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Why I Left University

Why I Left University

June 12, 2014 7:59 pm7 comments

university dropout

Yes, I did leave university.

The story:

On 1st of October 2013 I started my first university year in a Bulgarian university. I was quite excited, because this was something new for me – all the people on my age, at that time 19 year-olders, were talking about how cool is it to be a university student, hangout with “great people”, learn “valuable” things, pursue your dream career and just do what everyone does – attend university.

Note: Before applying to a university in Bulgaria, in winter of 2012 I applied in five universities in The UK and got approved by five of them. After a good amount of weeks thinking about what is my future vision for life, I decided to stay in Bulgaria, at least on this stage.

Beside the fact that I was excited about starting university I had this strange feeling that something is just not right and that I am not starting university with 100% pleasure and desire. Furthermore I couldn’t see how my university education would help me grow in my modest, so far, entrepreneurship/business career and help me achieve my dream goals.

So, I decided to give out a chance to Bulgarian academic education.

It turned out that this strange gut feeling was right. The first month of my university education was strange – I just didn’t felt I belong there – neither in my classes, among any social groups or even in the hallway (I must note that I am extremely social person, so I am not an introvert) .

I couldn’t just drop out of university without knowing why I am doing this. So I questioned myself: What is it? What’s wrong and why don’t you like it?

Few things came out for me:

I just didn’t enjoyed it

If I will be spending four years of my life doing something, it should definitely be something that I enjoy. Listening to professors talk outdated stuff without any practical application and discussing girls, cars and hangovers with my classmates was not something I enjoyed that much.

I had stopped working on the ventures that make me happy

While I was studying (as well as now) I was working on two ventures: an online magazine for entrepreneurship and startups in Bulgaria, which I founded – Entrepreneur.bg; and a Bulgarian entrepreneurship organization, which I am member of – Start It Smart.

University will take a big chunk of your time, if you want to be serious student by attending and studying. I wanted to be, so I did, but on count of not working on the things that really matter to me and make me wake up in the morning.

Minimizing my work hours spend on these ventures was a problem, because I didn’t see them progress and I didn’t felt good about this fact.

Entrepreneurship and university education!?

My opinion is that business and more specifically entrepreneurship can not be taught. Entrepreneurship is learned through experience. It is learned by getting out there and putting your effort, burning desire and enormous amount of persistence in something you love, something that you believe would change people’s lives. Entrepreneurship is learned by failing and making mistakes. It Is learned by examining yourself, your past business and work steps and learning from them– upgrading your skills, strategy and tools.

The average  bachelor student in Business studies has 3-4 years course in which he/she is learns about economics, marketing, business strategy, accounting and so on. After four years at the end of his studies, the global business environment would have changed so dramatically that he/she will be able to use no more than 15% of the “business” knowledge acquired throughout the university education.

Not mentioning that in 80% of the universities the programs by which the business students are taught, are already at least 5 years old (in the best case).

Human beings and educational system

Every human being on this earth is so different than any of the rest more than 7 billion, that it’s absolutely ridiculous to educate all people the same way. Even identical twins are completely different than one another.

We all have different interests, different vision for the future, different mindset  and food preferences. One may be good at Literature and another may suck at Literature but be an amazing Chemistry genius.

Our educational system treats us as we are all identical. But we aren’t and what works for someone may not for others.

What am I passionate about

I am passionate about creating. Creating value and giving something new to the world. I am happy as long as I contribute in a positive way to people’s life’s . This may mean creating a product or a service which solves a certain problem , filling out an empty market niche where you can definitely see a demand for innovation.

Since I dropped out, do I stop learning?

No! Believe me if you want, but now I learn twice more things for the same amount of time. Furthermore, the things that I learn are not two but zillion times more valuable for my personal and business growth than the ones in the Uni.

