What did you enjoy or hate about college? Did you choose to finish or drop out and why?

Catherine Chen
19 replies
I've been wondering recently how many of you went through college and either graduated or dropped out. What caused you to make your decision, and would you make a different one the second time around? What did you wish college could have helped you out with? Have you ever wanted to do a sort of "personal college" thing, where you set up your own path, degrees, and goals? I'm thinking of doing something in this area, so...

Replies

Software Engineer
College made me into what I am today. I love the traditional classes. It helped me learn programming faster. I have tried learning via video-based tutorials and its just not my thing. So if I could do it again, I'd make the same decision.
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17-year-old expert time juggler
@rotimi_je_suis That's interesting! What kind of programming classes did you take?
I like my college. He was happy to go in pairs and got a great profession.
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Product Manager
Regretfully graduated. Went to an engineering college. Turns out it was a waste of time. They made me study biology and chemistry in the first year when I was only interested in developing apps. I somehow managed to pass out of college while dabbling in a lot of projects on the side. Had I not gone to college, I would've progressed much faster in my career. But, the friends I made are now friends for a lifetime. The only part I don't regret haha
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17-year-old expert time juggler
@jessenolan Lol okay! Did you feel the side projects helped you more with your career than college?
I enjoyed the independence and open-mindedness I've obtained by it, but I hate the confinement/box it put me into. I graduated because of the fear my parents instilled in me if I dropped out. I probably would have finished either way, due to my perfectionist personality. I wish my college would have helped me out with actually figuring out what I want to do/am good at, instead of forcing me to take classes that would have absolutely no positive impact on me in the future. I wouldn't mind doing a "personal college" thing, but I would wonder how my lack of motivation would interfere seeing as I already feel burntout.
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17-year-old expert time juggler
@haleyquinn College definitely helps with independence and open-mindedness. I've been exposed to so many different viewpoints over the past year or two. How do you think college could have helped you more with figuring out what you wanted to do, though?
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@catherine_chen They could have offered more resources for finding jobs and maybe even a career coach. They held job fairs but the options were limited and seemed forced.
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Crypto and Mushrooms
I chose not to finish. I think it skips generations as far as importance. My grandparents fought in WW2 and made sure my pops and his siblings all went to college. My father wasn’t so pressed on the issue and 2 out of 5 of us have a degree. The 2 that did graduate are making less money that the other 3. I have a 7 year old daughter and in my county they mandated distanced learning so my wife and I decided to homeschool. We had considered it pre covid but now seemed a perfect time to try it out as all kids will we at home. My instructions are to her, find what you like the most and learn it more than you need, teach it to me later. Things she is not interested in I only ask her to know enough to get her grade. I suggested she start a business with something she loves to do. She is excited and churning them out. What a time to be alive : )
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17-year-old expert time juggler
@cryptomycologist Wow. Why did you choose not to finish?
Community Manager
I finished college- I really loved that I could meet people from so many different backgrounds, religions, places, etc... That being said, it is possible to go through most of college without stepping out of your bubble if you don't try. It's also a great place to take classes that interest you, especially your first two years of college where you aren't necessarily tied down to a major. That being said, college is expensive, especially in the States. I definitely could see someone forming their own curriculum and doing their own thing if they are disciplined enough. I just knew I wouldn't be as disciplined/ motivated enough without the structure that college provides. I think one thing I struggled with in college is to be proactive about seeking help, whether that be academic related or mental health related. If you don't look for the support/resources you need, they won't come to you. So if you are struggling, ask the people around you for resources on campus. Hope this helps!
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17-year-old expert time juggler
@hannahsuyun I will definitely take your advice about taking advantage of campus resources!
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Luck is a residue of design
College was interesting for me. I started right around the time social media was taking off, while being in San Francisco - so the energy was crazy. What I loved about college was the location. Living in the bay area its more than just tech, its the integration of music, art, and politics that gives you great perspective. Our campus was so diverse with ideas you couldn't help but change your outlook on life. On the flip side the academia was waaaay behind what the industry was using and adopting. The professors were out of touch with trends in the industry and it just felt like were weren't being prepared for how fast tech was moving. I was going to drop out and do some 6 month coding bootcamp, but inevitably stayed and graduated in 2017. I think in 2020, depending on what your major is and how well you are at networking, college is not worth the $40,000 of debt.
17-year-old expert time juggler
@mata_mokwala Oh, wow. I will have to think about this!
Data Scientist | Ex-Wall Street Trader
I think college is a great place to have some fun and meet like minded people. Quite rarely are you placed in an environment where people are in the same stages of life, having a bunch of free time - so it makes for a good opportunity to try different things and expand your horizon. I also think that college education isn't that practical as it doesn't marry up to the real world. I think the onus is on you to supplement your education, a mistake that I made. I definitely wished I had spread my wings and tried to learn coding, design and other things in my spare time in college (I studied mathematics). However, it is also never too late to learn and I am self teaching myself to be a full-stack developer.
17-year-old expert time juggler
@jack_gan I am beginning to think the same way, about college not being a "full package". Do you think majoring in math is helping with your career now, though?
Data Scientist | Ex-Wall Street Trader
@catherine_chen Mathematics definitely is helping me out in the ML/AI space and has taught me to consume information extremely quickly. Which is pretty much what you want from an entrepreneur, a pretty good generalist with a specific domain expertise.
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Head of Marketing, Demand Sage
College let me try a bunch of stuff that I never followed through on, but learned enough to be dangerous. I consider myself a Jack of all trades; part of that is because I took a bunch of esoteric classes unrelated to my (journalism) degree, from programming to environmental biophysics. I think having a menu of things to learn is the best part of college; hell, I took Japanese as a freshman on a whim (to help me better understand subtitled anime, because of course that was a key selling point to me in 1998) and ended up living in Tokyo for a few years. You never know what is going to pique your interest and drive part of your future, and a university has enough options under one roof to make it a decent option for those. Now, that said, ideally there's options for this beyond traditional 4-year universities. And I think there are, what with all the e-learning and Master Class and whatnot. But for me, having the degree program require me to take a few classes under non-degree-related headers forced me to get off my lazy ass and try out some skills instead of just sitting on a PC playing Asheron's Call all day long.