Elle

I Quit College!

74 posts in this topic

Are there any college drop outs on this forum? I'd love to hear your story.

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I withdrew from college primarily because of a lack of funds. But, I have not regretted it as I now make more money than I ever have before while running my own company. I have also gained technical and practical knowledge beyond what most people receive from a PhD program.

If you check into the history of some of the greatest wealth creators you will see that a lot of them had very little formal education beyond high school. Some key things that a person will need if they are going to make it to extreme wealth in any field are; a vision, a strategy and execution. Tons of people have a vision, some might even lay out a strategic plan to achieve their vision. But, very few execute their plan to achieve their vision. Of course there are some other traits that people must have to make it to the extreme top. But, from what I have seen, no one has made it without at least these three fundamental traits.

I think I have written my story in other post, but if you want to know some exacts, I will write it again.

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I've considered dropping out of College before to be in the military but in the end decided staying with my studies was the better choice for me.

The conclusion I've reached is that I LOVE learning, but HATE going to college :) (in truth, not "HATE", but sometimes detest)

Why did you decide to drop out?

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Here's one. (It takes them awhile to get around to the fact that he dropped out.)

GATES TO SPEAK AT COMMENCEMENT

An electronic newsletter for Harvard alumni, March 2007

TOP STORY

Bill Gates to Speak at Commencement

William H. (Bill) Gates, one of the world's most influential business leaders and foremost philanthropists, will be the principal speaker at the Afternoon Exercises during Harvard's 356th Commencement on June 7.

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I finished college because I wanted to be a nurse, and I wanted my commission as a nurse in the Navy. I had a very specific goal in mind, which I managed to accomplish. When I had to quit nursing, I decided to go back to study history and philosophy. After 3 semesters, I quit. I had very limited funds and the majority of the classes were so bad that I could barely sit still for them. I've studied on my own and have never looked back.

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I finished college because I wanted to be a nurse, and I wanted my commission as a nurse in the Navy. I had a very specific goal in mind, which I managed to accomplish. When I had to quit nursing, I decided to go back to study history and philosophy. After 3 semesters, I quit. I had very limited funds and the majority of the classes were so bad that I could barely sit still for them. I've studied on my own and have never looked back.

Understandable. College philosophy courses are almost all notoriously bad. People expect to find something exciting and substantive like they experienced with Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff and then run into :D :D :) Unless you require the suffering for an academic career in philosophy it's hard to imagine why anyone would put up with it.

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Understandable. College philosophy courses are almost all notoriously bad. People expect to find something exciting and substantive like they experienced with Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff and then run into :D :D :) Unless you require the suffering for an academic career in philosophy it's hard to imagine why anyone would put up with it.

True. The philosophy classes were bad, with only one exception. However, I found that somewhat stimulating. I forced me to really put my critical skills to the test. I also found that many of the other students would stop me after class to ask questions. The teachers pretty much quit even recognizing me; after a few classes they were unwilling to hear my questions.

It was the history classes that I found to be uniformly bad. I'd read enough history, and enough source material, to know that the interpretations of events were badly skewed. The worst occurred with the "scholarly names". I walked out of an American history class after a particularly egregious instance of this--after speaking my mind, of course.

It is amazing the freedom one feels when one takes classes when older and experienced. :D :D :D

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I quit in the spring of 2006. I studied mathematics--I had burned bridges in the other concentration I spent time in, which was English.

I enjoyed mathematics--and continue to study it to this day--but I left because I realized it was not an the best route for me. The debt was far higher than I care to mention--and the likelihood that I could pay it off was slim. It was a good move in the long-run. I had considered business ownership for a year before and had a plan for bakery set. Less than a year later, a 4 temp jobs and barely surviving, I have two business projects underway--my bakery and a corporation of which I will own a significant share once the doors open in November. I will have the money to pay back my debts and do several things I had dreamed of doing.

Someday I will get my bachelor's degree--just something small from a technical school.

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I left college for good in January. After years of following a path in life I never liked and which never made sense to me, it suddenly became clear that the choice all along was to never pursue it. Easiest decision I've ever made, once it came down to it; I felt elated and "open" in some way.

