So you’ve decided to drop out of college. It felt like such a good idea, or at least the right idea, at the time. But you’re left wondering, Okay…what now? Suddenly, the world seems so overwhelming, and any sense of direction you might’ve had has vanished into thin air.
First of all – breathe. It’s going to be okay. Plenty of successful business leaders like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Bill Gates of Microsoft have dropped out of college and done quite well for themselves. Now, you shouldn’t use this as a deciding factor for dropping out of college! Just take comfort in the fact that hundreds, even thousands of people have dropped out of college and managed to find the right career path.
One of the ways you can help yourself process the emotions and thoughts rushing through your mind is to talk to other people who have made the same decision. If you don’t have any friends or family members who can relate, turn to the power of social media! There may be other former students in your area or field of interest who can share their experience.
After talking through your choices with others in the same boat, it’s time to figure out your next steps. While it’s good to take a short break and give yourself some breathing room, you want to jump into action as soon as you can, rather than remaining complacent and becoming stagnant in your learning and development.
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What to Do After Dropping Out of College?
Here are six tips to help you figure out, “What to do now?”
- Pause and Reflect
- Keep Learning
- Get a Job
- Plan for the Long-Term
- Tune Out the Noise
Pause and Reflect
Like we said before, it’s beneficial to take a short break and gather your thoughts. During that time, reflect on the experiences you had while in college. What classes or activities did you enjoy? What abilities or skills did you learn? The answers to these questions may help you determine your long-term goals and potential career paths to explore. Plus, any college experience is a valuable college experience! Take a moment to appreciate all that you learned, both in and out of the classroom.
Volunteering is a dual-purpose task. For starters, it will help you gain professional skills and experience to list on your résumé. More than that, though, it will help you find your passions and purpose in your life. Many organizations are happy to have the help, regardless of your educational background. So take this opportunity to meet like-minded people in your community, give yourself an extra boost of happiness, and make the world a better place!
Learning new skills or obtaining knowledge is not limited to on-campus, especially in the digital world we live in. Use this time to pick up a new hobby, take some online courses to explore fields that interest you, or hone a skill. Are you creative? Try to become marketing consultant by learning new marketing skills, learning graphic design, or picking up copywriting. Are you more technical-minded? Try learning a new coding language or how to use systems like AutoCAD. You may just discover the career you’ve always dreamed of having!
Get a Job
Now that you don’t have classes to worry about, you’re going to have a LOT of free time on your hands. One of the best ways to fill your time is with a job, whether full-time or part-time. It’s always good to gain experience for your résumé and makes you more marketable to future employers. You can also use your paycheck to help pay off loans or build your savings for any future plans.
Plan for the Long-Term
So you’ve done some exploring and figured out a routine for the short-term. Now it’s time to focus on your long-term goals. Ask yourself the hard questions: Do I want to go back to school eventually? What field do I want to pursue? Will a college degree help me get there, or will the debt hold me back anyway?
Write down your plan, even if it’s just a vague idea of the direction you want to go. This will give you an objective, something to aim for as you make your daily choices and keep you from falling into a slump.
Tune Out the Noise
We get it, dropping out or failing college is scary – mostly because of the opinions you’ll have to hear from everyone and their mother. Well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) friends and family will have plenty of thoughts to share with you on the matter. Don’t listen to them! This is your life and your decision to make. Pay no mind to the naysayers – they may still be paying off their student loans.