Dropping out of U of I to van

  1. U of I grad. Don't drop out of you're that close. You've spent most of the money already and a college degree definitely still has meaning in the long term. You can go do whatever after that including hang in a van

  2. Yep, I’m also a U of I grad & it was definitely hard for me, but glad I got it done. Agree that it would be best to do this & then follow your path after.

  3. "I got that degree but want to work in a different field" will look so much better on a resume and in interviews than "I spent all these years and that money at university and have nothing to show for it".

  4. THIS ! Listen to this guy. You need to be responsible & finish college degree & classes & also do well. When you give up, it is going to no doubt affect ur future. Van life is only temporarily fixing an issue. You gonna need money for everything inc gas. Go ahead & get work too for $

  5. Dude…I’ve worked with so many people that have college degrees that have nothing to do with what they do now. That bachelor’s gets your foot in the door. Just finish it.

  6. Yup my partner was an anthropology degree that they cobbled together just to graduate on time and now makes very good money working in marketing for a book company. People just wanna see that you had the discipline to finish any degree.

  7. Yup. Finish your degree. As long as you have a b.a or better yet a b.s, you can find a good job. My gf did communication to be a news reporter....she's a marketing v.p for a fortune 500. I did the whole hippy no college route and finished a b.s in business at 35 but work in biotech. Finish your degree, get a van and pay off your school debt that way.

  8. Dropping out and doing nothing … it’s the most stupid thing you could do when you’re almost done with school. people drop out because they actually do something like business and they have a clear vision of what they want to do: Elon musk, mark Zuckerberg,… you could either take a break for semester, or get a second major or change major. I think an environmental engineering degree will set you up to 100k$ salary easily. If you really want to quit, you can just finish school, then go to trade school if that’s what you want.

  9. Absolutely, my mom was a software engineer and tech writer, and she studied South Asian art in college. She wouldn’t have gotten that job without a college degree.

  10. facts man please dont, I just graduated w a bachelors in history and got a full time job as far away from history as can be. that being said I guarantee you that I wouldn’t have this opportunity without the degree

  11. Yeah I do import export work for international pharmaceutical distribution. Went to school for fucking political science.

  12. Exactly. Even though I currently work in an HR job where I have coworkers without degrees, it was still BY FAR easier to find a job with a bachelor's. A LOT of companies and recruiters still stare blindly on the degree part, especially if you're junior. Of course you can grow into a carreer and eventuelly experience far outweighs degree, but on those first 5 years my bachelor's gave me a huge head start

  13. Dude, you made it 90 percent of the way. If you want to "tough it out" just go wrap up that last semester.. Lol Stealth camp in campus parking and enjoy those gym showers.

  14. also doing things like teaching English overseas or volunteering for the peace corp. generally require degrees. Even if it has nothing to do with the job.

  15. I came here to say, do not quit, finish your degree. Most employers don't care the field but that you finished. Then go have a good time for a year or so.

  16. You would be totally crazy to drop out now. Also you're wrong about that degree. If you want to live in a van it's fucking perfect because you can work for park and forest services doing a number of things while living in your van with the best parking.

  17. Finish your degree. My degree is Wildlife Ecology. 25 years later, I never worked in Wildlife Ecology and currently a Molecular genetics biologist. Having the degree will give you options.

  18. Your welder buddies also work 10-12 hour days. Also you'll be working for low wages for a long time. Not to mention being 50 years old with a bad back and body giving out. When you're ready to settle down youll be out of town for weeks because you go where the work is.

  19. There’s a lot of alcohol abuse in trades too. It’s not as perfect as people say. Especially if you’re months away from a bachelors. OP will make it nowhere roughing it out in a van if they can’t just finish a few months of a years long commitment.

  20. I’d agree with you on your degree if you were just thinking about starting it, but bro, you’re 80%+ of the way done. The cost/benefit is now heavily skewed in favor of completely the degree. Get your degree, then go on your trip. You’ll still have other opportunities besides biology when you have the degree, but it’ll open up more doors for you.

  21. You have to decide what will make you happy. This will get long but hopefully you read and get something out of it.

  22. I would still finish it and then go van. Having that degree anyway may very well give you more opportunities down the road than you realize right now. One thing I've seen over and over is that it matters more that you have a degree than that you're going to work in what you think that degree gives you. People slide around a lot more than you think and the degree is still useful even if you don't work "in" the field.

  23. Get your degree. It doesn’t matter what it’s in. It’s a piece of paper that opens doors. I have 2 bachelors in history and art studio and work in tech. Would’ve never got my foot in the door without a degree.

