Is It Really Never Too Late For College?

Back in 2005 I majored in LSD and skateboarding. At the time, that was all I cared about and with a newfound sense of freedom away from the confines of parental living and high school, I pushed myself as far as I could go in both directions. Drugs were readily available throughout the dorms and despite all my passion fueled injuries the college campus provided all the stair sets, grind rails and parking garages I could ever want to skate. I was certainly having the time of my life. But eventually, it was my repeat LSD expeditions on a desperate search to find meaning and happiness that led me to a deep depression and unsatisfaction with my life. I hated school, It made no sense to me, I just couldn't go on anymore and with that, I graduated in 8 short months with a degree in dropping out.

I thought I was going to take on the world, move to Cocoa Beach, FL and build a skatepark. But that never happened and first I would take on a construction job doing electrical work for $8 an hour. That was more money than I ever made in college. Something about earning a paycheck and being able to provide for myself was more gratifying than college ever was. But that was then and now is now. I was 19 at the time and as I reflect approaching my 33rd birthday my perspective has definitely shifted.

Over the years I never did figure it out. I spent 4 years doing electrical work, my boss even convinced me to do 2 years of electrical school which I disliked very much. By the time I was 23 I was laid off and my electrical career was over. Construction was tough on the body, I’d get bloody noses constantly from all the drywall dust and the truth was I felt like a slave just to make barely enough money to pay the bills and have some fun, I could hardly save a dime. That’s about when I realized that I’d never be happy trading 40 hours of my waking life each week to make a measly $30,000 a year. I’ll never forget what an old washed up man said to me on one of my last days on the job where we both knew the layoffs were coming. He said if I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing electrical work I’d better find a new path now.

I took those words to heart but I never found that new path. From that point, I began a several year long pursuit of internet marketing that was filled with frustration, struggle disappointment, and ultimately failure. I spent thousands of dollars and so much of my younger years in my twenties pursuing financial freedom that never came. There was no shortage of effort, I worked my ass off but the hard cold reality is that the results never came and I was still broke after all those years of blood, sweat, and tears. I cried more than once over my failed efforts and that scar is still with me today. But I’ve learned immensely from these failures.

In the midst of all this pursuit, I found sales to be my next occupation. It all began with selling home security systems door to door, I actually had some success and managed to tuck away $10,000 that I used to move to Costa Rica and live next to a successful internet marketer. But even with his guidance and my little nest egg of cash I still couldn't make it happen. I ran out of money and was forced to go back home to the U.S. where I lived out my 1998 Chevy S10 for nearly the next year. From then on I explored countless sales jobs, some were okay and some were a complete bust.

I then found a place I felt like I belonged where all my sales skills came in handy. I started working for Greenpeace as a canvasser and for a few years, I felt like a found a place where I belonged. But the reality set in once again that I was trading my life for $30,000 a year. Not to mention I began to learn things of the organization I didn't agree with and egos were becoming a real problem within the office I was working in.

So I had to leave and I pursued one last sales opportunity before I realized College may not be overrated.

So here I sit with a recent decision to start blogging and an overwhelming need for stable employment. I put out 8 job applications in the last 2 days and I have more in the works. I’m realizing that for me at 33 I can’t get a job that pays much more than $30,000 unless I’m an absolute monster in sales. That’s something I might just not be, I am an introvert after all and sales is exhausting. This last sales job I had an amazing leader that I’m grateful for. He crushes it in sales but I just couldn’t do it anymore in a pure commission, no salary environment so I sadly have had to put in the towel and forge a new path from ground zero.

That's when it struck me that maybe college really can provide me with more than just a piece of paper that says I did it. Perhaps I’m really lacking a well-rounded understanding of how the world works that only college can provide. I’m really not sure but as my Dad says you can’t go wrong with being educated. It’s just going to be hella work while working a full-time job to support myself. But I believe if I take it in small pieces it may be manageable and maybe I’ll learn some useful things along the way. I never stopped being a student after I left college. I’ve been a personal development self-help nut for years but it’s possible that all of that information out there is just not the same as a college education.

As of 2 days ago, I’ve been accepted at a local community college and I intend to take one class this fall just to get my feet wet: Entrepreneurial Operations. I think it’s going to be really cool. I think one of the reasons I have failed so hard at my entrepreneurial endeavors in the past is a lack of knowledge and know how. So I am pursuing college with the desire to learn as much as I possibly can and if so I happen to get a piece of paper that says I did it along the way that’ll be cool. If anything I believe this path will take me somewhere and hopefully somewhere above the pay grade of $30,000 a year.

So if you're thinking of going back to college, do it! That's what my younger brother who just earned his Associates degree said to me when I told him I was thinking about it. We both were screw ups while our youngest brother learned from big brother’s mistakes, graduated years ago and is about to buy a house. I’m the oldest of 3 and the last one to pursue college. We all are on different paths and it’s never to late to make a life-changing decision.

Thank you for reading, if you have any insight about college or have a story of your own to share please do so in the comments. Also if you liked this article please give it a clap. Thanks!

Matt Dunn