University (or College) Dropout

I’m quite tired of hearing people, sometimes under the guise of ‘motivational speakers’, using the phrase “Bill Gates/Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg is a college dropout” as an excuse to being mediocre at university and eventually dropping out. As an educator, it’s quite distressing enough when students don’t have the desire to do well academically but it’s even more disheartening when they opt to quit their studies because they believe paper qualification isn’t important. “Takpe lah, takde degree pun boleh hidup…”

I don’t deny or disagree that the above mentioned people are successful even without a degree. But the problem is, how many people are like Bill Gates? How many are like Zuckerberg, or Jobs or even Tiger Woods? What I disagree with is when youngsters naively think that they can become successful by dropping out. Haven’t they considered that these people are successful in spite of dropping out, not because of it?

A degree or any other type of paper qualification has its virtues. That piece of paper signifies a culmination of effort one puts in towards understanding key concepts and learning a particular skill. Achieving academic excellence demand discipline, focus and endurance that may serve you well in your work environment. Sure, you have the ‘university of life’ or experience that some people insist as being more important but I never said a degree is the only important thing for your career. It’s merely a tool to jumpstart your career. To be good at what you do, that’s where experience and practice come in.

Anyway, back to those who dropout from university and are successful. Some people are inherently brilliant, talented or skillful way beyond their years. By being in the current system, sometimes, it might just slow them down from achieving their true potential. But these are exception rather than the norm.

So unless you are that exceptionally gifted, talented or a whizz in IT or business, get in line like the rest of us and get an education! Then feel free to venture out into any field that you wish. That extra 3 to 4 years of university/college may be your best safety net in case things don’t work out.


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