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Why I'm Not Finishing College (And Why That's Okay)

In high school (Rampart High School) I was drum major, president of the band council, in jazz, concert, marching, and pep band, and played saxophone. Now my hopes to become a band teacher doesn’t seem so weird huh?

When I was growing up, and in high school, one thing was for certain: Everybody goes to college. I planned on going to Colorado State University and majoring in music. I was going to be a high school band teacher! All my friends were going there too (like literally all of them), and I had a roommate, classes all signed up, and the bags were practically packed. When funding fell through, I went to a community college instead and just worked on my gen eds. Eventually I moved to New York City and then joined a traveling singing troupe, and when I finally moved to Nashville three years later, I did two more years at Nashville State. I focused on photography (duh), and I am only about 6 classes away from graduating. That was two years ago though, and I’m not finishing.

My high school graduation ceremony in 2004

Want to know what that’s okay? Because the world isn’t like it was nine years ago when I graduated high school. It was less than a decade ago, but things have changed. Before, you went to high school, went to college, and got a great job. If you didn’t, you were told you’d probably end up flipping burgers for the rest of your life. Well, that’s not exactly true anymore. Now, you’re in danger of flipping burgers whether or not you have a degree, and the wealthiest people are more street savvy than book savvy. College used to guarantee a good job, but everyone went to college and then the recession hit, and now there are way more qualified people than jobs. It’s a little sad, but it’s not all bad.

Me, so full of hopes and dreams!

The good side is that we can be more realistic with this new generation, and give them all the facts. Tell them that college does not guarantee success. Hard work does though, maybe mixed with a little luck. Nobody is saying that college won’t help, but I for one think it’s valid to point out that it doesn’t make sense to get crazy in debt and then just cross your fingers and hope to get a decent enough job to pay for it. Get scholarships or go to a community college, the smart way, because there’s no way to ensure that your tens of thousands of dollars will be worth it. Tell your kids that. Also tell them that college isn’t for everybody. Take me for example. I’ve planned for years to be a photographer and eventually a foster parent. I don’t need a degree for either of those and I will make good money, be a stay at home mom like I always wanted, and make a difference in my own backyard by helping the kids around here who need it. There are so many skilled people who love working for themselves and who don’t have or need a college degree. There are also so many people who never use the degree they have, and waste years trying to pay that debt off. Tell them that money doesn’t matter. Tell them to love their life.

Alan Watts “What if Money Didn’t Matter”

I’m not saying “quit college” or “just don’t do it.” I’m saying that I’m not finishing college, and that’s okay. I want to look back on my life and know that I lived to the fullest. I am proud of my life, of what I have accomplished, and I am ready to tell my future kids that they are free to be anything they want to be, as long as they work hard for it. I don’t want them to waste their lives doing a mundane job to pay the bills. I want them to soar! Watch this video by Alan Watts. It’s worth every moment. Don’t waste your life, live it to the fullest!

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