Bullish: Is College Worth It? And How Important is Youthful Success?


Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)

Jennifer Dziura writes career and life advice on TheGloss and headquartered on GetBullish.com.

When I was in college and running a company, I considered dropping out. Bill Gates did, right?

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have known what to do with myself. Dealing with adult life on your own for the first time is maybe not super-compatible with managing a team of other people.

But what about that feeling that you’re missing the boat, and that other, younger, snappier people are getting ahead?

Let’s see a letter from a young reader who is already feeling the OMG-younger-people-are-getting-ahead-of-me pressure — although all of us can be susceptible to it.

Firstly, thanks for writing articles that say “ITS OKAY” and “JUST DO IT” to everything that I’ve been hiding in my mind and secretly dreaming about since I was 13-years-old.

Secondly, have any advice for a college freshman who doesn’t know whether or not to continue her education? I could literally drop out and do what I wanted to do (within the realms of fashion/styling, writing for publications, networking and being a general badass and perhaps starting my own business).

Yet, there are a lot of factors that go into that. Like money. And parents. Etc. Because, even though Tavi G. started Rookie before I had my first boyfriend, I’m still 18. S.O.S.!

I’ve got a lot of questions in my inbox, but I think you had me at “S.O.S.” Good question! And thanks for the compliments.

So the main question seems to be whether you should stay in school.

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    • JennyWren

      This is a really good, balanced article. I’m a TA in a public university, and it’s sometimes hard to navigate that line between “college is ridiculously expensive and a waste of time” (although, I must admit, student debt in the US is terrifying to me. It absolutely dwarfs my UK student loan debt, which just sits there quietly accruing the most meager interest imaginable until I can earn enough to pay for it) and “but everyone requires a college degree nowadays, so you may as well just get one.”

      The reality is that college should absolutely not be recommended as a silver bullet solution (I really like Michelle Obama’s approach of advocating for community or technical colleges), but it can be a fantastic opportunity IF YOU USE IT THE RIGHT WAY. It definitely shouldn’t just be a place where you fart around for four years while you figure out what you want to do, because by the time you’ve done that you’ve already missed out on a heck of a lot of opportunities.

    • GarnetHenderson

      Yes to all of this. I was pretty burned out by the end of college, but I’m glad I stuck it out, especially because of all the resources you mention. I had very generous financial aid though, which was a big part of my motivation to stay.

    • http://adelecochrane.wordpress.com/ Adele

      I attended a technical college after an abortive attempt at a bachelor’s degree at melbourne university, the ‘good’ university in the place where i live.
      i’m still in a constant argument with myself about whether uni is a good idea. i love the idea of having enough brains to rub together that you can go all gung-ho with self teaching resources and outrun the average bear. however! importantly, i do know that, prior to studying in an institution, i lacked a concrete idea of how to achieve my goals and lacked several important life skills that i have now acquired, along with a network of highly skilled people and regular well-paid freelance work in that field that began WHILST studying.

      when i do the maths in my personal experience, technical school study has definitely been one of the best ideas i’ve had so far, and is an excellent springpad into independently doing interesting stuff later. that being said, SORT OUT SOME KIND OF FINANCE, as you should not spend weekends anxietying over how rent and food might be mutually exclusive this month, as i did. make sure you can focus on school whilst you’re there. it will make such a difference to the quality of your education.