I never finished high school

      21 Comments on I never finished high school

I dropped out of school in year 11.

I remember the exact moment I decided I would never return to school vividly. I had just turned 16 and had numerous things stressing me. My mother had died not even 12 months before after battling cancer for a couple of years. I was sexually assaulted on the street near our home a few months after she passed away. I had struggled through high school emotionally and was bullied. I was a Mormon, with ‘strawberry blonde’ aka almost ranga hair, glasses, freckles, academically did well/a nerd (I even babysat for one of my teachers!) so not exactly popular. I had depression. I was not coping.

After year 10, I went off to college (year 11 and 12 in Australia). Soon after I started, I discovered the guy who sexually assaulted me was at this school and I could not get anyone to help me find out his name or report him. My ‘boyfriend’ (whom I was not supposed to be with because of my religion) was friends with him, but I couldn’t get him to tell me his name. I didn’t tell him why I needed to know and he was being a jerk. I tried reporting it to the teacher and school counsellor, both told me I needed to find out his name for them to help me. They wouldn’t even come outside for me to point him out in the courtyard or anything. I felt lost and helpless.

The moment that topped it all off was when I failed a math test, badly. I got 3 out of 50. I used to be good at math, but this year I was struggling with school.

My math teacher said he needed to see me after class. I went up and he said some things to which I responded with “It doesn’t matter, I’m never coming back to school anyway.” And threw my test in the bin on the way out the door.

I didn’t go back to school. That was my last day. It was part way through the second term and I quit.

It is often assumed I completed a degree or a diploma in finance. I didn’t. I quit school, bummed around, worked for Woolworths as a check out chick, did some work for the government then did an apprenticeship in hairdressing for 4 years. I finished my apprenticeship early, went straight into managing a new salon then ran my own hairdressing business 6 months later.

I was told I would regret quitting school. I don’t. My life experience made me who I am today.

I was good at school when I applied myself. I was in advanced classes and got mostly A’s, but if I wasn’t interested, it wasn’t happening.

Had I stayed in school, I would have gone to uni and my life would be very different to what it is now.

School is good, but I don’t think it is the be all and end all. It doesn’t suit everyone and I have met plenty of successful people who never finished school. The difference between the successful ones and the ones who flunk out then do nothing with their lives is desire and determination. Successful people have the desire to be successful, the drive, self-motivation and determination to get there.

I’m not saying kids should drop out of school. I do think we all need to look for learning opportunities outside the education system and not place so much pressure on kids to get a degree. University is only one pathway to a career.

Take time to finding what you are passionate about, what you want to do for your careers, how you want to spend your life and learn skills such as problem-solving. We need to be self-aware, self-motivated and raise our EQ (more on that here).

My life hasn’t been easy, I love where I am at in my life though and would not be here if it weren’t for my life experiences (homelessness, domestic violence and health issues to name a few). I learnt more through life than I did at school. I knew from a young age certain things about myself and what I wanted from life and while I haven’t always taken the fastest route, the fact that at 31 I am where I want to be, after a lot of hard work is pretty significant.

What do you think, do we put too much pressure on kids about education? Do you think we need to do more or provide more opportunities for learning outside of the education gained at school? 

 

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21 thoughts on “I never finished high school

    1. Elizabeth

      Totally agree. When I was teaching, I hated how some students thought they weren’t “smart” because they weren’t as successful in the classroom environment as others. Everyone has their strengths and learning styles.

      The school board where I taught had a variety of full day credit programs in the trades (boat building, hair dressing, automotive, design, etc.) These hands-on programs helped many talented teens get their diplomas when they might otherwise have dropped out. The thing that made the biggest difference, IMHO, was giving them the chance to be successful and to imagine a world beyond tests and marks.

      Reply
  1. Rebecca Senyard

    I finished school, but never went to uni. Work and Life Experience are the best teachers and I agree that if you have desire and determination, you will achieve your goals. Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
  2. Rebecca Senyard

    I finished school, but never went to uni. Work and Life Experience are the best teachers and I agree that if you have desire and determination, you will achieve your goals. Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth

    Enjoyed hearing your story, Kylie 🙂 This former teacher totally agrees with you about the school environment not being for everyone. I’ve seen so many cases where students who struggle in traditional academic areas are successful in other arenas when given the chance.

