I remember when I made the decision to go to college.
After I graduated high school I was burned out. I worked hard, graduated with honors… but the idea of continuing with education was exhausting. So I took some time off.
I had no direction for a long time. Moved to a beach town, drank too much and just enjoyed my freedom after high school.
I was working as a clerk at a gym making absolute garbage for money when someone suggested to me I should try waiting tables. You could make quick cash with no education. It sounded perfect for me.
Before I Decided To Go To College
So I did. I started waiting tables. And I turned out to be amazing at it. I worked my way up, got better shifts and better sections, and got small promotions like certified trainer, closer and shift leader.
After being in the service industry for a few years, I got financially stable enough to get comfortable in my own place. I moved into an adorable efficiency in a great part of town. I got my first pet and started enjoying cooking in my lovely little kitchen.
Until one day I thought, I’m in the service industry. I like to cook. It just makes sense for me to pursue hospitality management as a career.
So I started going to school for culinary arts and hospitality management.
When I Started College
I was busy but never too miserable. I started bartending to work around my school schedule better. It wasn’t a really healthy environment for me, but it was great money.
School was really fun for me. If I could get graded on everything in life I would feel so fulfilled, ha ha! I loved working hard and seeing results in my grades. I’ve always excelled academically even if I wasn’t enjoying it.
And cooking was fun, but I wasn’t particularly gifted at it.
What I learned the most is how to follow directions. And that patience is absolutely key in the kitchen. (These days as a mom I tend to rush things, burn stuff and cook a lot of beans and rice.)
Looking For The Promotion
I decided to take a step and ask my current job I had been at for some time to join their management in training program.
And as I sat at the table discussing options with my manager, it started to hit me what all was entailed in hospitality management.
80 hour weeks. Never have a holiday off again. I really liked waiting tables. That would be off the table.
And a lot of managers at the high end restaurants I worked at actually made less than the servers. Because servers can have good and bad nights, pick up shifts, take nights off, have flexible lives.
Managers are salary. They can work 40 hours or 70 and make the same.
And culinary management? Stuck in a sweaty kitchen all day doing prep work? That’s not really what I had in mind for enjoying cooking.
What I Learned
I heard a quote that changed my life. It made things click for me. It’s by Simon Sinek. He is an author and motivated speaker. He got a lot of buzz for talking about why Millennials are the way they are. But one of his biggest missions is teaching people how to enjoy their work and empowering employers to provide an environment in which employees can thrive and be happy and fulfilled.
“Don’t follow your passion, but bring it with you.”
The example he gives is the dreamer who goes onto American Idol to “follow their passion” only to find out in front of millions of people that their passion isn’t really… their personal gift.
All these years I had been absolutely amazing at waiting tables. I thought that I had a passion for the service industry.
But in reality what happened was tat I just became passionate about what I was doing. I brought my passion with me and did whatever I did to the best of my ability, regardless of what I thought I might be passionate about.
Why Go To College?
There are some fields that you absolutely need academic training in. You’re not going to take some online courses from a Facebook group and get an MD behind your name or become a world class surgeon.
But I would suggest that if you’re going to be a graphic designer, you might take some courses that would suck up less of your time than college and probably teach you more.
In retrospect, going to school for culinary arts because I kind of enjoy cooking was a poor life choice.
And I’m still not even that great of a cook. But I make a mean banana bread and I know what bechamel sauce is. So. That was worth thousands of dollars right?
Here are some other great reasons to skip college.
10 Reasons To Skip College
1. It’s incredibly expensive
and the return is not always worth it long term. It might take years for you to make the kind of money you were hoping for, and in the mean time you might end up working multiple jobs or jobs outside your specialty to make up for it.
2. Real life experience is more valuable.
Employers want people who think logically. After college no one is going to care about that super dope essay you wrote in your Lit class you were so dang proud of.
3. Many occupational institutions these days hire from within.
Employers offer training and education for employees. They want to streamline training and invest in their employees. Some even offer education as a built in perk of the job.
4. You might not learn that much.
Real life skills can be a lot different than what you learn earning a degree. I couldn’t tell you half of what I learned at college today.
5. You start off in the negative.
After spending years in college, you come out with debt that might take years to pay off. Debt can hold you back in so many ways. It stinks not starting off life with a clean financial slate.
6. It can affect your mental health negatively.
Going to school and trying to pay for it is super stressful and overwhelming. You may also be isolated and socialize less after keeping your head in the books for so long.
7. You can learn so much online these days.
And for less money and less time. You might even get a better education depending on what you are looking to do.
8. Social media can help you build the social network you crave.
People seek the “college experience.” You can surround yourself with like minded people without having to live on campus to do it.
9. Over 50% of college students take more than 6 years to get a degree.
That’s a long time to put life on hold. People change their minds, switch their degrees and waste time and money.
10. Spending years on a subject can make you feel obligated to stick to it.
Being able to learn subjects quickly gives you the opportunity to switch areas of interest guilt free and be versatile and flexible. This is one of my favorite reasons to skip college. We don’t always know what we want when we’re young, or what we might be good at it. And your interests also might change over time. Being versatile means not being stuck,
Going To College Is Not For Everyone
But it is perfect for some, and that is totally awesome. For me, I learned I like switching hats. I learn quickly and I honestly think I can find enjoyment in almost anything I try.
So the question is, if you can do anything, why are you doing what you’re doing right now? Leave a comment and tell me about your education and how it helped you, or what you regret.