"Should I graduate early from college and/or high school? Or go to college at all?"

In full honesty:

NO!

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Edit: August 11, 2017

My complaints outlined here are not problems specific to my university. My university gives people options. Make the right choice, everyone. The university admits you as a student. You decide the rest. Make the best decisions IF YOU GO TO COLLEGE and only IF YOU SEE THE VALUE OF COLLEGE IN YOUR LIFE. My university did not do anything wrong. I made all the wrong choices because I was too afraid to have a voice in my life decisions as a young person.

Number one. Be warned if you go to college, your young self can’t major in anything. You need to major in nursing, science, library sciences, or ANY PROFESSION LEADING YOU TO A FALLBACK JOB NO MATTER WHAT. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME STUDYING JOURNALISM, GENERAL STUDIES, HISTORY OF A TYPE OF PEOPLE, WOMEN’S STUDIES, GOVERNMENT, ART HISTORY, OR ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT LEAD TO A JOB AKA MOST DEGREES! Please don’t! I studied journalism and, like most people who are filmmakers or actors until they are established, I have a day job. Mine is freelance journalism. The issue is, it’s flaky. Were I a nurse, I would be right now working at a hospital in the meantime I finance my films. I am not. I studied government, journalism, and history, all of which were said at the time to be promising when I went to school and now? I AM TRAPPED. Any job that is not journalism I cannot be hired for because it would mean me going back to college studying again in the world’s second biggest waste of what youth I have left then starting from the bottom. Job security is a big deal. Studying to get any degree because ALL degrees guarantee a job is stupid and one of the worst old wives tales of our modern era. YOU WILL BE A FREELANCER BOUNCING AROUND WITH UNSTABLE INCOME if you do not study anything that nails a career in the meantime you’re waiting to do something. I have a positive “I can do anything!” motto but let’s be realistic. I have to do ridiculous amounts of work to get freelance journalism work. The hardest part of the job is the actual getting hired! I have a wasted degree I busted myself graduating early for wasting my teen years to be dealing with the same garbage I would be dealing with were I a high school dropout as I write this. I get sad whenever I think about how I am going to get out of this trap in the meantime that I am not George Lucas with my billion dollar plus bank vault net worth. Of course, the first thing people assume is I AM sitting around with billions in the bank. Someday, I will be. I’m going to do it to prove people wrong as the ultimate “so there” for every person who has ever told me been sexist towards me, small or big. Own your goals. They one day won’t be impossible.

Your parents could be billionaires themselves. That doesn’t make their money your money. They won’t give it to you. You need a job. Their money might never be your money when they die if they blew it all stupidly or cut you out of the will. It’s like people don’t realize that.

Famous people until they are established are pretty much broke. Do you think everyone you see on TV is debt free? Hahahha aside from the cast of Friends type wealth…NO. SWIMMING UP THEIR NECKS IN DEBT. Some people who aren’t recurring cast regulars yet have steady acting work remain working at the mall or restaurants because acting doesn’t pay until you are so in demand, people are forced to pay you a decent salary. Filmmakers who haven’t made it huge with a Spider-Man film have debt. The streets paved with gold myth still exists when people look at celebrities or newbie entrepreneurs.

Behind closed doors, people of money will tell their daughters to marry for money. I know so because girls tell me privately their folks force this crazy idea on them. Marrying for money IS NOT THE ANSWER. First how? Few fools who aren’t desperate 90 years old on their deathbeds want a young woman or man to marry them for money. They can date young men and women without marrying them, hello! You could be married to a Hollywood hottie of the money with his $25 million plus net worth and guess what? He or she could deny you access to that money. Read the horror stories online like Reddit. I’m so sick of seeing women in bathrooms chattering amongst themselves how marrying for money is the answer. HIS/HER MONEY IS NOT YOUR MONEY. He/she will control it. He/she may possibly abuse you holding power over you because you don’t have any money. MAKE YOUR OWN MONEY. DATE AND MARRY WHO YOU WANT! YOU ARE SETTING YOURSELF UP TO BE A VICTIM. STOP OBJECTIFYING YOURSELF. If others are telling this, tell them you are not an object for sale. You are a living, breathing human being with a soul who may be imperfect as all of us but deserves equality.

