When I first told my friends I was dropping out of my private 4 year universities, a few asked if I was pregnant or crazy. The rest thought I was both.
I was, and still am, neither pregnant or crazy. In fact, dropping out was the most sane thing I did.
I jumped from major to major for 2 years unsure of who I was or what I wanted until I accumulated nearly 80k in student loans, a further delayed graduation date, and skyhigh anxiety about my future — both career wise and financially.
I knew it was irresponsible to spend this money when I wasn’t even set on a degree or career. We are so forced into attending prestigious, expensive, 4 year universities making these decisions at 17 or 18 years old with little to know idea what we are getting ourselves into. What 18 year old can really understand the concept of $20,000 per semester for at least 8 semesters??
There should be no shame in taking gap years or attending community college right after high school. There should be no shame in not knowing what you want to do right away. There should be no shame in taking gap years in the midst of your higher education.
I was lucky enough to have family that supported my decision and respected my reasoning. In fact, I had my family encouraging this decision. But not to just drop out, I needed a plan for what I would do while I decide what to do.
So while I want to tell you that you too should drop out, or take a gap year of sorts, I cannot tell you to do so without a plan. Even if your plan is to live at home wand work to save money, or to travel on a gap year program, during this period you must take actual time to sit down and figure out where your passions lie and what dreams and goals you have for yourself. We don’t encourage this in our young adults as much as we should. Take this time when you are young to find yourself, get to know who you are, and get your ducks in a row.
By getting your ducks in a row and preparing for an independent adulthood. Save your money, develop a plan, and do what you need to do to get your plan in motion. If your plan requires schooling, look into local community colleges to get some basic credits taken care of at a lower cost.
You don’t need to rush it, but you need to work at it, and work at it every day.
You probably want to know math I am doing after dropping out.. After all I am giving all this advice and it would be pretty hypocritical to not take my own advice.
I dropped out of my school in New York, but knew I didn’t want to leave some of the friendships I built out here to go back to Michigan quite yet. But I also knew I didn’t want to have to pay massive rent charges (can’t pay off any debt when you can barely pay the rent!). I decided that I would look for a live-in nanny position since I’ve been a nanny for years. I was lucky enough to find a great position with a great family where I can pay off my debt, figure out my plan, stay close to my friends, and try new things!
As for my plan, I took some steps back and talked with my friends and they thought I was a very caring, thoughtful person who likes to take care of people (completely opposite of what my family has always said. See my blog post about this soon.) Using this knowledge and some personality quizzes, I started to really get to know myself and think about what I wanted to do. I thought I was going to be a nurse for a long time, and maybe I might still be. But the things I have always loved doing has been taking care of people, reading, writing, and organizing anything! It took me a long time to feel comfortable saying I want to be a stay at home mom for my kids. That is my dream. I know I need a backup plan, and so pretty soon I am going to start an online program for Hospitality Management and I would like to open my own event planning business. Until then, I will be blogging, reading, writing, and learning.
I can’t wait for this journey and I hope you follow along!