To preface this story, this is an actual letter I gave to my parents in the kitchen of the home I grew up in. I made them read the entire letter before I let them say anything.
I have never publicly shared this nor really promoted the fact that I’m a college drop-out. It was a decision I made halfway into the second semester of my college career at the University of Southern California (the most expensive college in America in 2017).
It was the one of the scariest moments of my life, but also one in which I felt the most confident I had in a long time. I was sure this was the right decision, and one year later (today), I’m even more sure it was.
If you’re wanting to drop out, but don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to about it, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So here it is…
Thank you so much for supporting this first year of my college education.
I know many high school seniors last year who were unable to attend their dream colleges, because their parents didn’t support them. But, you two were at every scholarship and awards ceremony. You two made my dream come true to be apart of the WBB program. I’m so indescribably grateful for your support and love.
Through my USC experience, I have decided who I am and want to become.
The College Experience
When you were my age, college was a very different environment. There were opportunities on college campuses that didn’t exist anywhere else. You could learn things you couldn’t learn anywhere else. You could meet people you couldn’t meet anywhere else. It was affordable.
None of that is true anymore.
In order to be financially successful and truly happy now, I have to adapt. If I want to live a fulfilling life, provide for you as you grow old, and help Alexandra (my sister) pursue her dreams, I cannot spend three more years at an institution.
Two Important Epiphanies:
- Education is a completely different world now. There is an unlimited amount of education available online from very credible sources. Information consumption and application is changing faster than ever before.
- Retirement is no longer the light at the end of the job tunnel. The new way to live life is to have mini retirements throughout your life instead of slaving away for 10 years of nothingness at the end of your life.
I believe we see college from different standpoints. You may want me to go to college because it’s the safest path. It’s the way to get a “secure” job. Sadly, most people in your generation are addicted to security. Many people your age do not have big goals, hobbies, or passions because they have let them disintegrate over the years.
On the other hand, I went to college seeking creativity, business best practices, and mentorship. I’ve have now realized I won’t find it there.
Taking Charge of My Life
Because of 1) these realizations, 2) my desire to create, and 3) my extreme unhappiness, I am departing from college. I will not continue to pursue an undergraduate degree.
As a result of this decision, I will pay you both back for the financial support you contributed to my USC tuition.
Your contribution was $14,990 altogether. I will return $5,000 to you two immediately in whatever method you wish. I will pay you the remaining $9,990 in the next year. To my mom, I will pay you back $23,000 from my 529 in the next two years.
It’s also important for you to know that the upcoming year will not be a “gap year” or a “break”. I have already made my decision.
I am extremely unhappy and unsatisfied with my current life activities, especially my schooling. What frustrates me every day is that I do not have time to pursue profitable, exciting projects.
The problem is not that I don’t see the value in my college program. It’s not that I don’t value education. But, I want education that is actionable, specific, and productive. I don’t want to pay for classes that I don’t want to take. I’m still going to educate myself every day (with online courses, meetups, mentors, and more importantly my own experiences). I value experience more than theoretical exercises.
My Problems with College:
- I cannot pursue my own business ideas, social impact pursuits, and passions.
- I loathe institutional teaching methods that students are force fed.
- The college path forces me to get a 9–5, full-time, slaving job as a result.
- I cannot relate to most college students, because they have no idea what they want in life. Sadly, most will likely never find out.
I want to help students, but don’t want to be one at an institution anymore. However, I will be a student of life and reality.
What Will I Do With My Time?
In August, I will still travel to Hong Kong with all of my belongings. Over the next 2–3 years, I will pursue several business ventures and travel. My purpose in traveling is to find stimulating environments to create and work in, not to just have fun.
My current foci will be:
- Running an online business
- Working on global conferences with my current employer (Startup Grind)
- Developing my music
In the next 10 years, I will:
- Speak 7 languages
- Be an angel investor and advisor for companies in developing economies like Rwanda, Ghana and Brazil
- Buy + automate + sell businesses
- Own many investment vehicles, including real estate, companies, and similar residual revenue structures
- Be worth $10 million+
I also plan to:
- Be mentored by individuals who have already done what I want to do
- Enter salsa competitions around Latin America
- Climb Mount Everest and complete similar athletic rigors
- Deepen my cultural knowledge of my Mexican and Japanese heritage
I am already growing my income every month significantly, and will not need any financial support from you going forward.
A couple things we’ll need to transfer from the family plan to my own plan:
Housing: I can either pay my own rent for May, the last month of my lease (before my sublease).
Telephone: I’m going to keep my phone number, but leave your family phone plan and join T-Mobile. You’ll be able to reach me any time, because I’ll have unlimited texting and data anywhere in the world.
Insurance: I’m in the process of arranging traveller’s insurance and comprehensive health insurance worldwide. Countries like Thailand, Mexico, and Argentina have very good and affordable healthcare. If any emergency occurs, I will fly to these countries.
Thank You For Everything
You have been amazing parents in every way possible.
I’m extremely thankful for your support of my USC education. It has allowed me to meet great people like the previous Sony Vice President, and participate in the Brazil consulting project.
I know that you’ve been looking forward to my college education for a long time. I understand if you’re very upset and disappointed, and don’t want to talk to me for some time.
Regardless of how you handle this situation, I promise to financially support you both in the future. You’ll be able to go on awesome trips around the world and pursue buried passions.
I also don’t want you to worry too much about me. I have wonderful, incredibly successful mentors that will help me. I have all the tools I need.
Even if you don’t understand my decision now, I hope that you can respect it in the future.
I love you both very, very much.