It dawned on me the other day that I would have still been in college this past semester.
Looking back now on the past 6 months or so, it’s interesting to think what I would have been doing if I were in school vs what I actually did instead. My college life is a world away from my life in the real world since dropping out.
Why am I sharing this?
The Dangerous Myth of Dropouts
The common narrative about dropouts is all wrong.
On the one hand you have pop culture that tells us things like “Steve Jobs was a college dropout. Maybe you should be too.”
On the other hand, everybody knows all too well the image of the loser college dropout.
I see a third option. I’m no Mark Zuckerberg (yet) but I could hardly be considered unsuccessful. Dropouts, like college graduates, exist on a spectrum. All you need to be to justify leaving school is happier and more successful than you would be if you stayed.
This post is intended to give you glimpse into my life over the last 6 months. I want to demystify what is to be a college dropout and show you that there are more options available to you than the common narratives tell you.
First things first.
In the last 6 months, here’s what I would have been doing in school:
- Sitting through college courses I hated
- Working on group projects with people who didn’t care about the subjects we were “learning.”
- Continuing my bad sleep habits.
- Spending $25,000 to get a degree I saw no value in getting.
- Developing an increasingly schooled mindset.
- Bickering and gossiping with other students.
- Stressing over tests and grades.
- Learning something, no doubt, but only in an academic context.
- Writing essays that would only ever be read by professors.
I could go on with this list, but the general idea is this: I would be doing things I didn’t like doing simply because that’s what everyone else does. That’s inexcusable.
Here’s a few things I’ve done over the last 6 months instead of attending college:
- Worked as Director of Marketing at Praxis (current)
- Flown over 70,000 miles on Delta Airlines and visited Canada, Iceland, Ecuador, Belgium, France, Germany, Czech Republic, and Tokyo, in addition to flying all over the USA.
- Released an ebook: “How to Get Any Job You Want” and had over 1,000 downloads.
- Written good portions of an updated version of the book I plan to sell and a corresponding online course.
- Been interviewed on the Tom Woods Show
- Gotten my diet down to a system (See Bulletproof)
- Dramatically improved my understanding of email marketing and copywriting
- Built a new homepage for this site that I’m finally proud of and increased traffic by 20%
- Became a Top Writer on Quora for my topics and engaged with people from all over the world because of it.
- Spent a week working remotely from a beautiful beach house with my colleagues and two good friends (Ecuador)
- Skied in Whistler, one of the premier resorts in the world, with a client of mine
- Increased the number and quality of Praxis applications by a large amount, and became a much better sales person in the process.
- Shot photography for one of my favorite organizations, The Foundation for Economic Education.
- Launched an online course for Praxis that did over $7,000 in sales, mostly through my email funnel.
- Given talks in Mississippi, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Atlanta.
- Rebuilt the Praxis website from scratch on WordPress (launching soon).
- Researched new CRMs and email marketing software and signed Infusionsoft.
- Read more books and listened to more podcasts and academic lectures than I ever did in school. Almost all for free. Topics include health (paleo and cryotherapy), marketing, travel, Ancient Greece, physics, philosophy, and more.
The Lesson of the Story
I haven’t become a billionaire but I’m not broke and living at home either. More importantly, none of what I’ve done this year is especially difficult.
Do you want to travel the world? You don’t need a degree to do that. For a fraction of the cost of a semester of college you can visit all the places I visited and live like a king.
Do you want to write a book? Just start writing. I put my ebook together in a few days once I decided on doing it.
Do you want to get hired to work with companies you love? Create a value proposition and give them a reason to hire you.
Do you want to educate yourself? Attend conferences, ask questions, read, purchase lecture courses — the options are endless.
If there’s one thing I’ve realized this year it’s this: most of the things we tell ourselves we’re in school for are really just excuses to delay having to actually put in the work to do those things. Those things can be achieved much earlier on in our lives and for a fraction of the cost. Most of the time you don’t need to be an expert, you don’t need permission or certifications, and you don’t need to be a certain age.
There’s no reason to wait.
I’ve written a decent amount on dropping out of college on Quora. The posts below should give you some good steps for getting started.