"You are either going to be a failure or become the next Mark Zuckerberg" -My Writing 114 Professor
Yeah, that was actually said by a professor during my freshman year at Boston University. I never understood why I would have to live on one end of this extreme spectrum. I stayed in school despite a deep desire to leave and never look back.
College was obviously not for me. I wasn’t committed to spending four years working on group projects and random essays for the opportunity to get a job where I could spend the next 40 years of my life working 40 hours a week doing 40 things I hate to do.
I would always work on my business during class, throw together essays the night before they were due and sprint through study guides faster than Usain Bolt on my walk to class.
So I dropped out of college. Twice.
I didn’t become Mark Zuckerberg, and I’m not a failure. I run a reasonably successful business that allows me to live a life I love and have the freedom to explore my passions.
I don’t want to recommend everyone to drop out of college, but I want to share some of the things I have learned throughout my journey of doing so.
Confession #1: Nobody Cares
I have never randomly been asked why I left school. 90% of the people I interact with don’t even realize I didn’t graduate. People are so caught up in their own lives that they rarely think about yours, and if they do, it’s not for more than a couple minutes or until the next time their phone vibrates in their pocket.
Confession #2: You Never Think About It
I carried the burden of being a “dropout” for about 3 days. Then, I kind of forgot about it. I am only writing this post because someone reminded me that I had left college and wanted to hear why. Similar to how my college degree wouldn’t define who I am as a person, neither did dropping out. It was the best decision I could make for myself, and after it was made, I just kept moving towards my goals.
Confession #3: A Lot of People Didn’t Go To College
I have been blessed to come across the path of hundreds of financially (and emotionally/spiritually/physically) successful people in the past 4 years. It’s almost a 50–50 split on who finished college versus who didn’t. Of all the non-graduates I have spoken with about the topic, NONE OF THEM regret their decision to not complete their degree.
Confession #4: Your Value Isn’t Defined By A Degree
Simply put, value is value. The amount of money you earn is directly correlated to the economic value you provide in the world. While it might be hard to comprehend that your Archeology 101 class doesn’t help you add real value to the economy (unless you are an archeologist), you don’t need most of the education you receive in college. Create your own value, create your own wealth.
Confession #5: $5,000 A Month Isn’t Hard To Make
The average salary for a recent college graduate is $51,000 per year. This breaks down to only $4,250 every month and $26.50 per hour. It may seem like a lot of money to a 22-year-old but I would make the argument that making $5,000 is a lot simpler than people think. You can even Steal My Business Idea and get started today.
Confession #6: Explore Your Options
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have your life “figured out” at 22. Most people have 8–10 years before needing to worry about kids, a mortgage, or even a real financial plan. Don’t take that as permission to go broke and not plan on your future but understand that you have some time to pursue something you love or are interested in. Don’t be stupid, but be a little stupid.
Confession #7: Networking Is Key
And I don’t mean going to the career fair at your school. Find people who you look up to and reach out to them directly. Provide value and ask questions. Building relationships based on real connections is far superior to following the shallow “give & take” approach. Long time friends and connections will bring you opportunities so you can break free from your fear of leaving the “safe bet” of college.
What are your thoughts?
I would love to hear your stories, questions, and feedback.