How do I escape the College trap?!!?

 Bryant Hill (@Bman32)6 years, 1 month ago

I’m almost 18, a senior in High School, and its right about that time when everyone is applying to colleges and that stuff. I’ve never really wanted to go to college, I hate our public education system, I see too much indoctrination of what society wants and no real learning. I don’t expect College to be any different, but everyone says it is. I get a lot of pressure from my parents, who expect me to go, and will accept no other option. It is also bad luck that they are both teachers. 

I really just want to break free from the life society has created for me. All my life I’ve been told what to do, and I just move up the steps like I’m ‘supposed’ to. I think that path leads right into college, jobs, and down the beaten path. I want to get as far away from that as possible. I want to travel the world, surround myself with more art and culture, and create more art, and live my true passions; art, nature, camping,etc.  I want to go to Burning Man, meditate more and I want to be happy for myself for once, not because I’m supposed to.

The hardest things is telling my parents, because they wont have it any other way than if i do what everyone else is doing. I don’t want them to think I’m a failure, but I don’t know how to talk to them about college and my own future.

 I want to break free from authority and society and redefine what life means for me. I don’t know exactly what that means I’ll be doing, either, and my parents need a specific plan of what I’ll do after high school. They are under the impression that without a college degree I’ll be a truck driver or a garbage man. I just don’t believe that. But I don’t know what my life will exactly entail either. How do I convince them to let me go my own way? What things can I say to avoid going into more institutionalized education? I don’t want to feel stuck anymore in life, I want to get out. 

August 20, 2015 at 9:52 am
Maya (15) (@prethoughts) 6 years, 1 month ago ago

I can’t help but think that part of the reason you have this hatred for our education system is because both of your parents are teachers. You probably don’t wanna hear this but go to college. I’m in the same position as you are, 18, heading into senior year, starting the common app. I fucking hate the college process, it’s unnecessarily tedious. But think of it as a way to get away from your parents and surround yourself in a culture of kids your own age looking for the same things as you. It’s so much different from high school, even when you’re stressed out about a class there are a bunch of other kids going through the same thing that’ll just wanna escape with you, so you won’t feel alone and it won’t be as bad. Go to a school that’s far out there, somewhere with opportunities to do the activities you like, go camping, travel, meditate, think. Yes, it is 4 years of your life, but once you’re out on your own you’re a part of the fucked up society that you’re trying to escape anyway, so why rush in to it. YOU WILL MAKE MORE MONEY AS A COLLEGE GRADUATE. Money that you can use to take vacations and shit lol You’d regret it with all of your heart if you passed up an opportunity that people would kill to have 

Just keep thinking about it lol College is your opportunity to “get out” and not “feel stuck”. Putting yourself into the adult society will certainly get you stuck. It sucks that it has to be this way, that we HAVE to choose and worry about our future, but unfortunately that’s the way it is and you just have to make the best out of it. 

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Patrick (1) (@buddahpat314) 6 years, 1 month ago ago

First of all listen to yourself.  If your feeling this way you need them to understand that.  Sit down with them and outline your concerns.  I have faith if this is what you truly want then show them that and they will listen.

They may not understand but it’s your journey not there’s.  I think if you express wanting to go a different path embrace it and let them see how you can do things differently. They are teachers so show them how for you the pursuit of knowledge maybe not be the pursuit of school.I wish you the best of luck and feel free to ask anything.
Love and Light Patrick

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SoulPerfection (25) (@soulperfection) 6 years, 1 month ago ago

At a pivotal turning point in your life i want to put emphasis on the
notion of following your own intuition and following what RESONATES
with YOU and YOU ONLY.
If you put your Meditation exercises into
practice now and keep it up, you will not need to KNOW you path, but
will automatically be on it by following that which resonates with you.
Very
few know their path, as it changes according to the insight you gain.
So go with the flow and follow your gut and all that you need
will come your way.
As for the parents. They will continue to
push their views on you as will the rest of society. State your truth
and make them accept it. If they refuse it will create friction and
dissonance in your relationships with them, if this happens make them
aware that this will be the result of them not letting you live your
purpose.

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natasha (1) (@natasha) 6 years, 1 month ago ago

I’m 25 and I completely understand where you’re coming from. Looking back at my life, I’d say if you don’t want to go to college right after high school, definitely take a year off. Travel all you can. Do crazy stuff. CIEE has some great programs for gap years. Get some real work experience. Join Americorps and live in the woods for a year building trails. Work for WWOOF. You will be so much more mature than your peers if you do decide to apply to college in the coming year. College and jobs love that stuff! They love people who think outside the box because they’ve learned how dumb most of the population is and, in the future, creative and unconventional minds will be the ones that lead. I made the mistake of trying to figure my life out at 18 and as a result I’ve gone to two colleges, switched majors three times, applied to grad school once, and now I’m thinking of going back after I’ve finally figured out my passion (it took me three years of working after college and doing crazy weird sh*t to figure it out). So my advice to you is to do as much as you can, make as many mistakes as you can, and trust that you are on the right path. Your parents are adults and they want what’s best for you, based on what they think is best, not based on what you think is best. They ultimately just want you to be happy, but the problem is their definition of happiness may be different than yours. Understand that they are really just trying to help. They may never understand your choices, but that’s okay.

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Brandon (1) (@BrandonFecteau) 6 years, 1 month ago ago

I have been out of high school for two years now. I have tried college, and I have tried taking time off. From a personal standpoint, I have achieved much more happiness from being out of school than I have in school. I have also been able to teach myself well more than I have ever learned in school. It is really personal preference, but in my opinion, mass education is not the way to go. 

