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Why You Should Not Stop at Secondary School or Drop Out

Maybe you have failed JAMB, WAEC or GCE so many times and now you’re wondering whether it is even worth it at all. Perhaps, you are already in school and you are having a frustrating experience. Maybe, the economic climate in the country is discouraging you.

Perhaps, you know some of your enviable mates who are already done with university education and are still jobless and you feel discouraged. Whichever category you fall, you are not alone.

Sadly, a lot of students in Nigeria are frustrated. If they have scaled through JAMB successfully, their performance in WAEC might be holding them back.

Some have successfully gotten admission, but then the lapses in the educational system make it difficult for them to enjoy and maximize their university experience.

Some lackadaisical lecturers are even making matters worse by their sheer lack of enthusiasm for their job. Some of them forget that without love for their job, they cannot impart knowledge in their students.

Off course, JAMB, WAEC, your school (if you are already an undergraduate), and yes, your lecturers are not entirely to blame for the situation of things. Besides, this article is not about who is to be blamed.

The fact is that it can be very painful when you do everything within your ability to gain admission and it doesn’t work out. The anger is multiplied when you see those who you are academically better than gain admission because of connection or who they know.

It can also be frustrating to enter school with high hopes of learning and dreams of what you will build, create or do with what you learn in school, only to find that you haven’t learnt much after spending three years.

Watch out for frustration! For it can cause you to make the most damning decisions that can jeopardize your life and future.

With so many students complaining and itching to give up on school, it has become imperative to publish an article like this. If you are considering giving up on school, then this is for you. 

Reasons Why You Should Not Quit or Drop Out of School

Whenever a student thinks of giving up on school or dropping out, the first justification that tends to come to mind is “Well, look at Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg! They dropped out of school and today they are billionaires.”

Well, it turns out that statistics show that only a small percentage of school dropouts or individuals with only a secondary school education eventually reach the I-can-comfortably-buy-a-car status. With that, you can imagine how small the percentage will be for people who eventually attain the billionaire status.

In fact, if you want a number, it can be said that less than 1% of people who start out in life by dropping out of school eventually make it to the million dollar status in life. Suffice it to say that the idea of the “college dropout turn billionaire” is just a myth propelled by our tendency to fall in love with unique stories.

Another fact that a lot of people forget to realize is that folks like Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook were already attending ivy league schools and getting world-class education before they dropped out. Also, these guys were coding obsessively since they were in high school.

The bottomline is that they already had what it took (education and skills) to succeed in life. Sadly, a lot of young Nigerians thinking of taking this path don’t have any of this.

If you have read the biographies of rich men all around the world who decided to quit school and became billionaires and are motivated to drop your school bag, you might want to see the following reasons why it’s a bad idea and think again:

1. Dropouts have a high chance of dropping into loneliness, isolation and confusion

Now, this is where the failure tends to start because what many people don’t know is that most of these popular guys who dropped out of school to start their companies did so in pairs. In other words, they had close friends who dropped out with them and started the journey together with them.

For instance, Bill Gates had Paul Allen. Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook had Dustin Moskovits, Eduardo Saverin, Chris Huges, Sean Parker. Steve Jobs, founder of apple had Steve Wozniak who was already really great at electronics. Many young Nigerians who drop out of school, attempt to start out alone, with little education and no skills and this ends up being disastrous. 

A lack of close friends and a dearth of broader social contact generally bring the emotional discomfort or distress known as loneliness. Loneliness can gradually result in feelings that tear away at our emotional well-being and lead to depression.

Seun Osewa, founder of Nairaland is one outstanding example of a Nigerian who dropped out and went for it alone. Again, this is a peculiar case and it’s not smart to make decisions based on peculiar stories.

Not knowing what to do in life to make a living can be a really big problem. Most people who drop out of school simultaneously drop into complete confusion because they had no plan before dropping out.

The whole path to a financially free future gradually becomes a complete maze. They are perhaps unaware that Bill had already developed different enterprise software that were in demand before he left school.

They also might not know that Facebook had started rapidly getting users before Mark chose to drop out. That the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Richard Branson already owned a newspaper company by the time he was dropping out of school.

2. Many dropouts tend to leave school because of laziness

Many people who drop out eventually fail because they dropped out in the first place because of laziness. It’s true that it’s difficult to work hard when there’s little motivation to do so such as a promise to become good at the field or the prospect of a good-paying job.

For now, this promise or prospects, though existing for those that work hard at their craft, are rare due to the problems facing the educational system and the economic situation of the country.

Too lazy to study?

Nevertheless, you need to ask yourself why you really want to drop out of school. Are you already studying hard and well enough or are you simply being lazy?

Another crucial fact that people are unaware of is that most billionaires who dropped out of school were actually workaholics by the time they were dropping out of school. Bill Gates worked so hard that he had already landed a software production contract with IBM before he called it quits.

Look at the words of Mark Zuckerberg: “When I called my mum and told her i was dropping out of school, she laughed and said she knew I was never going to finish school when she saw the way I worked.”

Don’t delude yourself into thinking there’s a promise of billions of dollars waiting for every dropout because as earlier proven by statistics, this is just a myth.

Don’t quit out of laziness. Learn to sit still and study. Learn to give time and attention to work. If you are hungry and studying, don’t worry because it won’t always be like that.

