Advice for the Recent College Dropout
Whatever the reason, college just didn’t work out. Maybe you got burned out trying to balance the demands of school, home, and work life. Maybe after trying out a few different paths, none of the classes or programs truly captured your interest. Or perhaps the stress of accumulating student debt outweighed your excitement for the future.
It’s important to know you’re not alone! Many students who start college–54.8%, according to Bill Gates on his blog–find themselves leaving without a diploma. Dropping out of college wasn’t part of your original plan, but after taking some time to redefine your goals, you may find yourself heading toward a better future than ever.
Don’t Stop Learning
Just because you’re not sitting in a college classroom doesn’t mean you should give up on learning. It’s important to keep your brain active, especially during a time when you may be more vulnerable to anxiety or depression. Keeping up with learning will also keep you prepared to work, connect, and dive into whatever new opportunities may come your way.
- Keep reading as much as you can. You’re no longer tied to a college syllabus, so take the time to learn new topics, brush up on background knowledge, and explore ideas that interest you.
- Develop new skills. When it comes to jobs, skills are king. People who can demonstrate marketable skills, even those who don’t have a college degree, will find themselves at an advantage when applying for jobs. Many of these skills, especially from the field technology, can be learned for cheap or for free through classes and MOOCs (massive open online courses).
- Build life experiences. While transitioning between college and your next steps, take some time to volunteer, meet with old friends, exercise, and revisit old hobbies. These experiences will not only keep you mentally and physically healthy, but help you redefine what’s most important to you.
Relationships will be more important to you now than ever. Dropping out of college, like any major life change, can be stressful. Surrounding yourself with friends and mentors will help you keep perspective as you process your situation and make new plans.
And as you move forward, remember the value of networking connections, too. A recent post on Hubspot says that 85% of jobs are found through networking. Find people with like-minded interests on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Attend local networking events. Read and comment on blogs. Regardless of what kind of degree you do–or don’t –have, who you know does, indeed, matter!
Make a Plan
You may need to take some time to process your decision to drop out, but don’t let too much time pass before moving on. Trusted professionals who are experts in career planning and adult education can offer support, help you brainstorm next steps, and connect you with solutions that will lead you to satisfying jobs that pay well.
Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center will help you change course on your road to a promising future. Talk Bill Mellick, a mentorship director to share your dreams and make a plan for your personal career success or learn more about adult education at ACWHCC.