I see quite often people or especially teenager who are getting more and more bored about going to school these days. It's not like they don't want to learn anything, it's more like they want to learn or do what they are passionate about. Is it photography, film making, sports, cooking etc. In that context the term "College Dropout" became sort of popular in the social media world lately. But what does that really mean? Is it that easy to just drop out an follow your passion ala Jay Alvarrez style?
I talked to Roman from Germany who did exactly that. He dropped out to pursue his dream. Read his full story below.
Sure, I think to understand my story or to understand what I'm doing right now you have to look back a little bit. I was born and raised in Germany but my parents are originally from the former Soviet Union. From them I learned a lot about work ethics, about not comparing yourself to others and much more. That were lessons I taught when I was younger, but what that really means I realized way later. When I was 15, I had the dream to become a professional basketball player. I worked incredible hard for that goal. I did not party, I was always in the gym and playing basketball. Basketball was pretty much my whole identity. When I was 17, I unfortunately broke my foot and I just wasn't able to reach that level that I had before the injury anymore. It was really frustrating, but the lessons my parents taught me motivated me to never give up and to be positive. I then focused on photography and videography instead of basketball and that's pretty much what I'm doing right now..
I quit school when I was in 11th grade. I personally think young people are getting more and more bored of traditional ways of teaching and school in general. They want to follow their passion and not only do what school says they have to do. For me, school was just boring. It simply had no benefit for me in terms of following my dreams or getting better at things I really care about.
I then did an internship at a film production company in the Netherlands. During that two weeks I had so much fun and learned so much. Way more than I've ever learned in school. But after these two weeks I had to go back to Germany and to go back to school. Luckily at this time we had summer break and I went straight back to Amsterdam working for the film production company for five more weeks. After that I was thinking what would be the worst possible outcome, if I would quit school completely. If everything goes wrong, I could still work for the film company in Amsterdam. So I kinda had a plan B. And then, yeah I just went for it and quit.
When I was working in Amsterdam, I also started to contact Influencers and worked for them for free. For example Gerard Adams, Felix Hartmann etc. After a while I had done so much stuff for them and everything for free, that Gerard asked me, if I could imagine to leave everything behind and work for him and his crew in New York. At first, it seemed extremely risky. But for me, it was more like a chance than a risk. A bit later, I flew into the US and worked there together with Gerard Adams and Founders.
Currently I'm not working for Fownders or Gerard Adams anymore. It just did not work out between us. Right now I'm working with Felix Hartmann, an influencer from Germany. He invited me to Los Angeles and that’s where Iam right now. I’m mostly doing social media content. That means Vlogs for YouTube, assets for Instagram, snippets etc. I also do the complete video- and photographing, cutting, editing. The whole package pretty much.
First, I would like to make a big shoutout to Mike Richy and Digitaljeff. Currently, we are only texting, so we are not working together anymore but I still really like these dudes. Especially Digitaljeff was like a mentor for me. I'm super thankfull that I could work with him and that I learned so much.
My parents were extremely skeptical and I think my father is till today really skeptical about this whole thing. But after a while, when my mother saw that the things I'm doing are real and most importantly that they bring me joy, she was like “Ok, we can't stop this boy”. Since then, she is my biggest supporter and I'm extremely thankful for that.
In terms of the future projects we will work on the social fundamentals of Felix Hartmann. That means generating content for YouTube on a regular basis and to build up a fan base. If we achieve that, we can work on more creative projects.
I actually stopped setting up goals for myself. It may sounds cheesy, but I'm just trying to live everyday to the fullest. To live in the moment and to make the best out of every day. When I do that, I'm feeling happy and I think I'm on the right track. The only goals I have are to give something back to my family, who are supporting me so much, to build up great fundamentals psychical as well as mentally and to work on my career and the ideas I have in my head.
I would say that everybody who has the opportunity, like myself, should take the risk and just go for it. Sure, you have to think about the consequences, but I think especially in Germany, people are not willing to take risks. They all live in their comfort zone. In Germany, I was kinda imprisoned by school. I had no idea about the life that is happening outside of school and when I left, I just realized how many possibilities the world has to offer and what else we can do except for just going to school
Don’t get me wrong, I'm not saying that leaving school or university is the right path for everybody. It was just the right path for me. Everybody has to find their own way, but there is not only one way to be successful or to be happy. I think to feel real happiness and to fulfill your dreams, you have to follow your passion and you have to take risks. And that’s actually my biggest conclusion!