In rethinking about what I said below because I am so angry today once again dealing with this lack of security, please don’t go to college without being a doctor, lawyer, nurse, scientist, or ANYTHING LEADING TO A JOB. You’ll only have offers to work part time selling jeans at the Gap if you’re lucky. You might work at a gas station. I know college educated people littering restaurants as waitstaff. You’ll be a freelance whatever with unpredictable income like me.

People give me positive advice like, “Maybe this is meant to show you, you need to do something else.” Yeah, well! Maybe THERE IS NOTHING ELSE FOR ME as my day job. I am not going back to school only to find out now nurses oversaturate the market. I AM SICK OF SCHOOL. I SPENT MY YOUTH AND LIFE BUILDING A SIDE JOURNALISM CAREER. MAYBE THIS IS THE “SOMETHING.” THERE IS NO SOMETHING ELSE. GOT IT? I am skilled with journalism, and I’m going to fight to get journalism work because I have no intentions of wasting more years of my life because things get rough finding work. If I went back to school now, at age 34-36 I might find the thing I just studied and hate is now a dying industry. I am 32 years old, a freelance journalist as my day job working on getting up there as a major filmmaker/film score composer. It’s a little late for a redo and why must I have a redo? Maybe I like journalism as the best choice of “normal job” employment. Why must I quit? Are people really listening to their advice in a literal sense? I can’t be a chemist, hairdresser, librarian, school principal, doctor, electrical engineer, department store executive, professional hockey player, popular seamstress, city council member, executive chef at a fine restaurant…BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT AND MAYBE I SHOULD DO SOMETHING ELSE. Life is not a board game where today I feel like putting rentals on Park Place. To do “something else :D (Pollyanna smile given with poor advice!)” I need to redo all of my life from 2002 onwards again and then gain experience in the field before I am doing the “something else” enough to earn a feasible living. In the process of that happening, I won’t be able to do a thing furthering my career dreams in film/film music. It’s like people say stuff without thinking anything through.

I am studying special FX classes because I know they will lead me to being a better filmmaker. I could possibly IF GOOD ENOUGH AT FX, and notice I said “if,” get a day job working at special FX company in the film industry IF I can outdo the other many competitive bunches of people who are self taught wizards at special FX. Outside of that, I cannot envision any other “anything else” beyond journalism. I’m a total web design wiz having studied it for my science requirements at college. Haha, good luck. The work is flaky. Between my affordable services and someone abroad in an impoverished scenario charging $5 for a website filled with errors and poor design, most clients lately prefer the faulty website because hey, five bucks. My reality. Hey, I’m left with journalism! What am I gonna do, be 65 finally making it at a new day job and 90 as a filmmaker?

I can’t redo my life but I can stop you from making mistakes. Don’t listen to a high school guidance counselor. Listen to me. Don’t. DO NOT. Don’t go to college. If you do, study something guaranteed to get you a job.

Please follow my advice: as long as you aren’t independently stable and by that I mean never worrying about money, you are subject to being owned by others. A spouse, your grandparents, your parents, your boss giving you a loan, your university giving you a loan, that investor, the list goes on. They own you. The more dependent one is on borrowing from someone, the more your friend(s) or family, or that entity/company, have greater input on your life decisions. As you’ll see in this diary entry I wrote recently, one negative to graduating early is the lack of legal rights as a minor setting you up for worse decisions you feel are not yours the more it spirals and how few take a teenage recent college graduate seriously enough to hire you. Breaking free from that is harder and harder if you studied something unusable for being hired in the modern world. People in their 40’s struggle having studied the wrong stuff. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES. Good luck. :)

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Is there a yes for college argument? Of course. Yes, if graduating from high school early frees you and you don’t care about rushing off to college or going to college at all. Example: you want to work as a professional ballet dancer and have a high school diploma or GED. A Broadway actor who can get on with his life. Playing for the NBA. Do it!

Yes, if you want to be a dentist, physician, scientist, whatever, and you know you need a degree, you hate student life, you see no point to being in college sticking around, and you want to drive yourself crazy in the process doing pointless homework when you could be having fun swimming or doing anything not school.

I graduated early from high school at 16, with never really “going” to high school for much of it. My community college and/or distance community college classes doubled up for high school with a plan we crafted up at my school. With college, I graduated at 19 but should have really at 18. My university was really rigid about not letting me take more upper division classes WITH multiple teachers’ permissions! Honestly, I am convinced people did so at the time to be mean. The person who had the final say was trying to make me take only one to two classes per semester in my major. I had all the other general studies classes done! The outline was something like “graduate at 23!” for me, and I was like, “NO WAY.” I changed majors.

