I told her that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do with my life, but maybe I could be a writer. She asked me what sort of writer. I told her I didn’t know.
That’s when she dropped the bombshell: “Well, that sounds like an amazing goal, Matt. Get those grades up and go to college for a degree in creative writing!”
I have to go to college to do the one thing I’m kind of halfway good at doing? I have to finish high school and then go through FOUR MORE YEARS OF THIS? Impossible. I’m not college material. I’m not even high school material.
And I have to get a DEGREE in CREATIVITY? Wait, WHAT? Your creativity comes from your own mind and your own heart — you can’t learn how to be creative. If I can write things, and people want to read the things that I write, shouldn’t I be able to market that ability, regardless of my college experience?
I guess not. People go to college. It’s what people do. Why do they go? Because they need to. Why do they need to? Because it’s what people do. Why? Because they need to. And so on.
I was distraught. I figured I’d better get used to wearing a name tag and working a cash register.
I don’t think I ever mentioned my writing goal to anyone again.
That was about 13 years ago. I never got a writing degree, or any other type of degree. I never went to college. Now I’m the single wage earner supporting a family of four — by writing.
This is my story. There are millions just like it. Sadly, some of these tales follow a slightly different path. Many times, that kid who’s being choked to death by “formal education” will eventually get suckered into going to college. He’ll go, not because he needs to be there, nor because it’s the best thing for him, but just because. Because because, and that’s all.