The College Dropout Chronicles (Part 1): 20 Percent Fact, 80 Percent Opinion

Hi. I’m Rocky. I’m twenty some-odd years old, living in a grown up world. Hell, I feel pretty grown up myself, but really I’m just a kid. I still watch primarily cartoons, and generally wear graphic tees on a daily basis. I like to collect things, learn about things, watch things, and read things. I like things. Regardless of my nature or perspective, I would still consider myself very much grown up. I support myself completely by working two jobs. One of those jobs is in retail, and the other is a bit more promising. I manage to be able to do all of this because I’m a college drop-out; but don’t let that fool you. I am in no way down and out.

There was a point in time where I would have told you that I couldn’t imagine not going to college. I was always a bit of a rebellious student in High School, but the fact of the matter is I did what I had to do to get by. And that was all I did. I learned very quickly that in an educational system filled with apathetic students and teachers, charisma is everything. So, I passed the tests and talked up a storm in the classes, and I got better grades than most of the kids who tried. I always believed in my education, though. I knew that I wanted to learn, and I know that there are so many other kids who feel the same way in my generation, but the system provided to me always felt like it was lacking something essential. 

I really expected college to be different, though. The first time I toured Sonoma State University, I got lost in the flurry of daydreams that filled my head. Oh, to be part of the ‘higher-educational’ system. To have so many different classes to choose from, to be able to major in the subject of my choice. I was ready. I was ready for the challenge. I was ready to pull several all-nighters in a row to study for that mid-term coming up. It  was going to be epic. It was going to be college.

I was wrong, but I wanted so badly to be right.

I started my education at Sonoma State feeling energized and motivated. I studied hard for every class, did all of the homework, passed every test with flying colors, and preached to my friends about the importance of college. “Education is one of the most important things in life. If you don’t go to college, then you aren’t going to achieve anything,” seemed to be the philosophy I subscribed to. During my Freshman year of college, a close friend of mine started struggling at his State School of choice, and I spent countless hours arguing with him about the importance of a ‘higher education’.

It wasn’t long before I realized I could pull the same things in college that I pulled in High School. I started attending classes less and doing less homework. When I was in class, I developed a formula for answering a question about assigned materials: 20 percent fact, 80 percent opinion. Which means that I would talk about a few key points from the one or two paragraphs I had read, and fill the rest of my response with my own personal opinion. It worked like a charm on all of my teachers, because despite how much of a slacker I may be, I was still participating in class at a much higher frequency than the rest of the unenthused student body. Needless to say, even when I started doing half the work, my grades remained the same; which I found a little questionable because most of the time the professors state what percentage of your grade each of your actions are worth. I guess they don’t like to mention that charm is worth 100% of the grade everytime.

Regardless of how much I had checked out, it’s not like I just dropped out of school due to the sheer disgust of being deceived by the bait and switch tactics of higher educational institutions. I’m not a quitter. I’m a half-asser and a bullshitter, because it’s what I can get away with, but I’m not a quitter. No, what actually caused me to drop out of school had nothing to do with school.

This is the first part of a three-part series. Tune in tomorrow for part-two.

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