What It's Like Choosing Not To Attend College

What It's Like Choosing Not To Attend College

Having no homework, student debt, exams, or lectures sounds good to me.


I graduated from South High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2016. As a senior, I struggled with deciding if college was right for me after graduation. I wanted a future somewhere in the arts, mostly photography, and didn't really want to end up with a job through someone's company; I wanted to start my own business.

I yearned to apply to MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) but knew that it was quite expensive & unnecessary to the future I sought out for. Last minute, I ended up applying to the University of Minnesota, and while all of my friends received their acceptance letters, I was put on the wait-list. Looking back now, I'm glad I didn't get in, because I wouldn't be where I am today.

My family is one of the most supportive people out there. My parents never cared if I went to college or not, they just wanted me to do what made me happy. I still get asked by family members if I'm in school yet or when I will end up going. I follow it up with the usual, "No, not yet. Maybe in the next couple of years!" knowing well that I'm not going to change my mind. I did contemplate going to cosmetology school in 2017 because hair was (and is) something I'm passionate about, but I ended up not going through with it. Not being in college gave me a lot of time to think about what I was really interested in and all the possible career options.

In the fall of 2016, I got hired at Caribou Coffee. My wage started off really low but has now increased by $3. I worked Wednesdays-Saturdays giving me three days off in between to focus on other things besides work. Since my friends were off at college living in dorms, I ended up living at home for two years. I never wanted to be that kid that lived with their parents until I turned 20, but I'm really glad I did. It gave me time to save up some money and not stress out about rent. I'm still working at Caribou Coffee and decided to get a second job back in July at Trader Joes.

During my time working at Caribou, I worked as a photographer on the side. My parents bought me my first professional camera for a graduation present and I put a photography service post up on Facebook marketplace. I never thought that a service post on Facebook would bring me business, but it did. I did my first wedding and learned a lot from it. I had some drop out clients, which was also hard and taught me a lot about security deposits. Having my own thing I was accomplishing right out of high school without going to college made me feel good about myself.

A couple of months ago, I had decided to reach out to one of my favorite artists in Minneapolis, Ashley Mary, and asked her if I could take some pictures of her. She ended up saying yes and I got to do one of my favorite shoots I have ever done so far! When you are trying to do something all on your own, you have to find ways to get your name out there and network; having that shoot with her was a good way of doing so, which already has its benefits. I'm currently working on my photography website as well and plan on having it up by the spring to bring more clients.

For anyone who is considering not going to college at all or taking a year off, it's 100% okay to do. If you aren't sure of what you want to major in or what you want as a career, take a year off to think it over and save up some money. There are so many jobs out there that need to be done by people who don't have/need a college degree, even being a barista at a coffee shop. When it really comes down to it, everyone should find a job that makes them happy.

Several people ask me why I don't go to college and if I want to find a well-paid job. My answer to that question is that I don't need a lot of money. I'm already doing what makes me happy, so why would I do something that's unnecessary? Even though I don't attend college, I'm taking time to learn about photography on my own time. I'm definitely going to be taking some classes in 2019 just to be more solid in my computer knowledge when it comes to editing, but I don't need to get a major in photography to make my career what I want it to be.

Even though photography is my current passion, I'm fully aware that it could change at any moment, and life could hand me a different opportunity to do something else. I think it's exciting and a great way to live life especially if you are like me and have a million different interests. So when you are finding your path for your future, always be open to things you didn't expect, sometimes change is good.

Popular Right Now

It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Dorm Items You Can Send Home Early, Make The End Of The School Year A Little Easier

Let’s face it, if you haven’t opened that textbook all semester, you’re not going to use it to study for your final.


It's after spring break and if you live in a dorm, then move out day is quickly approaching. You all know the drill: pack up your dorm during finals week and have everything out by a specified time.

Now, you're probably going to have more things than you came with during move in, with any trips home and shopping you've done. Cars and suitcases have very limited space, so you should start moving things out if you didn't take anything home during spring break. And these are the 10 things you should send home early to save you the hassle on move out day.

1. All your sweaters


Suitcases can only fit so much. Come May, you don’t want to have to be sitting on your suitcase to zip it because your 25 sweaters are in it. You’re not going to wear them at all after spring break.

2. 90% of your textbooks


If you haven’t opened it once this semester, you’re definitely not going to open it to study. Just go ahead and send any textbooks you aren’t using home. They’re just taking up space at this point.

3. Your mini fridge


The last thing you want to do during finals week is defrost your fridge. It also takes up a lot of space in your car and you can only make one trip once you move out. Just go ahead and send it home at the end of April. It’s one last thing to worry about and now you have more space for your other things.

4. Dishes


Let’s face it, you probably don’t use them anyway if your dorm doesn’t have a kitchenette.

5. Appliances

Coffee Maker

Coffee makers, electric kettles, toasters (that you’re probably not supposed to have) can also go home early. If you want, just send them home with the fridge at the end of April so you’re only going a week or two without them.

6. Extra cleaning supplies you haven’t touched yet

Cleaning Supplies

Definitely make sure you have at least one full container of Clorox wipes, but your extra shower cleaner, air freshener, and all can go home. You’re not going to use it all up before the end of the semester.

7. Boards

White Board

If you have a bulletin board or a dry erase board that you don’t need for any thing school related, pack those in your car and take them home. (It also give you time to fix any paint on the wall that might get damaged from taking them down.)

8. Your furniture


Start sending all the big stuff home. If you brought a chair, send it home and use your desk chair. Trunk? Pack all your extra stuff and take it home. Believe me, it will save you the hassle on move out day.

9. Clothes you don’t wear


Whether it’s winter clothing or clothes you brought for any potential dates that you haven’t worn, get it out. As mentioned before, your suitcase can only hold so much and anything you don’t wear is taking up space for things you do.

10. Valuables


Video game systems, jewelry, lock boxes, TVs, and anything else valuable should go home early. That way you don’t have to worry about them in the chaos of moveout day.

Getting these ten things out of your dorm early will save you a lot of headaches. It's just one less thing to worry about during finals week.

Related Content

Facebook Comments