I’ve designed my own “educational program” consisting of some of the following things:

  • Learning how to learn (being more effective in processing information);
  • Reading books (with purpose of getting a specific knowledge, not “just because you have to”)
  • Meeting successful people in 1 on 1 mentorship sessions (which advise me on different areas of my life – business, personal development, finances, leadership etc.)
  • Attending carefully selected seminars and conferences
  • Taking online courses (including MOOC’s and video trainings)
  • And most importantly: Practicing and analyzing my previous steps, all the time! Each day I make at least 5 little mistakes from which I learn 70% of the new things.

 

I am not saying that going to university is a bad thing. What I am saying is that it didn’t suit my needs and future goals.

And at the end: Thank you for reading my blog post. This means a lot to me. In future I will be posting a ton of other interesting articles on entrepreneurship, personal development, education and life.

P.S. If you are a high school student who read my article and you are wondering whether you should attend a university or not – I encourage you to try out and see how it feels. It may turn out that university is good for your specific future development. : )

Note: Excuse my English spelling and grammar. I am working on it! 

  • mitcoivanov

    I will recommend this article to students from some gymnasies : )

  • http://www.yanado.com/ Ivan Mojsilovic

    I think you dropped out to early. You cannot drop in the first year. You haven’t even tasted the system. Majority of it sucks, but there are people and experiences that can help you in your life.

    50% of my university education was utter rubbish. 25% was good and useful, it helped me grow my self as a person. 25% was fantastic. I dropped out on 4th year (out of 5) when I realized that the exams left are deprecated 10 years ago.

    • Nikola

      I definitely agree with you about people and experiences that can help me in my life.
      But in my case I think that I can learn way more and experience 3 times more through other various ways.

      Only time will show if this was a good decision or not, but so far I am really glad with what I did and the system that I build.

      Ivan, thank you for your comment. I appreciate your opinion! :)

  • Bozhidar Bahov

    I found this page trough LinkedIn. I apologies in advance because this will be a long post.

    I cannot disagree with you more. And don’t get me wrong –
    I am not some academic enthusiast who thinks university is everything. What I think, however, is that despite all the problems, especially in our educational system, it has some fantastic characterstics that would have given you experience which cannot be optained elsewhere. I know it is really popular that some of the most successful people of our time are dropouts. I know about Richard Branson, Larry Ellison, etc. However, they all have lived in a different time than ours. Thirty, even twenty years ago, before the .com and software boom, things were a lot different than now. And don’t even get me started on the the topic that their high school education has been light years better than ours, especcially in Bulgaria. So to try to walk on their steps is just ridiculous – the world has changed too much in last several decades.

    A big mistake of our generation is that we mistake the special case of a handful of people with the general case. Their stories are popular because they have succeeded DESPITE not graduating. Not because of it… The stories about successful people with education are countless and cannot even be compared with…

    Another mistake that some young people, like you, make is thinking that you are wasting your time. “You could work on your venture instead of studying”… I ask you – what exactly are you missing? Postponing with a couple of years your full time entrepreneurship career will ruin your life? Really? One of the best characterstics of entrepreneurs is the will to act NOW, but another one is to have patience and to get the most of every situation. I really don’t think that you have gotten the most you could have from university life…

    I don’t think that university is the place where you will really learn something valuable. However, university is the place where you are supposed to learn how to think. The state of mind with which you come out of university cannot come from somewhere else. Again, I am not talking about any economics/technologic/science/whatever knowledge. I am talking about out of the box thinking. Even coming up with new methods of cheating on exams develops you thinking and personality.

    The MOST IMPORTANT advantage of university life is networking. The friendships you create and the people you get to know – this is the most valuable thing you are going to miss out. Yes, I know StartItSmart is great and so on but it cannot compare to the shear number of people you would have met. Have you ever heart of Alumni groups? Do you know what huge percentage of successful people have succeeded working together with fellow Alumni members and students?

    It is really a pity to see a young, ambitions person like you waste his potential because of “it took too much time”. Especially in Bulgaria where it is easier to graduete from university than high school… I am at the end of my university education (4th year). University life has never stopped from working full time on what I like and want to do. It hasn’t stopped me to open my own company. Believe me it has even helped me.

