I quit school when I was seventeen. I barely made it through year eleven. Not only that, I didn't go to university.
My peers thought I was crazy. Stupid, too. Maybe you even think the same from a glance.
The reality is it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in my life. Many of the people who looked down on me are now looking up. They complimented me for making such a bold move—one they wish they had the courage to make. They even confessed wasting years because they didn't.
Why? Because the education system is a turd. Literally.
There's a reason why so many people hate it. Learning is fun, humans are designed to do it. Yet in school almost everyone is complaining about how much it sucks. Rushing homework, cheating, and more are common practices that arise from boredom. These are symptoms of a major problem.
Most things you learn in school or university are useless for the majority of people. You end up forgetting most of it because knowledge only sticks when it's combined with emotion (engagement). And the things you do learn that are useful are often taught so poorly, you may as well teach yourself online for free.
This is true for basically every traditional education institution. I was privileged enough to attend one of the best schools in Australia (which was practically Auschwitz—well, sort of), and a decent senior college with the most flexibility possible. Both were shit. I wasn't willing to waste both my time and my parents' money on them.
Being self-taught means you're able to master many things in a very short period of time, without the bureaucracy. You can do so in a way that suits you on your own learning style and schedule. You can cut out all the bullshit, focusing on the things that interest you and actually matter. There's no abritrary tests that barely measure competence.
A common objection to this is lack of self-discipline. But if you're deliberately wasting your time because you need someone else to motivate you, you've already failed. Compromising is a bad habit that will bleed into the rest of your life.
Self-motivation is an essential quality of every successful person. This is especially true if your career is one of many that requires constantly learning, such as software engineering. In our fast-paced world, you have to keep up with change—change that our universities and schools aren't adapting to.
In fact, I'd go as far as to say if someone isn't self-taught, I wouldn't hire them. Contrary to how most organisations do recruiting, I'd consider this a negative sign. Top performers are the people who go out of their way to excel (especially outside of their studies).
It's no coincidence many of the most accomplished people dropped out. Geniuses aren't born from the status quo. It's a litmus test not only for self-discipline and whether someone is able to manage themselves, but also an indicator for rebelliousness, independence, and the ability to think outside the box. If someone doesn't possess these qualities, they're not an A-player and should not be recruited.
School isn't designed to cultivate intelligence. School is designed to make you smart enough to run the machines, but too stupid to think outside the box. It's a monolithic machine forcing round pegs into square holes. Mass producing slaves for capitalism.
But do you want to be a slave? Or do you want to be free, living life on your own terms? If you're sane, it's obviously the latter. Yet almost everyone still conforms, doing what everyone else is doing without questioning it. And out of those who do question it, not many have the balls to go their own way.
There is no excuse not to be self-taught today. The amount of useful information available for free online is overwhelming. You can learn almost anything for free (or for almost nothing if you want to buy a few courses, books, or whatever).
The only exception is if your career definitely requires it (almost all of them don't). And even if it does, you can certainly think outside the box and try something alternative instead of being trapped into the slavery system. Such as being a competent holistic health practitioner instead of a drug peddler for big pharma. I'd even seriously consider switching careers if it came down to it.
The value of a degree is also declining. Big tech companies such as Apple and Google no longer give a shit if you have one. While the tech industry is progressive, this is a trend I expect the rest of society to follow in the near future (especially because technology is becoming integrated into almost all industries). And if someone is stupid enough to dismiss your abilities because you don't have one, you shouldn't want to work for them, anyway.
The bottom line is if you genuinely don't need a degree and are wasting time in school or university, you should probably quit. Go and teach yourself something useful and follow the road less travelled. Persist and put in the work, you will enjoy great success. Or comply, compromise, and reap what you sow.