Prospective parents (and college-aged friends of peers): please, please do not rush your kids into college if their interests are mildly (or strongly!) geared toward something else. The debt from an unfinished degree is the lasting travesty for some, for others it is earning a degree in something he has no interest in. The short-term affliction is daily misery pursuing an anti-goal, ie. someone else's idea of what is good for your own life.

Now I am hugely (!) looking forward to working life out the way I want, on my own exclusive terms.

What's your own story, Elle?

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Kudos, Elle.

I'm a firm believer that most people shouldn't tackle college right out of high school; it's a shame that kids get so much pressure to rush into college when it might not be the best choice for them or involves decisions that are better delayed until later.

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Kudos, Elle.

I'm a firm believer that most people shouldn't tackle college right out of high school; it's a shame that kids get so much pressure to rush into college when it might not be the best choice for them or involves decisions that are better delayed until later.

I agree with that as well. Though I may have been an all-star student in high school, I don't think I ever really got mature enough to be a proper college student until about the last year.

I personally think College is over-rated and has a huge intrinsic-value placed on it that it doesn't deserve. I wish I could just buy the books I need, and just study on my own pace outside of college while working a full-time job, then just take the GRE to get into Grad School or some kind of Standardized-Test to show I am qualified to hold a _______-degree in Physics.

And these views of mine are about doubled considering the cost of Texas Tech has increased 46% since I've been here! The money is going to try to make themselves more elitist by building and starting programs that are fashionable in that College-Progressive way, but do literally nothing for education.

There have been some classes that I got immense value from, but these have been drops in a sea of fluff.

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Not a college drop out, I got my EE degree, but I was a high school drop out. I hated high school.

I do believe it's quite different for people who are getting a degree in the sciences versus those who are getting a degree in the humanities. The more humanities courses you have to take, the more painful I'm sure it must be given how postmodernism is dominant today.

But, I'm a big believer in self-learning. Life is a constant adventure and quest for more knowledge. The important thing, I think, is to keep your long range goal(s) in your sights, and make sure you’re on a course to achieving it.

Btw, I like your new photo, Elle. :)

If you check into the history of some of the greatest wealth creators you will see that a lot of them had very little formal education beyond high school.

Thomas Edison springs to mind. He was a voracious reader, and largely self-taught. He read a broad spectrum of books, but apparently especially science oriented books. He loved Michael Faraday -- the father of the electric motor/generator, and discoverer of the principle of electro-magnetic induction -- and studied his works and the works of other great scientists.

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But, I'm a big believer in self-learning. Life is a constant adventure and quest for more knowledge. The important thing, I think, is to keep your long range goal(s) in your sights, and make sure you’re on a course to achieving it.

Thales, I completely agree with this.

I dropped out of high school when I was 15, and have been an "independent scholar" for the past 6 years. I adore it and don't feel like I'm "missing out" at all. I used to be very sensitive about not having Formal education, but considering the state of today's education, I feel I have the upper hand, especially since I have Objectivism as a guide.:)

~C~*

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Thales, I completely agree with this.

I dropped out of high school when I was 15, and have been an "independent scholar" for the past 6 years. I adore it and don't feel like I'm "missing out" at all. I used to be very sensitive about not having Formal education, but considering the state of today's education, I feel I have the upper hand, especially since I have Objectivism as a guide.:D

I have little doubt that's true, free spirit. :) Objectivism gives you a great road map. When you learn how concepts work and realize the importance of thinking in principle, that will help you along quite a bit.

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That and much, much more I could ever express here.

:)

~C~*

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Thales, I completely agree with this.

I dropped out of high school when I was 15, and have been an "independent scholar" for the past 6 years. I adore it and don't feel like I'm "missing out" at all. I used to be very sensitive about not having Formal education, but considering the state of today's education, I feel I have the upper hand, especially since I have Objectivism as a guide.:)

~C~*

I am curious: Did you ever bother to get a GED or equivalent?

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Matt,

Actually yes. I am in the midst of aquiring my GED now.

