“When a student excels in elementary school, his parents are urged to let him skip a grade. Then his parents parade him around like he is a superstar, and maybe in some ways he is. This bright young mind is far enough ahead of his peers that he is on the same level with others older than he. But when people get to college, we don’t think that way.

Some people in my program wear the “college dropout” pin on their shirt like a badge of honor, while people on the outside look at us in disgust. I don’t think of it that way. I’m glad others also see the value of themselves beyond the piece of paper an institution will hand them, but I think of myself as the young boy skipping the 2nd grade.

I’m not dropping out of college; I’m skipping it.”

-Baylen Smith, originally posted on his blog.

We are not all the same. We are each intricate creations perfectly and uniquely crafted. Every little detail about our personalities and lives make us who we are. From the way we drink our coffee, to the jokes we find humorous, to the things we are passionate about, to the way we interact with dogs, to our relationship with our mothers, and our ability to deal with (or hide from) conflict, to where we’re from, to the things we’re proud of and the things we’re insecure about, and so on indefinitely.

Each of us is so distinctly unique and different from other humans. Sure we share similar traits and passions, but an old theater teacher of mine used to tell me, “There has never been a you before. There will never be another you. In all of time and space, you’re the only you.”

So how can one education system or one way, be the right way?

There. Is. No. One. Right. Path.

Because each of us is completely unique and custom, doesn’t it make sense that I, Diana Zitting, am going to learn in a different way than Joe Bob down the street? Yes. We’re different people. We live different lives and have different minds. Our goals are different. We react differently to different things.

It’s a scientific fact that our brains don’t thrive in the same atmosphere.

This is why we need to put a stop to this cookie-cutter “right” path for success that starts the day we hobble into elementary school, and continues for the next 16+ years of our lives. As Baylen stated, in elementary school if we performed and excelled more than those in our grade, we were encouraged to skip a grade. We’d brag about it to our friends on the playground while eating jello cups. Our parents would post about it on Facebook (or email about it? I don’t think Facebook was around when I was in elementary). It was something to be proud of.

But all of a sudden, it changes as soon as you become college-aged. People seem to have forgotten how different they are from each other. We assume that our mom or our teachers or our guidance counselor knows best and since all those people are telling us to go to college, even if we’re extremely bright and we excel quickly, that we should just go anyways.

This is a lie. A marketing scheme. These colleges are profiting off your brainwashed mind.

This isn’t your fault. You’ve been brainwashed since you were barely 5. You didn’t create this. But you can un-create it. You know what’s best for you. Not your great uncle, not your pastor, not your 4th grade or 12th grade teacher, not your own mother, not your peers. You.

Originally published at dianazitting.com on September 21, 2016.

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal development, and education meet. Learn more at discoverpraxis.com

Diana Hazel Zitting

Written by

Diana, 18, is a Praxis participant. Her mission is to prove to the world that education is not one-size-fits-all & that you can be successful without college.

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal development, and education meet. Learn more at discoverpraxis.com

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