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Is there anyone here who didn't go to college whose life turned out okay?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Devouring Wolf, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

    and of course....

    "Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them."
    – Flannery O’Connor

  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Here in Canada we have colleges and universities. Colleges are for those who didn't have the marks to get into University. I did my first two years in college and did well enough to transfer into university.

    Some of the best teachers I had were in college. In University, it was a mixed bag. I found that a lot of the professors were more interested in doing their research than teaching. I once had the experience of the class asking a professor if they could give us some sample questions so we would know what type of questions would be asked on the final. The prof said they didn't have the time.

    One of the things I learned was sometimes the prof was just there to give me my mark. Just give me a good text book and I can do it myself. Because one time one of my teachers in college mumbled something under breath that for what ever reason stuck with me. You get what you put into it.

    That may be a bit trite, but it's something I find speaks to me.

    From my experience, workwise, that piece of paper you get for completing college becomes less and less meaningful as you get older. Nobody cares where you went to school or what degrees you have. They only care if you can do the job and do it well.

    Because I'm sure they know like I do that there are a lot of dumbasses with fancy pieces of paper. In third year computer science, I was in a work group with a computer science major who didn't know how to program. I'll pause a second to let that sink in. A third year computer science major who couldn't write a line of code to save his life.

    As for your worth being tied to your schooling, I think this is very dependant on your environment and who you choose to associate with. Those who would judge your worth based on what piece of paper have hanging on the wall aren't people that are worth associating with. Honestly, F them.

    I'm fortunate enough to have friends who don't give a fig about the superficial stuff. And if they did, I don't think they'd be my friends.

    Maybe one of the things you have to do is set aside other people's expectations, and forget about what other's will think. Take time and figure out what makes you happy. Figure out what you want short and long term. It doesn't have to be written in stone, but at least its a starting point.

    If happiness lies away from school, so be it.

    I'm not sure if you noticed but there are a few of us who left school and went back after. Leaving school now doesn't preclude you from going back if you wanted to. Though it can be tough. There was a time when I was sitting in a classroom with kids who's ages started with the number 1 and my age started with the number 3.

    But do try to think about things long term. For myself, what made me happy when I was 20 is quite different than what makes me happy now.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  3. Incanus

    Incanus Archmage

    For some reason this thread made me think of (the wonderful) Emily Dickinson:

    I'm nobody! Who are you?
    Are you nobody, too?
    Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
    They'd banish us, you know.

    How dreary to be somebody!
    How public, like a frog
    To tell your name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!
    kennyc likes this.
  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    Also, I wanted to add.. Since you are interested in writing, have you considered taking creative writing? I started out in History and Sciences, thinking I wanted to work in Archeology etc, but science was not for me. I switched to English Lit and found it a breeze. It was like school was fun.

    Maybe, since you are interested in writing anyway, try switching to some creative writing courses, just so you can focus on something you enjoy?
    kennyc likes this.
  5. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    I can tell you, as a former staffing recruiter and one-time graduate student, that it's possible to make a decent living in today's world without college, but it's not easy. I went from a GED to community college to multiple universities, all as an adult. I presented papers in international conference, but I haven't graduated from anything since middle school. I ended up crashing and burning to the onset of mental illness and dropped out. A lot.

    Over time I worked crap jobs, and eventually (like 10 years) ended up in staffing making decent money. Now I write full time. So what you need to ask yourself is, is struggling for years and years without a degree worth it? For me, running away from the Ivory Tower worked out in the end, but I don't recommend it if you have the opportunity to finish. A college degree today is what a high school diploma was thirty years ago. It's a foot in the door. Spend some time researching job postings on Monster and Career Builder and get an idea of what you can and can't do without a degree, and then choose.
  6. Devouring Wolf

    Devouring Wolf Sage

    I'm actually trying to get an AA in history which I absolutely love (art history may just be my favorite thing I've ever studied), though I've realized I don't actually want to do it as a job. I'm hoping to work in the publishing industry either as a literary agent or an editor and the best way to do that, so far as I know is to be an intern and most internships I've found require you to either be in college or a graduate.

    Not related to your post, but I've left one crucial bit of information out of all my posts. I didn't initially want to share it, because its kind of personal, but why not? I'm not ashamed. I've suffered from a sub-clinical eating disorder since high school and while I'm perfectly fine during breaks, once I return to school I relapse. So when I say I'm unhappy at school, what I mean is it makes me want to starve to death and carve my skin up with a razor blade.
    Devor likes this.
  7. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    Okay. This is something you need to go to a therapist with, not a fantasy forum. Most universities have free counseling available and will be able to connect you to professional therapists. Please make use of these resources.

