work, move out, and start my life after burning out from over twelve years of academic excellence.
On paper, I was the perfect candidate for college. In reality, I wanted nothing more than a break.
However, my wonderful parents in their state of concern convinced me to give it a year to try it out, and if after a year I still hated it I could go my own way. Well, I gave it a year. And I was still miserable with school!
Even knowing what they had said, it was an overwhelming decision to make. No one can tell you the right answer, but maybe my experience can help you.
Dropping Out Panic
College can feel like a real waste of time when you just don’t know where you want to be. It’s expensive by any standard, and requires real determination to get the hardest work done.
In the United States, from day one you are told this is the best and only way to get on your feet in “the real world.” Combined with my lack of passion for any of the offered degrees and the fear I wouldn’t be able to keep up enough to gain financial health, this idea put me in a very stressful predicament.
In a panic, my mind would race with questions. What would I do if I left school? Would I ever have a career that would allow me to support myself? Will I ever be able to go back if this is a wrong decision?
Rest easy that there is an answer for every one of these questions. Many people have built proper lives without immediately taking four years of college and are very satisfied with its quality. There are options! Money doesn’t grow on trees, sure, but it does come with hard work and ambition.
The Back Up Plan for Dropping Out
One thing you will absolutely need in order to comfortably step off campus is a back-up plan. Nothing is scarier than not knowing where to go. You will need income, a place to live, and a pathway towards a high-quality life.
When I decided to leave college, I had about two weeks to come up with a grand plan to submit to my parents that I believed would win them over. I hopped on job boards, apartment listings, and advice columns to formulate my plan.
I found many jobs working with people that would allow me to at least make enough to comfortably live with a roommate. However, for me, this wasn’t everything I wanted.
I’m young, and I don’t want to be stuck in a dead end job that barely gives me room to pay the bills and enjoy life at the same time. Something tells me that this is something that nobody wants. So, with great trepidation, I had to decide to do something about it.
This brings me to my next point:
Stop being afraid of doing what you want!
Do you love to travel? To create? To dream of business plans?
There is an enjoyable career path for every passion. I found myself craving adventure and decided, finally, to do exactly what I wanted. In a matter of minutes, I found a job that would fulfill this dream: a crew member on an esteemed cruise line!
This job came with a temporary contract of six months, no bills, and a whole lot of opportunity to save money. It also came with ample opportunity to travel and to finally pursue the travel blogging life of my dreams.
This seemed like an insane first step to me when I began the hiring process, but as I await onboarding I feel an excitement for the future I haven’t felt in years. I am finally comfortable in the direction my life is moving.
I firmly believe there is a similar path for anyone who has the courage. If you wish to travel, consider making the big move to an overseas job, or work for a travel company themselves. If you wish to create; start!
Any odd job can give you the money you need to make art, videos, clothing, products, or anything else you desire. The world we live in today provides ample opportunity like no other time in history to pursue entrepreneurship.
NEVER Stop Learning- Even Without College.
Even without college, it’s no secret that success stems from knowledge. Take every experience as an opportunity. Surround yourself with intelligent and creative people. Read articles, listen to podcasts, anything.
Make it your mission to take a new lesson out of everyday. Recognize that your first prerogative is growth, and don’t give up when you aren’t a natural right out the gate.
You can build a future out of nothing, as long as you are determined to learn something.
Going Head First Into the Future
I am ecstatic to say that I’ve built a plan for myself that finally puts my worries at rest. I will come out of the other end of these first six months with a cool certification, and enough money saved for a home and a car. I will be able to work where I wish and continue chasing my dreams to live whatever life I want, WITHOUT that magical paper.
You haven’t failed by questioning if college is for you. You are young and free and can find yourself at a greater advantage just by being brave enough to follow your greatest ambitions.