To this day, one of my most memorable accomplishments was being one of the first kids to learn how to read in my kindergarten class. Imagine, one day you’re hopelessly stringing together phonics inside words, and then, almost magically, one day your eyes are opened to a whole new universe: books.
I remember after I learned how to read, I binge read all of the Magic Treehouse books (oh if only I was reading the Tuttle Twins books, which in my defense, did not exist at the time). However, this passion for reading at such a young age led me to value education early, and to strive to be the best. The next 9 or so years, I did just that.
One morning, the 2nd grade version of me woke up sick at 5 in the morning, vomiting everywhere. It would have been the first day of school I had ever missed, so I wouldn’t have it. I knew I had about a half hour before my father would wake up to go to work, so I scrubbed and scrubbed, trying to dispose of the evidence that my insides were dying. I thought I had him fooled, but he had heard me. Before leaving, he told my mother that I was sick, and when she woke up she didn’t let me go to school. I was devastated.
As school went on, I continued to do well. I didn’t even get a B grade until I was in the 7th grade! But, during the transition from elementary school to high school, something else happened. I completely lost my desire to learn.
I lost ambition to learn. I sacrificed the ability to think critically to do well on tests. I started to hate going to school every day, it was numbing the same skills I once longed for. I went from cleaning up vomit so I wouldn’t have to miss school, to applying the most effort into fooling my mother that I was sick. This led me down a road of depression I wasn’t even aware I was on. What an epic turnaround.
Towards the end of high school, I became more interested in learning and critical thinking, which only led me to dislike school even more. I taught myself the bass, I watched weird conspiracy theory documentaries as well as documentaries about the intricacies of space. I don’t know how much I learned from the documentaries, but they definitely made me think. Looking back, it’s truly astounding that I thought the government, also known as the most inefficient institution in the world, was clever enough to deceive the masses on any conspiracy theory.
But, like most naive kids who hated school, I thought college would finally be the catalyst that would inspire me to return to my kindergarten views on school. I thought it would make learning exciting again. I thought it would teach me skills that could be used to provide value to others. I thought I “have” to follow on this path after all the education I had already completed. I almost let my thoughts drown me.
I even tried out two different colleges, in two completely different fields, music and business. During my transition of schools, I began a job at Old Navy, where all my superiors had degrees in everything from dental assistance, to archeologist. Yet, here they were, folding clothes most of their days. I needed to break from the mold.
During this time, I began binge listening to every libertarian podcast I could find. Finally, this was the spark I have been searching for my whole life. Listening to the podcasts not only retaught me to think critically, but motivated me to start reading heavily again. Before I knew it, I was teaching myself more than I could have ever dreamed to learn in school!
I went on to buy Tom Woods’s Liberty Classroom, listening to more podcasts, and reading more books. The mold was shattering, the sun was peeking out over the dark and dismal clouds schooling left me surrounded by. The only logical step was to quarantine myself from the plague called school, and to drop out of college.
And I did so just in time! Whether it was Trump written in chalk on Emory University that “offended” some students, the safe spaces located in every building, the multiple riots that have broken out over college campuses, or this NSFW video that just emerged of an alleged professor berating police to use violence against what she deemed as hate speech – I knew I made the right decision.
These aren’t the type of people one should surround him or herself with if one desires to provide value to others. Professors should encourage students to think critically, not indoctrinate them.
My decision was to realize that education is far too important to leave to traditional schooling methods, so I filled out an application for Praxis, which I had learned about on one of my favorite podcasts, The Tom Woods Show. Praxis is an apprenticeship program focused on learning how to create value for others, and providing you with a real job upon completion.
If this doesn’t suffice as proof that markets really can solve the most difficult, and personal, decisions we have to make in life, I don’t know what would.