    One thing I was grateful for in high school was that I had to work to save for university. I often resented the fact that my friends had more time to study, but I learned much more working.

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth

    Enjoyed hearing your story, Kylie 🙂 This former teacher totally agrees with you about the school environment not being for everyone. I’ve seen so many cases where students who struggle in traditional academic areas are successful in other arenas when given the chance.

    One thing I was grateful for in high school was that I had to work to save for university. I often resented the fact that my friends had more time to study, but I learned much more working.

    Reply
  5. Kylie Post author

    Thank you guys for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I have seen so many people who have thrived outside of school, but just as many who have thrived in school. I think it has a lot to do with our own determination, life experience and things that are available to us.

    I love how some schools now are offering to have part time school part time trades (my little brother has been doing this and it has been the best thing ever for him. I’m so proud of how well he has done).

    Elizabeth, you are so right. Letting the kids see a world beyond test scores and things can help them enormously. And I, like you, had to work to save for uni (although I didn’t end up going) and a car and things, whereas many of my friends just got given theirs. The experience and things I learned are worth much more though.

    Reply
  6. Kylie Post author

    Thank you guys for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I have seen so many people who have thrived outside of school, but just as many who have thrived in school. I think it has a lot to do with our own determination, life experience and things that are available to us.

    I love how some schools now are offering to have part time school part time trades (my little brother has been doing this and it has been the best thing ever for him. I’m so proud of how well he has done).

    Elizabeth, you are so right. Letting the kids see a world beyond test scores and things can help them enormously. And I, like you, had to work to save for uni (although I didn’t end up going) and a car and things, whereas many of my friends just got given theirs. The experience and things I learned are worth much more though.

    Reply
  7. Ambdr

    Thank you for sharing your story. I agree, Kylie, it’s what you DO with your life that counts and shows what a true person of character you are. You obviously have a strong work ethic and learn best by practical application. By the way, I found it ironic that you were flunking Math when it is now your area of expertise!

    Reply
    1. Kylie Post author

      Thank you!
      lol, it is ironic. It was the algebra in math I just never got and struggled with. Numbers and finance I aced, but algebra still does my head in. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Ambdr

    Thank you for sharing your story. I agree, Kylie, it’s what you DO with your life that counts and shows what a true person of character you are. You obviously have a strong work ethic and learn best by practical application. By the way, I found it ironic that you were flunking Math when it is now your area of expertise!

    Reply
    1. Kylie Post author

      Thank you!
      lol, it is ironic. It was the algebra in math I just never got and struggled with. Numbers and finance I aced, but algebra still does my head in. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Linda

    I struggled through high school and then struggled through uni….all mainly due to emotional upheaval at the time. 20 years later though I am so happy I pushed through. It gave me confidence that I needed, to show myself that I can achieve things. I’ve since gone back to study and am breezing through it and think a lot of it is to do with the experience I had before and knowing how to study. I understand what you are saying in that a lack of education doesn’t predict success or failure but overall I think it still is a worthwhile thing to do and encourage for many reasons outside of just academic success.

    Reply
  10. Linda

    I struggled through high school and then struggled through uni….all mainly due to emotional upheaval at the time. 20 years later though I am so happy I pushed through. It gave me confidence that I needed, to show myself that I can achieve things. I’ve since gone back to study and am breezing through it and think a lot of it is to do with the experience I had before and knowing how to study. I understand what you are saying in that a lack of education doesn’t predict success or failure but overall I think it still is a worthwhile thing to do and encourage for many reasons outside of just academic success.

    Reply
  11. Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    So many people think that school is the only path to success. I am so glad that you posted this.

    I think it’s great that a math class was what pushed you away from school and now you’re teaching people across the globe how to manage their finances!

    Reply
  12. Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    So many people think that school is the only path to success. I am so glad that you posted this.

    I think it’s great that a math class was what pushed you away from school and now you’re teaching people across the globe how to manage their finances!

    Reply
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