I meet a lot of young college students. Most of them don’t like college that much. They’re excited by the thought of starting their careers early. They want to work hard, prove their value, and learn practical skills in the real world.

They want to be entrepreneurs, marketers, salesmen, business owners, apprentices, graphic designers, video producers, freelancers, and more.

They know that college isn’t preparing them for their goals. They know that college is actually delaying the things they actually want to do. But they continue to show up to class and prioritize their assignments over their pursuit of real-world experience, which they,  themselves, deemed more important than class.

It’s a contradiction. They proclaim that real-world experience is much more important and that college doesn’t teach them practical skills, but they keep going to class.

I had to get to the bottom of this. Why are these young people contradicting themselves? If they know that college isn’t helping them achieve their goals, why are they still going? It’s like they’re coming to an honest realization about their situation, but instead of putting in the work to lead change, they turn off their brains, slip into autopilot, and do the same thing they’ve done for 12+ years.

I guess it’s the same reason we put off working out, skip going to the gym, and eat junk food even though we want to lose weight and be healthy.. We know those habits are not helping us. We know exactly which habits would help us. But for a myriad of reasons, we don’t put in the work to change anything. Changing habits is hard. I get it.

They want to feel normal.

Talk is easy, but when push comes to shove, pulling the cord on your life plan that you’ve invested 12+ years into is hard.

While they may have come to a reasonable conclusion in their heads, their parents, teachers, and peers are cranking up the pressure to finish college and do what everyone else does. As you get closer to the “finish line”, the amount of time spent working towards your degree eclipses the actual value it provides for you.

Plus, every dropout knows there’s a horrifying backlash of doubt and hysteria from family and friends in the weeks following the big decision. What most people don’t see is the silent praise that comes 1-2 years after you start doing things in the real world. People notice, and you become something of an inspiration to them for taking the leap that everyone thinks about but nobody acts on.

If you want to make the leap, realize you’re not the only one. It feels lonely, but you’re not actually alone. Tons of people out there feel the same way you do. They’re going through the motions in school, wanting out, but not knowing how to get out.

It’s much easier to prepare for your backup plan than it is to go all-in on your actual dreams.