• June 8, 2023

Technically, you don’t need to finish school to have success. Several people never finished high school, and they are succeeding in different areas of our society (some are literal billionaires). It happens. It will keep happening.

However, the question we can all ask instead of whether you need to finish school to be successful is what you do need to be successful.

What an Education Means for Many People…

Usually, explaining what education means to most people would require a long history lesson. That lesson would involve understanding when people of different races and backgrounds were denied an education, how it affected their quality of life, and how they fought to change that.

But let’s skip to the most modern part.

Higher education levels still influence the average pay people can expect every year. Some studies show that college graduates earn $1 million more than high school graduates moving through their careers over a lifetime. 

Historically this trend affects minority populations are a notably significant rate; earning more and achieving more success in society for black individuals have a clear correlation with our level of education. The trend continues even in 2022 and will continue beyond this year. As a society, we’ve simply agreed that the rule, for the most part, but with a tapering effect post-undergrad, the high-enough education, the higher your chances of lifetime success when measuring finances, health, and well-being.

Is it a Bill Gates-Mark Zuckerberg Type Situation?

Higher education prepares us for the workforce, adulthood, and the ups and downs of building a successful career. On the other hand, some people think that higher education is a total waste of time and only prepares you to fit into society. A bit simplistic, but those people cite the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, who left college to innovate and disrupt the world as we know it.

Before we consider the Gates-Zuckerberg situation as a shining example of not finishing school, the critical question is whether you are the exception to the general rule. These two individuals worked on arguably once-in-a-lifetime ideas. They did not require a college degree to see them through.

That doesn’t mean they did not get some education to get their work done.

College or any other institution of higher education brings together a structure to give you the best chances of succeeding in your career path. You may or may not need that structure; however, you should not mistake not needing the structure for not needing an education.

Education is the key to success.

Success is Not Always Equal to High Income

While some studies have shown that college graduates earn more than only high school graduates, other studies have also found that a higher education degree, say, a Master’s or PhD, does not always equal a higher income (as stated, the effect tapers off past undergrad).

Case and point: Success looks different for everyone.

In some careers, the more success you find, the higher the income that comes with it. In other careers and professions, more success and achievements do not lead to higher income as much as they lead to better outcomes and significant environmental changes.

For example, the more successful a medical doctor or surgeon is, the higher their impact often is on their patients and society. The income of that medical doctor or surgeon may or may not be as high as their successful patient outcomes.

So What Would Success Look Like For You?

Everyone wants to succeed at something. 

We want to be very good at something and take pride in doing it. As soon as you think you’ve found or created a purpose for your life, the natural thing is to hope and work hard to succeed.

What does fulfilling a life purpose look like for you?

That is what success means to you. No matter your life’s purpose, your income could grow monumentally every passing year, or your income may not grow as much.

More importantly, achieving any success requires using some knowledge you have acquired to solve real-life problems. Learning, a process of acquiring that knowledge, will always be crucial to success. If you think you do not require the structure that a college provides, keep in mind that you will need to find learning opportunities and education in other places; otherwise, your chance for success and growth will shrink.

Are you the exception to the general rule?

If you think not, you can experience as much success as possible with a complete formal education.

If you think you’re an exception, then, for sure, you will succeed with or without finishing school.

Hope This Helps! ☺

Desmond utilizes his knowledge of education policy from his undergrad, his Masters of Education from Johns Hopkins, and a variety of advanced certifications such as CHPC and LWT to construct prime academic intervention programs and homework/executive functioning support for all his students.

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