If I Don’t Go To College, Is My Life Over? Why To NOT Panic

Going to college was a big deal for me. Now that I reflect over the years, I regret it. You might be indecisive and may ask yourself- If I don’t go to college, is my life over?

Absolutely not, it’s not the end of the world. These days in the age of tons of access to information online, college is no longer the ultimate path to career success.

In other words, the path to finding a high-paying job and benefits with a big company may no longer require a college degree.

Let’s face it: College is not for everyone, Despite this idea that society deems it to be the best path to success, the majority of people do not need to go to college. 

In this post, I will briefly go over what I went through during my first year in college. Also, I’ll lay out some statistics, proving that higher education may not be worth it.

Along with that, I will give my best tip of advice for what young people should be doing right after they graduate from high school.

  1. Why College Was A F–kin Waste Of My Time
  2. Reasons Why I Regret This Decision
  3. You Don’t Have To Go To College
  4. What To Do If You Don’t Want To Go To College
  5. What You Can Do Instead
  6. Questions To Ask Yourself
If I don't go to college, is my life over? This post will go over why going to college is not the be-all solution for career success.

Why college was a f–kin waste of my time

About 14 years ago, I made the decision to go to college after graduating from high school.

I was interested in studying a specific program, but also, my family was serious about me going on that path.

There was a point when I wanted to quit because I was questionable about what I wanted to do for a career.

As much as that may have been a good choice, my family was totally against it.

After a somewhat emotional-upsetting argument with my family (particularly my mother, who I respect a lot), I was told to stick with staying in college.

So I did- unfortunately.

If I Don’t Go To College, Is My Life Over?

If I don’t go to college, is my life over?

No, of course not. Now that we’re in the information age online, college is no longer the primary path to career success. In other words, the path to finding a high-paying job and benefits with a big company may not require a college degree.

Even major tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Tesla no longer require a college education as part of their hiring criteria.

Now it’s easier than ever to access knowledge from our fingertips. There are alternatives to college, such as online learning and doing freelance work that you can make a good living.

Reasons why I regret this decision

To make it short on my end, I did graduate and get a degree. However, I find that I regret going to college because of a few reasons:

  • After I finished college, I ended up working in jobs that did not require a college degree.

For the last eight years, I’ve worked multiple jobs that had nothing to do with my fancy bachelor’s degree. That dusty diploma is stacked somewhere in a box I’ve had for a long time, so I didn’t need to show it for proof.

  • My time was not well spent while in school, which I may have used to do other things

For example, maybe learning a rare or specialized skill (i.e. coding or copywriting) would have helped me enhance my writing skills (which is a strength of mine).

These are skills that do not require a bachelor’s degree or higher. You can learn it for free or invest in cheaper options than university.

Or, I could have stayed home with my family and worked at a job for free. Even though free labor is never appealing, working for someone (unpaid) would have helped me build work experience.

The long-term strategy is by gaining that experience, it may have prepared.

There are far too many young people who jump right into college not knowing what they want to do. For the most part, young people go to university to “discover” themselves instead of having a clear choice of what they want to do.

Eric T. Seil


Thinking back on those years, I have a lot of regrets about what happened and not. But the past is beyond me and I have to live with it.

Based on my own experience with university, it’s very personal and I can relate so much to people who are considering it.

Is it ok if I don’t go to college?

Understand that not everyone needs to go to college. Unless you want to be a lawyer or doctor (where you need formal training and certification), going to college is not necessary to learn high-value skills or a good-paying job.

You don’t have to go to college 

Deciding to not go to college is not the end of the world. It may be a major decision but you can opt-out by not going at all.

Let’s share some statistics proving that higher education might not be the best choice.

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): In the fall of 2021, recent high school graduates were twice as likely as college graduates to be in the labor force. The ratio is 66.9% of high school graduates versus 33.2% of college graduates.

So get that: More high school graduates or participating in the labor force are those who have graduated high school. 

  • The average starting salary for a college graduate is approximately $55,260 annually. On the other hand, the median starting salary is around $47,000 annually.
  • Rising costs of college tuition have outpaced the rate of inflation by 171.5%

Here are more scary numbers that were pointed out in a podcast that I listen to. Watch this YouTube short below to see how shocking these numbers are.

The Shocking Truth About College!

To put it simply, these are not good numbers. They should tell you that it’s not a great investment in your time and money. 

I won’t discuss the issue of student loan debt in this post, but it does tie into the bigger problem with higher education today. There may not be good solutions to the issue, but it’s not getting better. 

Considering inflation is high, these numbers make the situation much worse. Unfortunately, these numbers will get higher as time goes by.

What to do if you don’t want to go to college

My best tip is to hold off on going to school right after you finish high school. 

There are far too many young people who jump right into college not knowing what they want to do.

For the most part, young people go to university to “discover” themselves instead of having a clear choice of what they want to do.

Sometimes, it’s best to wait until you know for sure what you wanna do. If you know for sure that you want to study a certain program and get a degree in it, then by all means go right into school.

Can you still succeed if you don’t go to college?

In the age of the internet and access to instant knowledge, anything is possible to succeed today.

You can learn a highly specialized skill without going to college; for example, you can earn a Google Career Certificate in fields such as data analytics, IT support, or UX design. These programs can be completed in under a year.

So there are a lot of alternatives you can choose from if you rather not go down the traditional path to college. The world has changed a lot when it comes to this issue in the last 40-50 years.

What you can do instead?

It may be a better idea to live at home with your family for some time. There are other options for you to consider, including:

  • Getting a job (full-time or part-time)
  • Going to community college in your local area
  • Volunteer in your community

My situation

That happened to be the case for me, as I spent my first two years in college figuring out what I wanted to do.

It wasn’t until the junior year that I picked a degree and just started to finish school.