    I really, REALLY hope next year will change your mind and start over. Think of studying something else. Like business administration or something in this context. UNWE (УНСС) even has a specialty “Entrepreneurship”. Try something like this. But don’t miss a wonderful experience because you “don’t have time and don’t feel right about it”. Bulgaria needs more people that manage to succeed on more than one level.

    You might enjoy conversations with successful people more than talking about drinking and girls with class mates but try thinking in advance. The people that currently talk about girls and beer will be the once who are successful a decade or so in the future. They will be the new generation of successful people. Knowing them from univeristy is far better than just knowing them from conferences and other social gatherings.

    As a conclusion and a fellow entrepreneur I ask you – What would you advice a junior entrepreneur who started his own venture and several months after that he quits because it’s boring or takes too much time? Wouldn’t you at least tell him to wait 1 full year for his startup to kick off? Things are more related than you think…

    • Nikola

      Hey Bozhidar, thank you for the comment and for giving your opinion on this topic. I really appreciate your engagement and find it useful.

      Probably the completely opposite of what you said I will say that I can not AGREE with you more.

      I am not sure how I managed to leave this impression, but I did not left university, because Richard Branson and Larry Ellison did.

      I do agree with you also that every educational system, not only the Bulgarian, has a big number of advantages, where you can not get from anywhere else.

      What I wanted from university was not a Networking opportunity, or “outside of the box thinking”, or being patient 4 years till I graduate. All I wanted was knowledge, I wanted practical business knowledge that I can apply to my ventures. I did not get this knowledge and I made up my own way of acquiring it the way it works for me.

      Since you started comparing university to a business I will continue:
      Imagine that you started a business (In this case this is an equivalent of my education), and after that imagine that your business is not doing good at all – you do not get the results that you would like to, you do not make money out of it and your product is crappy (in this case this is my education approach a.k.a university – doesn’t work for my purpose). What would you do? Continue with the unsuccessful approach and be patient 4 years for your business to turn into a success (in my case acquire knowledge through waiting four years in university), or find a new business strategy that works for your business and makes it profitable (in my case find a better way to acquire knowledge)?

      It’s not about disagreeing with the educational system – as I said there are people who find it really beneficial. It is a about priority – my priority was to learn valuable things.

      I didn’t gave up in education, I gave up in the university educational approach. The same as you give up from an unsuccessful business approach.

      And because you asked me “what would I advice a junior entrepreneur who started his own venture and several months after that he quits because it’s boring or takes too much time” – I would advice him to try a new approach to making his venture successful the way as I tried a new approach in making my education worthful.

      Things are even more related then both of us think!

      I would be happy to meet you personally and further discuss this topic, just as fellow entrepreneurs. :)

  • mirakru

    HI Nikola, Very strong and well structured essay on your motivation to leave University and do it yourself. I agree that the weaknesses of “modern” university education are not unique to Bulgaria – the old methods and curriculum are far from the real business world. Although it may not be practical for all types of studies yet, business related studies are suitable for what you do – personalised, multidisciplinary approach to self-study combined with matching talks, interviews, conferences (and network of fellow entrepreneurs and mentors) plus MOOCs courses and developing your skills as your own business requires. This covers by a mile all the “benefits” of the studies that you are supposedly missing out by not doing full time university degree. You seem to know well what you want, your personal style of learning and world tendancies and dynamics in your chosen field. I hope more young people can take their education as a personal project and put so much effort in designing it and following their dreams!

    • Nikola

      Hey Mirakru, thank you for the positive comment! :)

      Yes, agreeing with you, I think that business studies are an exception where you can afford to leave university and study it on your own. However there are some areas like biology, chemistry, architecture and many more, where you will have a tremendous benefits of your university studies.

      Keep up the positive spirit Mirakru!
      Meanwhile I will strive to inspire more people to follow their dreams.:)