In a typical Nigerian home, the importance of making good grades in school is a song that would be sung into your hearing as soon as your ears are mature enough to make out sounds. You would be beat out of shape when you come home from school with bad grades. This is because it is widely believed that going to school increases your chances of becoming successful in life, and which parent doesn’t want this for their child?
Growing up, we soon started to read and hear about people who were doing great with their lives, people we wanted to emulate and guess what? A good number of them dropped out from school at one point or the other.
Bill Gates ( Founder, Microsoft )
Steve Jobs ( Founder, Apple )
Mark Zuckerburg ( Founder, Facebook )
Jan koum ( Founder, Whatsapp ).
James Cameron ( Brain behind the movies Titanic, Avatar ). (The list goes on …… )
I fondly recall that whenever my friends and I got tired of school and its hectic activities, you would hear us say things like “I am considering dropping out, after all, Bill gates and Steve Jobs did and they ended up becoming two of the greatest success stories of our generation”.
I then sat down to reflect. When you take a good look at the greatest minds of this generation, a startling percentage of them happened to drop out of school at one time or the other. Did that mean that if I wanted to stand a good chance at joining their ranks I would have to drop out of school also?
But then I thought, it is also a proven fact that staying in school and finishing with a degree increases your chances of becoming wealthy and securing a good job in the future. So why is it that an appreciable number of the most respected and admired minds of this time were college drop outs?
The secret to unraveling the mystery of this conundrum – It is all big English… 🙂 – what I mean is that the solution to this lies in taking an in depth look at the lives of these particular drop outs who became great and figuring out what made them great. Let’s face it, these great stories only make up a very small percentage of all the people who dropped out of school.
You would find that these people dropped out not because they were lazy, or not intelligent enough to cope with school work, but because they felt they could do much better with their lives without being confined to learning only within the four walls of an educational institution. It is important to note that this people did not drop out to stop learning, rather they dropped out to start learning and practicing what they were passionate about.
It is important to note that this people did not drop out to stop learning, rather they dropped out to start learning and practicing what they were really passionate about.
I also realized that the fact that they had the guts to drop out of school also meant that they had the guts to take risks when they believed in a particular course . You will never be great without taking risks. If you are ever going to make a BIG splash with your ideas, you would have to be a BIG risk taker. Calculated risks you might say, but you should never be scared to take a plunge into the deep blue sea.
you should never be scared to take a plunge into the deep blue sea.
So I am not saying we should all start dropping out to chase dreams that are still in embryo. This would be quite stupid, especially if you come from a place like Nigeria where we all know that finishing school and earning a degree has become an unwritten rule in judging your level of intelligence. While this is not right, it is what it is.
I am encouraging us all to develop the mind-set of the outlying drop-outs who became part of the greatest minds of our generation.
I am saying we should drop out of mainstream thinking and create a world of our own. I am saying we should be BIG on taking calculated risks.
I am saying that we should embrace knowledge not because of a degree or what the degree can earn us, but rather knowledge because of our interest and passion and what we can accomplish with that knowledge.
I am saying go to school and study things that you like, drop in on some literature classes every once in a while even though you are an engineering student and as a medical student, consume books on law every once in a while if law interests you also.
Who made the rules that guide the curriculum of what we study and what we do with our lives? Humans like us created these rules.
Drop out of the thinking that sets before you a particular path to follow, drop in to your future by defining your own path.
If you love medicine and computer science at the same time, pursue both of them!!!! Do not let anybody tell you that combination is not possible.
Now , do not get me wrong, I am not saying we should abandon our degrees; I am saying if you have to earn a degree, earn one, (I recently just earned my first degree and I intend to earn more), but make sure you are earning it for the right reasons.
Let’s drop out of doing things for the wrong reasons and drop in on our passions.