The Value of a Non-Education

The year that I dropped out of school was a very confusing and emotional time. In the beginning, I tried to carry on as though nothing had changed — I kept in touch with my friends, I saw them on weekends, I told them I’d be back in school in a few months — but the months eventually extended into years and communication with friends went from sporadic to non-existent. I became a recluse. I was fourteen years old with absolutely no clue what the future had in store for me. I was spending my days at home, reading books, watching TV, and listening to music, while my friends and classmates were studying, preparing for exams, struggling with IB, and moving closer to high school graduation. There were many times when I felt that I was getting left behind with no way of ever catching up.

In the place of an education, I had an exploration. I mentioned in a previous entry that I was desperate to fit in and be a ‘cool kid’ when I moved to my new school. I remember on my very first day there, I walked into my first period science class, and upon joining a group at a table, the very first thing anyone asked me was if I liked The Moffatts. I did like The Moffatts, in fact they were probably my favorite group at the time (not ashamed to admit it now), but I was afraid to say it in case it was considered to be ‘uncool’ which would result in my being shunned as a loser, so I downplayed it and said I thought they were okay. Turns out, the person asking me was a massive fan. There were so many social influences that went into my attitudes and interests that sometimes, I would end up liking things that I didn’t really like and disliking things that I did like just so I would fit in. When I stopped going to school, I didn’t have to worry about that anymore. I formed my own opinions without fear of ridicule.

Peer pressure and influence is such a huge part of growing up, especially in the teenage years, and I feel that it can contribute greatly to the person we end up becoming. During my years of isolation, I didn’t have peer pressure — I had my siblings, but I never had to worry about impressing them or fitting in, so I was always just myself, and even if they thought that some of my interests were strange, they still loved and accepted me regardless. I spent a lot of time in my own head, pondering my thoughts, and basically being my own person. I discovered that I liked who I was and didn’t mind if others disagreed with my tastes or opinions because I also understood that everyone is different and there is no such thing as pleasing everyone.

Had I stayed in school, I most likely would have gone to university to study business management or marketing because those courses offered more job security and prospects after graduation. It was only after working in marketing and the corporate world when I realised that I didn’t enjoy it and it felt so far from who I really was. Upon realising that, I finally acknowledged what I probably knew all along — that I belonged with books — and that if I ever got the opportunity to go to college, it would be to study literature. It may not generate as much income, unless I end up writing the next bestseller, but at least I would be happy.

This isn’t to say that no education is the best education because it definitely does not apply to everyone, but in my case, I think it worked out okay. I feel very comfortable with the person that I’ve become, confident that I’m on the right path now, and will always be a strong advocate of the saying, everything happens for a reason.

The value of a formal education, on the other hand, is a different story altogether as discussed in


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