“I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.” -Mark Twain
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I am made up of contradictions; messy minimalist, skeptical spiritualist, capitalistic hippie, but by far the most controversial is that I consider myself an educated drop out.
No, I didn’t drop out of college, I dropped out of high school (gasp!) If I could do it over, I would have quit a year earlier (now just breathe). As always, when I reveal this information, I follow up with a disclaimer that I wasn’t doing drugs and I wasn’t pregnant.
The first question I get is, “What did your parents say?” Frankly, I don’t remember it even being a topic of discussion. My dad is a beloved high school teacher, now near retirement, and my mom instilled in me the passion of reading to learn from a young age. Thankfully they’re both intelligent enough to know, that being a high school dropout doesn’t mean you are destined to flip burgers, just like having a MBA doesn’t guarantee you a high profile job that you will love.
Pretty much everyone can agree that college does not equate to learning. We’re taught to believe that it’s just something you have to do to get a job. I’ve never had to lie about my lack of formal education. Most interviewers, supervisors, and suitors, just assume I have a degree, and when the topic eventually comes up, they think I’m kidding. I then get to explain that instead of paying someone to teach me, I took jobs, started businesses and got paid to learn the things I wanted to know instead.
People will argue, “Well what about the college experience?” To that I explain that I don’t feel like I missed out on the college experience, I dated the football star, hosted costume parties, went on spring break vacations, and lived on my own without cramming for finals, memorizing useless facts or racking up debt.
I believe 18 is way to young to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life, thus explaining the ridiculous amount of people who change majors, or go back to school. My advice is, if you think you might be interested in a field, go get a job doing that thing in an entry level position and get a feel for it while getting a paycheck as well. Then, if you love it, and it requires a college degree to advance in your chosen field, then go for it but only if the difference in your wage will be large enough to pay for your tuition.