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Is dropping out of school as bad as society says it is?

Since I started watching TED Talks and educating myself in my free time, I've started to favor the idea of leaving high school to live my life independently from school authority. It seems to me that school is a place where you are taught what "box" to think in, and it is very obvious that it doesn't work for the majority of students. Everyday I hear teachers telling students that there is only one way to solve problems, but I know that isn't true. Due to severe social stigma however, I'm terrified of the consequences I would have from my peers and parents especially.

One of the many lessons I've learned from TED is that intuition is the best map for your life, and somehow the way you feel is usually the best plan of action no matter how hard you suppress the feelings. I have been overcome with the feeling that school isn't necessary for me, and I also feel that educating myself on what I want to know about reality would be much more enjoyable than the current routine I practice each day. Not only would it be more enjoyable, but I think with resources like the Internet I can get an education that is vastly superior than what I can get from one school.

How do my fellow TEDsters feel about dropping out of school? What are you reasons against/for it? What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the path of complete intellectual independence? Will college still be an option farther down the road if my ideas fall through?

I greatly appreciate the collaboration on this question. Ive kept these feelings a secret until now, and I'm glad I can finally talk about it.


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  • Mar 26 2012: Hunter I am a 19 year old student in Canada who is dropping out of University, for many of the same reasons you have expressed. That being said, university costs thousands of dollars per year, much, much more than high school costs. I barely got into university because I coasted by in high school, and as a result I was limited by my average to a smaller number of programs and classes I was eligible for. As a result I have been spending a lot of money and incurring debt on loans for classes that have no real direction, and are not teaching me the things I wish to learn. So I plan to drop out and join the working force so I can make money while simultaneously learning about things I am interested so I have the knowledge to pursue my interests and make my own opportunities. My advice to you: DO NOT DROP OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL. High school is easy if you put just a little effort in. If you don't like it, put up with it anyway and get the best grades you possibly can, and after you're done, you can do whatever you want. If you do want to attend college in the future, you will be able to, and not have to jump through hoops just to be accepted. I myself plan to return to school when I can more easily afford it and have a better plan of my own. If you drop out of high school now, even saving money for your future enterprises will be sabotaged because at best you will find a minimum wage job, and then you will be competing for possible employment against people who do have a high school diploma. High school does not limit you to the point where you cannot develop other skills on the side. So complete high school, it doesnt have to be your priority. If you are feeling that you can accomplish much more, start doing so on the side. Start a small business, make a website, write, compose, invest in stocks, whatever it is you want to do. Don't drop out if you think it will start you in a new direction. That direction has to begin now, and you have loads of time. Finish high school
    • Mar 28 2012: Blake, university in the US is different than in Canada, I believe. Your experience doesn't necessarily port to Hunter's.

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