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Begeara's avatar

Did you graduate? If so, how is your life better? If not, how is your life worse?

Asked by Begeara (376points) May 26th, 2011

So nearing the end of my grade ten year I’ve been finding myself wondering if high school is really worth it. I know having a diploma really ups your chances of getting a job, and you can’t attend any sort of university or collage without one. But the career I’m planning on going into is writing novels and freelance writing and as far as I know you don’t need a diploma for any of that. My thinking is, I may be better off spending my remaining 2 years of school concentrating on my writing and maybe trying to write as many articles for different magazines or whatever to hopefully establish a budding career.

I guess my question to you is if you graduated from high school, how better off were you? And if you didn’t, what were some of the things that were more difficult?

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28 Answers

tedd's avatar

Without a High School Diploma your odds of landing any job, let alone a good one, are very slim in today’s world. You might be one of the lucky few who has some other skill or just plain is smart and doesn’t need to finish school because they’re already in some thriving business, but if you’re 99.999% of people you don’t fall into that category.

You will make a ton more money with a HS Diploma, if nothing else.

Going to college isn’t for everyone, and it sounds like you really won’t be up for that. But if you don’t finish High School you will be severely hampering yourself for the rest of your life.

tedd's avatar

More specifically. I only know a handful of High School drop outs, and none of them am I close to at the moment. Most of them were old friends or fellow class mates in high school. Last check they’re working dead end jobs, paycheck to paycheck, not owning homes, and just downright living in poverty.

My own story… I went onto college, got a degree, and a professional job after college. Every job I had while in college (probably about 6 of them total) required a HS Diploma to even be considered.

nikipedia's avatar

You are not going to make money writing. Especially if you are in 10th grade and can’t spell “college.”

Sorry for being a dick, but your odds of being successful are unbelievably low.

Finish high school. Learn what you can from your English and writing classes. Go to college. Take writing courses. Learn from your professors. If you still want to try to be a writer, you will need to support yourself with a real job while you do it.

bob_'s avatar

Dude, is high school really worth it? Really?

Seelix's avatar

Of course high school is worth it. Like @tedd said, you need a high school diploma at the very least to get any kind of job. Many employers also look for a college/university degree. If you don’t complete high school, get ready to answer for it. Employers will want to know why.

High school may not be fun, but seriously? You want to be a writer and you’re not even willing to finish high school? Once you’ve completed your math/science requirements, you’ll be able to focus more on things that interest you. And believe me – I don’t care how good a writer you think you are at 15 – you’ll learn how to write in school.

And I don’t know what kind of warped idea you have about being a freelance writer/novelist, but you’ll need an actual job in order to pay the rent and bills, at least at the beginning of your career.

Finish school. It’s worth it.

tedd's avatar

I mean honestly even if you end up going on to write and find High School was actually a total waste of time…. You’re out what, another 2 years? Two years where you can still do a lot of writing since quite frankly school doesn’t take up that much time.

Seelix's avatar

Write for the school paper. Approach your local newspaper about writing an occasional column for a “teen life” feature.
I have a friend who did that – she wrote for our local paper and now, at age 30, she’s written articles for the Toronto Star, the CBC website, and Macleans among others, and currently works at CBC Radio.

That’ll go further toward a future career than dropping out of school.

Allie's avatar

Yes, I graduated from high school. It helped me exponentially since I wanted to go to college – and I always knew I wanted to go to college so not gradating from high school wasn’t really an option. Luckily, I went to a fantastic high school and nothing else could have prepared me for college better. In my junior year I took so many AP classes and exams that I didn’t have to take math and science courses at college. Because of that I was way ahead of where I was supposed to be and got to take a lot more major-specific courses and elective courses.
I graduated from college last year with a BA in Sociology. I’m still not done though. I want to be a professor so I know I’ll definitely need more schooling – at least an MA. Right now I’m just working and applying to grad schools, but even at this stage I don’t think I would have the job I have now without college. I started working on campus when I was a sophomore and it really did open doors for me. I got to know people who worked on campus and I made networking connections that will last forever. I have the job I do now because of connections I made with people while I was a student. There’s no way I would have been able to just walk in as a normal applicant and get this job (funny thing about working at a university is that who you know is just as important as what you know).
College isn’t for everyone though, I understand that. I would definitely suggest you stick it out through high school though. A high school degree will matter down the road when possible employers ask what kind of English courses you’ve taken or your writing background (essays written in high school count!). Plus, if years later you decide you do want to go to college, you have a diploma from high school which will open the door to higher education regardless of if/when you decide to go.

YoBob's avatar

Yes, it is true that there is the occasional success story about a high school drop out who makes it big. However, the harsh reality is that the chances of that happening to a given individual are about as high as one personally getting struck by lightning twice during the same passing thunderstorm while sitting in their living room.

Bottom line: The high school diploma is the absolute minimum for all but the most menial of jobs. These days, even a college degree does not guarantee you of a job, but it ups your chances significantly.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I graduated from university (4 times now). It has made getting a job a lot easier.