    It sounds like you need to isolate what's triggering you, beyond other peoples' grating idealism. Because this is likely something that goes beyond college and into other stressful situations. Dropping out and possible extended unemployment is not going to be any easier than college. Consider dropping your course load down to the full-time minimum or below, depending on your financial situation and any aid or scholarships you need to remain eligible for.

    My personal experience with college was generally positive and I did well, but ultimately I'm enjoying the first couple years of employed freedom after graduation much, much better than the alternating stress and idleness of college. I'm not doing a whole lot with my major and I definitely didn't have my whole life figured out prior to graduation like some people, but college gave me some tangible benefits. I was connected with my job, which I love, through college--along with most of my good friends now, and the great town that I live in. Overall, I'm very glad that college is over, but I'm also glad that I did it. But everyone has different experiences. One thing I regret is not using all the resources that were available to me in university. I really think you should talk to a counselor and reach out.
    Penpilot, Russ, Devor and 2 others like this.
  8. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling


  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Devouring Wolf, thank you for feeling comfortable enough and brave enough to share.

    I have to echo Nimue's sentiment. Colleges have experienced professionals capable of working with you on this kind of problem. At my college it was called the "Wellness Center." I know that simply admitting that you need the help can be difficult, and it can be even more difficult believing that they can actually help you. But you do, and they can if you let them, although it won't be easy.

    I would encourage you to seek their help immediately. I would also suggest that you consider taking the next semester off of school in order to work on this.

    If you feel like you're struggling every day, then something is wrong. Your body and your brain are telling you that you need help. You have a medical emergency and need to treat it as such.
  10. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    I wanted to add a couple of things, because I think you might need to hear them. First, you deserve to have a good college experience. You deserve help and care. No one wants you to suffer through college or any other time in your life, and if you open up to people, no one should insist that you keep suffering. (Assholes might, but please ignore them.) It's not worth it to sacrifice your health for your education. If you need to return to college later in life, you can always do that, as evidenced by a lot of peoples' stories.

    I'm not sure if you're a freshman, but the first year can be the hardest, and it's also the most important time to get help, so you can keep going on good footing.

    Second thing is that you're not alone. Anxiety and depression is insanely common in college students. I don't mean that in the sense of "suck it up"--when people say they're stressed out about exams, they aren't at the point of self-harming. I mean that in the sense that you shouldn't be ashamed of it, and in the sense that people, professors, counsellors will understand. They should, if they're decent people. (On that note, don't be afraid to switch therapists or counsellors if yours is making you feel worse.). The resources are there because many people need help; it's not a sign of failure. Strength is knowing what you need and pursuing it.
  11. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Well said, Nimue, and thank you for bringing these important points up. If the OP is having a hard time, then taking a break or getting help are the next best things to do in order to preserve mental health.
  12. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Please talk to a professional about this right away, be it at your school or if you have insurance. School seems to aggravate your nerves and that's why, when you go back, you fall prey to the temptations. I had these same issues in college and took a break for a year. When I went back, I saw a therapist until I graduated. It helped immensely in being able to continue my studies. Eating disorders are dangerous. I'm glad you mentioned this because it's clear you're not in denial over it. These sorts of issues stem from something much deeper than being annoyed by others at college. They affect your entire life. PM me if you ever need someone to talk to. I'd be glad to listen.
    Devouring Wolf likes this.
  13. rahilliard

    rahilliard Acolyte

    Just thought I'd throw in my little story. I went to college back in the '80's but dropped out. I also did military along the way and a lot of bartending, waiting tables, and a few other odds and ends. Ended up in the corporate world but without a college degree. Then, due to being laid off and getting a really nice severance package, I went back to college at the age of 48 and graduated. Is it a disaster to drop out of college? No. Would it open some doors somewhere down the road? Most likely, yes. Does it really matter at all what kind of degree you get? Depends on what you want to do. If you want to be an engineer, or something specific like an accountant, yes. If you want to work in publishing, no. If you want to work in corporate America, no. Bottom line is, not required but it definitely improves your chances of finding something, even if it is just something to get by on until you figure out what you want to be later in life.

    For myself, I work in IT doing Quality Assurance (think software testing). What did I get my degree in? English Creative Writing. Did I make the right choice? Damn straight! My advice is this: study what you love. Worry about employment later. Do you need to take time off from school? Go for it. Try to be realistic about when and how you might get back into school if you decide to go back. If it is something you can handle at this point, I'd say stick it out. If your health issues are too much at this point, then a straight through path may not be what is best for you.

    Okay, done rambling. Hope that wasn't too odd.

