Yes, it’s true: I broke the rules and somehow managed to achieve the dream without going through four years of college and a lifetime of loan debt.
Before I kick this off I want everyone to know that this is not an attempt to get you, your children, or your loved ones to skip out on continuing their education. This is just my story, my own personal tale of success, and I feel it’s important to share because it goes against everything I was told growing up. As what they call an “old” millennial, I spent my school years being taught that everything I was learning would get me to one place: college. When I got to high school I was told that if I took and passed my “college prep” courses I would be able to take any course I wanted once I got to college. Now, full disclosure here, I was a C-average student at best. I did what I needed to to get by on a day-to-day basis and graduate, but school was never my thing. I also had a knack for acing the important stuff like finals and state tests that proved I was retaining what I was learning, I just didn’t want to do any work to prove it. Hearing that I could finally skip out on all the redundant stuff made college sound like a dream come true. It wasn’t.
When I got to college I was forced to re-take the same courses I had taken my senior year of high school. Something about improving my GPA, etc. but in my then 17-year-old opinion this was nothing more than bull-you-know-what. What was the point of passing everything if you were just going to make me take it again? Anyway, I got bored pretty fast and halfway through my second semester of courses I had already taken and passed I decided to drop out. This was a pretty easy decision for me to make, but of course my parents were pissed. After all, this wasn’t what they wanted for me. They wanted me to get a college education and secure myself a successful future, which makes them good parents, right? But I knew deep down in my soul that this wasn’t just me being lazy; college was not for me and I would never go back. That was in 2003 and I can proudly (yes, proudly) say that as of November 2017 I haven’t gone back — but still managed to figure out what it was I wanted to do and, better yet, actually do it.
For starters, there was never a day that I wasn’t working. Whether I was working part-time in retail or a full-time office assistant job, I was working. This not only kept me focused, but it made my parents pretty happy, too. I had been working since I was 14 years old anyway, so I started gaining real hands-on work experience at a very young age. By the time I was 25 I had my own apartment, a full-time job at a fashion company, a 401k and health insurance. Not bad, right? And to think, I wasn’t even doing what I wanted to do! I was doing a job that had fallen into my lap while slowly realizing where it was I really wanted to be: writing celebrity and entertainment news online. I eventually started to build my own social media presence on Twitter which helped me build a following and led to my next step: starting my own blog. I didn’t have my blog for a year before I was approached to freelance for a legit website, and after a year of doing that I was finally hired by another website as an editor. Just over a year later a position opened up at HollywoodLife, and nearly four years later I am now their Senior Entertainment Director. And guess what? Still no college degree.
Here’s the thing: not going to college doesn’t work for everyone, the same way going to college didn’t work for me and countless others. Some people thrive off of their education and learning by-the-book skills, while others learn better by actually doing. We are human beings and we are all different, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of figuring out what’s right for us. If I had stayed in college just because my parents wanted me to, or worse pressured me to, I would have become an elementary school teacher. I love children, but if I was a teacher right now I would be absolutely miserable. Oh, and not to brag, but I don’t have any student loan debt. Is writing celebrity and entertainment news what I want to do for the rest of my life? For now, yes — but people change. If that time ever comes, I’ll figure it out just like I always have!
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Do YOU think it’s possible to be successful without having a college degree? Comment below, let us know!