10 Things College Dropouts Want You to Know

Updated on May 17, 2020
davidlivermore profile image

David has had a variety of life experiences which he loves to share with his readers.

Those who are college dropouts want you to know how they feel and think.
Those who are college dropouts want you to know how they feel and think. | Source

I'm a College Dropout

I admit it, I dropped out of college. Not once, but twice! It's a hard thing to admit, since I don't like to admit my faults, especially something as big as this.

It's something I always look back on with regret, but I am not regretful for the life I have lived. It's why I wrote this article, so those who did complete college know how college dropouts feel.

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1. There is a Reason Why We Dropped Out

There are dozens, probably hundreds, of reasons why someone may drop out of college. It could be a financial issue, a time issue, or a personal issue. Any of these reasons could be why someone decided to drop out of college.

In my case, I had multiple things that were hampering my college education - difficulties getting along with my family, video games, and the person I was dating at the time. All of that lead me to leave college, not once, but twice. I preferred to work, spend my money on video games, and being with my girlfriend. I eventually left my city to be with my girlfriend, leaving everything behind. Also, I didn't take classes in the field I wanted. In fact, I was discouraged by family to take classes in the field I wanted.

Some college dropouts weren't ready for college.  So why were they there in the first place?
Some college dropouts weren't ready for college. So why were they there in the first place? | Source

2. We Weren't Ready For College

This is another reason why someone may drop out of college, but I have this separate since it is the underlining item why someone may drop out - they weren't ready yet. Someone may not be financially, physically, or emotionally ready for college. Going to college right after high school is an expectation, but it shouldn't feel mandatory.

For me, I knew I wasn't ready the first day of classes. I was standing outside waiting for my math class to start and felt very apprehensive about it. I wasn't open to learning, so it was all downhill from there. I'm unsure if a break inbetween high school and college would have helped, but I knew I wasn't ready for college right after high school. My mother pushed me to college right after high school, even though I wasn't ready for it.

Those who are college dropouts may feel embarrassed and exposed in front of those who achieved a college education.
Those who are college dropouts may feel embarrassed and exposed in front of those who achieved a college education. | Source

3. It's Embarrassing

Those who have dropped out of college aren't proud of it, obviously. It's not like we wanted to. It's even worse when the college experience is brought up among our peers. It's hard to talk about the experience when we didn't experience it at all.

In my current job, a majority of my co-workers are college graduates, some even being doctors. For the most part no one has asked why I didn't go to college, except one person. She stated I was so smart that it was surprising I didn't go to college. I then had to admit I did, but I didn't make it. It was an embarrassing story to tell. I even left out details, such as trying college a second time only to drop out again, because I didn't want to embarrass myself even further.

Are you a college dropout who went back to college and succeeded?

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4. We Want to Try Again

Those of us who failed college want to try again, over and over. We know a college education can be very beneficial for our future. However, there are many walls that are put up preventing us from doing so.

For me, it's because I am happy in my chosen career path. I actually have a job that requires a college education, but, I was able to obtain it due to my job experience. So I feel fortunate. I also enjoy my free time, so I don't feel I could do college and work at the same time and succeed at both. However, I did take an online college course many years later, which I was able to pass with an "A" grade with no problem at all. So while I don't want to try again, I know I would be able to.

It can feel as if those who have a college education look down on those who do not have a college education.
It can feel as if those who have a college education look down on those who do not have a college education. | Source

5. We Don't Like How College Graduates Look at Us

While this isn't true of all college graduates, there are those who look down upon those who did not go to college, or, who went but dropped out. It's not hard to tell when someone is looking down on us. It's not a pleasant feeling and it's completely undeserved.

I remember one co-worker I had, who had a college education. Despite me being her supervisor, I could tell she was looking down on me because I didn't have a college education, yet, I was her supervisor. It was probably one of the reasons why we never got along. She also flaunted her education often, which make the situation even worse.

Were you able to achieve everything you wanted despite not having a college education?

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6. College Isn't Everything

Those who failed college also realize that college isn't everything. Sure, we took a different path, but we still gain experience and knowledge in that other path. Our lives can still be very good and we can contribute a lot, without a college education.

For me, I garnered a lot of work experience. It's why I was able to promote to a position that typically requires a college education. My father makes as much money as my boss does. My father has no college education, but my boss does. That right there shows college isn't everything.

Those who lack a college education are not stupid.
Those who lack a college education are not stupid. | Source

7. We Aren't Stupid

A lot of people assume college dropouts are stupid, plain and simple. We aren't. Everyone has the capacity to learn and grow, with or without college. We are just as much capable of learning on the job as it is learning in a text book. Knowledge can be garnered in many different ways.

In my case, I have performed a lot of job duties with no instruction at all. As my job duties expanded, various areas were asking for things to be done that they couldn't or didn't know how to do, despite some of those persons being college educated. Due to that, I taught myself how to do complicated things - such as programming in Microsoft Access and editing videos. I taught myself how to do those things and was successful in doing so.

Do you feel college dropouts are just as capable as those who graduated college?

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8. We Are Capable

College dropouts are capable in many things - work, college, home life, and so on. Just because someone dropped out of college doesn't mean they aren't capable of accomplishing many things. Education doesn't directly correlate to capability.

In almost every job interview I have had, I don't look great on paper. I don't have a college education, so it doesn't look like I am capable of a lot. But once I get in a job, I prove how much I am capable of. I am acknowledged for that. Those without a college education may surprise you.

Those without a college education can be just as hard working as those with a college education.
Those without a college education can be just as hard working as those with a college education. | Source

9. We Are Hard Workers

College is hard work. It can be assumed that since people drop out of college, they aren't hard workers. That isn't the case at all. In fact, some of the best people I have worked with had no college education at all. There could be many reasons why that could be and they are different for each person.

In my case, I wanted to prove I could be a great worker despite not having a college education. I work harder than most people I work with. That doesn't mean they don't work hard, but I feel like I constantly have to prove myself. I have seen some people use their college education as a crutch and don't work as hard because of it. I am glad that wasn't me.

The stereotypical successful entrepreneur is Mark Zuckerberg - the young college dropout who dreamed up a crazy idea while in his dorm room.

— Vivek Wadhwa

10. We Can be Successful

Those who lack a college education can be successful. While having a successful career is important, it's not everything either. Some may find success in other ways - family, volunteerism, activism, and so on.

For me, I found success in my career despite not having a college education. I have a job in a field I enjoy, I write in my free time where I have enjoyed success, and I get to do all of the things I wanted to do. I own a home, a car, go on vacations when I want to, and so on. I achieved success even though I am not a college graduate.

There are millionaires who are college dropouts:

Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder

Evan Williams, Twitter Co-Founder

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder

Steve Jobs, Apple Founder

Travis Kalanick, Uber Founder

Are you a college drop out and want to share your experiences? Then please do so in the comments below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 David Livermore


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    • davidlivermore profile imageAUTHOR

      David Livermore 

      2 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Not many, mostly SQL for programming in Access.

      As far as video editing, I use a variety of Adobe products, primarily Premiere Pro.

    • AlexisG profile image


      2 years ago

      Your article is very well thought out and you hit a lot of great points. It's said that college dropouts get a bad rap from less mindful folks or some hold the idea that college=intelligence. No no, quite wrong, very wrong. As you mentioned too a person can hold a high role without an education, after all school doesn't teach one everything or dictate that the capacity someone has to learn. OH and lets not forget that the richest man in the world was a college dropout...

      You mentioned programming and video editing, what languages do you use/know?


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