(Trigger Warning: going against societal norms)
College can be an amazing learning and growing experience for so many people, and that will not go discredited. However, this is my personal experience.
I hated it.
I dropped out!
Well, technically not yet. My advisor has yet to listen to my voicemail explaining that “I’m done here” and return my call. But once he does, I’m thrilled to say, I dropped out of college.
I cannot express the relief that has been lifted off my shoulders.
I’ve always been so passionate about school. All throughout my years of schooling, I’ve dragged my mom to the Back to School isle at Target and begged for the fancy pens and pencils. She would constantly remind me that we had supplies at home from the precious year, but I was starting a new chapter of my life here! 3rd grade!? I needed it to be fresh out of the plastic packaging and ready to take on the year with me!
(This also happened during all my years of high school… not just when I was 8 years old. Is that extra? I don’t care. I loved it).
I loved to study, constantly creating colorful flashcards with memory tools and doodles to help me ace my quizzes and tests. And on those days of quizzes and tests, I always put a bit more effort into my appearance while getting ready for school. Even when I was at an all girls high school with absolutely no one to impress… my motto was: look good, feel good, test good!
But that passion for school died. It died when the pandemic hit.
My first year of college was mediocre at best. The first half of the first semester was the typical college life. I joined a sorority, Wilson walked me to class every day, and I even somewhat partied on the weekends. By “somewhat” I mean, I was physically there but not mentally there. Wilson and I would often end up people watching strangers slur their words and terribly dance. It was entertaining, but it wasn’t “us.”
Wilson dropped out after nearly 6 weeks of attempting what is deemed to be “the college experience.” Also known as, digging yourself a deep hole of student debts all while taking online courses and learning slim to nothing because most professors don’t care to learn their students names. He awakened to the scam that is college much quicker than I did.
I kept at the “college thing” for a year longer than he did. I wanted to like it. I wanted to be excited to straighten my hair before exam day and look good, test good like the old days. But the fire had died — and the more I tried to bring back the spark, the more drained I became.
I expressed my struggles to my parents, praying for their approval to leave school. I didn’t necessarily need it, because I pay for my own tuition, but I wanted it so badly. They were hesitant at first, worrying their daughter was making a destructive and impulsive choice. But I explained to them, in the most “Autumn” way possible, how I felt…
“You know how you love your dog so much you just want to EAT HIM!? Or you love me so much you just want to EAT ME!? I don’t want to eat school anymore.”
I hope you all understand my metaphor and aren’t assuming my family is cannibals. They don’t ACTUALLY want to eat me. I’m simply referring to the immense amount of love you have for someone or something to where you just can’t get enough of it. Your teeth clench, you squeeze tight, and you LOVE!
I didn’t want to squeeze college tight.
In fact, I wanted to throw it into the ocean and let it sink to the remains of the Titanic.
So, I left!
And I feel amazing.
I’m following my dharma. I’m so sure of this because ever since I’ve began the process of leaving, my entire being has changed. I feel as if I could bounce off the walls with joy, book a flight to Hawaii, and simply just ENJOY. Before this decision, I have truly sat on the couch all day every day, wallowing in my own misery.
For the first time in my life, I don’t have any crazy responsibilities. I don’t have to go to school, I don’t have to work at an office building, and I definitely don’t have to live my life for anyone else.
(I’ve literally began and finished nearly 6 Netflix series in the past 3 months. It’s been terrible!)
I don’t even know what to do with this feeling besides SMILE. I’ve officially followed my heart to the fullest.
I may move to Utah and never work harder than selling feet pictures online after hiking through National Parks. I may enroll in esthetician school sometime this year and learn how to use chemical peels. I don’t know. And I don’t want to know. For awhile, I just want to sit back and enjoy this feeling of freedom. No longer trapped, no longer forcing myself to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life, and no longer withering away in an institution that never felt like home.
This is what being young is about! Following the voice in your head that says “You’re young. You have time. Do what you WANT to do. Tomorrow isn’t promised anyways.”
As Kanye once said,
“They say, ‘Oh you graduated?’ No, I decided I was finished”
If Kanye did it, we all can.
Do what you want.
I love you.