Temporary College Drop-Out

A few days ago I dropped out of college. Well, not entirely. I’m taking a semester off to save money and to “figure shit out” as it has been frequently put. I should start out by mentioning that the whole college process has irked me since my junior year of high school. I wrote a whole paper about how much I detested the process for a creative writing class final and everything. I remember dreading my parents’ lectures regarding the threat of college debt and also recall thinking that they were over-exaggerating. Of course, I only realize now that they were annoyingly right. Junior and senior year in high school go by so quickly, there is hardly enough time to catch a breath between searching for colleges, completing the common app, asking for recommendations and writing a sublime college essay. This leaves students with nearly no time at all to make informed financial decisions. It just so happens that this topic is the least talked about throughout the entire process. Students are often told that tuition should not be a deciding factor if the school is of great quality or valued name. Well, I can say right here and now that this is complete bull shit. Of course college representatives are going to tell students that! A salesman wouldn’t tell his customer that overpaying for his product might be a longterm bad decision. What’s sad is that my generation is probably going to suffer the most as a result of the college financial crisis. It’s those of us who can visualize the debt we are putting ourselves through and somehow avoid it by making informed decisions that prevent life long financial troubles.

Anyway, back to my dropping out of college. I realized halfway through my first semester as a freshman that the price I was paying for the education quality I was receiving and my living arrangement was absolutely absurd. I learned more in every high school English class I had ever taken than the one writing class I took in college. Now, I know every college is different so I figured that this particular one was not the right pick for me and that it wouldn’t be worth throwing fifteen grand out of my ass for a school that I was already so unpleased with. If I could offer anyone dealing with the college process right now any piece of advice it would be not to rush the process or feel the need to do what everyone else around you is doing. It is unbearably tempting to choose the school with the name so as to compete with your classmates but, ultimately, unnecessary. What often goes over students’ heads, which passed right over mine as well, is that one can still have “the college experience” and do so by making financially informed decisions that will only serve to make life easier and more pleasurable down the road. That is precisely why I have made this seemingly drastic decision to take this semester off. I need time, time I didn’t have when it was most necessary, to think ahead. This time I want to make sure that I pick the right school, in the right place, with the right tuition so that I can pave the way for a life of success and little stress.

4 thoughts on “Temporary College Drop-Out

  1. Dear temporary college drop out,
    I’ve just linked to this post; I may write more about it later. I just wanted to write now to wish you the best and to thank you for the advice you offer, beginning with this line: “If I could offer anyone dealing with the college process right now any piece of advice it would be not to rush the process or or feel the need to do what everyone else around you is doing.”
    There is so much ridiculous posturing about which colleges kids are applying to and which they get into. Kudos to you for taking some time off to think about what is important to you.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post! I wrote that a few months ago when I was overwhelmed by the speedy college decision I had made the summer after my senior year. I’ve been on break from school and have had a great deal of time to make the right overall college decision for me regarding my going back to school in the fall. At least, I hope so. The pressure to go to “big name” schools is ridiculous in high school and the overall stressful college process gives students very little time. Anyway, thank you for understanding and listening. I will write a post soon about my new college plans.

  2. The pressure to go to any school at all is ridiculous, and really… scary. Looking back, if I had ever said anything about not going to school, I would have been slapped so hard, and iced out by the remaining family I had. Now, I’m married, graduated, with no family left of my own. I also have no job. I went to school for Technical Communication, and kicked myself every step of the way. Why did I do it? Why did I pick this? Why do I care about happiness when all that matters is money?

    I did it because I was pressured into it by my school adviser. I picked it because my scores showed that I wasn’t smart enough for engineering, and I liked to write (I’m so over that). Time and again superiors in other majors told me that I should’ve gone for engineering, or something medical, while my peers and the profs in my department encouraged me to do what I enjoy, and what I’m good at. Don’t waste money failing classes you can’t handle and hate sitting through. I took the easy way, and I feel like I’m dying a bit everyday.

    I’m 25 now, and wish I had the time to go back for something that is promising, financially. Only, I’m so much in debt that I’d rather just become a gypsy and spend the rest of my life in avoidance.

    I suppose, the pressure of college is what made me this way. So regretful, with such little self-esteem. I feel like I had one shot and I blew it on something I was good at. And now I freelance here and there, and have yet to find the job I was “trained” for.

    My advice: work. Volunteer. Get experience, and make connections. Not sure what you’re thinking about professionally, but don’t overlook technical work. Shop Class as Soulcraft was my favorite book from college. Of course, they gave us a book about skilled labor after we had already racked up 3.5 years of student loans, but that’s how it goes.

    If you’re forced to go back to college before you’re ready, get into a money-making field, don’t just do GenEd. Anything with money, science, or medicine is like gold if you actually graduate. That way, you have a better chance at landing a well-paying job, and you have a lot more time and money to do what you actually enjoy.

    • Thank you so much for the insight. I really appreciate your thoughtful comment. I have many plans for my future endeavors as far as education and career goals are concerned. I have chosen a school to attend in the fall that is incredibly affordable for me at this time, especially because I will also be commuting. I plan to become an english teacher, which I know isn’t the highest paying job, but I’ve gotten a lot of advice from other teachers in the family regarding making the right financial choices. The school I will be attending has a 5 year Masters plan, which allows me to get my masters to teach in only five years, saving a great deal of money not going to grad school. That way, I can teach right out of college. I’m planning to major in English and minor in Education. I also have plans to intern and teach English in other countries for experience during my years at school. I’m in no rush though. I’m giving myself the time I need to make the right choices. I’m so sorry to hear about your current predicament and I can only wish you the best of luck. I also hope that eventually you can find a job that you not only enjoy but that gives you what you need and deserve. I’m planning to take my time, plans things out well and hope for the best. I wish you the best as well.

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