  24. It is my understanding that every single state and the federal government (Forest service, corps of engineers, national parks) need folks with your schooling and interest. My Lord, get your degree, work 20-25 years with good pay going up and up, retirement plan with government job, health care, retire early with government benefits and then get your van…. Agencies in every single state and government agencies who are responsible for public land would court you I suspect. Some of the research I have read coming out from the government agencies who are the National Forest stewards is so very interesting.

  25. First of all.. If you are graduating this coming summer, and you drop out now… your a fucking moron. You already in debt to your fucking eyeballs(or have already spend shit tons on this) and your 98% there… you have months left. Months! Fucking finish the degree (that way you completed it n didn’t spend all that money then didn’t even graduate…) After you graduate, then buy a van, n travel the lands… maybe join a trade school then n catch up… but whatever you do… never ever complete something 98% then leave it unfinished… that’s lame dude shit right there… n your not a lame dude are ya? Trust me, I’m a 16 year journeyman ironworker, you can start your trade late n just be the smartest dude on the crew with a actual education… make Forman in no time. 😂

  26. Yup. I was Botany major at SIUC and you are right about the jobs market. Gov't job is your best bet, but without a masters or higher you'll be staying a peon. Not too late to learn a trade. I'm thinking about welding for myself. Oh, and I agree with others that you should finish your degree. Doesn't matter the discipline, it is key to getting a good corporate job. Even if that's not what you want, at least you have it in your back pocket.

  27. Listen, as someone who really wanted to drop out in my senior year (majoring in env science / ecology, and sustainability) - just finish the semester and a half.

  28. Finish your degree. Then look into federal work. Either the military or with one of the many of the environmental agencies (usda, nrcs, fda, blm, etc.)

  29. I really don’t think you should drop out. This was my major at a different state university and I’m happily using my degree and have been making 6-figures since I was only 4 years out of school. All of my friends from college were also Natural Resources majors from our state university, and 10 years out of school half of us are using our degrees and making solid incomes and the other half are not thriving financially, but all have one thing in common which is that they pursued a specific type of job after graduation - the seasonal labor, working directly with wildlife, for the state environmental agency, romanticized and idealized jobs that are competitive and don’t pay well. The rest of us who are doing great financially leveraged our degrees into more traditional, corporate careers and make good money. Feel free to message me if you want more specific information. I run a student and young professionals committee for my industry and our goal is to improve student & young professional engagement in the industry, which is one where most people I know have environmental degrees!

  30. Big mistake. Finish the degree, no matter what it is. Sooner or later you have to get a job, which means you need the degree. And you're thinking too narrowly when it comes to jobs; just because your degree is in Natural Resources/Environmental Science doesn't mean you can only get a low-wage job as a park ranger or whatever. You can also get a job in the "normal" business world that involves your outdoor knowledge. Like companies that sell equipment or services that support sustainable agriculture, water distribution, hydropower, fish farming, etc.

  31. Idaho grad here, finish your school and get that expensive piece of paper. Once you have that you can work in whatever field you want. I don’t even use my degree and make way more than my field of study.

  32. Finish the degree. Then do as you please. I don’t do anything remotely close to my degree (microbiology) but having the degree from a “fancy” school opened MANY doors. I’m glad I didn’t drop out.

  33. Finish school. There are a lot of jobs that will screen you out simply because you didn’t get a degree. A degrees rarely apply to work in my experience but it shows your ability to learn/work.

  34. I would ABSOLUTELY get your degree since you're so close. Doesn't matter if you take up accounting or become a gym teacher, having that degree will open MANY doors, the most important of which is your pay range moving forward.

  35. Finish the degree then try to find a job doing research in the field or something like that and you can live out of a van while making a little money. Finish school

  36. Finish your degree so you can get a job that requires.......literally any bachelor's.... I mean you'll never use what you studied but I'll get a fancy piece of paper....

  37. It’s your last year, just finish. I have a degree in history and so many people told me I wasn’t going to get a good job with that degree. They were wrong and I did. I would at least finish and then do a trade school certification after that. You’d be in a good spot to find a job with a degree and trade school under your belt.

  38. I was facing this same situation when I was a senior in college studying sociology. I dropped out and regretted it. 9 years later I returned, finished my degree and now I work in tech 👍

  39. I have a sociology degree and wish I had a degree in natural resources. Finish it. There’s plenty of corporations that will pay you to analyze these resources. Work for the dark side.

  40. You'd be well qualified (with the degree) to work at lots of major environmental consulting firms with great benefits and salaries starting $60k+ in the western US. Or a federal government job with a land management agency with also incredible benefits package and guaranteed path to a decent salary within a few years, and you'd get to do field work or office work as part of your job.

