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Drop Out and Grow Rich

In our culture going to school is given a lot of respect. Dropouts face a sharp negative stigma. They're quitters. They're losers. They'll go nowhere in life. But is this really true? How big of a factor is college on success?

Here's a list of some of the dropouts that I personally admire :

Bill Gates
Steve Jobs
Paul Allen
Richard Branson
Larry Ellison (Oracle)
Dave Thomas
Ted Turner
Henry Ford
Almost 1 in 5 of the US Presidents including Lincoln, Washington, Jackson, and Cleveland
Albert Einstein
Walt Disney
John D. Rockafeller
Mark Twain
Charles Dickens
Thomas Edison
Benjamin Franklin
Ray Kroc (billionaire founder of McDonalds)
Claude Monet

The happy end to my college admissions efforts

On Paige + world

Today I had an interview with a very awesome school, one that I have a slim shot of getting into. I was so happy to have it because what a nice opportunity, and it was. Even if I get a rejection letter, which won’t be heart crushing because I am expecting it, I still had such a nice time conversing with a very intelligent, wise man.

Sitting in the waiting room, I was thinking that I drank way too much coffee. I felt a little jittery, and sometimes when I drink too much coffee with nerves I get little panic attacks. I looked around me and I felt very isolated- we are all trying to get into a university that will maybe accept 1 out of the 12 people in this room. A girl sitting with her dad looked like she had just been called up to perform the end-all-be-all, most crucial moment of her existence, the way my intense cross country teammates look before a race starts. She looked at her dad and he nodded, and her dad just looked so excited and she walked off in her little business suit.

Wow. In that moment I just felt such a huge contrast between that girl and me. Although we both applied to the school, I felt like she was part of some planet of college admissions freak-outs that I was never indoctrinated to. I felt like she was meant to be here and I was an outsider. In truth, I freaked out about college my fair share…maybe more than it. I've just been very afraid of not living up to my own expectations, not ending up a place that will serve my interests, etc, but never to live up to my parents or to get in the top ten schools or whatever. I felt like her and her dad probably followed every step to prepare her to be here, practiced interview questions, had toured the school and thoroughly discussed it before applying, etc. I felt like this is her dream school and she probably has a poster of the campus above her bed. Really, it’s not unlikely that I have higher grades than her and a more impressive resume. Although I decided to apply sort of last minute and on a whim, it has become my favorite school as well. But she just looked like such an Ivy-League applicant, with all the intensity and ferocity that you would expect from an applicant pool made up of valedictorians and academic stars.

I pulled out my book and tried to read as I was waiting, barely processing the sentences and trying to suppress my anxiety. I couldn’t look at the people around me anymore. I was dressed a lot more stylishly than them in my high waisted pants and nice top; all of the other teenagers waiting looked like middle-aged business people. Scary. Fortunately, they called my name shortly, and I pulled it together. After I had some difficulty answering his first question, with stumbling on my words and feeling the anxiety blocking me, I had a sudden rush of warmth and confidence.

The conversation was fluid and casual and I fell into comfort that allowed me to actually express who I am, as I realized what a kind and like-minded person my interviewer was. We talked about unfair labor practices in developing nations in relation to the company I work at, we talked about what I want to study and what I read in my spare time, my book club, my role in my school newspaper, and his really interesting college experience and career. We talked about the weather- the California sunshine and the New England snow, how that difference took him west and how it's alluring me to the east. It was fun.

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