Now that I look back, I wish I had held off on going-  instead of jumping right into college.

That may have been the ideal choice, but it’s never the right choice for everyone.

Clearly, the times have changed when it comes to higher education. There are more opportunities now than there ever have been prior to the 21st century.

I happen to be more optimistic about what lies ahead; however, the conventional wisdom is that people should go to college if they want to be successful in life.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Do you think college is the end-all-be-all for success in life?
  • Is college something you’ve been told to go into right away?
  • Are you surprised by looking at the numbers for higher education?
  • Do you believe there are better alternatives than college?

A relevant article from notimekillers.com

Read next on “Is Now A Good Time To Start An Online Business? Of Course!” to learn why going the route of an online business is a excellent alternative to the traditional career path.

Final Words

Going to college is a big decision; however, it’s not the end-all-be-all solution. That may have been the case many years ago, but the times have changed.

Fortunately, there are other options to look into. Now that there are more opportunities than ever, you can do something that does not require a college degree.

Whatever the case, there’s no need to feel obligated or think you need to go down this route. 

Whichever decision you make, I wish it all goes well for you.

Your Turn: Does going to college still matter to you?

I would like to get your thoughts on this topic. Are you uncertain about going to college or not?

Is college the best decision for you to make, especially if you’re finishing high school? 

Are there other alternatives you can consider, such as trade school or starting your own business?

What will you do instead: Go with what you believe is best for you, or do what society tells you to do?

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your thoughts, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.

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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. 

He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 

Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 

In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 

You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

6 thoughts on “If I Don’t Go To College, Is My Life Over? Why To NOT Panic”

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog post, which is often mentioned by YouTubers such as Baldi in business. 

    As a result, I would like to address some of your questions. I might have a slightly different opinion.

    -Is going to college still important to you?
    Going to college is still a significant achievement for me. 

    Although my parents are eager for me to earn a degree from college, I agree with the point you made in your blog post that college may not be the only path to career success and that there are other options available. 

    Still, I consider pursuing a web developer degree to help me in my side hustle. 

    -Are you unsure about whether or not to attend college?
    No, I am not. I have a strong desire to attend college and obtain a degree as a web developer.

    -Is college the best choice for you as a high school graduate?
    For me, yes, it is the best option because no one else can teach me how to become a web developer.

    -Are there other options you can consider, such as trade school or starting your own business?
    Yes, besides college, there are various alternatives to consider, including vocational or trade schools, apprenticeships, entrepreneurship, online learning, and freelance work. 

    These alternatives offer practical skills and experiences that may lead to a successful career. At 17, I started blogging and created a YouTube channel, but I still want to attend college to earn my dream degree.

    -When it comes to deciding on your education and career paths, will you follow what you believe is best for you or what society tells you to do?
    I recognize that I should consider my interests, values, and objectives when making choices about my education and career paths. 

    I chose to pursue a degree in web development because I believe it aligns with my passions and aspirations. 

    I feel that I am making informed decisions.

    • Hello Ziya Rose,

      Your responses are well-thought-out, so thank you.

      We have differing opinions on this topic; however, it’s evident that you have a clear understanding of what works best for you. 

      Unfortunately, many individuals are coerced or pressured into following a certain path, which is a societal issue we all face. 

      Ultimately, the decision to pursue college is yours, and you bear full responsibility for the outcome. 

      I learned this lesson after completing my studies, and I wish I had made a different choice. However, I have moved on from it.

      Thank you again for your insightful perspective- it’s very much appreciated. I wish you all the best.

  2. Your experience sounds EXACTLY like mine. I also had a wobble in my first year of uni and wanted to change courses. 

    Row with my parents and I continued but now years down the line wish I’d gone with the other course. 

    The jobs I have had and have also didn’t need my degree as a prerequisite so it feels like a lot of stress and money for not so much. 

    Not to put down those who have worked their butts off though! 

    A degree is very well deserved when you have worked hard.

    • Hello Alison,

      Exactly- I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who went through it. It shows how times have changed since our parents were around our age (i.e. I’m in my 30s’ now).

      A degree is only worth it if you’re going to use it in real life. As I brought up, getting a law degree or an MD to be a doctor are the some of the best examples right there.

      But it all depends on what you want to do in life, so that’s something to keep in mind.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts- I greatly appreciate them.

  3. I am 17 year old boy from morocco I don’t want to go to college but instead I will start my freelancing career working 12 hurs a day till saturday night and I will take a day off to enjoy some time with my family I have the desire to sacrifice all my life and time to be a successful freelancer And I will learn also crypto and stocks investing while earning money and also I will learn dropshipping and how to be good at it SO I will have a lot if income streams to finally start my own business IS that a good plan or I am delisional person ?
    I know that it will a lot and a lot of time to build my clients but I will finally do a work that I love and enjoy in one time in my life

    • Hi Youssef,

      It sounds like you have a lot of interests, which is okay. I see you’re ambitious and want to get a lot out of life.

      However, it sounds like you’re doing too many things. Especially if you’re working 12-hour days (6 days a week), you’ll experience a lot of burnout.

      I know that because I’ve experienced that myself. It’s not fun, and I felt awful about myself.

      My suggestion is to narrow down your interests and pick one thing. Doing too many things will keep you distracted and not as focused as you’re dealing with multiple projects simultaneously.

      If you stick to one thing (i.e. stick to investing in stocks and crypto), you won’t be as distracted.

      You’re not delusional at all- I think picking too many things at once won’t get you optimal results.

      If you’re interested in trying something similar (and that is actionable as well), why not check out my top recommendation on making money online? There’s no presure to get it done, and you can go at your own pace.

      Other than that, I hope that helps. I wish you all the best ahead.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts- they’re much appreciated.


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