Is it time to leave College?

Why did I go to this place? To further my education? To get a chance at a good job?

My family is paying a lot of money we don’t have for me to get some sort of degree. But why?

For 17 years, my education was free. When I got out of high school, I was free. No obligations. I had never had a job before. Now I have this thing hanging over my head.

Debt. Debt. Student Loan.

I remember letting my dad handle that stuff. I didn’t really think it about. The College of New Jersey just seemed like a natural path for me to go. It was a good college my dad said. Going to college was what everyone did. It’s the flow of life. You go to school then college, get a job, hope you’re happy and die when you’re old.

I never gave much thought to not going to college. My parents never talked about that. I couldn’t fathom it. I’d have to go into the real world. I didn’t know what skills I had. I didn’t know what I want to be. I guess I wanted college would be the place I could find that out.

I’ve never been passionate about my education. The majority of high school was bullshit. There’s no reason to have everyone learn all the same things to a certain degree. Does everybody really need to take a Chemistry class? The only thing I remember from that is that the mole is a unit.

I tried criminology. I took a law class in high school. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the semantics of law. I liked the idea of putting criminals in jail. I took two classes and really disliked it. Laws weren’t always just. Some were set in place for the wrong reasons and didn’t benefit anyone. That wasn’t me.

The only thing I liked about it was how people acted like it was a very interesting field. “You’re a criminology major? That’s awesome.”

I also took Spanish, Statistics, a Reading/Writing Short stories class. I loved the idea of just working on stories but I could never just focus on them. I had work in other classes to do. I had tests to take. Books to read. I had obligations. Then the semester ended. Bam! 20,000 dollars that cost me.

Sure I got to meet some cool peeps. I got to have the freshmen year experience. I got to eat at the dining hall which is nowhere near the quality of my mother’s food. I guess the education was worth it.  Maybe I should have made better use of my time. Maybe it’s my fault I look back and think I didn’t get my money’s worth.

20,000 dollars. I’ve never had 20,000 dollars before in my life. Luckily I had a scholarship of 3500 dollars. 16,500. I’ve never had that much money either.

Another year and half went down. I look at the amount I owe and I laugh. I was so stupid. I allowed myself to give into this idea of higher education. I wanted to be independent and at a very high cost. I was their sucker. I signed my name away. I got my aunt to be my cosigner. If I default she has to pay too. For higher education.

I was a sucker. I didn’t realize the price of what I was pursuing. I’m more than halfway through college and I still barely know what I want to be. I’m a journalism major. And I’ve got to stick with it if I hope to get a degree in something. There’s no switching. I don’t have any funds. I’ve got like 700 bucks in the bank to my name.

I realize that if I sold everything I own. All my clothes. All my games. My laptop. And my car, I wouldn’t even come close to paying off the first semester of my freshmen year. My parents are paying now. So much money. For a little piece of paper. A Bachelor’s degree. What a crucial mistake I made.

I feel like an idiot. I realized this far too late. If I leave now, I will have paid so much money to the college and not have got a degree. If I stay and get a degree, who knows if I can get a job?

It’s not going away until the day I die (I’m banking on a heart attack in my late 30’s). There’s no escaping this. The biggest mistake of my life. The tuition goes up each year so the college can redesign buildings and cut back on free printing. There’s a new shining sign in the Student Center. Is this where my money is going?

I wish I could go back and decide not to head down this path. It’s bad enough I’m going to be in debt for the foreseeable future but it’s an insult to injury to see them waste it on such useless shit. I have to pay for textbooks. Absurd amounts of cash. 300 dollars for a Spanish Textbook. 100 dollars for my Journalism textbook.

It’s even more insulting that they force you take classes completely useless to your major in order to graduate. A lab with a science is such a great help to any upcoming journalist. You can’t even take the classes you want.

I’m an idiot. A trapped idiot.

Maybe I’ll leave and start working. Maybe I’ll stay and get the degree.

If I can keep my motivation. Maybe I’ll just stay and take the classes I want and just say screw graduating.

I don’t know how many more finals I can take before I blow up. Maybe I’m just being a whiny child.

The goal of life is to be happy right? I don’t see mine ending up that way.

3 thoughts on “Is it time to leave College?

  1. Happiness cannot be a life goal because happiness is not a permanent thing you can achieve. Accomplishment? Sure. Contentment? Sure. Happiness however, is fleeting. You can accomplish all your dreams and the happiness they bring you will still wear off eventually. There is always more to do. There is no final goal. At least, in my opinion.

    That being said, think hard about your decision. Weigh the pros and cons. Try to figure out what you really want and the best way to get there.

    College isn’t for everybody,

  2. It’s hard to gauge the consequences of this decision. I have to figure out what I want to do. I don’t want to be 35 and regret not finishing college.

    But I also don’t want to be 35 and regret going to college. I really can’t have it both ways. I almost wish I could put my life on pause, spend a year thinking about this, and then make the right judgement. I don’t have such a luxury. I’ll probably just finish because that’s what feels comfortable to me.

    I think I’m concerned about being happy later than I am about being happy now.

  3. what would you do instead of college right now? or, what will you do after college with your shiny new degree?

    it seems to me if you don’t know the answer to either, a degree is a pretty good bet based on things like average lifetime earnings vs. those without degrees. and all the interesting jobs are harder to get without a degree. conventional wisdom in this case seems to have some basis in reality.

    sucking it up and keeping on track as you are for the degree is probably not going to make you much happier; what else can you change that will improve your mental state?

    might as well mention the sunk cost fallacy. in this case, the credits you’ve earned (paid for?) stick around even if you drop out, and you could return to your current school, or go somewhere else, in the future. (speaking as someone with regrets, it will probably look better if you leave while in good academic standing rather than flunk out due to being entirely miserable).

    unsolicited advice! apply directly to forehead!

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