  41. I travelled the country with a philosophy degree and worked a series of difficult and engaging jobs. Most on them labor with my hands.

  42. Honestly its better to have a degree and not use it then to not have a degree and wish you did. If I was you I would get your degree and then take a year off. There was points in my life where i thought my degree would be useless but now i have a really good job thanks to my degree and experience. But i also dont think you should be forcing yourself to do something you dont want. Just take some time to think about it. Also i worked as a welder and didnt make anywhere close to 75k and i worked 50 hour weeks. Work life balance is most important. Ideally id like to just live in a van full time too :/

  43. You're almost done! Do vanlife after you graduate. I'll be your degree will be a perfect match for jobs you can do while living in a van. Your future self will thank you.

  44. A degree is a degree, is a degree. You’re so close to the finish line - just get it over with and have peace of mind. Finding a job will be much easier.

  45. You're a senior, the degree only matters that you complete it not what it's in, finish the year and then van.. you've already put in that much work just finish!!

  46. Definitely finish school. I think you said that you would in your post anyway. I was an English major way back when and later had 37 year career in IT. Happily retired now. But Your degree sounds cool. Your welder buddies will be spending their lives in shops welding over benches and going home to their suburban homes just so they can go back tomorrow and do same. Nothing wrong with that. It’s normal. But you have opportunity to build a career while living and being in the natural environment. You said that’s no trouble for you. You’ll be saving fishes and trees and soil. That’s going to be a growing business as time goes on. Get your feet wet in the employment area that you described. Think of it as entry level. I’m sure there will be opportunities for career growth as time goes on. I envy you.

  47. If you can’t figure out how to get credits in that field for touring the country in a van you’re doing it wrong. Don’t drop out, just get creative.

  48. Definitely finish your degree - There are definitely good jobs with Fish and Wildlife, they are just more competitive and in less demand

  49. I’m concerned that you started your degree without having a clear idea about employment prospects and pay. Finish the degree and transfer your skills to something else. Van later, either in a gap year or in a few years time but don’t throw all your effort away because you feel disillusioned now.

  50. I'm with the people who are saying don't drop out. What's wrong with having one more door available to you? Get into welding too. It's a hard job on the body and you may not even be able to manage because who knows what will happen with it? What if you get seriously hurt? Having an option to keep you going and get your foot in the door in an industry where, let's say you end up in government too, you can find maybe not the best pay but some pretty damn good other benefits.

  51. Just finish the degree. If you're poor and you have a college degree, it's still better than just being poor. At this point, you've expended enough resources that another year or semester isn't going to make a big change in your life.

  52. When the entire vanlife sub is telling you to finish school, it should be pretty clear what you should do. This is the first group that would tell you to bail if it was smart. But it’s REALLY not, you’re at the end, just finish it. You will be happy that you did, if nothing else.

  53. Real talk... get your degree. You don't have to work on the field, many just use their degrees to satisfy silly requirements for otherwise good jobs.

  54. The best part and #1 reason about getting a BA is that future employers know you can stick it out to finish a goal. Does not matter if the BA is in your field or not.

  55. My advice is always the same: try it before you go all in. Take whatever vehicle you have at the moment and go live in it for a month or two, and don't cheat. That will give you a better idea what it's really like.

  56. If you don’t finish, you will regret it later. Have you considered getting a MA or PhD in the area? Teaching at a college isn’t a bad job.

  57. Either finish the degree you're in OR go talk to your college's counselling office about finding a major that will get you what you want. They can see what you already have credit for and what you could pretty easily turn that into. There will never be another time that is easier to finish your degree. From here on out, it only gets harder to get back to it. You can always sleep in a van later, in fact if you leave school you may have to.

  58. Finish it, then van. If it's just a liitttleee more, power through! You can do it and I promise it is worth it even if it doesn't seem to be.

  59. As someone that’s one semester shy, finish it. It’s a requirement for a job that you’ll otherwise in the future overly qualify for, but not having that piece of paper holds you back. I have to go back and finish mine now in a field that has nothing to do with what I went to school for. It’s too late. You’re too far invested. Just finish it

  60. Stevens Point grad in wildlife and fisheries with a graduate degree in wildlife pathology. My "plan" was to live in a trailer in Alaska, do research and cons. bio in season, and hunt and fish in the winter. I ended up at a corporate gig, and now look forwards to a few weeks off for elk and deer season. Regardless of what you do, nobody can take your education away from you. See it through. Before you know it, you'll realize that you get 2-3 weeks of play time a year, so learn to love what you do and know that you can change your mind. I have a storage unit and swap my gear and base layers out as the seasons change.

