I left Utah at 17 after I graduated from high school. Drove to Los Angeles. Played in punk bands and worked in the computer industry, which lead to
moving to Central America and all manner of high strangeness. After four years, I moved back to my home state and went to university. My parents
paid for my school the first year, and I worked in a pizza place part-time. I also make extra money by running booze from Idaho. I am NOT
suggesting this as an alternative income. It was really really stupid, and just a miracle that I didn't get caught, expelled, arrested and jailed.
I thought I was mature enough to stand my home state, but I was wrong. I moved to San Francisco area and worked and went to school. I had taken
two years of typing in Jr. High School and worked with temp. agencies and typed my ass off. I went to school at a Junior College, and three different
universities, FINally finishing after seven years of school with a B.S. in Chem and minors in math and physics. It was really tough, but I just kept
pushing. I would take time off and work full time -- one time working for six months with a sandblasting operation. That was actually fun.
I didn't have consolidated goals, and I think that was my primary failing. I was just working, drifting, going to school without any apparent plan.
My last two years I decided to just get it done, and rented a 250 square-foot hovel. It was in a filthy rat-infested building, but it was cheap and
utilities were included, and they actually worked much of the time. I buckled down and had no social life, little entertainment, and forget romance.
No way I would have ever brought anyone back to such squalid surroundings.
I finally graduated but couldn't immediately find work in my field, so took a night job in a counseling agency where I met my Darlin' (who I've been
happily married to for 26 years.) A year later, I was able to land solid work in my field.
If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing. However, there are things I learned that I did wrong.
1. Don't waffle. Decide on your major. Let it be something that stands a chance of both making you happy and making you money. That indecision
probably cost me at least a year of school.
2. Make a plan for your life and have reasonable goals. You need X amount of money to not only pay for school, books, and other related sundries,
but you have to eat, have a safe place to sleep with FULL utilities. You have to be able to afford some form of entertainment. That is perhaps
easier and cheaper in modern times than in donkey ages ago when I was seeking a degree.
3. Do everything in your power to avoid getting student loans. I never did get any, but I know many of my buddies who did and it made their lives
hell to have to pay that out after getting out in the wild world. I don't know if it's true, but I suspect that very few people that get student
loans actually apply all that money to the educational process.
4. Make your money count. Study your ass off. Forget about everything else and try to avoid companionship, unless you can truly afford it. By
"afford" I mean not only the money, but the possible pain and drama. You need ALL your strength to finish this arduous learning experience.
5. Become monklike. Don't drink, do drugs, have any fun unless said fun is free. Figure on sacrificing at least four years of your life toward a
goal that will serve you the rest of your life. See #1 above.
6. Make contacts in school. That doesn't mean you have to join fraternal groups, but send out letters well before you're finished. Don't do like
me and think that once you had the piece of paper that the world would open up for you. No, the real work is just beginning then.
Of course, I did none of these things. Just my humble advice from a person who somehow not only survived, but managed to eke out a degree.
edit on 7/4/16 by argentus because: (no reason given)