Dropped Out

School is the most important thing, unless you have something more important to do.

A year and five months have passed since the last time I attended a class at university and I think is a good amount of time to analyze if I took the best decision. But first I have to tell you the reason I dropped out of college. It all began in 2016 when I won an entrepreneurship contest, from 15 thousand students I was among the 60 best entrepreneurial builders. So Gallup took me to Washington D.C. where I met Gallup´s CEO, Mr. Jim Clifton. When I came back to Mexico City two things happened: 

  1. The Secretary of Economic Development named me Ambassador of Entrepreneurship

  2. Jim Clifton came to Mexico City and said to me that he´d like to open a business with me

As ambassador of entrepreneurship I was invited to many entrepreneurial events and had the opportunity to talk with governors, businessmen, and principals of the biggest schools in Mexico. I also had the opportunity to attend different discussion panels about the raise of the minimum wage and why it was important, where I had the opportunity to talk with economists, governors, teachers and public figures. 

So I got into college, I was supposed to study Economics, one of my favorite sciences. I met my teachers, told them my story and asked them for permission to skip classes from time to time in order to be able to attend this meetings I had as Ambassador of Entrepreneurship. Most of them said yes with the condition to present my exams and homeworks, most of them except one: my Spanish teacher. When I met him he asked me in front of the class “why are you studying economics?” and I said “well, I´d like to see if my theories are valid and if so, be able to implement them to help the world”, “every kid in economics has the same reason as yours, you’re all the same” he said. When the class was over I went to him, told him my story and asked for permission to skip classes, he said he would answer me the next morning. I went to him the next morning and he said “no” and nothing else. So I went to my career coordinator to see if she could talk with my teacher but all she said was

“ I think you have an amazing career, but unless you belong to the football team, we have no interest in helping you, so I guess you’ll have to choose”. 

I spent the next day in the music classroom, skipping all my classes, playing the piano while I tried to figure out what to do. I decided to drop out for three reasons: 

  1. The school was really expensive, even with scholarship. What I’ve learned is that you’re not always at the top, we were fine in the economic side, but what would happen if suddenly my dad couldn’t afford my education? It didn’t seem fair to put that kind of pressure in his shoulders, specially when you can obtain the same education from a library or from the web. 

  2. I saw more value in attending those meetings than going to school, using my Spanish teacher´s idea: most of kids go to school, but not all of them had the opportunities that I had, why would I do what everyone’s doing?

  3. I had in mind Jim´s proposal, and I thought that the business would demand a lot of my time.

For some, my decision was a reflection of how self-constrained and ambitious I am. For others it was an example of my determination. Honestly I think is a little bit of both. It was really difficult for my parents to understand my decision, my mom was really sad as well as my dad, but even though they didn’t share my point of view they supported me as always (thank you for that). 

After that I continued going to events and meetings, I went to Austin Texas with Jim Clifton to visit GSD&M, an amazing ad agency, to receive pieces of advice on how to start an ad agency. When I came back I started working in my own ad agency called DaftonMedia with Jim as my business partner. I got into an online university where I’m studying marketing. Since studying online is really cheap, I’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot with my parents, and believe me,

I´ve enjoyed my parents in a way that really few people can. 

Last week, while I was reading to my mom one mail from Jim she said to me “Leo, I would be very sad if you don’t build something big with Jim” so I said to her “ I would love to be right now with kids my age talking about anything and discussing with my teachers, but I’ve been really lucky to have this opportunities, and because of that I have the responsibility to be successful, or at least to try. So don’t be sad for me not being in school right now, because this is a very special opportunity that I have right now and not to take it would make the world more unfair”.

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