The better you get at something, the more you find how rewarding hard work and persistence is. People will always look out for those that are great at what they do and as a result, the financial reward you seek will come.

Recommended: How to Overcome Laziness and Get More Done With 5 Practical Steps

3. Many dropouts have a bad landing or land on a non profitable business or idea

Most of the billionaires we keep using as examples, had a soft landing when they dropped out of school. They either had rich or average parents who provided some sort of key support for them after they dropped out.

Bill Gates had a well-to-do magistrate as his father and a mother who helped him secure the big contract at IBM. Mark Zuckerberg’s parents supported him with an $85,000 loan when he started.

Aliko Dangote, though not a dropout, had a rich uncle who helped set him up in business and supported him through the early stages. This is to give you an idea of some of the privileges that makes dropping out easier for some folks.

As always, there are exceptions to this though. Folks like Steve Jobs, Apple founder and Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria actually started from the bottom. There will always be a place for people who start from zero, work their ass out and end up successful.

But don’t forget that Steve Jobs was in a country that has a conducive economic climate. Its easier in countries like the USA to find 1 million people who can easily buy your product online for $1 or $2 just so that they can test it. Do you know of 100 Nigerians who can do that? Not to mention the fact that it is far easier to find investors there because of better enlightenment. 

Again, before dropping out of school, most people who did, actually had a profitable business that was already making some sort of income or gaining traction. Nairaland had 300 members in its first month.

Bill Gates said he was “a little worried” that the revolution — putting personal computers in every home, office, and now, pocket across the world — would happen without him. In other words, he already had a profitable plan to be a part of this revolution.

Facebook was already the talk of the town with over 20000 members before Mark Zuckerberg quit. The majority of dropouts that end up with many regrets in life after quitting school actually never had a working idea or plan.

5. Many dropouts quit school and stop learning as well

Most people who fail after quitting school, tend to stop their education altogether. No one can succeed without education. So if you are quitting formal schooling, you should make sure you have a plan and the resources to pursue self-education.

Education is for now the greatest way to get ahead in this world. The more knowledgeable and skilled you are, the better your opportunities for thriving in today’s world. These days, formalized learning and university education are gathering a lot of criticism and opposition, especially here in Nigeria, where many students are wondering what they are actually learning. Hence, the rising interest in DIY (Do-It-Yourself) learning.

A typical university lecture theatre in Nigeria

Even though many of our universities don’t seem to deliver the kind of know-how required in today’s fast-paced technological world, the structure of formal schooling tends to force you to read and by so doing, receive education. Very few people would have the discipline to finish a university textbook in Physics but the possibility of failing an exam tends to help some people achieve this.

Education is very valuable but self-education is priceless. Deep self-education requires more discipline than university education and many dropouts who might have left school due to laziness lack this discipline. As a result, a lot of dropouts stop learning, stop studying and end up falling behind.

Folks like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were smart and studied hard even before entering school. They managed to learn things by themselves and at a faster pace than most. In fact, Gates has said that in an interview that although he didn’t finish school, he still loves being a student. So, there’s no excuse for choosing not to study and learn.

6. Dropouts miss out on the perks that come with a university education

From a certificate that could potentially land you a job or make it easier for you to register specialized businesses to meeting people and expanding your network, there is no doubt that a university experience and formal education provides some important benefits.

Most medium to high paying jobs in Nigeria require you to be either a HND or BSC holder. Except you are self employed, which is difficult to achieve without some serious resolve and smarts in this country, you will find it difficult to earn income and survive.

Not to forget that the society today places a high value on university certificates and discriminates against someone who is not properly educated. Even most parents will be really sad if their child decided not to further his or her education.

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You can make life-changing friends in school.

In life, the people you come across, interact and associate with matter a whole lot. You meet all kinds of individuals trying to improve their lives in the university and this can greatly improve your chances of making your life better as well.

Now, the final piece of advice …

Your level of competence in a field greatly determines your level of confidence. Stopping your education at secondary school level or dropping out of school could really affect your self-esteem. In most cases, you will be ashamed to tell people that you are a school drop out.

So if you are planing to give up on school or know anyone who is planning to quit, ask yourself or tell him or her to ask this simple question: “Do I already have a profitable business that will suffer if I continue school?”

There is close to the best question you can ask yourself, if you are considering calling it quits. Hence, if your answer to this question is “No”, it’s not time to quit schooling. If you have a business that is not yet profitable enough, try to keep running the business while continuing your studies. Even if the business is profitable, if you can run it while in school, by all means, do so, so that you don’t miss out on the benefits of having a university degree.

If you are still trying to scale through JAMB or WAEC, don’t give up. Study using exam focus and recommended textbooks, go through past questions, practice computer based tests, take tutorials, get a lesson teacher if you can afford one, change your course to a less competitive one if necessary. Keep trying and you will eventually secure admission.

Please don’t quit or drop out unless it is absolutely impossible to continue. And frankly, it is difficult to come up with good reasons why one should give up school. People like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs aren’t the rule. They are the exceptions. And, it’s never wise to make decisions based on peculiar cases. Be smart, be wise, be patient and you will find a way to survive and thrive.

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  • Wow! "Bill Gates and Steve Jobs aren't the rule, they're the exceptions". "It's never wise to make decisions based on peculiar cases". I love this article! I'll sure spread it. Kudos Nigerian Scholars!

  • This is very sound!