After high school, I moved from Washington to Fort Collins, and attended Colorado State University. I was under the impression that a college degree was the only way you could guarantee any level of success or financial stability. This didn't bother me, as I could distinguish the difference between a degree heading towards a career and a degree without any future plans requiring it. As such, I decided that a degree in construction management would be worth 4 years of my life and many more paying off the debt incurred.
In my senior summer of high school, I visited Colorado State and Cal Poly, in search of my future college home. Cal Poly is beautiful and has one of the top CM programs in the country, but there was one major hang-up, where would I snowboard? I am confident in my ability to pick up surfing, especially with access to the beaches near San Luis Obispo, but I grew up snowboarding, and wasn't ready to give that up, or have to travel 5 hours in any direction to find a mountain. With that, I decided that Colorado was the right fit.
Colorado was absolutely a right fit, but college was in fact not the only option that made sense to me. I realized very quickly in my courses, that this degree from CSU would provide me with a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of managing construction projects, namely commercial projects. A very large sector of the construction industry is commercial building, and construction management programs act as a feeder program for these large companies, through internships, which lead to new hires upon graduation. That is a valuable path for many individuals, but I didn't see how this program would add enough value to me in my pursuit of running a business which built award-winning homes.
I wrestled with many challenging thoughts once the reality of this degree was set in my mind. Do I endure these 4 years to come away with a valuable degree, then decide my next steps in the construction industry? Is this degree really worth $120k in debt? Will I succeed without finishing a 4-year degree? I'm an overthinker, so you can only imagine the level of anxiety and mental turmoil these thoughts caused. I finally decided that I would leave CSU, and the calls to update family and friends began. They were surprised, but supportive, knowing fully the level of thought I had put into this decision.
My decision to drop out of college was instrumental in kicking off my path to success. Up until that point, there was always a clear direction, with methodical steps; middle school, then high school, then college, then career, then retire. In one decision, my road map has just been thrown away, replaced by a blank canvas to create my own path. A number of factors made this new reality exciting, terrifying, and inevitably fuel my relentless ambition.
I am a straight A student, leaving college on the Dean's List, with confidence that any skill, hobby, sport, etc. I am interested in, I can spend the time to learn and excel at. This excites me, as I realize my possibilities are nearly unlimited. With a blank canvas in front of me, I am terrified at the new reality of having to step into the unknown without guidance. There is an old adage for those changing careers, moving, etc. stating "at least you have a degree", and now I have removed even that baseline from my corner. "At least you have a high school diploma" doesn't hold much weight in the marketplace.
There is excitement, fear, and a new feeling I wasn't previously in tune with. I now feel a weight of disappointment and failure to live up to my abilities. Mind you, this is in my head. This is a world-view, personal view, whatever you want to call it that I have placed onto myself, whether others feel the same way or not. Here's a taste of why this now consumes me: All of my peers are still in college getting their degrees. All 3 of my older siblings have gotten degrees. All of my teachers and peers believe in my ability to succeed in a career path, and now I have just thrown it away by dropping out. There are other, more personal factors which add to the fire, but dropping out has added to the mental engine which leads me on my own path as an entrepreneur, with insatiable hunger for better, and an inability to believe that I have done enough.
I guess we'll just have to ride this one out and see where it leads. I'm glad you're here to experience it with me.