Why I choose to learn it the hard way.

On startups, studies and life.

Two years ago, I decided to go on an indefinite leave of absence from my school. I decided to move out from my college town and hometown to a much bigger city where opportunities are overflowing. Everyone, my parents, friends, and classmates, were shocked and were even disappointed when they heard the news. It was hard, but the courage to move out was all I needed that time to explore what the startup world has to offer for me.

Why did I decide to leave school?

1. As cliche as it may seem but let’s face it, time flies so fast. I didn’t want myself to choose what the norm has pre-drawn for me. I was certain that if I did, I would still end up not happy with my career. Hence, despite all the doubts and questions, I decided to discover myself from a new perspective, my passions, and work on them while I’m still young.

2. The job market is very competitive. Nowadays, it isn’t enough that I have a relevant experience or a diploma or an outstanding transcript of records. It’s all about what more I can offer, those other fresh graduates can’t. Skills that are not being taught in school and is fit for the fast moving environment is what I needed to learn. Dipping myself into the real world unprepared will help me discover and strengthen these qualities in the long run and set me apart from the competition.

3. I was already receiving decent job offers even without finishing my degree yet. I agree that having a degree gives you great certainties about being secured in the future. But, being resilient and able enough to create opportunities for your own when everything is uncertain will help you survive the challenging dilemma of being unemployed.

4. I want to learn more about Computer Science and that time my only option to achieve it is to explore other mediums that are not readily available from my school. Our learning ability has changed since the end of the industrial revolution. We have different sets of needs and challenges ahead. Aren’t we supposed to sit in circles while working on the things we needed to learn and allow others to learn as well? And not sitting in well-arranged lines of chairs where the students are listening in front of a professor while others are sleeping at the back?

5. I’m passionate about living not just for myself but for others as well. I wanted to start a startup because I believe I will achieve it and at the same time make a living for myself. Life is short. The best time to start is now.

6. Because who the hell still believes that there is a fucking box or we should think outside the box? We live in a world where opportunities are endless and the only limitation for me to achieve it is my creative imagination. There’s no such thing as a box.

7. Because getting myself comfortable with the uncomfortable will most likely benefit me in the long run. I’m uncertain about life after college, so I decided to get myself comfortable with it as early as now.


Moving out isn’t easy but the excitement and knowing that I am on my own now keeps my motivation up and running. I started joining startup weekends and incubators. I started working for other startups too. It was a total change in mindset and perspective. It was challenging, and I like it because I have more control and creative freedom on what I want. I’m meeting people and having great conversations. I was forced to study more about the newest languages and styles because I felt that if I didn’t work hard enough, I would be left out. FOMO fueled my desire to learn and grow.

After a few months, I noticed that my Myers-Briggs suddenly became an ENTP-T from an INTP personality. I liked it because I have more control over my emotions, which is very critical in this very fast moving environment.


My very first startup was a massive failure. I underestimated the scale of work that needs to be done in a short amount of time and limited resources. We eventually ran out of money and decided to shut down. Even before I started, I’ve been hearing stories of failures from events like FuckedUp Nights, where founders share their stories for new founders like me to learn. Even if I had enough of warnings along the way, stupidly, I still followed my guts and carelessly jumped off a cliff without even figuring out first how am I going to assemble my parachute on my way down. It is hard to accept, but somehow I learned that it’s not something that I should be regretful. It’s something that I should be proud of. I believe that the experience that I had is an initiation. A reminder that the startup world is a hell of a ride with ups and downs.

Going back, the things that I learned about myself, the skills acquired and the people I’ve met are the testaments that in my every step, I am taking a big leap forward. The amount of growth and learnings that I got from the decision of learning it the hard way is insurmountable, compared to the doubts that tempted me to stay at my university. Some may say that I am still young, that I don’t need to rush anything because eventually, I will get there. But for me, life is short, and my existence, our existence is unique. A study says that the odds of you or me being born, considering all the instances is one out of

10^ 2,685,000. It’s too precious and should never be wasted in living someone else’s life just because you were told to do so.

The Odds Of You Being Alive Are Incredibly Small http://read.bi/Lluczf via @businessinsider

I believe this decision is not acceptable for all and I respect others who may disagree with me. I do not encourage other students to drop out of school and do the same thing that I did. We have different ways to find a better future after all. We just need to remember that in whatever we do, we need to accept the outcome of our move and never regret about the decisions that we made in life.

I am not saying that learning things the hard way is the best way. It fits for me because doing so helped me to be resilient and more comfortable with the uncomfortable. We learn by actually doing it; not by being told what to do or what not to do.

I’m @pauloangeloroy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.