Travel after High School: Should You Skip College to See the World?

Travel after High School or go to College | F*ckity bye | Funny Tavel Blog | Ryan Somohano

College isn't for everyone.

No matter what your parents, guidance counselor, life coach or senile grandmother tells you, choosing to extend your education past primary school is a deeply personal choice that isn't always a great investment in your happiness or your future. If you're a young person who aspires to live an unconventional, adventure-filled life and is struggling to see how giving 4 to 5+ years of your existence and money away to school will help you achieve that end, I feel your pain 100%.

Below, I'll talk a little bit about my own experience struggling with what you're going through, what I did and what I recommend.

College vs Adventure: Should You Travel After High School or Keep on that School Grind?

By the time you graduate high school, you've probably been attending classes for 13+ years. Pretty crazy, right?

Given the staggering amount of time you've put into your education, it's natural to want to take a break and find something new. As a matter of fact, I'd say you were pretty unimaginative if the thought of doing other things besides school didn't cross your mind after finishing up high school.

Too often, awesome people like you fall into this sad pattern where they run their lives according to what some older person told them is the right way to do things.

"Go to primary school." "Get good grades." "Go to college." "Get a job." "Start a family."

Want to know what that conventional advice has gotten people like you?

Conventional advice outcomes | F*ckity bye | Funny travel blog | Ryan Somohano
Not exactly something to aspire to...

That's not to say college is all bad. For many, college is a period of enlightenment that not only hooks you up with marketable skills but helps you shape the way you think. So let's dive deeper into both sides of this college vs travel after high school coin and wrap our heads around the pros and cons of each.

The Benefits of College

We'll open up with what I'm guessing is the less popular side of this argument. The benefits of college.

A college education can be an extremely valuable thing. Alright, alright, stop booing me... I'm being serious here!

It actually took me a little while post graduating with my bachelor's degree (that's right, I went to college believe it or not) to fully appreciate not just the obvious benefits of college but some less visible ones that have helped shape who I am today.

Obvious Benefit: College Teaches You Marketable Skills

I majored in Cinema and Television Arts with an emphasis on multimedia production. Honestly... The skills I was taught during my program felt redundant.

A lot of the aspects of my education I had self-taught myself in high school by watching online tutorials (thanks Andrew Kramer and Consequently, I always felt like I was ahead of the curve in classes related to my major and (this is going to sound really pompous) was almost never impressed or inspired by my peer's work.

That's not to say I didn't learn anything about my major during school. I definitely did. But 9 out of 10 times I was able to do mediocre work and still get A's.

I don't say all of that to impress you. Believe me, there's nothing impressive about my sad existence. I say all of this to impress upon you that if you're looking to be challenged and truly grow as a professional during your college career, lackluster classmates and undemanding programs may make it so that doesn't happen.

Not So Obvious Benefit: College Helps Shape the Way You Think

It took me a few months to realize this benefit post graduating: College straight up made me smarter.

After college, you'll start to notice that you're suddenly more able to handle yourself during conversations with intelligent people. You'll find yourself capable of weighing in on current events. You'll be more confident in the way that you state and defend your opinions which means less feeling like a babbling fool during arguments.

You'll even start to have your own opinions on things!

Prior to college, I found myself hearing about issues and arguing a point of view based solely on what I saw on my social media feed or what my parents had told me was right or wrong. While a lot (and I mean a lot) of people who graduate college still form their opinions that way, during my time in school I really found myself challenging my beliefs, the beliefs of my friends and family and ultimately, coming out of school with an intellectual compass that was totally my own!

Final Not So Obvious Benefit: College Hones Your Commitment

College really proved to me my ability to commit to something and see it through. When you graduate high school, you're 18 years old and (despite what your controlling parents say) are free to go out and do whatever you want. The idea of completing something like college, even though I didn't have to, really made me hone my ability to commit.

That paved the way for me to commit myself to finishing other things in my life (like this blog post)!

The Benefits of Kicking School in the Teeth and Setting off on Grand Adventures

Alright, that's enough of that sappy, "Stay in school stuff!" stuff. If you're reading this article you're probably looking for someone to tell you it's okay to punch school in the neck and start living your fantastic life.

