How to drop out of school and not completely wreck your life

Going back to school? Consider dropping out instead

I attended university for two years and it was a complete and utter waste of time.

And money. Lots of money. Like, $30,000 worth of money.

Remember how much you hated school when you were a kid? Going to class, from kindergarten on, was boring. And when it wasn’t a snoozy smorgasbord of tepid books and rote exercises it was scary. Random beatings are a very real concern when you’re a pre-teen squirt.

My post-secondary experience wasn’t much different.

I was enrolled in education at the University of Saskatchewan before discovering I was allergic to children. It’s an amazing path for some, but apparently it’s also not for everyone. Especially me, but especially after an 11-year-old nearly kicked the crap out of me.

Random beatings are also a very real concern when you’re a milquetoast adult.

So, I did what any reasonable, broke and dejected student would do.

I dropped out.

But despite being the drunken uncle of the education world, the prospects aren’t always so bleak for the dropout.

Going to school is a noble pursuit. But so is playing bass in a terrible punk band. Or working in the service industry. Dropping out? Total life-affirming party.

Because, just like in real life, there is a lot to be learned from the drunken uncle. Mostly how to not be that person.

After a couple of years of a gratifying career in the freelance pizza delivery business, real life scared me right back into school. I eventually emerged with a four-year BA with honours and a better idea of what I wanted out of life – mostly to not hang out with six-year-olds all day.

As it turns out, plenty of people drop out of school only to enrol again and succeed. And they do it without completely destroying their life.

Ominocity recently caught up with a college flunky for a chat on why dropping out of school was the best thing ever. As it turns out we didn’t have to look too hard. Along with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, Ryan Smith, respected internet yogi and Ominocity founder, was similarly an ivory tower dropout.

Spoiler alert: In the end, he turned out okay. Sorta…

Ominocity: Describe your year at school before you dropped out.

Ryan Smith: I started computer sciences when I was 17. This was around the same time I discovered skateboarding, girls and alcohol. I essentially went from being a high honours student to a deadbeat that forgot about midterms. My grades plummeted so much that the university asked me to leave for a year.

OM: How did you break the news to your parents?

RS: I put it off as long as possible until it exploded in my face.

OM: Ouch. So did you wreck your life or what?

RS: I took two years off and worked for a super shitty assembly line. But during that time I started creating websites and learning how to do the stuff that I wanted to learn that the university courses weren’t teaching me.

OM: Did you ever go back to school?

RS: After getting laid off, and also having my landlord sell the house I was living in within that same month, I moved back in with my parents. I went back to school because I was fucked and didn’t know what else to do. So I started over with a new major, and changed it to sociology to have something a little more interesting. I finished it slowly because during this time my home business actually started bringing in a paycheck.

OM: So is your current degree useful?

RS: My degree is now an expensive piece of art hanging on my wall. The internet company I started while taking my two years off school has become my full-time career and likely makes way more money than I could in the field of sociology. Whatever that is.

OM: Any tips for our readers who are considering dropping out?

RS: If you are living with your parents don’t wait for the absolute last minute to tell them you’re dropping out.

– Featured photo from Flickr user “Poster Boy NYC” – Creative Commons.