  61. Finish the degree. Be as frugal as you can and save then go enjoy the summer. As someone who also almost didn’t make it through I would highly recommend finishing it. Your overall income potential is exponentially higher. You can lose the material possessions but you can never lose your education.

  62. Do not drop out now. You’ve already spent the money on 90% of your degree. Then you’ll have no degree and college debt (or whatever.) finish it, get the van as soon as you graduate

  63. Dude, You already have a sunk cost....might as well have something to show for it. dont drop out.

  64. Get the degree then travel a year. A lot of new grads have to earn the ranks starting at bottom. Not everyone is considered a specialist the gate until you become one. I too started as a bio major but got a double In business so that I could be more marketable. Van life can always be your lifestyle for a summer at grad time and explore where you might like to land while enjoying freedom knowing you have some credentials to change your life when and where you want. Again, van life always a fallback and a cheap studio apartment for new job. 🤣

  65. Good lord do not quit now. I know SOOOO many people with fantastic jobs wholly unrelated to their degrees, but checking the "bachelors" box meant their resume didn't get tossed in the trash before they convinced someone to give them a shot. Get the degree, you don't have to do anything with it, but don't toss all that money down the drain by destroying your prospects from the start. My best friend from college (engineering) became a climbing guide and hasn't once used their degree. Adventure will still be there when you're done.

  66. This is an enormous mistake. Don't post asking for life advice in a van forum. No vehicle can replace a completed degree. You are so close, just suck it up. I know it's tough, I'm not even as close as you are, but trust me my friend, the world is going to keep getting harder for those without degrees. Don't castrate yourself for the sake of saving a few bucks.

  67. As a 26 year old tradesman who dropped out of college after 1 year. Don’t do it. In fact it’s rather insulting you’d even contemplate it with such little school left. Sure us tradies make good money off the bat and can max out at 6 figures… that’s the absolute limit. $100k is pushing the limits of how much a blue collar laborer can make on their own. Plus it’s no sort of career change that ages well. Most guys are broke down by their early 50s and either die young or live the back half of their lives in physical agony and debt. I make a decent living, for the time being better than most of my college contemporaries… but my singular regret in life is not following through on my education.

  68. Yup. Finish the degree. I was two semesters from getting a Bachelor’s in Fisheries Biology and dropped out. Doing construction now…15 years later and am constantly wondering if I would be happier if I had finished my degree and did something I am actually interested in.

  69. I graduated from UI Natural Resources about 10 years ago. Of the people that I graduated with, only a hand full ended up doing something Natural Resources related. You are 100% correct in saying that the pay in the field is mostly terrible. To make matters worse, the NR job market is usually saturated. The pay has only gotten worse over the past decade as wages (and NR budgets) have not been adjusted to meet the fractionalized reserve banking/monetary policies in the USA. In short, you're getting a degree in a field where you are going to be low to moderate wage earner if you pursue a career (ideally

  70. I got a degree from u of I too that was absolutely useless. I don’t work in my field at all, so you are going to think I am crazy for saying this but just get the degree. You never know when it will come in handy and u of I is a strong school to have a degree in. Then you can still work as a welder and live out of a van… you have no idea in the future if you might want to go to grad school, do whatever. Just don’t drop out. You can still have everything you want but finish the degree. Plus even though I didn’t use my degree, I consider the intellectual development I gained from college to be priceless. Money is an object that means nothing. Your mind is what you take with you everywhere.

  71. Just finish it!!! You are so close. It will be way harder to start it again later if you decide you want it. Just finish it then buy the van and fuck around for a year.

  72. I had a degree in Animal Ecology and was in a similar situation 25 years ago. Couldn’t find a job that paid anything so I got my teaching certification and have been teaching science ever since. Love the job and the free time off every year. Like others have said, finish that degree-it is always going to be something you can fall back on.

  73. Some introverts like myself love 💗 sitting at home working office job 😂 not facing you people. I get to play outside when work completed. What’s the problem?

  74. Having a degree opens up a world of job oppprtunities. And if you don’t even know what type of van you need or what to pack, it sounds like you don’t have a clue of what van life entails. There are thousands of videos and blogs with this basic information.

  75. As an older person who's hired people I must say that dropping out of school to live in a van for a year is not going to make me more likely to hire you for anything but minimum wage. Vandwelling is not something I, or my colleague, value much as a work skill. :)

  76. How are you finding out now what the pay rate is for your degree? Tough it out and finish it. Having it will help you get a job even if it’s not in the field of study.

