If you weren’t heading off to college in the fall, then you were a big ol’ loser. At least that’s the way it was in my high school, and don’t even get me started on what community college attendance would do to your reputation. Of course looking back now, nearly five years after my college graduation, things have an entirely new perspective. All the kids who would’ve made fun of your college fate (or lack there of) are, for the most part, still just as internally miserable as they always were. If I could turn back time I’d flip em’ all the bird and waltz out of high school with a strong sense of self and direction, but alas, time continues to roll forward.
Instead, I chose to attend the obvious college selection among my peers and pursue a degree of minimal interest to me. I always found the ocean fascinating (like most humans) so I enrolled with a major in marine biology, duh. As you can probably assume, this didn’t last long and I was less than captivated by the experience. I dragged my way through the required courses and earned solid C’s along the way. I spent more time smoking weed and staring into space wondering what I was doing there than I did gathering any useful information. Eventually, I changed my major to anthropology, which better suited my interests, and continued to embark on what would be a five year college career. My grades began to reflect my interest in the study of humankind, but what I wanted to do post-college was still hazy and uncertain.
Throughout college I held several waitressing jobs and was more financially stable than most of my friends. I figured when I left college I’d be saying ‘sayonara’ to my life covered in ketchup, man I wish that was true. In case you aren’t aware, becoming an anthropologist for a living is no fucking joke. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I was interested in that career field even though it was something I enjoyed studying, so I continue(d) to plug away in restaurants. Going through college, the money I was spending to take courses wasn’t real, at least not to me at the time. Five years later, and it’s so fucking real now. Waitressing is still my primary source of income, but I also teach yoga and run my own skincare line. I love writing and teaching and developing new recipes for your face, but did I need five years of college and twenty years of payments? Short answer, no. Long answer, also no.
I’m fortunate to have an education and for the discipline it taught me along the way, but the things I love to do require no college degree. Eighteen is crazy young for anyone to know exactly what they want from life, and factoring in the financial burden that this decision could entail makes the whole process sound even more insane. I sure as shit had no clue what the repercussions of my choices would be at the time, I was too concerned with maintaining a certain social image. Now don’t get me wrong, my choice to go to college in no way ‘ruined’ my life. I maintain a happy existence and am beyond thankful for the journey that’s led me to where I stand today. This is merely my way of warning others through sharing my experience to think twice. Don’t apologize for needing extra time to decide what you’re trying to accomplish in this one life of yours. Make decisions based on what your heart truly aches for, not to impress anyone else.
The world is your oyster, shuck it.