On Dropping out of School

A while back I realized that school is not for everyone. Some people don’t thrive in an academic environment and some people aren’t into the social aspect of higher education, and there is a big one, despite it supposedly being about learning.

I realized this after my first semester of college. It really didn’t take me long. I attended the University of New Orleans, right out of high school. I thought I was going to go in and have a normal college experience, but that was a silly assumption. I am far from normal and so a normal college experience, of course, would be nearly impossible for me.

I wasn't about to be this either.

I wasn’t about to be this either.

After my first semester there, I decided the next semester would be my last one at that school. I thought about a bunch of different options, and yes, dropping out right at that point did occur to me. Then, it was a scarier prospect. I didn’t know what I’d do without an education, or more importantly, a degree. So, I tried to keep going with the idea of getting a degree, though deep in my heart, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

I traveled and I took a semester off and worked in my hometown, Rochester. That period of time, where I wasn’t going to school, brought me a lot of joy and freedom. I felt balanced, open, and essentially happy. I met a lot of new people, travelling, and even in Rochester. One of those people is my boyfriend of now a year.

But, I thought that all had to come to an end, I had to face reality and do what any upper-middle class, white, private-school-educated person should do, get my bachelor’s degree. I transferred to Hunter College, in New York City, got an apartment (a really small one) with my friend, and started a new life.

I spent one semester there, going to school, trying to find a job, to no avail, and going through the woes of a long-distance relationship. That semester was one of the dullest times in my life. I spent two hours a day walking to and from school, several hours in classes, and several hours doing homework. I was taking general education courses, because many of my credits didn’t transfer and I was way behind where I should have been.

A lot of good came from that semester, my daily walks through Central Park, my intensive study of German, but mostly, the realization that I needed to do something real with my life.

That’s when I started applying to internships. I applied to one at “The Late Show” with David Letterman and I was one of thirty people that they chose to interview. Out of hundreds and hundreds of people who applied, they chose me to interview. This was an ego boost and I thought, “Hey, things might get better.”

I, being a horrible interviewer, did not get the job. That’s when I told myself I’m not going back to school. I knew I couldn’t continue if what I was doing didn’t have meaning to me.

So, I decided to write a novel. I finished my first draft during the summer. After the summer, I went back to New York City and I took a Sketch Comedy Class at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade. In my last months in New York City, I spent a lot of time writing, a lot of time doing cool things around the city, and a lot of time just allowing myself to feel happiness.

The path I chose isn’t going to be the most stable or most lucrative, believe me, I know. Everyone has told me a billion trillion times. But, it’s the most meaningful for me. It’s how I say, “fuck you” to the fear of not having a stable future and just do what makes me happy. So far, I’m happy with my choice. We’ll see when I’m starving in the streets if I still say that.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/95252012@N03/8681985995/”>marsmet553</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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