Aethelwine's avatar

I have known a few people who dropped out of high school at your age. One of them was one of my sisters. They all regretted it 10–20 years later. They all went on to get a GED, but wished they had just finished high school instead.

lonelydragon's avatar

No, technically you don’t need a degree to freelance or write novels, but most freelancers/novelists have a day job of some sort, because writing books alone won’t pay the bills unless the book becomes very popular. You will have a hard time finding a job without a diploma.

Although a diploma is an absolute necessity, as a university grad, I can attest that having a college degree isn’t always helpful in getting a job. Most of the job openings in my area require a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, but not a university degree. Most employers in my area prefer someone with a lot of experience and little education over someone who meets the education requirements but is less experienced.

YoBob's avatar

I’ll second what @lonelydragon said especially about the probability you will need a “day job” to support your more artistic aspirations. However, in my experience what employers look for varies with profession. In my field (software engineering) these days employers won’t even look at your resume unless you have a masters degree regardless of how much experience you have. In short in this particular field they value a freshly minted master’s degree over a guy with a Bachelor’s degree and 20 years of experience.

Begeara's avatar

I honestly don’t think I would have dropped out since everyone I know is saying pretty much the exact same stuff, more then anything I was just curious as to the difference between life without the diploma and life with one. I’ll most likely go through school get a job and write in my spare time until something is published. The main reason for my curiosity is I actually know quite a few people who have dropped out and gone on to be alright although all of their success was due to the different time they were raised in. Thanks all for your input I’d say all my questions have been answered quite well.

Thanks :D

(Also my mis spelling of college was because I didn’t read through my question after I’d written it. But quite frankly bad spelling barley contributes to if a writer is good or not, that’s why we go back and edit our stuff right? So we don’t end up looking like morons)

Seelix's avatar

Oh, the barley irony!

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Begeara's avatar

Ahahahahaha I just noticed that too XD

wundayatta's avatar

These days, high school is not enough, either. You need a college degree before most employers will even look at your resume, unless you’re looking at manufacturing jobs. But even those are drying up,, and the ones that remain require college degrees.

On average, high school employees make—maybe 30K? Not even above poverty level these days. College gives you and extra 10k. Master degree maybe 15K more phd another 20k and a professional degree adds another 15 k per year, on average.

Writers—novelists especially, don’t make a lot of money. So, if you want to be a novelist who doesn’t have a college degree, you can expect to be living from hand to mouth, moving from apartment to apartment and from paycheck to paycheck. Artists tend to starve for their art. It’s not a myth, and it’s not fun.

Even if you can sell some novels, you’ll find that you have to write two or three a year just to support yourself. Maybe more. Maybe if you get really good, you might hit and write a best seller. But given that most writers who do have best sellers have advanced degrees, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

You could be very very good already. Perhaps you are a genius. Then it wouldn’t matter about the education. Or you might be really good at giving yourself an education—reading widely and deeply and getting involved with all kinds of shit. Maybe working in a lot of different jobs. Having lots of different relationships. Just gaining as much education and experience as you can without going to school.

It’s not a bad idea. High school educations are generally pretty bad—even the good ones. They are boring and dehumanizing, so often. So I wouldn’t blame you one bit for wanting to get out of the system. But you’ll have to work really hard to educate yourself, because high school or no, you have to be educated—whether it’s to write or it’s to get any kind of job at all.

nikipedia's avatar

@wundayatta, you raise a good point about how much money to expect from writing. An academic I know has published 22 books and makes almost nothing off them, as a whole.

Kayak8's avatar

If you aren’t willing to put in the energy to finish high school, as an employer I would wonder if you were willing to put in the energy to finish an article (much less a book). High school and college both teach a person to stick with something they start and to dedicate themselves to making the most of the opportunities that are presented.

bob_'s avatar

@Kayak8 In addition to, you know, basic grammar and math.

Kayak8's avatar

@bob_ I thought that part was adequately covered by the above responders, particularly @nikipedia‘s observation about the ability to spell the word “college” rather than using the word “collage.” As others have observed the great likelihood of minimal income, math skills may not matter (no money to count).

bob_'s avatar

@Kayak8 Well, sure, but then there’s the concept of negative numbers. Debt’s no picnic.

Kayak8's avatar

@bob_ I stand corrected. But don’t you learn about negative numbers in like third grade? By tenth grade, that should be an established concept. Hence, no need for high school if you’re going to be a writer.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Continuing an academic education through the high school level will (or should) expose you to basic subjects that will help you in crafting your writing. I don’t know what kind of classes you are required to take, but in our school, we attended government, economics, chemistry, literature, algebra, and other subjects that were introduced for the first time in our lives.

All of these subjects could provide a basic understanding to what you end up tapping into as a writer, especially as an aspiring novelist.

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lonelydragon's avatar

@YoBob You are corrrect, employers’ requirements do vary by profession.

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