There are some important goals I want to achieve that require it. :)

Plus, I really love taking tests :D

~C~

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I dropped out of high school too. It has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. :D

One thing I noticed about school is that they generally try to force a specific curriculum down peoples throats. I didn't want a certificate to prove I was good at X job. I wanted to learn a set of specific subjects(and even there, specific areas of each of those subjects) that do not appear related at first but are carefully chosen to accomplish my central purpose in life. I wanted the knowledge, not the certificate. But I couldn't communicate that to schools at all. After they actively started blocking the path I had chosen to go down, I chose to strike out on my own and I haven't looked back at all since. :)

Not to mention the amount of stuff that they taught as fact that was either out of date or just plain wrong.

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Thomas Edison springs to mind. He was a voracious reader, and largely self-taught. He read a broad spectrum of books, but apparently especially science oriented books. He loved Michael Faraday -- the father of the electric motor/generator, and discoverer of the principle of electro-magnetic induction -- and studied his works and the works of other great scientists.

To put this in perspective, Thomas Edison was born in 1847 when hardly anyone in the US attended a university and there was practically nothing available for his field of engineering and applied science.

There were a few universities in existence, starting with Harvard in 1636, Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, in the 1700s, etc. but they were mostly begun as religous-based institutions and while there were science courses by Edison's time, they did not begin to become "modern" research institutions until at least the 1870s (started at Harvard). The Morrill Act establishing Federal financing to start supporting state university "agricultural and mechanical colleges" didn't pass until 1862. Of the leading private engineering colleges, only Rennselaer (1824) and MIT (1865) even existed in Edison's early years. But at that time all engineering education in the country was restricted to civil engineering and shop practices, with an occasional mechanical engineering course.

The first college in the US to provide integrated science-based mechanical engineering (which at the time included electrical engineering) did not appear until 1871 with the Stevens Institute of Technology. From its beginning it was planned for and provided a four year intensive course covering all the basic subjects of engineering and their mathematical and physical foundations in addition to practical manufacturing processes. The first course in "applied electricity" appeared at Stevens and at MIT in 1884.

The founding of the Stevens Institute and subsequent growth of integrated science-based engineering education elsewhere was a high point in the drive to build college engineering and science education to support America's growing industry. But it was well after Edison could have conceivably made use of it for his own education even if he had had the financial means, etc. (He apparently only had a few months of any kind of education.)

But Edison did not shun engineering education. He hired Stevens engineers for his nearby lab and used them to develop his early power system for electric lighting, and later for chemical/electrical engineering and other projects. Edison endorsed the institute in 1883, saying it "is probably as good if not the best place at present to study chemical science and engineering".

As Thales pointed out above (our Thales, not the Greek father of philosophy), attending college is not optional for science or (applied science), and it seems that Edison would have agreed with that even in his time.

But college is not the place to spend 4 years partying in a random attempt to "find oneself" at someone else's expense and/or with huge loans, as most seem to do today following the big splurge in "education" for the last 50 years or so. If you go to college you had better have a serious educational purpose and have the maturity and ability to implement it. Otherwise wait, or skip it if you don't need it because you have the intelligence and motivation to succeed in some kind of business that doesn't require it. Whatever you do, be sure to think it out carefully and not drop out in a superfical feeling of independence.

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I never knew there are many high school and college dropouts among us! :) Not to defend the current curriculum taught in high schools, but there ARE advantages to excel in high school--the best being full scholarships. I figured those advantages (especially the full scholarship) are worth the drudgery and time wasted. (But I admit I almost dropped out of high school myself.) Excelling in high school also allows you to skip much of the required humanities courses and go straight to the good stuff.

Besides, college isn't so bad when nearly all your classes are divided between the Mathematics department and the Business School. It also helps a lot that the head of the economics department, Edward Prescott, is a very strong supporter of free markets and capitalism. Richard Salsman mentions him in this thread about the business cycle. His theories about economic growth and the business cycle, among other things, have significantly altered my appraisal of modern Austrian economics, which I once thought was the only good economics around. His lectures can be pretty amusing, especially when he talks about his favorite subject--the marginal tax rate theory.

In any case, it seems I'm in a very small minority who actually somewhat enjoys college. :D

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To put this in perspective, Thomas Edison was born in 1847 when hardly anyone in the US attended a university and there was practically nothing available for his field of engineering and applied science.

