I didn’t go to college after I graduated from high school.
I never liked school, and the last thing I wanted to do was spend four more years in it. My dad — who loved that I wasn’t going to college — suggested I start a blog.
I wasn’t excited about the idea, but I also had no clue what else to do with my life, so I started it. It’s now been three years since I became a blogger and four months since I went all in on Medium.
I haven’t had any “real” success, but I don’t care about that.
I turn twenty-two in December, and lots of people I knew in high school are graduating from college soon, but I don’t care that I haven’t found huge success yet.
I’m young, and I have time.
Some people think it’s crazy that I’m trying to be a writer. Unsurprisingly, other people think it’s even more insane that I’m trying to be a writer without a college education.
To them, without getting a college degree, I’m not a real writer.
College isn’t the only way to receive an education
The dreaded question for everyone who skipped out on college is, “Why don’t you go to college so you can get a job?”
Uh… I have a job. I’ve told you about it — multiple times? Nope? Okay.
I can tell people I’m a writer or that I earn money from freelancing, and they can smile and nod, but they don’t actually give a crap about the words coming out of my mouth.
All they’re hearing is, “I didn’t go to college, and I don’t have the paper that says I’m officially a writer.”
I may not have gone on to receive a “higher education,” but I’m still a writer.
“Some people get an education without going to college. The rest get it after they get out.”
— Mark Twain
If you want to become a lawyer, doctor, psychologist, or anything else of that nature — obviously, you need to go to school.
Everyone else can get away with not attending college for what they want to pursue. Artists, chefs, bakers, singers, and creators of all kinds don’t have to go to college.
Here’s the thing: Education matters. How you get educated does not.
Years ago, college seemed to be the only way to be prosperous, but in this Internet era, all of that has changed. Universities aren’t the only path to success anymore.
You don’t have to go to college to learn to build a prosperous app, to become a writer, or to start a blog. You can receive an education through online courses, articles, and books.
How many writers have published books without having gone to college? How many people have gone on to build businesses that didn’t learn about business in school?
I’ll tell you how many — a buttload.
Just because we learned what we do online, doesn’t make our jobs less serious
I’m a writer because I write. I do it every single day. I learn new things and apply them, and I put in the work. I share my articles online, and I used to be get paid as a freelancer.
That’s why I’m a writer.
I wouldn’t be any more of a writer if I’d gone to college to learn about it.
This applies to everyone. Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because they build businesses and make money. Photographers are photographers because they take pictures no one else can take.
College wouldn’t make you any more of who you are. It would only give you the “official” paper that says you are.
“If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want to an education, go to the library.”
— Frank Zappa
I just started writing on Medium, and it’s not like I’m making thousands of dollars a month I can live off of (yet), but this is my job.
When will people stop asking me why I don’t go to college to get a job as if the one I have right now isn’t real?
We learned online, but it’s still legit.
They won’t believe in you until you succeed
Do you know what you do when someone attacks your college-less career? You have two options.
- You explain to them everything I just talked about — that college isn’t the only path to success.
- Or you can walk away. Change the topic. Go to the bathroom and scream because people don’t get it.
The truth is most people don’t care what you have to say. You can explain all you want, make a powerpoint presentation, and show them all the goddamn evidence, but they still won’t care.
Do you know when they’ll finally care? When you’ve won.
Some people might not support my college-less writing career right now, but if I ever reach the point where I become a bestselling author whose about to have her book become a movie, guess who’s going to ask for free tickets?
That’s the hard truth for anyone doing something unconventional and also skipped college to do so.
People won’t be proud of you for taking risks and following your dreams. They don’t care that you’re doing the thing that makes you happiest in the world.
They want you to follow society’s rules — the ones they followed.
But you should be proud of yourself for the journey you’re taking. For trying and taking risks.
Don’t try to prove them wrong
People always tell you to prove your haters wrong, but I’ve found that’s too much pressure. That’s almost like living your life for someone else, and every time you do something, you’ll be doing it for the wrong reasons.
You’ll no longer write, act, sing, or anything because you love it. You’ll do it because you want to prove people wrong, and that lead’s to burnout. Trust me, I know.
Be okay with where you are, with not having the success they want you to have.
Everyone else, they just think they’re successful. The reality is that most of them probably wake up, miserable, and dreading the day ahead of them.
Recognize you’re already successful because you’re doing what you love. You’re one of the lucky ones, and you should own that.
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