I have decided to Quit University. I have made this decision four weeks ago, and I've stuck with it until now, and thus, I will now go through with it. Here I will elaborate on some of my thoughts and problems. Perhaps this will help somebody.
During my years in high-school, it was my dream to go to a good University. I wished to learn freely, to learn what interested me, to meet like-minded people. I imagined myself free of the things I considered a burden in high-school. Boring homework, boring people, annoying restrictions, incredibly wasteful time-sinks, and most importantly, the freedom to learn how and what I wanted to learn at my own pace. Perhaps I would attain a Masters after my Bachelors, perhaps I would become somebody. I worked hard during my last school year to realize this dream. I passed all the necessary AP's and attained high enough grades. It payed off, and I do not regret a single ounce of this effort. I was overjoyed to be accepted into one of the top 100 universities in the world, located in Switzerland, my home country. My future was guaranteed, I would be someone important, I would be happy.
It has been a year now since I've begun. I changed a lot, I learned a lot about myself. I am not happy living my dream. I lost my dream.
It was a completely new world for me. I was allowed to study at my own pace and I did not even have to attend most classes. I rarely met a person I admired, however. An inspirational person, somebody I would strive to become. All the computer science classes during my first year would be a repeat of what I already knew. Nevertheless, rarely, a new concept would pop up and surprise me. I was only restricted to passing the tests at the end of the semester. I thought it was great.
As the year progressed, however, I grew to dislike it more and more. I did not want to implement heaps and sorting algorithms in C, I wanted to learn Rails and the negatives of Iterative MVP's. I did not care for obscure formats and protocol, I wanted to create. I wanted to learn as a part of the creation process. I wanted to do, I wanted to make, I wanted to construct my fantasies as I had been doing before. The end tests started hanging over me like a dark cloud, a stressor directing me to study. The only reason I continued to go was job security. A piece of paper. I lost who I wanted to be by being someone else.
It is really hard to make a decision on this matter without taking into consideration the social stigma associated with it. One is easily labeled as a drop-out, as stupid and of little or no importance.
Many associate dropping out of university with being impulsive and rash. It is often perceived that long-term thinking plays no part in it, that it is a decision made in the absence of thought. Often, this also comes with the belief that one will stop learning. That as soon as the "dropping out" has commenced, laziness and partying will follow. It is a widely held belief that University is the only opportunity to advance a career, that the person in question will work a menial job for the rest of his life.
Many beliefs on this matter are outdated, and some only apply to specific regions of the job market. Most are blatantly wrong, however. It is difficult to overcome such thinking, to see through what one has been taught an entire life. It is difficult to remove this pressure to follow a path many wish to follow, a path which for many may be correct.
The Road Ahead
I believe studying computer science is a mistake for me, however. A certificate can be replaced by experience and evidence of such. In the world of technology, you are free to create masterful pieces, show them to the world, prove your expertise. You are free to learn the technologies you require, free to join societies you benefit from. This road is more difficult without doubt, yet I believe it will be the one leading me to happiness.
I trust that I can succeed. As of now, I do not have much evidence of this. The next two years will be spent expanding my skills and acquiring this evidence. I believe I will be further in two years, than I would be if I, alternatively, get my degree.
I am planning to learn a new language and publish a book. More importantly, however, I am planning to finish a programming project every month. I want to be ambitious, I want to push my wall further than I can even now imagine.
I will be documenting my Journey on this Blog.