It has been two years since I made the conscious decision to take time off of school. Two years ago I left home and joined a program where I would be traveling the country doing disaster response with a team of like-minded individuals. After that year was coming to an end I decided that I wasn’t going back to school anytime soon. I now live in Chicago (New Jersey transplant) and I work as an HIV testing counselor. Leaving school has been the best decision of my life. While I understand the importance of getting an education what I don’t understand is the massive amount of stress we put ourselves under trying to get there. So you do the thing you were programmed to do which was graduate high school, get into a great school (heaven forbid you decide you want to go to community college, you are looked at like a pariah), graduate from school. Then get several unpaid internships, which do nothing for the $50,000+ debt you are in. What is next? The next logical step would be to go to graduate school to put your already increasing loans on hold to accumulate more debt. In America we feel it is appropriate to decide what we will be doing the rest of our lives at the age of 16. How in the hell does someone with raging hormones decide what their life will look like in the next 40 years. When I was 16 I was trying to survive high school just focused on getting out of that systematic prison. Okay, high school was not that bad but I didn’t like the environment I was put in, that is a whole other demon I won’t get into here. After going away to school for a semester I looked at my life and said, “Fuck this” and moved back home to do one more semester at a community college. While doing this I applied to the program where I could make a difference and travel and meet great people. I was accepted and embarked on a new journey. If you asked me two years ago where I thought I would be, I would have said something along the lines of still in school earning my degree in Biology and secondary education. If I went down that path I would be very unhappy where I would have ended up. Through my traveling and working in Chicago I realized that I want to get into psychology and sociology and work with those in need. I am happy where I am and what I do. But I made a decision when I was a young boy and told myself that traveling would be a huge aspect of my life. Due to this, I have booked my ticket to Europe for the summer, with no return date. I have been told my people that I am so inspiring and they could never do what I do; they are stuck in school and wish they could be like me. I am glad I have been able to show people there are other options out there than one set path but anyone can do it just takes the courage to one day make the move and change your life. I know that this is not an option for everyone just like I know school is not for everyone. So do what you feel is best for yourself and just do it with all your heart. I said that leaving school was the best decision I have ever made in the beginning of this now what was the best decision YOU have ever made?