Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Why I Dropped Out Of College – Was it the right thing to do?

Like most kids that grew up in my area, it was expected that I attend college after high school. I had always been an average student. I was well behaved but I was not the type to try to get straight A's or take advanced classes. I was a bit lazy when it came to school work. Still I went to a decent college after I graduated.

In the beginning, I didn't really know what I wanted to major in. I liked physical activities and my parents mentioned that teaching was a good job to get into. So I decided to major in Physical Education with a minor in Health Education as was recommended by the school.

The first couple years were pretty good. I took mostly general education classes and a couple of major based classes. The 3rd year I was taking almost all Physical Education classes. It was not just about sports; There were a lot of technical classes like learning about the body and how everything about it works. There were also a lot of teacher based classes, learning how to actually teach.

Around this time, I was starting to get tired of college. I was not really motivated to be a teacher. The classes kept getting more specialized, making us learn things that no one needed to know to be a gym teacher. I didn't really want to be a teacher, but I didn't know what else to switch to. This one just one of the many reasons that persuaded me to drop out.

Another reason was the cost. While my parents paid for most of it, I did pay for a portion. I noticed the the costs were high and kept rising, everything from classes, to room and board to books. I felt like the school was more of a business trying to earn money than an educational system. We were not poor, but we certainly were not rich and I knew these costs were hard on my family. Not only that, but my sister would be going to college next year. That would mean they would have to pay twice as much at the same time. I didn't want to cause these expenses for something I was not interested in.

Another thing that stressed me out and was a huge factor in my leaving college was a condition I have called hyperhidrosis which means I sweat a lot, even in normal situations when it is not hot and I am calm and relaxed. I would sweat from places like my hands and feet and this would make it very uncomfortable to be in classes. You might think it is not a big deal, but imagine wetting your palms with water and not drying them. Then go about your life and imagine your hands always being like that. It becomes a big problem and very stressful. A couple times in the 3rd year it got so bad I had to excuse my self from class just because I was near a panic attack because of the sweating. This is something I still deal with to this day, but I have been able to manage it better with treatment.

Another specific example of something that made me want to drop out was when I had this project for one of my physical development classes. We had a big assignment and part of it was to go find some young kids and observe them doing various physical tasks, like running and jumping. Well being a college, living in the dorms, I didn't have access to any kids to observe. I remember even going to a Walmart and considered asking parents if I could observe their kids doing activities, but I was not comfortable doing that. I probably should have contacted the teacher and asked if he had any ideas or solutions, but I didn't. Instead I just didn't do the assignment. This really lowered my grade in the class. I knew I had to make it up on the final so I studied hard and ended up getting a 99% on the cumulative final. Even with this great score I still ended up with a D+ in the class. Because it was a major class, I had to get at least a C to pass it. So basically I was going to have to retake the class where I just got a 99% on the final which was over everything. I was not about to do that.

So it was the summer after my 3rd year and I was working delivering pizzas to earn money over the summer. I had been doing this for the summers and breaks for the past few years so I was comfortable with it and I enjoyed working there. It was decent money, I liked the people I worked with, and the job suited me well. I was not looking forward to going back to school in the fall. After some time I thought about what it would be like if I just kept working and took some time off to decide what I really wanted to do. As soon as I considered this, it was like a huge relief and a weight was taken off my shoulders. Because of the minor I had, I would have had to take at least another 2 years of college that I did not want to do. On the contrary, I could keep working at a job I liked and could earn money and take some time do decide on another career path. So after careful consideration, that is what I did.

Of course my parents and everyone wanted me to stay and finish college, but I stuck to my decision. You might ask, when looking back, do I regret my decision? The answer is no, I didn't regret it then and I still do not regret it to this day. I made the right decision for me. I might have done things differently if I could do everything over, for example, maybe go to a smaller school and major in something else like computers, but at the time, taking a break and working was the right thing to do.

Looking back years later, everything turned out ok. If there is one down side to it, it is that not having a college degree does limit your options more when looking for a job. I have still be able to get other jobs but there would be more opportunities available with a college degree. Because of this, my advice to others would be to try to graduate college if possible.

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