There were a few universities in existence, starting with Harvard in 1636, Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, in the 1700s, etc. but they were mostly begun as religous-based institutions and while there were science courses by Edison's time, they did not begin to become "modern" research institutions until at least the 1870s (started at Harvard). The Morrill Act establishing Federal financing to start supporting state university "agricultural and mechanical colleges" didn't pass until 1862. Of the leading private engineering colleges, only Rennselaer (1824) and MIT (1865) even existed in Edison's early years. But at that time all engineering education in the country was restricted to civil engineering and shop practices, with an occasional mechanical engineering course.

The first college in the US to provide integrated science-based mechanical engineering (which at the time included electrical engineering) did not appear until 1871 with the Stevens Institute of Technology. From its beginning it was planned for and provided a four year intensive course covering all the basic subjects of engineering and their mathematical and physical foundations in addition to practical manufacturing processes. The first course in "applied electricity" appeared at Stevens and at MIT in 1884.

I'm not familiar with secondary education in the USA. What is the difference between university and college. What are the progressive steps of a secondary education over there? Where I grew up, you had to matriculate from high school, in order to go to university. Those were the steps you took. Blue collar aspirants went to a "Technical College", where they learnt their trades.

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I'm not familiar with secondary education in the USA. What is the difference between university and college. What are the progressive steps of a secondary education over there? Where I grew up, you had to matriculate from high school, in order to go to university. Those were the steps you took. Blue collar aspirants went to a "Technical College", where they learnt their trades.

A university typically includes a number of colleges or "schools", each with a specialty like science, liberal arts, architecture, religion, etc., but a college can exist by itself, such as an engineering or liberal arts college. Schools that used to be only a college, however, are often now calling themselves universities so the distinction isn't so meaningful anymore. Some "universities" are little more than mail order diploma mills. A Bachelor's degree typically takes 4 years of courses. There are also "junior colleges" or "community colleges" that take 2 years with their own "degree"; they are typically glorified high schools. There are also the technical colleges you mention, which are for the trades.

Before college (or university) is elementary school, middle school and high school, the latter being grades 9-12 and required before going on to "higher education".

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I think the essential difference between a university and a college is that universities award higher degrees, while colleges only award bachelor's degrees.

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I'm a firm believer that most people shouldn't tackle college right out of high school; it's a shame that kids get so much pressure to rush into college when it might not be the best choice for them or involves decisions that are better delayed until later.

I agree. For many people, college would be better delayed, until one has a better idea of what he wants to do.

In my case, I went to college immediately upon graduating from high school. I earned a degree and went to work in that field, but later, my interests changed, and I decided to change my career - to software engineering. At that point, I decided that for me, if I really wanted to learn how to be a good programmer, I ought to go back to school and learn something in my new field. So I did.

Returning to school as somebody a little older and with some work experience was good, because now I had already had a taste of the work I wanted to do. I could choose the courses that I thought would do me the most good - even some in electrical engineering that weren't required for the degree. And I also had knowledge of concretes I'd already encountered that I could use to tie the new abstractions I learned, to reality. (For instance, I'd already had some work experience programming computers to control and monitor industrial processes, so I knew of some of the problems that the various new (to me) computer-science abstractions could be used to solve.) As a result, that time in graduate school was one of the most focused and rewarding periods of my life.

....

I appreciate that one can succeed in many fields without going to college. But I think that if one wants to pursue a technical field - science or engineering - getting a good college education will help greatly. It's difficult to learn these subjects on one's own - one can learn a lot faster with the help of a good teacher.

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I think the essential difference between a university and a college is that universities award higher degrees, while colleges only award bachelor's degrees.

Universities contain graduate schools within them, but "stand-alone" colleges have also traditionally awarded higher degrees. For example, the Stevens Insitute of Technology, the college mentioned above for its historic breakthrough in 19th century science-based engineering education, began awarding higher degrees in science in the 1870s. Is has been called a university only relatively recently. Maybe there is now some kind of accreditation issue requiring a "university" for graduate degrees? Anyway, it seems that the essence of a university is still that it contains a number of "schools" or "colleges" within it. I don't know if there are any universities that don't award graduate degrees.

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