I should be embarrassed about this little factoid of mine, but I'm not. Each one of those times I attended and had to walk away from it all happened for a reason. There was something going on in my life that made me pull away and I'll talk about it below, but again no shame. Life is funny and we are all just bumping along.
The first time I quit I was going to my hometown college, College of the Desert. It was straight out of high school, that summer actually. I jumped right in and had no idea what I wanted to do, so General Education was my focus during that time. Ticking off the pre-requisites to take the fun classes. I was happy to reconnect with a middle-school friend of mine, but school wasn’t my focus, work was. I quit in the middle of my first fall semester and turned my focus to making money at a minimum wage job. The following year I moved out to San Diego.
After living in San Diego for a year I convinced myself to go back to school, Mesa Community College. A beautiful campus that made me feel good about restarting this journey. First semester was of course full of fillers, somewhat boring classes. But there was new people surrounding me, it was a very uncomfortable comfort. I also knew what I wanted my focus to be (temporarily), so the classes had a different feeling. I was able to see school in real time, a way to take in what I was learning and how it could be used with my business, which at the time was a t-shirt company I was going to start with my sister and BFFL Jessica. In my 2nd semester I actually signed up for an Intro to Fashion, I was in deep, but this semester also lead me to a current love. Graphic Design. I took and Adobe Photoshop class that blew my mind. Unfortunately hardships happened to me and my then Fiancé (now husband) and I had to quit in the middle of that semester. So we could move back home.
My last try at college was recently, a few years ago I enrolled at Copper Mountain College. A friend of mine had broken down the loan system and encouraged me to enroll, I could learn a little something while also getting a decent income to balance home life and school life. It was fun! The campus was cute and open to the vibrant desert, I loved it. I jumped back into my writings because of a great English Professor, which ended up following me to the next semester. I also got to learn coding (for a short stint I wanted to do computer science. Ha!) And then during my 3rd semester my little family hit another hardship, my husband lost his job and then the same day my computer broke. I tried to hold on to the semester as much as I could, dropping one class and then another and then all of them. I had switched gears from schooling to working as much as I could to keep us afloat. Husband took this time to be at home and plan out his next chapter.
I reflect on all these different times a lot. During my last bout, at CMC, I remember sitting in my Intro to Art class. The professor asked "how many of you consider yourselves intellectuals?" I'm a thinker and love discussing, so I confidently raised my hand. To my surprise I was the only one, besides the professor, that sat in a class of about 30 with a raised hand.. This wrapped up my college career with a bow. I knew then that it wasn’t for me. I hate the way college works. Sign up, Buy the expensive books. Listen to Prof discuss the expensive books. Read from the expensive books. Test from the expensive books. Oh and let's not forget about the group projects. This is not what I fantasized about higher learning. I wanted great discussions, I wanted lots of connections, and I wanted a group of classmates that actually thought they were intellectuals.
So between times in college, I taught myself. I would come up with an interest and would immerse myself in all things it, and become obsessed. College wasn’t for me, and that’s ok. I found a way I could learn about my interests and made it work for me, resources are out there and it’s funny how easy it is to learn anything. I'm currently fully enrolled in YouTube University, to sharpen my skills as a storyteller and creator. I have great professors, a variety of material and discussions I can have and the ability to reach out to my fellow creators, locally or virtually. I make my own hours and my own calendar. I can break when I want to, and fine tune any lesson as much as I wish. And I started a business in that time.
I found a way around the educational system that has been setting the rules of how it must be done, but as we keep moving forward we should look back on how it was done before, by showing and telling. We traded services for goods, goods and services that were created from lineage and pride. Craftsmen and Artisans ran the world, and slowly we are moving towards that way again. Things that last and are made with heart are rising up. It’s not about the 9 to 5 or the degree, it’s about work ethics and end product.
So if you’re having a hard time getting into normal schooling and career paths, don’t be scared to chase those interests. Be creative and sneak it into your life, because there’s a reason why you’re restless about this idea. Read books, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube (seriously you can learn ANYTHING on YouTube), but just #makeshithappen.