Why I dropped out of college, but you shouldn’t
This article’s title is even a surprise to me. This is not something that I expected to write and you’re probably wondering what happened to all that advice about “you grow your wings on your way down”. I know, but this is the kind of theme that creates a lot of fuss by itself and a lot of irresponsible advice is given.
Here I will clarify my position on pursuing an academic career and how is the life of a college drop out.
Why Did I Drop Out of College?
I’ve always been a decent student, I always knew that I could be one of the top students in the class, but I never felt like going after that status. Video games always seemed more interesting than boring themes with zero practical implication. So school never presented itself as a challenge when it came to studying. Even in college I pass at every subject on the first try with above average grades.
My method was simple: being as lazy as possible for as long as possible and one week before an exame I would lock myself in the bedroom and I would devour those books. It always worked.
I always found classes utterly boring. I never had that teacher who motivated me to be better, I never learned anything essential in school or college that I couldn’t have learned by myself. I was the smart ass student whose teacher’s either hated or loved. I had no problem correcting a teacher in front of the entire class and if some valued my ballsy approach many saw it as a direct attack on their authority.
Now I can understand it, I could be pretty much of an asshole.
The motivation has never been there and it all got worse with the first years of college. I was taking a degree in History and my one week before method was still working. I passed the time in classes writing fiction or just skipping classes and smoking weed in the campus gardens. But the worst part, the one which made me really disdain the academic world was the arrogance, self-entitlement and stupid way that teachers addressed us, students. They were the elite, we were the peasants.
But I can’t thank enough a fat, round and way too annoying teacher that I had on my first Masters semester. She decided that I would be the example, she decided that no self thinking was allowed, she pushed me to the edge in every single class… One day, more precisely a Sunday afternoon I decided to quit.
“Fuck you!”, I said out loud in my bedroom. I felt good.
And Why You Shouldn’t…
For every Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg there are thousands of guys working in gas stations, being waiters and working on Wendy’s handing greasy fast food day after day.
To simply say I am going to quit and I am going to be an entrepreneur is not only ridiculous, but also dangerous. I did it but I knew what I would do. I had a set of skills that allowed me to do other things besides waving a fucking paper in companies offices.
Really ask yourself: what value do I bring to the table? Would anyone hire me or pay me for something that I know how to do?
If the answer is no, you’re fucked. Seriously. I can’t conceive how some twenty something year old people complain about being unemployed and still they don’t have a clue about value exchange or think that it’s normal to not have a skill set. That’s nonsense. One friend asked me if I could hire him as my personal assistant. But even that I wanted he had no idea how to work on Wordpress, schedule social media posts, review articles, do some in depth research, had no idea how to send a proper email or how to handle costumer service. (By the way, I am still looking for a P.A. Email me on info at adventurousartist dot com if you’re interested)
What will I do with someone like that?
I dropped out but I was writing every single day for 8 years. I had experience with online writing. I was establishing myself as an authority in the self development field. I was charging 300$ for a 8 hours seminar. One month after I left college I closed a 1k deal that allowed me to move to Budapest for 2 months.
Those were very difficult times, I kid you not, but I had an idea of what I would do next. Even that everyone around me thought that I was being stupid and a fool.
And this is why a formal education is dangerous
Because it’s easier. Because nobody will complain if you spend 5 years on a useless degree, because that is part of the beaten path.
The illusion of formal education is one of the greatest illusions of our time and if you think that college is difficult you have no idea where your life is heading towards to. Sometimes I get delusion and wish that I only had to wake up, attend some classes that I don’t give a fuck about and come back home with a sense of fulfilled duty. When you are on your own… that doesn’t exist. Sorry, welcome to real life.
The pain and confusion are even greater if you are a solopreneur, like I am. The amount of days by yourself, the self motivation, the love for your craft that vanishes in the days that you needed it the most, the obstacles and lack of help. This will make you grow, this will make you shed your old skin but… It isn’t easy.
The worst part is that you won’t have a safety net below you, that money will be short sometimes, that people around you will be more critical than supportive because “Who do you think you are? You’re no Richard Branson.”
Formal education is dangerous because you are risking having no skill set. You’re trading your comfort for evolution and if one day you end up falling from your very narrow rope you will understand that the safety net has never been there, that it was all an illusion.
Like Seth Godin says: “The Recession is here forever.” You have been warned.