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Dear Jido,

How do I tell my father that I’m failing in college? He is expecting me to go for at least 4 years – and this is only my first semester. This has been like a boulder in the pit of my stomach. I haven’t had the courage to tell him yet that I do not think college is for me. I know he worked hard for many years and put away a lot of money in order for me to go to college and I do not want to let him down. However, I’m not sure I can make it through another semester – never mind another 3 years. Help!

College Dropout

Dear Almost Dropout,

How fortunate you are that you are so in touch with your feelings that you realize that this type of education is not for you. Assuming you are not succeeding even though you are trying (and not because you are behaving improperly as some college students might), then you have the right to say it is not for you.

There is an expression – “Teach a child according to his ways.” Education is important, even critical, in today’s modern, hi-tech business world, and chances are your father wants you to be educated so that you can succeed. He is right. But it must be given in a way that you can absorb and learn, otherwise it is just facts andfigures without meaning.

Depending on why you are in college and what you are expected to learn, there are many online courses that can be taken that will give you the same basic education as four years in college. They can also provide you with a bachelor’s degree that will allow you to continue your education to a master’s degree or higher. Do you come away with the same level of understanding of complex topics? No. But online courses can familiarize you with the basics and allow you to determine where you might want to put your future efforts.

If your father expects you to be a professional – doctor, lawyer, CPA, physicist, then online is not for you.

By all means tell your father that you don’t want to continue in the same path to your education. Discuss with him what he wants for your future and how that fits with your desires, aptitude, and personality. I am sure he will reconsider once he hears that all that money he saved will be for naught if you continue in college and don’t benefit.

Education is very important. Make sure it is given and received in the way you want to go.

All the best,

Dr. Jido