I was never a bad student in school. I was able to maintain good grades but had never one to be forced to learn subjects that were of no value to me. I had simple desires in school. Teach me to read, basic math skills, and how to write. Instead, I was taught all three at once and have yet to find a situation where I use y=mx+b in my adult life. I have attempted higher education three times in my life and at twenty-five years old, I hold my head high and say “I quit” for good.
After graduating high school, the sky was the limit for an eighteen year old with a music scholarship. No matter what anyone said, I was going to be a professional singer come hell or high water. I moved away from my small town into another small town that housed Wingate University and loved the sense of freedom radiating in the air. My time there was not an entire waste, as I met many nice people and travelled to great places singing with the college choir. Even back then however, I wrestled anxiety and it crippled my performance. I was expected to fulfill nineteen credit hours per semester which consumed my mind. Certain professors held favoritism for particular students allowing one group of students to excell effortlessly while many others were left to claw their way to the spotlight. After a year or so, I broke down and dropped out for my own well-being.
Once I came home, I needed to support myself despite living with my parents. My first job was as an unloader for a local Wal-Mart. From four in the afternoon until one in the morning I was in the back of a trailer unloading cases of merchandise by hand. I decided again that it was time to see if I could grab another star from that previously mentioned sky. Music has been in my blood from birth, so I pursued a broadcasting degree from my local community college to produce my passion. I felt accomplishment in a way I hadn’t at Wingate. I used my computer screen as an artist utilizes their canvas. I made fairly decent music and was happy for awhile, but life had a different plan for me.
Money began to dwindle as Wal-Mart lost the willingness to bend with my school schedule. I quit and found work at a grocery store that allowed flexibility to continue my education but paid significantly less. I only had one semester left until I could graduate but in the broadcasting field internships barely pay the bills, if they pay anything at all. Guests in the industry were coming to the college telling us that broadcasting was a dying field because of the internet. I felt the worth of my work slipping and life gave me another twist I didn’t expect. I began to fall into deep debt by doing what I loved. Being a student was going to ruin me financially. Eventually I was forced to leave school and find a full time job to stay afloat.
Over the next year I worked as a material handler for a company that assembled parts for conveyor systems. I was hired as a temp and left them under the same title. When there is no room to grow, it’s time to go. I was hired with my current company and have happily worked in my position one day at a time. Not long after my hire date, inspiration lingered in my mind yet again. “If I can get a degree during my time here, surely I can make this job my career.”, I thought. I began to pursue my degree in industrial distribution and logistics through an online degree program. After one semester, an eye opening experience with my mental health, and many battles against the bottle, I realized that even when I wasn’t in a classroom I hated school.
Higher education is fantastic when you know exactly what you want in life. It is vital for those who are doctors, nurses or anyone really who enjoy learning core curriculum about things that interest them. For many others however, it is expensive, time consuming, and ultimately depressing due to a desire to just live life and pursue happiness in their current state. In my journey for better mental health I have realized that if you are not happy, it’s time to find your joy. In my case, I make a good living. My wife and pets love me and we make every day the best it can be. I may not have a degree or in the process of gaining one, but I wouldn’t be happy by forcing myself to pursue one in any subject.
In conclusion, I quit. I am no longer a student. I am a machine operator. I am a loving husband. I am a proud pet parent. I used to be a musician and am now a writer. I am Shelton Fisher and I am happy.