Why I decided college wasn’t for me

So much is expected of you when you’re in high school. Somehow you’re supposed to not only focus on school (which is hard in itself!) and have some kind of a life, but you’re supposed to already know where you want to go to college, and, by extension what you want to do for the rest of your life. The rest of your life!

Heavy right? Somehow at 17 and 18, we’re supposed to make decisions that impact our whole future. Most four year schools often don’t even get into your major until it’s too late to realize you don’t want to be an engineer anymore.

I’m not anti-college in any way, but more against how quickly this culture makes you go from child to adult. Personally, I didn’t have the maturity to leave home at 18, or the grades to go to a university. I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I ended up at an expensive art school that throws you into your major immediately. Six months in though, not only did I not like my major, but my teachers weren’t very good either. They didn’t teach with the hands-on excitement I imagined. I didn’t yet know how to train my brain to learn such hard techniques at the quick speed our school taught in, and I was floundering

So instead of staying at a school I didn’t love, and creating oodles of debt for myself, I decided to be an art school drop-out, focusing on using some of that money on my own business and getting side jobs to pay for life.

This certainly isn’t for everyone. School is a fantastic thing, and education can take you to all kinds of places you wouldn’t find on your own. But for me, it made more sense to try to launch my own business instead of finishing out a program I didn’t fit into. But it’s hard.  

Often as an adult, I still find myself struggling. Not only financially, but because in our society there are certain tick marks we’re “supposed to” check off. Finish high school? Check! Go to a good college? Spouse, Kids, dog, house… not so much.

I learned how to work hard, to leave jobs that didn’t work for me and continue to work hard to grow my own business. I learned the value of trying, failing and continually picking myself back up. I learned my purpose, and pursued that by trial and error instead of spending years in the wrong place because I was “supposed” to.

In all honesty, I don’t think I would have been in a better place if I stuck out a major and felt the need to stay in that position after I graduated just because “that’s what you’re supposed to do.” If the route from high school to college works for you, that’s awesome. I wouldn’t dream of discouraging anyone from pursuing higher education. But if, like me, you find yourself outside of the usual agenda, know that it’s completely OK. You make the plans that work for you. It’s going to be great.

[Image via Rock-a-Fella Records]