02:18 PM on 02/04/12 
User Info.
Randall Mentzos
Randall Mentzos's Avatar
Jacksonville, FL
Male - 25 Years Old
I'm 18 credits away from a Bachelor's degree at University of Maryland and yet it felt like I couldn't take it anymore, so I'm on a hiatus. Technically I am still a student there, so I didn't drop out -- I wanted to hold on to all those credits I've already received, and when I go back it will be at UM so that i don't have to worry about some of them not transferring over. All i'm doing is clicking "decline" when i get notified that i have new loans ready for me, and remaining unregistered for classes before the semester.

I was a business major. I was in your position as a freshman, and i just thought, if anything, I might as well pick a major that will guarantee me a job that pays enough to cover my loans. Plus I got accepted to a top 10 business school and I felt I'd be wasting that opportunity if I didn't follow through. On the social side, I spent all of my time with other business majors -- I mean no disrespect to any of my prior classmates by saying this but I'm just a different kind of person than most of them were, so socially it never really worked out for me. The one friend I met from college that is still my friend today is now my roommate who also left for similar reasons. For the ambition and occupation sides of college, making some huge corporation more money is far from an ambition of mine, and I am in no way interested in taking on enough debt to cover the initial expenses of my own business. The fundamentals of trying to manipulate people to spend way too much money on something just goes against my core, and there's a lot of bullshit that goes on behind the scenes with accounting and finance that I don't agree with either. I'm not even comfortable with the idea of managing other people and telling them what to do. Basically I picked entirely the wrong major, and this was a decision I made before I even knew enough about myself to understand that it wouldn't be right for me.

I recently moved to the middle of nowhere with a couple good friends who also left school, and right now I'm honestly enjoying going to work, coming home, and that's it. Much simpler and less stressful without having the expectation of homework and studying during my free time -- when I come home, all of my time is spent how I want to spend it. In my case, it's been spent writing an album that I want to start my music career with, something I barely had time for in college (not to mention having roommates who weren't musicians made it tough to find an opportunity to record demos and things like that.) because music is my passion and business is not, i honestly feel like I'm being a lot more productive and not spending 20,000 dollars a year at the same time. it's also quite nice to get to live in my own house with people i actually enjoy being around, instead of being stuffed in some apartment building with people i have nothing in common with. Am I still planning to go back to University of Maryland, absolutely, but only because I'm so close to finishing. Would I have gone to college in the first place if I had the option? With hindsight I really can't say that I would.

All I'm saying is that college isn't for everyone, it's okay to feel out of place and depending on your approach to life, it's normal to perceive it as a waste of time and money. I don't know if I'm the right person to be giving you advice. I'm taking a massive risk putting so much into music instead of going for a more predictable career, I can admit that even as confident as I am in my skills and work ethic. It's incredibly inconvenient for me to go back to school, especially now having a girlfriend who lives 2 hours from that college, and that makes me slightly regret not going through with that last semester. But I will say this, it's not worth the debt if you major in something you don't want to use. You don't want to be tens of thousands of dollars in the hole with nothing to show for it, no newfound ambitions, and a job that can't pay for it. You also don't want to be stuck getting a job you hate just because you have to pay that debt.

Now, you're a freshman, you've got at least a solid year before you have to make that decision, so don't jump the gun and leave college just yet. But when the time comes, don't jump into a major just because you feel like you should, because that's what made college a miserable, worthless experience for me and it's exactly why I dread going back. Take some time to try things out, examine your options, figure out what's a worthwhile cause for you, and if you still don't know and need some time off, it's up to YOU to make that decision, not your parents. If you do decide to go that route, the important thing is that you don't assume it's the easy way out, because it definitely isn't. You MUST be willing to accept the challenges of the real world -- it's smacked me in the face a couple times already and I've only been in it 6 months -- if you're not mature enough for that you need to be honest with yourself about it and stay in school. you need to be really smart and disciplined with money if you're going to try to make a living with an ordinary job, and you will need to make sacrifices -- don't spend unless you need to, don't commit to something that you can't EASILY afford (rent on a house, add-ons to cable, your own internet instead of just going to a library), pay bills as soon as you can and THEN get things you want, take even dead-end jobs seriously and make sure you do everything in your power not to lose them, buy the cheapest of the cheap and avoid big name brands when grocery shopping, etc. just weigh the pros with the cons, if you're entering your 3rd year of college and you'd rather deal with all this than deal with school (most people wouldn't, I'm a minority) THEN consider time off.

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