“You aren’t going back to school? Oh… Good luck I guess.”
– Person I know
Coming out of the closet, about not going back to school, was one of the hardest things I ever did. Most people assumed that I either failed out, or am incredibly lazy. It’s annoying.
I decided to take a year off because I don’t feel like my education is worth the high price tag. Since I’m not majoring in a STEM field there’s nothing to warrant tuition costs. I’d rather invest my time and money into something with a more substantial payoff.
According to my research the average University of Iowa graduate had $27,000 in student loans. At the current moment I have no loans. Assuming a horrible fiscal tragedy struck and I ended up with absolutely no money, I’d still be $27,000 ahead of my peers.
Secondly, I’d rather spend my time working towards my own goals. In the time it takes to write an essay about the symbolism in some bland book, I could have written something that wasn’t a lame rehashing of another person’s opinion. Aside from writing blog posts, I didn’t author a whole lot over the last semester. Although partly due to my own laziness, I was also burnt out from writing. Making up essays drains my enthusiasm for penning anything in my free time. In fact, Brains & Brawn was written over spring break while I waited for some friends at a bar.
Thirdly, I don’t believe cool people only exist on campuses. Aside from a small handful of people, the words “original thinker” would not be used to describe most of my classmates. I’ve actually met way more interesting people through striking up random conversations in random locations than I have from attending classes or joining school organizations. When you’re in school everyone is roughly the same age and comes from similar backgrounds. The people I’ve met and befriended in the real world are far more diverse and interesting than most of the folks I’ve had class with.
Lastly, the “college experience” is vastly overrated. I don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to go to a party or “find myself.” The last time I was severely depressed, I left the country and went to Belize for three weeks. I learned more about myself and the world from those 21 days than I have from two years of school. If partying or forming your own identity are the only reasons you want to attend a college, skip school and visit another country. You’ll be exposed to far more at a fraction of the price.
I’m not using my time off to sit around smoking pot and watching TV. I’ve got a job, side businesses, hobbies, goals, a mountain of new books, and a plan for my future. I highly doubt my life is ruined.