College Drop-Out

After having a nervous breakdown within three weeks of starting college I’ve decided it would not be wise to go back. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get by, preferably without having to work at crappy Mcjobs for the rest of my life? I am completely willing to recieve training and work hard, but college is out of the question.

“I am completely willing to recieve training and work hard”

This sounds eerily familiar to what college was for me. You say “to go back” as if you’ve gone before. I certainly don’t want to make any assumptions. But my two unprofessional cents are that the real world is much more difficult than college, and at first reading your post, it sounds like you may not know that.

I would recommend counseling to see if you’re ready. I sure hope this doesn’t sound mean or like I’m jumping to conclusions. With more information (which you certainly don’t have to give), I might be able to give a different suggestion. I’m sure others around here have been in the same boat.

Good luck.

i can’t suggest an area to concentrate in since i don’t know what you like. i wouldn’t focus on an area i didn’t like, but many people do. i’m into computers and electronics.

i would suggest reading the books:

YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Joe Dominguez
RICH DAD, POOR DAD by Robert Kiyosaki

i’d read the 1st chapter, THE MONEY GAME, in the Dominguez book, then RICH DAD, POOR DAD, then go back and finish YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE. this society emphasizes careers and money, not what to do with it when you have some. just saw a post where someone mentioned $26,000 in credit card debt. scares me to just think about it.

Dal Timgar

I went to college right out of high school and hated it. I wasnt qualified to do anything beyond menial labor and I didn’t want to live at home any longer. I joined the Navy, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I got some great training, exposure to all sorts of people and places, opportunities that I never would have had otherwise, and I eventually did finish college.

Military life is not for everyone, but I wouldn’t trade those years for anything…

I’d recommend taking a year and just working a standard retail or office job to pay the bills while you figure out what you want to do. I would seriously consider going back to school. If the school you went to was too stressful, maybe try a different school or a community college. College doesn’t have to be stressful.

Or figure out what you like to do that doesn’t require a college degree (automotive repair? computer stuff?) and read up on how to enter the field. But I would just take some time to decompress and plan the next step carefully.

College opens a lot of career options. It’s worth it, if you can do it without driving yourself nuts.

Just asking, but why is college completely out of the question?

Maybe if you approach college as an all-or-nothing proposition it might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It took me three times as long to get my degree, but I went into the military first, then took a year of classes (community college), then worked for a year or two, took more classes, then worked, then finished school at the university level. While on hiatus from classes, I was able to get job experience related to my major, and the relaxed attitude towards college made it all the more enjoyable. If I’d committed to a hard four-year schedule, it probably wouldn’t have been a tenth the fun it actually was.

Sure, college isn’t for everyone, but keep your options open. To reduce the stress level, try working part-time and take only a few classes.

My husband dropped out after one year in nautical college to join the Royal Navy. I know he’s glad of the experience and has never regretted it, although when he decided to leave the Navy 9 years later it was difficult for him to get into a decent civilian job. As you can imagine, being a marine engineer pretty much limits him to sea-going jobs, so his decision to join the Navy 11 years ago is still something that we have to accept as part of his career. (Part of going to sea is being away from home for months at a time.) Now he’s waiting for me to finish university and start working so I can support him while he goes back to college!

Is there a community college in your area that would let you attend on a part-time basis? You could still work and get some training at the same time. Some areas have vo-tech programs for high school graduates, so that might be something to consider, too. The military also sounds like something good to look into.

The best advice I can give you is that whatever you end up doing, find something that you enjoy. You have no idea how important this will be in the long run. Right now you might be happy with a job that lets you get by, but think about how you will feel about that job 10, 20 or 30 years from now. The less training you have after high school, the more you are limiting your options.

If it helps, I understand why you would feel so stressed. I’m a third-year law student and lately I’ve realized that I can’t handle the pressure. (I spent a year trying to explain that to my mom. It took a stomach full of ulcers to convince her that it’s too much for me.) Anyway, I lightened my class load until it was manageable, and that helped a lot, even though it means graduating a semester later. Maybe taking only one or two classes at a time would work for you, too.

You might want to consider looking into a couple of different schools and programs before you write off college forever. You’d be amazed how many different careers are out there.

Good luck!

Not necessarily. After college and I parted ways, I temped for a while, and eventually turned that into a real job. I’m now working at a place that pays me semi-decently (for being a non-degreed grunt), and has good benefits, including tuition reimbursement. It depends on your outlook, I suppose. I, for one, have no ulcers anymore, and I worry about money quite a bit less than I did in college, because I’m actually making my own now, not depending on handouts from someone else. I consider myself to be in the best place, emotionally and intellectually, I have ever been, because I’m arranging my own life, and will finish college on my own damned terms. (Who else has a mental picture of Oprah nodding and saying, “Right on, honey,” right now?)

To you, Stentor, I’d suggest temping for a while. It pays better than a McJob, and sometimes they leave you alone with internet access, which is a key part of feeding your SDMB addiction. It’ll give you experience, and can help you get a “real” job. Soul-killing as it can be, it’s a decent way to get your foot in the door. Of course, YMMV, but while I was trying to get myself together, the no-strings corporate mercenary life of the temp was a good way to make money.

I can speak from experience, because I’ve been through something even worse: In my initial stint in a community college, I couldn’t hack it. Yes, I was that bad. I took some time off to find work, but all I could get was a lousy newspaper delivery service. I say lousy because the pay was extremely low ($100-120 a month…needless to say I was not living on my own at that time), I had to get up at 3:00 in the morning every Sunday, and there were a whole bunch of problems which I never anticipated (such as lazy-*** customers who insisted that I take the paper right up to their door). I eventually went back, earned two AS degrees with ease, and am now going toward a bachelor’s. In the process I got a fistful of A’s and not a single D.

The difference? Better guidance. When I returned to that same college in '96, I had the assistance of a wonderful counselor (whom I hadn’t even heard about the first time) who immediately put me on the CORRECT path for my abilities. I ended up majoring in subjects which I knew I could do well in, which I hadn’t even heard about the first time. (I cannot overstate how awful it was. Nothing but “you’re and adult now” and “you have to work” tripe ad nauseum, and not one bit of useful guidance. They had me taking ANCIENT HISTORY, fer chrisssake.)

My advice is to calm down, take careful stock of your situation, and weigh all the options. You don’t have to quit college entirely. Actually, considering how many standards have been lowered, it’s actually a good idea to stay. However, if your workload is getting too heavy, you might want to set the bar a little lower. Start with a two-year, maybe work up to a bachelors if you feel up to it.

And if worst comes to worst, there’s no disgrace in making an honest living, no matter how low the position. There are a lot of people in Hawaii who’d love to have one of those vaunted “McJobs” right now.

Stentor, there are a lot more jobs out there than just those that are menial and those that require a 4-year college degree. Not all intelligent people are cut out for college. My suggestion would be to consider getting some training (vocational/technical school), work for someone for a few years, and then start your own business. Some possibilities with median pay (not self-employed):

electrician $16.98/hr.
plumber $16.67/hr.
surveyor: $38k/year
truck driver $11.67/hr.
aircraft mechanic: $18.30/hr.
welder $26,000/yr.

If you’re any good at business, you should make more than the figures cited if you’re self-employed.

see Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information about occupations, including qualifications, median pay, employment outlook, etc.

In your freshman year of college nowadays, the object is to try to fail as many people as they can to weed out those who aren’t going to work hard to get a degree. This is one reason why I’m gonna try my best from now on if I can.

Yeah freshman year is hard, everything else is easy.