  77. No no no no no. The world is changing fast, what you see now isn’t what may be opportunities in the future. also, if you want to do further studies in an entirely different area, having completed a first degree will make your life so much easier. Plenty of jobs just want “graduates”, they don’t care of what.

  78. Someone else has been paying your tuition, haven’t they? Must be nice to be so carefree about the absolutely exorbitant cost of tuition… not to mention the years of your life that you’ve invested into that privileged education of yours

  79. Seriously, dropping out will become your biggest regret in a few years. And eventually you’ll want to go back to school and it’ll be a pain in the ass. Just finish

  80. I don't think you realize how much you will be screwed living in a van with a dog, no diploma and no career plan.

  81. Any degree is better than no degree. Stick out the little time left ,get your degree and then there will be plenty of time for travel. The degree may also land you some forestry, parks and rec, etc or other related seasonal work to help support your travels.

  82. I was there. Broke, hungry could barley pay bills. Told my mom I was dropping out. She told me that was not going to happen. I stayed. She was poor and if she could help pay for one class she would. I worked two summers in a fish processing plant in Alaska. It took some time but I graduated. I don’t use my history degree. I am blessed. Take it from a old hippie and Stay In School.

  83. yea your a year away, if you were only a year in I'd say go for it but in the system we are all a part of having a bachelors opens so many doors for you and I hope you find a way to finish it up. School often feels like a total scam, I get it but regardless we all live in this system and it's worth playing the game at times as you never know what options you'll want to have 5 years or 10 years from now(by then too much time would have passed to return to school and just finish your last year). Best of luck from another internet stranger who is currently building a van having graduated at the start of the pandemic and didn't have the financial option to until now

  84. If you do finish your degree, and being so close I think you should, you should look into urban forestry. I didn’t know about it as a career path but I think it’s great! You can work for your city’s forestry section of municipal government. With your degree you may be able to get in directly or you could start by getting some hands-on experience doing tree work for the city or a private arborist.

  85. Those blue collar jobs that you hear about making high salary also come with 60-70 hour work weeks and no vacation time. Not a comfortable lifestyle. Just go to college.

  86. There is a girl I saw on youtube that lives in an RV and works for the forest service. She rents her spot in Lake Tahoe for $300 a month since she's an employee. Your degree could be your foot in the door to vanlife!

  87. Finish your class!!! Amazing jobs out in forest service, game wardens etc. I’m talking top tier jobs. Not 500k a day salary but you don’t need that. You’ll have hella adventures.

  88. I have an environmental science degree, make enough money and generally enjoy my work. You’re so close. Just finish. Then go van.

  89. another option is to move to Vietnam and live in a cheap accommodation and enjoy a beach lifestyle for total costs of $500/month. Da Nang area seems best so far.

  90. many degrees share a good chunk of the core classes, so you might also be able to transfer credits to a different degree program either at the same or a different school.

  91. You ever have interest in living in Alaska? Great paying fisheries and wildlife jobs here for the right person. Some involved a lot of traveling around the state. Alaska is an amazing place to live. You could even still live in an RV if you had a 4 season one.

  92. If you enjoy the outdoors I know you can be a forest ranger with that degree and the job actually pays pretty well. In NY they start at 75k+ and do some cool search and rescue/public services for our state parks

  93. Lots of people who work in IT have degrees in completely different backgrounds. I’d just finish it if you’re that far into it.

  94. Do not drop out! I worked in higher ed for ten years. Once you drop out, it will be VERY difficult for you to ever finish. You are so close, don’t give up.

  95. Don't drop out. You are so close. Plus someone with that degree can likely easily get a job with the government department of natural resources. In Alaska the pay range is $70k-$100k

  96. I know someone that has. Worked in this field very successfully. Don’t drop out. You can always can life while working

  97. Okay first of all, finish college. Second of all, if you get a job with the state you’ll make decent money and you’ll have GREAT benefits. Don’t give up! There are jobs out there where you can make a good salary. And if you can’t find anything or are unhappy get a van. But at least try first.

  98. Can you sell everything, buy a van, and while you are building out the van to travel the country - finish up that degree? Then hit the road?

  99. THIS ! Listen to this guy. You need to be responsible & finish college degree & classes & also do well. When you give up, it is going to no doubt affect ur future. Van life is only temporarily fixing an issue. You gonna need money for everything inc gas. Go ahead & get work too for $

  100. I'll go against everyone else say drop out and go live in a van if you want to. You can always come back and finish your degree. Just finish the semester you already paid for

  101. Dang I can make 75k+ just from house sitting and I didn’t even have to go to trade school for that. I sit on my ass most of the day 🤣🤣

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