Dropping Out of Disneyland.

How I’m Breaking the Mold

I dropped out of Colorado State University after just three semesters. It wasn’t because I’m not ambitious enough. In fact, I’d argue the opposite. I was on track to get a dual degree in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering. Yeah, that’s a mouthful. What I realized was that I was too ambitious for college. I wasn’t failing college, college was failing me.

CSU is about as college town as a college town gets. Every student on campus knows that downtown Fort Collins, or Old Town, was the inspiration for Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland.

Main Street, USA/Fort Collins, CO

With 300 days of sunshine per year, campus is always bustling with excitement. On any given day you can find kids playing ultimate frisbee on the IM Fields, reading books on the Oval, climbing the rock wall in the rec center, or longboarding to class. Smiles on all their faces.

It was almost too good to be true. I was going to college in Disneyland. And that’s exactly what I realized, and no one else knew.

There wasn’t much, if any, higher education taught there. Kids were paying for a four year (more like 6) vacation, not investing in their future.

I couldn’t stand it. Everyone on campus seemed too comfortable. You aren’t working if you’re comfortable.

I mean that you are so terrified if you haven’t done anything productive that you toss and turn in bed that night.

Discipline, Discipline, Discipline. Some of You Need Some.”

The famed words of my elementary gym teacher and some of the best advice I’ve ever received. He wasn’t just talking about not acting out in class. He stressed the importance of being disciplined in doing your work every day.

That’s exactly what I try to embody on a daily basis. If I have a day without doing something productive, it eats me up inside. I’m always looking for my next project or experience.

Since dropping out I have applied to and been accepted to Praxis. I’m now working on my personal website and creating a brand for myself. I rely on a half sheet of paper in my back left pocket with my goals for the day to keep me organized and another atop my dresser with goals for the week and month.

On off days I can feel that half sheet kicking me into gear. I’ll go for walk or bike ride to clear my mind before hunkering down to get work done. If I need a little inspiration I’ll read some Wait But Why blog posts or flip through verses of Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski.

Strangers Know Best.

The only people who keep telling me to go back to college are those I don’t know well. My close friends and family have been nothing but supportive in my decision. When I meet new people, they expect to hear that I’m still going through classes racking up debt same as every other twenty year old.

Once they hear that I’ve dropped out, quit my job, and moved back home then they start to know what’s best for me. They tell me I have to get an education, it’s never too late, and that I won’t get a job without a degree.

What they don’t know is that I revel in people telling me what I can and can’t do. I use others’ doubts as motivation to prove them wrong. My mother knew it best. She would see a goal of mine and bet against me just to rile me up to get it done. Worked every time.

Why Praxis?

If school hasn’t pushed me hard enough to achieve the things I want, what makes me think Praxis will? Because Praxis is tailored to my goals and holds me only accountable to myself. I’m not working every day to earn a grade or please some professor. If I don’t complete my tasks the only person I’m failing is myself.

Come January I’ll be moving to a new city to apprentice at a fast-growing startup. I’ll be completing personal development projects to create value for myself and business partner. I’ll be blogging every day, and participating in weekly workshops to develop hard and soft skills. Most of all, I’ll be breaking the mold wherever I come across it. Follow my journey by visiting my blog.