According to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 19.9 million students attend college or university. Not all students, however, finish their planned studies. A quarter of high school graduates will drop out from their enrolled institution during the first year. This is partially a consequence of the stress that is accrued throughout the transition period from high school to college or university. Some reasons for stress include increased academic expectations, changes in support systems, and exposure to new environments.  

Others will withdraw simply because they don’t see the value in college/university. On average, undergraduate students living at home spend $9,300 annually. This totals to $37,200 after four years of study. For students who have parents driving Lamborghini’s, this is merely an insult. They would rather have their children spend upwards of $50,000 at a prestigious institution since it reflects the family’s opulent lifestyle, irrespective of whether it serves in the best interest of their children or not. And for students who have parents working like Sisyphus to keep the house afloat, it becomes difficult for children to continue their studies considering that the alternative option presents a more logical solution – to work full time, avoid paying student debt, and help their family survive in this murky world. It’s not only about the economics of education that doesn’t appeal to students.

Recently, thanks in large part to public intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson, Steven Pinker, Sam Harris, Eric Weinstein, Brett Weinstein, and others, the nefarious proclivity of institutions to promote ideology instead of a pursuit of truth has been exposed. Students are becoming smarter about being trapped into the planned agendas of colleges/universities. You rather educate yourself at home, at least this way no one tells you what to think.

While there are plenty of reasons why students drop out of college/university, it’s hardly insignificant to consider the other dimensions of intelligence that these individual’s posses. We tend to dismiss their insights at our own peril, forgetting that intelligence and intellect are two different things. The latter is what the education system measures. It’s a measure of how sharp your intellect is. That is, everything is determined by how your memory functions, but limited in this regard because it doesn’t allow you to explore other possibilities.

In the yogic sciences, very little emphasis is put on the thought process, because when you think in terms of thought, you can only think within the confines of the data you have accumulated. In other words, it becomes very difficult to think about anything new.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that those who don’t have any educational qualifications are also the very people (generally speaking) to be visionaries, entrepreneurs and musicians. They have a creative capability that as contributed to society immensely. And it’s simply not that case that they have achieved success without intelligence any more than doctors, lawyers or engineers. 

I’ve been trained all my life to pay credence to these doctors, lawyers and engineers because my parents have no formal education. But as I started to explore this world as a full-fledged human being, I realized that using identity as the basis to judge someone results in a narrow understanding of the universe. I don’t respect a brown person any more than a white person. I don’t respect a straight individual any more than a gay individual. I don’t respect a rich person any more than a poor person. So why should I respect an educated person any more than an uneducated person? These are just forms of our identity which is of little importance to me.

As a new school year is fast approaching, there will be students who will go on to achieve a great amount of educational success. There will also be individuals who achieve success outside the walls of a classroom. The fact is, school is not for everyone, and those who don’t get an opportunity to pursue higher education need more encouragement to follow their dreams. I’m talking about that 18-year-old who has his family living in poverty, can’t afford to attend school, but saves enough money to start a business. I’m talking about that individual who comes out of jail, who tries to rebuild his life, and wants to become a basketball coach. I’m talking about the girl who drops out of college/university because she has a medical problem, but starts her own YouTube channel because that’s been her life-long dream.

By Vinu Selvaratnam
The views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent any institution.