If you don’t want to go to college, then by all means, don’t! It’s your life to live. You have equal opportunity to change your mind and go to college at any point in your life, you might as well enjoy it while you can. Who knows? It could work in your favor. If not, then you can try out college.

As for your parents, they will understand. Sure, being teachers themselves, they may not understand your decision at first, but they will come to accept it. Tell them you want some time off school, you did just go through 12 years of it. Also, if it helps, you could try getting a job while you are not going to school (that worked out for my parents).

Do what makes you happy. Do what you want to do. Too many people get sucked up in this idea of the American way; go to school, go to college, get some job making some amount an hour and live miserable lives. You never know what could come out of your life so make the most out of it and follow your dreams. Hope you are making the right decision and live a great life from whatever the outcome!

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Dani (0) (@watchthesky) 6 years, 1 month ago ago

Ok hold on…before you dismiss college entirely because you don’t like the way society works let me tell you a little about myself and my own college experience. First of all college is not like high school unless you pick a school close to home where you have to see your parents all the time and know a ton of the other students from your graduating class and are forced to study something like economics because that’s practical. Sounds pretty miserable, huh? So here’s the other way to do it: think of the place you’ve always wanted to live because it’s filled with art and culture. How about California? How about Ashville, North Carolina? How about Colorodo? How about Florida? Once you think of a few states that sound really appealing apply to schools ONLY in these states. That way your parents cant make you go to the cheap state school close to home and it seems like they really want you to go to college. Here’s a trick for getting into college even if you dont have the best grades-simply study really hard for the SATS, pop an adderall or other study med (I’m sorry if thats offensive but realistically there is no way any one can care about a test for 5 hours straight otherwise) and own shit up. I got a scholarship to Univeristy of Miami being a B student and not joinging honors society or any other stupid clubs or sports just because of my test scores. Also, put a lot of thought into your college essays. You seem like a creative person, which probably means you know how to bend the rules without actuallty breaking them. If you apply to liberal artsy schools and you dont like the prompt they give you, twist it in a way that you do and generally just submit quality original writing. Any school who doesn’t respect that is not the school for you. 

So lets just say you follow my advice, get in to school somewhere in Cali and your parents are super proud of you and happy that they think theyve convinced you to do what they wanted after all. Is it too ridiculous to think that they wouldn’t let you major in art? Thats a way to go to college that is really fun and almost definitely will not leas to a boring job. Trust me I have a degree in creative writing. I chose to study that because its what I love and now that ive graduated I’m completely screwed job wise but i love my life! You mentioned burning man which is what really made me want to reply to this post: I’m a total festival junkie. And where did I pick up this lifestyle? By meeting other cray artsy people who were willing to escape the confines of the real world for as long as possible and go on adventures with me. If I didnt go to college I wouldnt have been able to do this because my parents would have stopped me. The reality of college is that if you are in a place you love and study your passion you honestly will not spend even a fraction of the amount of time doing work that you did in high school. The amount of free time you have if you choose is literally mind boggling. And yet its perfectly acceptable for 4 whole years when society asks what you’re doing to simply say “oh I’m in college” as though that takes up all of your life. I’m glad i realized this early on because i went to atleast 30 different camping festivals throughout the country and even in costa rica and canada, met so many amazing people, took lots of life changing psychedelics, and still, because i understand how to read a syllabus (as in if attendance is not part of your grade and you can pass without attending, don’t go to class!) and I studied something I was already pretty good at, I managed to get the grades my parents wanted while still having the time of my life. 

Heres the thing about most parents:they think at 18, they’re better at making decisions about your life than you are. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, but theyve supported you for this long and unless you have an alternative viable solution at the ready like an awesome job lined up, this argument will be a source of stress for years. So just go, but make it your own adventure. Thats the compromise. Your parents are going to be in your life forever. They dont have to know about burning man or camping, as long as your grades are good you can have whatever kind of life you want. Its a pretty small sacrafice. i wish i was still in school all the time because then i did the same thing im doing now: writing, traveling, festivaling, except now they think im a loser going nowhere since i dont have a job like everyone else my age. But since I’m 23, I can disagree with them. So wait til you graduate to let your parents know what you’re actually going to do with your life. In the meantime, just pretend you agree and go somewhere far away where theyre not there to stop you from creating art or studying abroad or falling in love or any other of the amazing things that happen in college. Worst case scenario, go for a year and if you hate it you can always leave, I hope this helps!

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Brandon (1) (@BrandonFecteau) 6 years, 1 month ago ago

That’s definitely a good way to look at it! My problem was that I went to a small community college near home just to save money. Not the way to go. I am currently thinking about going to a school and learning to record music, I just need to find the right place to pursue it!

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EtherealSoul (10) (@EtherealSoul) 6 years, 1 month ago ago

I think you’ll find yourself much happier if you follow your heart instead of living up to your parents’ or society’s expectations. Countless people in their twenties are now stuck working crappy jobs because they have racked up so much debt in student loans that they have no option but to settle for whatever job they can get. A lot of them are probably working in fields that are not even related to the degree they obtained. You don’t have to be a slave to all that if you don’t want it. Be courageous and make your own path in life. Why don’t you live life for a bit to discover your deepest passions and return to college later if you feel it’s necessary? Also, college isn’t the only answer for post-secondary education. Young people should be encouraged to explore other options, like online certification programs that require significantly less money and time to obtain. A four-year institution is seriously not the only option after high school, but so many people have been conditioned to view that as the only path to follow.

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