Degrees of Separation: Successful College Dropouts
So you think you have a groundbreaking idea? Something that’s going to make you a millionaire without ever cracking a book ever again? The one that’s got you ready to call dad to cancel next semester’s tuition check?
Bad news boys and girls, the bong you just constructed from your shoelaces, a twinkie, and some miscellaneous tree bark isn’t it.
But wait, there’s hope for you yet. Before you decide that now might be a good time to actually study or (gasp!) take notes, check out a few people who are living on easy street without a college diploma gracing their mansion walls.
Unless he was on a secret one-year program or he earned a degree in running and jumping, ‘Melo left Syracuse University with an NCAA basketball championship, but without even coming close to graduating. He left after his freshman year, and went on to become the 3rd overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, 2 picks behind that Lebron guy who didn’t even sniff college.
Anthony did however move on to the greener pastures of the NBA, way greener. As in $19,410,581.00, the amount of money he made JUST THIS YEAR, according to Sports Illustrated’s annual “Fortune 50” list, chronicling the 50 athletes who earned the most money over the past year, a list on which Anthony finished 25th, oh and he was on gold medal winning United States basketball team this year at the Olympics, no big deal. Think he regrets not walking the stage in his cap and gown?
This unmistakable 3rd person running update on ones life can only bring to mind college’s most addicting new drug: Facebook.
Yes, now you know the who, what, when, where, and why about your thousand or so best friends 24/7/365, and you have Mark Zuckerberg to thank for the privilege. Zuckerberg created the social networking website out of his Harvard dorm, which quickly spread to other schools all over the country, and eventually beyond, on it’s way to being the juggernaut it is today. He has parlayed the success of facebook, into unprecedented financial success at such a young age, becoming the youngest person ever to rank in the esteemed “Forbes 400” list of the 400 richest people in the United States in 2008, with a net worth of 1.5 billion dollars. Maybe he can have someone construct him a replica Harvard degree out of hundred dollar bills.
These next two characters are multi-billionaires who are indelibly linked as innovative minds who were at the forefront computer market from the beginning all the way up to today, they’re both billionaires many times over, and they also took the same road to success, the road less traveled, the road that doesn’t end with a degree.
Gates is the ultimate achiever among this group. He dropped out of Harvard’s pre-law program after two years to pursue other interests, most specifically, programming, and his desire to start a company of his own. A little company known today as Microsoft. Microsoft is so lucrative today, that Gates can proudly call himself the richest man on the planet, and when in need (which he certainly has been), he is in position to hire the biggest and best in the field he once aspired to be in to protect his fortune.
Jobs didn’t earn his billions with any pomp and circumstance either. Jobs, never really the school type, preferred to find out the answers on his own, in fact considered his experimentation with LSD “one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life.” That said, Jobs spent all of one semester at Reed College and it simply wasn’t for him. What was for him was a seemingly normal, average fruit that he would parlay into a fortune that you couldn’t spend in ten lifetimes. That’s right, Steve Jobs is the CEO of Apple Inc. He created that nifty little macbook that you and all your friends have, the one that you can’t help but notice in mass in every single classroom you enter, ironic isn’t it?
So, what have we learned from all of this? Education is overrated, especially if you can dunk and basketball… or have an appetite for psychedelic drugs. Maybe there is a market for that homemade bong of yours.
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About Cliff Englewood Cliff goes to MSU and is TSB Magazine resident "College Life" contributor with tips and advice to get the most out of your time in college.