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Get Your Ass Back to School

Degrees don't matter. They really don't. But it doesn't mean school is a total waste of time. I used to be a school hater, and at some point last year I even thought of dropping out. I went as far as taking a one year off school for an internship in the software industry, expecting to tell my parents "See, I don't need to go to school to do all these things". Turned out it was quite the opposite. I'm now more than half way through the internship and finding myself wanting to get back to school. Here's why:

I realize that school only sucks when you don't know what to study. What happened to me during my first two years of college was that I had no clue what the stuff taught in school was for. I had never imagined that I would use MergeSort and BinarySearch in a software project, or how useful it would be to understand SSL/TLS when setting up the company server. Being in the industry helps me know what technologies are being used by the real people and what not. For the first time in my college life I realize how relevant school knowledge is and how to apply it appropriately. There're things I wish I could have paid more attention to in school and things I know I need to delve into the moment I get back.

School is about experience, not knowledge. Knowledge has become much more accessible with all the people offering it for free (Coursera, Udacity, Stanford Online Courses, you name it). The role of physical universities have now shifted to providing more than just content. You can find plenty of good experiences like internships, exchange studies, entrepreneurship, etc that your school may offer. Those are the things that can shape who you are, what you care about, and what you want to achieve. There are also similar experiences in the outside world, but it is much easier to make use of the available school resources (my internship is also a part of my school training and exchange program). So please get out there and do real stuff. Don't just sit around attending boring classes and complain you don't learn enough.

So to all the ambitious dropouts out there, unless you're geniuses, get your ass back to school. I'm pretty sure there would be 1 or 2 courses that can help you earn big bucks in the future. Learn to appreciate what school can do for you and study what really matters. If you really can't learn anything, at least know your classmates who do and network with them well. They may end up being your employer, co-founder, life partner, etc that your future success depends on. There should be something your school can offer you. Keep searching for it!

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