Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Dropping Out of School

I could have graduated High School last year. I could have done the GED during or after 9th grade. Sometimes I wish I had, but I know why it is rational that I didn't.

Your high school experience is what you yourself make of it. Are you there to socialize? Take easy classes and goof off all the time. Are you there to just "get through it"? Do only required courses and graduate early, or do the the GED. And if you do it after/during Junior year, you've been wasting your time so far and will likely waste more after. Yes it is only one more year so suck it up and get through it. If you fear bad grades, get your college stuff done early before they see anything after first term.

Or are you there to learn? Take honors and AP classes, screw required courses, you can make those up last-minute in senior year. For all of my self-motivation and drive to learning new things, had I dropped out in 9th grade I'd be nowhere near where I am now. And it's not what I learned in school that's done that (this year has been particularly dull even with 4 AP classes), but the continual exercise of my brain. I'm forced to think, or I fail. Now my brain's used to it, and I easily go through complicated material on my own that has nothing to do with what I'm doing in school, which to me has become much more of a time-waster. I want more than they can feed me, and I don't want to spend a year reviewing the past x years of grammar while cramming vocab (AP French, AP Latin) or relearning what I learned in 6th grade (most of AP Statistics).

I hate the public school system. It's broken, and needs to be replaced, not "fixed". Fundamental changes instead of tinkering with a few variables here and there. (What I'd replace it with is the subject of another discussion.) It treats the acquiring of knowledge as a day job, and thus our students are becoming bored with it and worse at it, and the "good enough" bar lowers as society strives for mediocrity. But it's still something that should be gone through.

GEDs aren't equivalent to diplomas where it counts--in the minds of employers and colleges. To employers it signals giving up because of boredom or difficulty or inability to invest long periods of time in anything, and they're not going to hire someone who might up and leave. Colleges say they don't care so much but they do; though what they're really looking for is high school graduates who have taken hard classes. Any jock can get a diploma or GED.

Finally, if you drop out of high school, that becomes a much more tempting option in anything you do later in life, jobs and colleges included. A Bachelor's Degree today is what a high school diploma used to be years ago; it's expected by most respectable (and decent-waged) jobs. High school is a relatively sweet three or four year deal if you treat your experience in it properly too. But remember most Bachelor's Degrees take another four years, all the time you're now an adult and expected to live within your means, which probably aren't much. I'm about to assume around $30k in debt just for the first year. I'll be even more screwed with paying that off if I drop out. We'll see if I can put together some money-making projects during school, but I'm not going to drop out to put all my time in them. It's a bad strategy.

Posted on 2009-06-12 by Jach

Tags: school, stupidity


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Anonymous November 19, 2016 10:54:03 AM Yeah, I dropped out of school immediately at 15. I saw no reason to waste my time with it. I hate how everyone says, "Oh, I was a bratty kid like you one day and look where it got me. I have such a hard time getting a job now."
For one, not everyone who skips school does it to be "bad" or rebel. Some people have bad social anxiety or can't concentrate due to stress factors back at home, such as an unstable living environment. If a child is not given the support they need, they will not be as likely to succeed.
I was luckier that because of my diagnosis, I was able to start off on social security. Some people see this as me being disabled, but there is no rule that says I can never get a job. If I do get one and I wind up making more than the SSI pays, I will eventually be kicked off of it.
I went back to school to get my highschool diploma a couple years later through a program at a local college. Wound up getting the best grades I had since elementary. Granted it was just my diploma, but it got me on the honor roll and was recognized as a regular credit class. Out of all 9,000 students that attended that quarter (including most of who were taking regular college courses), I was in the top 900.. I only got one or two bad grades in my writing class, one of which was a discussion post that I forgot to reply on. I graduated that class with a 99 percent and the math course with a 94. So yeah, it's not ever too late nor does it mean you're doomed to failure for life. I know it's not the greatest accomplishment, but it proves I can be successful.. I just wasn't ready yet. To me, it is something I can feel proud of.
Worse comes to worse, you can always lie about your transcripts.. Hehe.
But seriously, my friend had very little formal schooling and only got his GED because it was required. He felt like it was a waste of time and didn't understand why people kept telling him he would feel so much better once he accomplished it. He later went on to own businesses and became wealthy and really good with hacking and computer programming. He even worked on the side for the government. If you really are an intelligent person, you don't need a certificate from a school to have it recognized. This was a while ago, though. He is 50 now. What one was able to accomplish then may not be so easy now..
Maybe you should check out a book called College Without High School. Society may put a lot of pressure on its importance, but I believe you can actually take some college courses without your GED or diploma. It may not be required for that, as it is for finding a job.. The reason I decided to go back? I just happen to like school now.
Jach January 01, 2017 02:16:40 AM Thanks for sharing. Community college is definitely easier to get into than a more traditional university even if you lack a diploma or good grades or whatever. (And if you're smart, you can still take the ACT/SAT and if you score well that counts a lot more than a diploma.) And once you've got some history at a community college, if you wanted to transfer to a bigger university they're going to care about your recent college history way more than any presence or absence of a high school degree.

I finished my college education and got a BS degree out of it. Honestly I felt more accomplished by beating the game Dark Souls. School drained me a lot more than I expected, and if I'm honest, it wasn't strictly necessary for my current job and income. I work as a programmer, tech in general is one of those special fields where it's possible to do really well without any formal education. I don't regret my education but I don't use it at my job, I only use parts of it in side projects.
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