I choose not to attend college. During my senior year of high school, I was co-oping (half day at school finishing my required classes and a half day at work). When I graduated in 2007 (I hope I just made you feel old) I transitioned to a full time salary employee. I always thought that getting a salary job with benefits was the entire point of going to college, but I enrolled anyway.
As starting college approached, I soon realized I would have to spend almost all of my free time driving from work to school, sitting in classes, and doing homework. I was totally dreading this. I wasn't a good student in high school and didn't want any part of the busy work, writing papers, and all of that nonsense.
My mother really wanted me to go because neither of my parents went, so I said I'd stick it out and go. A few months later, I got a job offer from LifeChurch.tv in Oklahoma City and decided to take it. Obviously, I would have to drop out of the University of Louisville where I was enrolled since I would be moving away. Trying to keep my promise to my mom, I enrolled in Phoenix.edu.
I took two classes at Phoenix (both of which were completely worthless) before I moved. After I moved to Oklahoma, AT&T didn't hook up my internet when they were supposed to, so I postponed starting and eventually canceled it all together.
Today would have been my graduation day if I had stayed, but instead of graduating, I did some other stuff. I'll give a brief summary of what I did. I'm going to include personal stuff as well as work related stuff since life is much more than just work.
Worked for a local entrepreneur creating a YouTube rip off. Never launched.
Did my first freelance project creating a CMS/website builder in my free time. The project paid $5,000 and I thought I was on top of the world. I really made next to nothing if you look at all of the time I spent on it, but I became a much better programmer in the process.
March: Turned 18.
May: Graduated high school.
June: Started a salary job at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY making almost nothing. I mainly doing high-end video and lighting work at the church. Starting doing a few websites in PHP while I was there.
November: Received a job offer from LifeChurch.tv that required me to move to Oklahoma City.
December: Got engaged to my high school sweetheart.
January: Moved from Kentucky to Oklahoma to start working at LifeChurch.tv.
March: iPhone SDK announced. Started working on Bible iPhone application. Turned 19.
July: No longer engaged. App Store released. Bible app launched.
This was the saddest time in my life. Hands down. In short, she changed her mind. Then, days later, the App Store launched to show off all of my work. It didn't even matter.
October: Joined a local band. Had a lot of fun with those guys.
February: Purchased a three bedroom house in Edmond, OK for $91,000.
March: Turned 20.
April: Launched a new version of YouVersion.com while working at LifeChurch.tv. Put in my two weeks after the project was completed.
May: Started full time freelance for the first time. Worked X3watch for iOS and some PHP stuff for Pinch Media that never launched. I learned I hate big data in that project.
June: Attended WWDC for the first time. Met Rick Chatham, founder of Tasteful Works.
September: Accepted an offer from Tasteful Works. Sold my beloved house and left my band. Moved to Dallas, TX.
January: Drove back to Oklahoma City play music with Matt Grimm and started what would be Finding Chesterfield, our band.
March: Turned 21.
May: Recorded Finding Chesterfield's first EP with Luis Dubuc of The Secret Handshake. So fun.
September: Left Tasteful Works to freelance again. Started contracting full time for RethinkBooks. I wrote the initial version of both the Rails and iOS apps. Some of that work was featured on Tech Crunch and The New York Times.
October: Released A Three Day Walk EP (iTunes Link).
December: Moved from Dallas to San Francisco. Really sad to leave my friends and my band, but it was a great move professionally, so I did it.
January: Started working at Scribd.
March: Turned 22.
I ask myself "Now what?" a lot. I make more than 8 times what I was making when I left Kentucky. I live in one of the greatest cities in the world, but I still ask myself that a lot.
I feel like everything I've done these last four years are kinda worthless. The Bible App having more than 10 million users worldwide is pretty cool, but besides that, it was all just a job. Sure I have 4 years of work experience over anyone else my age, but who cares.
I think most of my outlook on life is effected by almost being married and then not being married. Realizing how great that is and then missing out really sucked. It's good it didn't end up happening, but still. I just wonder how different life would have been had I just stayed in Kentucky and gone to college.
I try to stay positive. I'm sure the next four years will have some awesome. I'll be 26. Crazy. Anyway, I thought I'd share.