Coffee Date: Why I never went to college

I cannot believe the last time I sat down and tuned out the world to write a Coffee Date post was in May! I feel like it was yesterday, but somehow we are now in September and I feel terrible about dropping the ball on my “one post a month” thing. Whoops.

This time around, I decided I wanted to write about something that is, I guess, pretty controversial – but I don’t care. I feel like so many people out there get influenced by what they read on the internet, the good and the bad. If by reading this I can encourage only one person to go for what they want, be proud of who they are and not ashamed of their choices, then my part is complete. This is who I am, this is how I got to where I am now, and this is why I don’t regret a single thing.

Most of you (probably all of you actually) don’t know that I never finished college. I went to school and studied Tourism and Travel a few years ago, since I was at a stage of my life where I wanted to move and see the world, and tourism seemed like an easy and fun topic to learn about. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my life – I had been thinking of being a flight attendant, so I figured this would be a good thing to have under my belt while I figured it out.

Flash forward to the following year and to my interest HIGLY decreasing in the tourism industry, since what we were being taught was how to basically be a travel agent aka spend your life behind a desk organizing these amazing trips for OTHER people. Considering I was studying in Canada (and not Europe), the prices of my semesters were much much much higher than other students (seriously tho, international students do NOT have it easy!), and when I stopped to think about it I realized there was no point in paying for the remaining of my classes (I had done 2 out of 4 semesters) since I knew I was not going to work in that industry. I knew it was unfortunate to quit when having only a year left, but at the same time I couldn’t come up with a reasonable reason to spend several thousands dollars more if I was 100% sure this was going to be a “waste” (in my case).

So I quit school. I was 20, and I remember telling myself that in a few years I would go back to college and get myself a degree or diploma. Well, I am now 27, I never went back, and I have never regretted my decision. I am sure some of you might be thinking that it was stupid, and that in today’s world you NEED to have had major education to live your life. Let me ask you this: how many of you are actually working in the field you went to school for, and how fast did it take you to get a job worth your $$$ spent on educating yourself? But most importantly, are you happy?

After quitting school, I bounced from little job to little job, still not sure of what I wanted to do with my life – but sure that I was eventually going to figure it out. I worked with children for years, and even though I loved it I knew this was not what I was going to be doing for the next 40 years. Eventually one day, I thought of starting a blog (I talked about it here) to keep me distracted and be creative, and now I am sitting in my office working full-time on Marie’s Bazaar! And I can say with confidence I would NOT be this happy with how my career life turned out if I had stayed in my Tourism and Travel program! Who knows if I would have eventually found my way onto the online influencer business, but what is for sure is that if I did, I would have felt even more terrible for having spent time and money on a complete education that is NOT a part of my life today.

Personally, I am surrounded by people who have gone to university and people who have not, and I cannot tell the difference. Some of my closest friends have gone to school for both undergrads and masters, and ended up doing something COMPLETELY different than what they studied. Others have followed the non-traditional “way of life” and decided to step into life with their personal experiences and figure it out along the way. Of course, there are the ones who did go to college and are working in the field they love, but to be perfectly honest, they are the ones who had the TOUGHEST time finding a job after they finished studying. The economy (don’t worry I am definitely not going into that) is just so unpredictable, and there are just so many jobs being created every day that are brand new and do NOT require any university programs, for example blogging!

Being in the online influencer industry, I have contacts with people from all around the world, of all different backgrounds and educations. It is so interesting to learn about how they managed to get where they are, because SO MANY of them have gone to school but are in a complete different world now (I am actually shocked by the amount of bloggers who have an engineering degree!). And here I am, a college drop-out with no real diploma. But I do not feel out of place, I do not feel like I have anything to be ashamed for, and I most certainly do not feel like I have anything to prove to anyone!

If you are still with me to this point, you might be wondering why I wrote all this. The truth is, I know how hard it can be to feel pressured to follow someone’s footsteps, or to feel like you are expected to be doing something when you really would prefer doing something else. At the end of the day, you are the one living your life. If school is what YOU want, then go for it. But if you feel like you SHOULD be going to school (to please your parents, to stick to tradition), remember that no one else has to live with the decision your make but yourself. This might be too personal, but I have two brothers, both of which went in complete opposite directions with their lives. One of them went to school, graduated from his masters, and after a couple of years got a job in the field that he loves and studied for. The other didn’t go to university, didn’t have a regular education and bounced from jobs to jobs until he found what he loves doing – and is now living in Barcelona. But they are both at their HAPPIEST place in life right now! I’ve never seen any of them so content and happy with themselves, and there is nothing more you could wish for anyone. Just do what you do because it will make YOU happy, not the people around you.

I’ll leave you with this: I remember reading an article that said that most of today’s richest people did not go or finish college. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, James Cameron, Mark Zuckerberg, even Harrison Ford and Lady Gaga! All dropped out or just didn’t think college was in the cards for them. And all are talented and brilliant people!

Deciding college isn’t for you does not mean you are stupid, it does not mean you are one step behind, and it does not mean you will be less successful in your life. It means you simply chose the road less travelled, and who knows where that will lead you! One thing is for sure though, with or without a college/university background, you cannot be happy unless you love what you are doing. So if you don’t, there is no shame in taking a step back, taking time to re-evaluate and make changes. Life’s too short to be stuck in one place! You know the motto… do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. 🙂



  • Shane H

    I’m glad everything worked out for you!!! Just to throw a little taste of a different perspective, I’ll tell you that I, too, dropped out thinking I didn’t need college to make money and be happy. Fast forward 10 years I was still working crap jobs that paid little money and I was struggling hard. I was able to get myself back in school full time and work part time which was not easy. Anyway, I got my degree and finally got a job that I liked that pays decent money. So just moral of the story, everyone is different. It’s hard for a lot of people out there without a proper education. Then there are others that make it work–you never know!

    • Marie

      Thank you for sharing! I completely agree, and not trying to push people not to go to college or university. I am just saying what worked for me, and hopefully can inspire someone to go after what they want and not what “society” wants 🙂

  • Mathilde

    Super ton article et je suis totalement d’accord avec toi. Tu as bien fait de ne pas continuer tes études si tu savais pertinemment que tu ne travaillerai pas dans le milieu. Bien sur parfois il vaut mieux avoir un bagage diplomant mais il est tjs temps de se relancer dans les études et de choisir la voie qui nous epanouit ! il n’y a pas d’âge pour apprendre ! bravo à toi en tout cas pour le chemin parcourru ! bisous from France !

    • Marie

      Merci Mathilde! Cela me fait tres plaisir de savoir que tu lis mon blog depuis la France, et de partager ce que tu penses avec moi! Pleins de bisous 🙂

  • Linda Cassidy

    Catching up on your latest posts and I saw “coffee dates” and hopped over, I too took the road less travelled, left at the end of my third year of university. I am one of the fortunate few and fell into the career that I love. Plus blogging on the side. I do sometimes regret not finishing but it truly did not hold me back. Like you I believe if you know it is wrong, cut your losses, pushing through only takes you into debt. Take the time and discover what your passion is. Make it work for you.