A Decision to Start University at 21


When I was a teenager, I thought I knew it all. My parents always drove me crazy, and they ~ didn’t understand ~ me. I was a moody teenager who was lost and angry and expressed myself through theatre, music and writing. That was all I ever wanted to do. When we moved to Indiana and I had the problems I did with my high school administration (explained in this post), I felt even more lost. I was not going to be able to do college like any typical student, and getting my degree was going to take longer. So after graduating, I did a year of community college, worked two jobs and still did not feel satisfied. It just wasn’t what I wanted to do. So I decided to take a year off and head abroad (honestly, it was only suppose to be a year!).

Growing up, these two pieces of advice from my dad stuck to me:

  1. College is showing future employers that you can be trained. Period. You can get a degree in one thing and wind up in a total different field.
  2. Everything is about networking.

Since I have moved abroad, I have been doing fairly decent in the networking department. But networking for me is not just about business, it is about knowing someone and having a personal relationship with them, not just one of business, meetings and emails. I do believe that people can make their own life without a degree, I have been astonished to meet multiple people here who started their business all from zero and are doing well for them. I also like being surrounded by people who inspire me, they make me want to work harder and achieve my dreams.

First day of class
First day of class

During my first year in Paris, I knew I most likely wanted to go back to school, but I could not see myself going back to America. I was in a place where I felt comfortable, making myself work, and growing as an individual. I worked with a horrible host family my first year, but they taught me my self-worth. They taught me to say no and stand up for myself. I was in a situation where I was highly dependent on them if I did not want to go back home… So I learned to work with them as much as I could (eventually I learned you can’t make everyone like you and some people are crazy enough). I learned how to work with unlikeable people, something that cannot be taught. I learned French, which honestly, if I would have learned at home I would have learned an academic French. Here, I am actually in the culture, know when to be polite and not, know which expressions are out of context, etc. My year off was not a waste, but I wanted a degree. I wanted to know that I could, if worse comes to worse, have something to fall back on. Besides, I kept thinking about what my dad had taught me: college was just to show future employers you were trainable. What better way to show them I was by doing school in a system I wasn’t prepared for? People always tell me that with my three languages, I already am desirable by many companies but I kept thinking that if I did my degree here, it would be a stronger degree than doing my studies in my home country.

A very unorganized desk while studying for my first big test
A very unorganized desk while studying for my first big test

I am studying History, but all I want to do is write, travel and learn. My degree is not far off from what I want to do, but it’s not exactly spot on. I do enjoy it, and it is fun seeing how each country views history differently, but in the end each person has to choose their road. A degree is just a piece of paper… Life is the real experience.




You can follow more of Veronica: 

Twitter: @kikalavil

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kikalavil

Instagram: @kikalavil

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