“What do you consider more valuable, an education or experience?”
It was the on-stage question asked at the 2013 Miss Hawaii USA pageant, a night that forever changed my life.
Spoiler alert— I didn’t win.
However, sometimes I can’t help but wonder what I would have answered if given the opportunity to speak that infamous night. Chances are, I would have preached the importance of an education since I thought that’s what the judges wanted to hear.
But between you and me, the entire reason I decided to compete in the pageant is because I was looking for a valid excuse to dropout of college and start doing my thing.
You see, I’ve always had a clear vision of what I wanted to be (or so I thought) and in my eyes, becoming the next Miss Hawaii USA was the perfect way to jumpstart my entertainment career. So you can only imagine the sting of disappoint I felt when the crowning moment I believed so much in, didn’t become my reality that night.
I hustled hard finding sponsors, selling tickets, paying for my wardrobe, and squatting my ass off (literally). Now throw a full-time school schedule into the mix, along with a 30-hour work week and there you have the recipe for a quarter-life crisis.
I put way too much on my plate and burned myself out, all for what?
Took look bomb in a bikini.
To have a socially acceptable reason to quit school?
I didn’t need an excuse to drop out, I needed the confidence to believe that what I was doing, was best for me. Two weeks before my senior year of college, I dropped all my classes and made the ballsy decision to do more of what makes me happy.
Now before you get the idea that I’m too cool for school, let me assure you, just because I stopped pursuing my degree, doesn’t mean I gave up on learning. I began to educate myself on the subjects that piqued my curiosity— like self-love, meditation, and beer.
I took the whole, homeschooled approach towards college by developing my own curriculum and grading myself based on the outcome of my own personal projects (this blog being one of them). Not only has this self-educated experience taught me a great deal about writing, marketing, production, and IPA’s, more importantly, I have learned my soul’s purpose.
And last time I checked Self-Discovery 101 isn’t offered with your $30,000 tuition.
Dropping out of college to pursue my passions helped open my eyes, as well as my heart, to the truth that I was brought into this world to inspire.
My ability to understand the magic of life, offers me the power to be a voice of encouragement for the world around me. People need reassurance that they are able to take fearless leaps into the unknown and come out stronger than ever before. Everyone is seeking motivation, advice and guidance to live their best lives, and sometimes all you need is one person to believe in your wild ideas in order for you to truly believe in yourself.
There is no denying that
person Mermaid is me.
Side note: I’m not saying this path is for everyone.
You have to be a self-starter with one hell of a drive. You have to be able to embrace failure and rejection by carrying the kind of confidence in yourself to trust the process.
There are often times where I feel like dropping out of school was the biggest mistake of my life, but then I am reminded I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for that ballsy ass move.
That was the moment I truly began to live life, and now I’ve mastered it.
If I had the chance to answer that infamous on-stage question at the Miss Hawaii pageant four years ago, today my answer would go a little something like this:
“I feel both an education and experience are equally valuable. There are some people who learn better by sitting in a classroom and taking notes. Then there are others, like myself, who learn best by hands on experience. But in my eyes, it doesn’t matter how you absorb the information, as long as you are learning because, knowledge is power.”
Drop the mic.
Better yet, drop your classes.
Here’s to more living and more learning.
xx Fins & Kisses,