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An Open Letter to Someone Thinking of Dropping Out of College

Dear student friend,

If you’re reading this letter, odds are you’re considering dropping out of college. I’m here to tell you that there’s definitely more to it than you may think.

First let me say that college is a privilege, not a right. There are many people who would die to go to college and be able to make a better life for themselves, but college is very expensive. If you have anyone in your life who believes in you enough to help you pay for your college, this decision needs to be thought through even more than usual and definitely discussed with them in depth.

It’s true… college sucks at times. But everything sucks at times, and this is something that sucks that is going to benefit you in multiple ways almost no matter what. If anything, you will have a net in case your plans that don’t take advantage of a college degree fall apart.

I’m not saying that everything is going to fall apart if you don’t have a degree, but something that is true is that the bottom is a lot closer than you think. The bottom for everyone isn’t making $9 an hour without any benefits, but it sure won’t support all the things a comfortable life has (much less a luxury one). 

There are plenty of ways to make good money without a degree, as well. My advice, though, is to have a serious plan involving learning a trade or working somewhere with a guaranteed path to a decent living. Dropping out with no plan for yourself or dropping out and planning on relying on a significant other isn’t stable and will most likely cause unnecessary stress and pain down the road.

If you hate your major but fear of switching to another because it will cost more time and money, I say do it anyway. Being miserable but getting out a year early just isn’t worth it. Being miserable will only make an already difficult experience worse.

Make sure you have tried everything before you get hopeless and nix it all. For example, commuting is a drag, so try to use aid money or save up for a place near school so you’re more likely to finish. Join some more clubs and organizations to keep things fresh and let new people circulate in and out of your life.

If nothing is working, and all the options for improvement are still going to make you miserable, start creating your dropout plan. Talk to people, explore your interests and take a refreshing break in order to feel rejuvenated and inspired in your new field or career.

And remember –  never let anyone tell you that you’re inferior for not having finished college. It’s really not for everyone and you’re gonna be just fine.


Madeline xo

Photo credit: 1.

Madeline Wheeler is a journalist major with a focus in print and online journalism at VCU. In her free time, she enjoys drinking floral teas, going to underground concerts in smoky basements, and hunting for keys to the past in antique stores.
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