Graduating early from both wasn’t worth it for me. Student life was never important for me. I wanted out of there.

You will NOT get a job out of college unless you know someone in a high place and that person is willing to hire you. You might know a million successful people. “Big deal!” I say, as if they won’t hire you, knowing and/or meeting the right people is pretty useless. I had issues with people in the media industry pre-#metoo pressuring me for sexual relationships for work, not hiring me because they found me unattractive for said would be sexual relationships, and/or telling me to be an intern. Problem! I already had plenty of real world journalism experience as a freelancer to not be an intern and only college students can be interns. I had graduated! Or my fav stupid thing: after half an hour of asking me questions about my work history and graduating early, some fool acted as if he/she never listened ending with, “Good luck with finishing college!” “Come meet me when you graduate!” stuff. NO.

To graduate early from both, I took summer classes. If summers off are your thing, good luck to ya. I was doing my homework in the back of a car. The single comforting fact: I didn’t have to go in person for much of my pre-four year university transfer. I had a bizarre speech class with FOUR(!) in person sessions taught via satellite with some teacher in another state and students scattered across Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana(?). On those four occasions, each of the classmates, about what 12 of us, gave speeches on camera like we were appearing via satellite on The Today Show. Some of my class work was e-mailed in. I took some summer and fall classes in person with a mix of e-mail. Horrendous.

In my transfer time at the four year university, it was all in person on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule with one summer of daily classes. A rat race to graduate early.

Getting a college degree was something I did because my parents insisted on it. When I say “insisted,” I mean “metaphorically threatened to lock me in the Matilda chokey if I didn’t go to college and not pay for anything that could come up.” Remember, if you graduate early from high school, you are legally a minor. You do not have ANY LEGAL RIGHTS. Think about that very hard. Your parents can do whatever they want with your life decisions until the day you turn 18. I graduated “high school” whatever that meant, because I did “I didn’t learn much beyond Spanish class not-high school-high school,” with a high school diploma at 16. Imagine a Midwestern chick’s version of “Hollywood schooling” where people don’t go to school primarily working on sets with distance courses and tutoring whenever and as a consequence, don’t learn much but keep a nifty piece of paper. Hmmmm…. kiiiiiinnd of my “high school” years with some moderation meaning college courses and lots of distance and e-mailed in materials. My parents owned me for two whole years. What was I going to do? Run away on a pirate ship adventure until I was 18? They made me finish out the remaining missing community college classes for an associates degree. From there, I was 16 and a half! Legally a minor! My parents made me apply to four year universities as a transfer student. Summers off? What’s a summer—what—oh you guys went to Disney World? Cool! I spent my summer e-mailing in a bunch of stuff I have no idea about because I’m not learning a thing and taking a weird in person math course I’m not learning anything in, and that other weird course, and! Say hi to Mickey and Minnie for me.

Technically, I could have run away with Captain Jack Sparrow and pals once I was 18. It was too late. I was inches away from graduating from a four year university. You can bet I wanted to sail the high seas, but it wasn’t happening. I was in too deep and pretty much hopeless at being independent because I spent my latter teen years wasting time “learning” without learning.

My college degree has never once earned me a thing. College works for some people. For people who don’t go off into scientific research, law, or medicine, college should remain a personal decision. The old phrase “college isn’t for everyone” is spot on. Acme Looniversity would have made a better decision for me because at the very least, I could work as a professional Tiny Toon upon graduation. I had a few good teachers out of many in my educational existence. NOT ONCE DID I LEARN ANY USEFUL CAREER SKILLS. NOT ONCE!

My university, or any university, works for some people. No university setting would have worked for me. In fact, going to college and wasting years of my life graduating early when I should have been doing something else are two of my life regrets. Had I done it again, I might have graduated early from high school to go into film/entertainment related studies with some journalism and writing workshops on the side to get my journalism narrowed down. Nothing else!

You’ll get a job! and career! and money! after college!
— my parents

Oh, because everyone at the time making their kids go to college said stuff like that! Makes it true! No. As we know today with thousands of people out of work around the world and/or only working endless low paying freelance jobs as they barely make it financially in life, that isn’t the case.

