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I Don't Hate School

By Leo Babauta

I often bad-mouth school, as if it's the most evil thing in the world. I should clarify that -- I think unschooling is a better method for us, and could be for many others, but people who are going to school or who are teaching in school are not doing a horrible job at all.

I have two kids who go to school, and in truth I think they're turning out great. There are lots of good things about school, and what's more, even if I don't agree with schooling in general, kids learn just as much (or more) outside of school as in school, so there are lots of opportunities to help your child learn and be an amazing person even if they're in school.

I also love teachers. My grandmother was a teacher for many years, along with one of my favorite aunts, my wife (and my ex-wife) and others who I think are truly tremendous human beings. Teachers are like saints. They deal with incredible difficulties and help children love reading and science and not hate math so much, and they reach out to troubled kids and they do their best to instill a passion for learning.

That's amazing.

A Somewhat Balanced View on School and Dropping Out

On Tynan

I dropped out of school during my sophomore year of college. I was a little bit scared to do it, but I followed through because I was certain that I didn't want to get a normal job or do anything else that would make use of a degree. Dropping out was one of the best decisions I've made, and it pushed me towards the life that I really wanted to live.

However, just because dropping out was right for me doesn't mean that it's right for everyone, or for you. I think that the school system is trending towards obsolescence and is a far worse value proposition that it was in previous eras, but that doesn't mean that it's worthless or that it's not the right choice for a lot of people. You might be surprised to find out that when people email me to ask if they should drop out, I tell many of them that I think they should stay in school.

When I talk about dropping out of school, by the way, I mean dropping out of college. Unless you are home schooled or have a very good plan for learning useful life and social skills, I think that at least completing high school is a good idea. I also think that taking some college is a good idea for many people. Going for a semester is a fairly small investment of time to figure out if it's a good fit for you, and you can also completely disregard course guidelines and take interesting things like Chinese and scuba diving.

If you're in high school or entering college, the most important thing you should realize is that you alone are responsible for your education and your life, and that you should use the next four years in the best way possible. Forget about labels like graduate and dropout, and focus on what is best going to prepare you for the life that you want to have.

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