I guess it was about two years ago that I decided to drop out. At the time it hadn’t settled in my mind as “dropping out,” more so taking a sabbatical of self-discovery. Thanks to the convenience of year round dual credit classes, by the time the decision had been made to abandon the school system, a mere three credits remained until graduation and nearly a year of college was out of my way. The decision to leave had nothing to do with school being too difficult or a fear that it wouldn’t fulfill its promises. A four year road to success and a strong network of loyalty awaited me at the business school of my university of choice, along with a couple scholarships to some less favorable institutions in consideration at the time. I left because there was never a point I decided to enter.
From as early as I can remember, there were always two divine paths of life being preached. Growing up in the south, the first was Jesus Christ. They claimed he was “the way, the truth, and the life,” but also insisted on another way which almost seemed equally holy: government mandated educational system followed by college completion. For the most part, our teachers, parents, counselors, TV shows, movies, friends and all of society told us that abandoning this life would amount us to nothing. We would be losers, accepted by no one except other losers. If we happened to find someone who claimed to be happy in such lifestyle, it was only a lie they told themselves and others as a coping mechanism. There would be no way to find a job, no way to support a family, no way to find happiness (except in our needles and pipes), and our lives would end without having any significant impact and without being missed. Whether or not these ideas were directly transmitted, this dogma began washing many of our brains from the moment we gained conscious thought. Society adheres to this way of thinking so much so that you could be the most competent and qualified individual for a job, but without an official piece of paper saying so, good luck even being considered. If by some miracle you do happen to land the gig you wanted, odds are your pay will be significantly less than the guy who does have that piece of paper.
I get that having that status shows you sat through the right amount of lectures and can do well on tests, but the problem is it’s dated as the only way of ensuring competency (especially in the age of the Internet, which I won’t even get into) and has never been what defines an individual. If we needed high school or college for our mind and ability to be worth anything, there would be no high school or college. I’m pretty sure the people who conceptualized and actualized college did not go to college, so if you hold so highly their ideals and the path they set before us, you’re following “losers.” Just saying. Everything around us - every institution, every invention, every idea and every system - was brought about by the mind of a human. If you’re reading this, odds are you’re a human, and you’re just as capable of shaping this world as anyone else.
I understand that no matter how well thought out my beliefs and consequential decisions on matters like this may be, the system still remains. Though I have a certain perspective, the culture I live in operates according to a different one. Even if I’m more than qualified and competent, jobs will be harder to get and my voice may be harder to hear. I’m OK with that. I don’t need the culture’s idea of success for my own happiness. I’d rather operate according to my own beliefs and continue doing the things I love as a “loser” than live someone else’s life to achieve “success.”