My parents used examples of successful people who felt so bad about never finishing their degrees, they went back to college later in life to earn their university diplomas. Today I hear, “If you never went to college, you would be bothering how you wish you went to college!” No, I wouldn’t. I know myself pretty well.

I resent actual years of my life wasted on graduating early to where it is something I hate the moment I remember it. If and when I have nightmares, one recurring nightmare all my life is I am at a university, always a changing setting of my actual university or ones I dreamed up. I am not allowed out until I remember aloud in the dream, “I graduated!” Sometimes I go to an office finding my diploma as my get out of jail free card, or I print something from the admissions office proving so. I tell people. Always, somehow, some way, I prove I graduated and wake up.

I realized how bad things were when while I hated admitting it to myself, I related to the young influencer Olivia Jade during the college bribery scandal. Olivia Jade’s parents allegedly at this time of writing bribed her a spot on a sports team so she could get into USC, all the while she dreaded college. Olivia Jade said the same types of stuff I probably was thinking about how she can’t stand school on her YouTube channel. She seemed scared. A young person who should be held accountable for her actions, but she was vulnerable because she was young and probably always pressured by her family about high school then college. She seems happy about the cute stuff of college life like school supplies or vlogging and not much else. The actual college of college irritates her. You can tell she doesn’t want to be there. Out of curiosity, reading articles I might have on most days skimmed past because I related to her on some level, I checked out her videos. Miss Olivia Jade seems perky being her influencer self hitting Sephora. Anything college related is like she is acting for the camera but inside probably feels like she swallowed boxes of sliced lemons. I get the feeling, like me, no university would have made her happy. College wasn’t for her.

I look back on my years wasted graduating early thinking, “Would I be farther along had I never done this? Or would I be in the same scenario? If I were going to have lived life all the same up to now, why should I have gone to college?” You never get your youth back. Physically, you can look 16-22 for a while. No problem. Some people look 25 at 55!

I’m not talking about physical youth here. Actual younger years of your life get wasted doing stuff you hate to please others. You hate every minute of physically being at school, every hour spent at home or school studying for the stuff you hate. I don’t mean a whiny “I hate this and might transfer loving the next university.” You know in your heart, “I hate this. Nothing will make it right. I am living to please other people. My parents. Teachers. Society. People out there who have never met me and maybe will never meet me who could Google me seeing I have a college degree someday. My parents, everyone else actually, always remind me, ‘If you don’t have a degree, you’ll be embarrassed meeting educated, successful people.’” Young people are vulnerable in that they often do whatever others pressure them into thinking they are making the right choice. You want to speak up but can’t out of fear.

Someone at age 21 is pretty vulnerable to societal pressures. Graduating early makes you younger when you go through these these things someone goes through. At 14-15, you’re surrounded by people who are 19-22. At 17-18, you’re doing what people are doing at 22-23. You feel you don’t have a voice in your life decisions. Now, I’m not comparing people pressuring you into college to something grave like forcing youth into child labor. College is not physical torture. Our parents are not bad people. They incorrectly think they are helping us have better futures based on what once worked in the 1970’s.

If you like the idea of college but want to have hair on your head when you graduate, don’t graduate early.

Don’t graduate high school early unless you plan on not going to college for any reason freeing yourself from education for life, or you’re cool with signing away your legal life decisions as a minor.

People will NOT take you more seriously if you graduate early. They will for years see you as a teenager looking back at them who should be sweeping trash off the company floor as an unpaid intern. If they hire you at all, and they probably won’t. Yes, it’s bleak. Learn from my mistakes.

Hey, you could be like me, 32 years old right now, learning the only way people acknowledge your abilities is pretending to be a man! And they won’t need to know anything about your credentials BECAUSE YOU ARE A MAN ready for hire! Read my depressing diary entry about the eye opening fun I had applying to the same people who ignored me as a female applicant!

For those who do get internships, know that too many people tell me in life their internships led absolutely nowhere for their careers. Internships are not Willy Wonka tickets to someday running the chocolate factory. You could find yourself for the rest of your life never getting anything out of interning for a famous company out in NY/Hollywood. You can do the same things everyone else is doing correctly and not see the same success from those things. That’s how life works.

Thinking positively, “There is a reason I went to college,” is all I can do at this point. I did come up with an animated film idea: for fun between classes, I fed the cute crows begging for food around campus. Could that be the reason I went to college? You never know. Mickey Mouse was created when Walt Disney befriended a real life rat he fed.