Originally published on Medium April 27, 2016
Not your thang? It gets better.
I didn’t hate school; it was just never my thing. I worked hard and got good grades. My friends at school were really cool humans too — I just never felt like I belonged in high school. When I wasn’t studying or playing basketball, I would work, volunteer at my church and play guitar. Thank goodness for music. Looking back now, it is what kept me sane in between the ACT prep and english essays about the relevance of irrelevant books.
That “fish out of water” feeling grew exponentially during my three years in college. I was a math and science geek in high school so of course I would pursue something “responsible and smart” at the university level. I studied Electrical Engineering and later changed my major to Computer Science. Surprisingly, I learned nothing practical, but better believe I can strike up a riveting conversation about PN Junction theory for semiconductors or program a for-loop statement in C or Python that outputs a pyramid of asterisks. Did that last sentence put you straight to sleep? Same.
I kept feeding myself, and family members, the lie that I was fine. “I’M FINE GUYS I’M GOING TO BE MAKING THAT SIX-FIGURE PROGRAMMING SALARY. I’M FINE I PROMISE” *pulls hair out, burns textbooks, takes axe to computer with the forever blank word document, buys one way ticket to Mexico*
HOWEVER, the cool thing about college is it’s not high school. Your schedule is much more flexible and you are almost full on “adulting”. The next phase of life is LIFE— not another tier of education (of course there are exceptions like Master’s degrees, etc). In college, not only do you have the freedom to be reckless and irresponsible but you also have the freedom to start your journey taking over the world. The sooner you start your LIFE, the sooner you will see results. I had no freaking clue what I wanted to do with my life when I graduated high school. Going to college and doing something I absolutely hated really pushed me into what I love. I found myself taking any babysitting job I could and selling off guitar equipment so I could travel and buy new cameras. I would stay up until 2AM editing videos because HOLY CRAP IT’S SO MUCH FUN.
LESSONS LEARNED: Stay curious. Never stop trying new things. It is unlikely you will find your life purpose 6 hours into a Netflix show. You have to get out into the world and work your butt off, meet new people and experience different cities.
Four months ago, thanks to the sum of my life experiences and learning opportunities in the three years after high school, I had the unshakable confidence to pursue my dreams full force. “Pursuing my dreams” sounds so cheesy but the thought of not dropping out of college — for the approval of others — literally made me sick to my stomach. I put my mind to things and they happened. Something magical occurs when the two worlds of talent + hard work collide. Once you fully grasp the possibilities that the amazing World Wide Web offers, you will be unstoppable.
The whole point of this post — IT GETS BETTER. If you are continually seeking out opportunity and developing your skills — It. Gets. Better. You are not supposed to have your entire life figured out at the age of 16 years old, yet that’s when the world expects you to decide which $40k/year college you should go to… which is freaking crazy. Smh. That’s a rant for a different Medium post.
So, take this time to explore your interests. Instead of worrying about who’s dating who and what Sally posted on Snapchat — just be YOU and put in the work at an early age. If you are in high school, most likely you are not paying rent and insurance so work that minimum wage job or flip garage sale items on craigslist and buy that expensive camera or guitar or plane ticket. You don’t have to wait, start working hard NOW to achieve what you want for your future.
When considering what college to go to, think about choosing an in-state school or a community college because it is more affordable. Live at home for a little while to save money. Get good grades and work but also travel the world and experience different cultures. Work on that side hustle.
Life will never be easy but trust me when I say it is much more enjoyable when you are wise with your time, money and relationships. You are never too young to start thinking about your future.
❤ SARA DIETSCHY, rhymes with peachy