  14. Shannon M Metcalf

    Shannon M Metcalf Acolyte

    I went twice, quit both times and still can't seem to hold onto a job because of my anti-social behavior and anxiety. I've since devoted all my attention towards my dreams of becoming a successful author. Check out some of my work on Wattpad, or you can see my first novel, Lycanthropy: Blood-Ties on Amazon Kindle. All in all, to be honest, success does not mean you have to have a degree in order to feel it. It just depends on who you are as a person, and if you believe the degree will open new doors; which it will. Sorry if I sound confused, but I wanted to hit most parts of your question.
  15. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

    I dropped out of school after my AS levels, aged 17 and, eager to move out with my friends, got a job as a delivery driver and gave uni a miss.

    I worked there for about 2 years and pretty much gave up on ever having an enjoyable career. I had done a fair bit of paid design work as a teenager but never thought I'd be able to make a living from it.

    Luckily, a friend of mine hooked me up with a graphic design internship at a digital agency he was due to start at. I realised it was the best chance at happiness I may ever get and worked 70 hour weeks juggling my job and my internship for 3 months until I got the job. 2 years later and I'm still there, lovin' life.

    If you don't know what you're good at and enjoy, I'd reccomend you stay in school. Once you start paying bills it's a lot harder to try different subjects/career paths. You may be able to work and study, but you risk losing out on a social life for a year or two!
  16. FatCat

    FatCat Maester

    I went to college briefly for culinary arts, but the tuition became to much to keep going in that field. I'm a manager for a chain restaurant and pull 50k a year, not exactly living the high life but I get by. My little sister has been chatting up the pros and cons of college, and in the end I tell her that you can be successful no matter what, but that degree mAkes things easier.

    That being said two friends of mine obtained degrees and are working the same job they had through college. It just boils down to who you are and your circumstance and expectations.
  17. Dawn Goodwyn

    Dawn Goodwyn New Member

    I did for two years, studying American literature. For me, the experiences I had and the things I learned (including clear writing and critical reading skills) more valuable than a degree.

    Why? I haven't needed a degree to live the life I want. I left the US at the age of 22 and have traveled the world, been to 18 countries on three continents, taught English, done voice recording work, even been an extra in several movies! I have all the time I want to write, currently work freelance which gives me even more flexibility to do what I want, and am very happy in general.

    I have a healthy, loving relationship with someone I didn't meet at school, who supports me in pretty much anything I do, a great family who, while they miss me, wish me the best.

    While I'm not rich, I make enough to pay my monthly student loan payments, feed myself, buy the good tampons and still save up.

    If you're worried about life without a college degree, consider all your options. If you like people (especially children), you can teach English. It doesn't require moving abroad (it isn't for everyone), there are a ton of online teaching jobs that pay between 10-20 dollars an hour. They're usually Asian companies, and your students will be adorable kids or hard-working adults. Try content writing for online publications. It can be surprisingly lucrative, and the feeling of accomplishment is real.

    Just remember, as long as you're doing something that not only keeps you in food and under a roof, but you also like, you're doing well. Success isn't a hard and fast thing, it varies person to person. Enjoy your life. That's what it's there for.
    Ophiucha likes this.
  18. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

    I went to school for two years before dropping out. In my case, the university I attended was sympathetic to my mental health problems (general anxiety with dissociation and narcolepsy), but not so sympathetic as to accommodate my needs. I enjoyed what I learned while I was there. Medieval history will always be a special interest of mine, and I took a lot out of working in an academic setting. But I don't regret leaving. It was the right thing for me, and I don't think my life has gone poorly for it.

    I'm 24, and I know a lot of college graduates. Most of them work in retail, if they have a job at all. I know three people who work at Home Depot who majored in English, and one who majored in Geology. I have a friend who worked as an unpaid intern at Citibank for a year and was let go with little more than a phone number to give to her next employer as a reference. An interviewer I spoke with earlier today said "oh, I won't need any references. I never bother to call them, nobody would give me the number for someone who would say something negative anyway." There are missed opportunities, interesting jobs that required a BA or an MA, but the job market's competitive and who knows if I'd have even gotten an interview with them if I had the qualifications.

    I know a few people who got great careers out of university, but most of them were in STEM fields. The only one who wasn't became a female bodybuilder after finishing her degree in Theatre.

    My life isn't perfect, but I flow between jobs that pay the bills. I can get myself an expensive cheese plate for my birthday and going to see Captain America with my friends. I can buy a couple of new video games, and I can save up for bigger things like consoles or concerts. I am happily married and have several friends, more than I had while I was at university -- the only friend I had at university was a man I bonded with over our mutual hatred of 'friendship exercises'. The worst thing in my life is my anxiety disorder, but it's not like a degree would cure me.

    Getting a degree has a lot of benefits, but if university doesn't suit you, there are other ways to get a degree. Online courses are great if you hate talking to overly optimistic try-hards or find campus life too stressful. Studying part-time is a great option. Or just befriend someone who works at a publishing company and bank on a bit of nepotism.

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