There are incredible gifts to be had from getting out into the world and finding your place in it right now instead of toiling away for 4 to 5+ extra years in school.

You'll Learn Organically and Practically

A lot of people say that school will broaden your mind. While school will definitely expose you to new things, it does so in a way that focuses on beating you over the head with facts and figures you need to recall for tests. This process leads to you becoming really good at memorizing things for short periods of time and being really crappy at retaining anything long-term.

The complete opposite is true when you put down your books and let the world be your teacher.

All of the experiences you’ll be exposed to are hands on. You’ll be faced with real-world problems that have real-world consequences where you’ll need to figure out real solutions really fast (that sentence was too real...). That form of education will lead to you scoring awesome self-sufficiency and problem-solving skills that you'll keep with you for the rest of your life.

Your Experiences Will Have Limitless Possibilities

College is a good place to find yourself but its structure can be very limiting. Also, the fact that you’ll be managing multiple classes that are pulling your time in a hundred different directions could limit your ability to pour yourself into any one thing that really speaks to your soul.

Alternatively, when you travel after high school and start forging your own adventure, where you choose to invest yourself is 100% up to you. You’ll be exposed to wonderful people and experiences. When something catches your interest, you can give yourself to that thing fully without needing to take notes or memorize anything for a pop quiz.

You can simply be present in your experience and let it drive you forward and towards what could end up being a life-defining passion.

Finally, You Can Learn Everything You Can Pick up in a Classroom Cheaper and Faster

College has a vested interest in keeping you knocking around for as long as possible. Why?

Because you're the best and who wouldn't want to keep you around forever!? Duh!

... Also college is either collecting massive amounts of tuition off of you or is making money off of your enrollment via cash they receive from the state/federal government.

Because of that, a simple topic you could learn online in a couple of days can take weeks to go through in a classroom setting.

Therein lies one of the most powerful arguments for ditching college and traveling after high school. If you’re interested solely in expanding your mind and learning incredible things, you don’t need school to do that.

Seriously people. School can make getting you into job interviews easier but you 100% do not need it to be successful and make more money than your family and friends.

All you need is a willingness to learn and seize opportunities as they come your way. The ability to seize opportunities is not a skill you are going to learn in a classroom.

So... Umm... Should I Travel after High School and Ditch College?

I hope you don't hate me for this but honestly, only you can answer that question.

I'll gladly tell you what I ended up doing though.

My college tuition was virtually free between a combination of going to cheap schools and leveraging scholarships/financial aid. Since college wasn’t burning a hole in my pocket, I told myself that as much as I wanted to leave school behind, I would go through the process of getting my degree to open up my conventional job prospects. That way I'd be covered in case I didn't have what it took to live an unconventional life. During that time, I saved my traveling/adventures for school breaks.

Kind of a cowardly and non-committal decision, I know. But I'm not as brave as you! Also, I ended up getting to taste a little bit of both worlds.

I learned stuff in school and when I was on break, used that school-provided knowledge and learned a ton more during my travels.

Do I regret my decision? Nope. I believe it ended up being the best decision for me and I'm now living a life where I can pretty much do whatever I want.

Graduation Day
A blurry photo of a photo of me on graduation day. (Thanks Mom!)

Wrapping Up Should You Travel After High School and Ditch College?

To wrap this up, if I could give you one thought to chew on it’s this: If you broke up with school right now to travel, to start a business or to do whatever else you’re thinking of doing, would you be in a place inspiration-wise and financially to follow through?

A lot of people are just scared of college and what it’s going to demand of them. Because of that, they pretend that they want to quit to do bigger things but are really just trying to avoid doing work.

Are you one of those people? Or are you seriously ready to take real steps and put in the very hard work required to move towards an unconventional, full, adventure-filled life?

Always be honest with yourself in that regard and never drop out of school by choice to be a person who lives with their parents till they're 30 and works a minimum wage job.

Remember, if you’re inspired to see the world and reach your potential, getting a college degree won’t keep you from doing that. Neither will not getting it.

Whatever you decide, be true to yourself, take a deep breath, and dive in. Also, leave me a comment below if you need extra advice! I have no friends so I'll enjoy the conversation, believe me.

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