Drop Out

I was kicked out of university after my first year 😕 I had it coming though since I was probably the worst student on campus. But overall I’m glad I still enrolled, even if the experience was short lived. Going to university made me realize what really matters in my life.

It all started back in 2005 in my final year of high school. My application for the 4-year Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) was rejected because my “B” average grades weren’t high enough for their fancy business school 😡 But I managed to get into the Applied Science undergrad program instead, which is basically engineering 😀

I wanted to do cool things in my first year at UBC like blow things up, or learn to build rockets or design robots. But nope. All they had me do was write reports, read text books, and solve equations. It all just felt dry and boring 😐


I quickly lost interest in all my courses. Instead of attending my own classes I started to sit in on lectures about astronomy and business technology, which were not part of my curriculum but they were more interesting 😀 I also spent a lot of time playing video games, reading fiction, and watching the serial drama LOST 🙂 I had pretty much stopped going to all of my classes entirely.

Time flies when I procrastinate and before long it was mid terms season. Unlike high school, tests and exams in university make up the bulk of a student’s final grade. So I thought as long as I still show up for my exams and do well, then I can still pass the year 😀 I also figured I can just cram the night before an exam.

But I might have slightly overestimated my academic abilities. The science exams were brutally difficult. I only knew the answers for two blanks on the physics test – my name, and the date. And I wasn’t even sure about the date 😕 I spent more time making doodles on the pages than solving actual problems (-_-;) I was completely out of my element for the chemistry test as well. I was so frustrated I wanted to just take all the questions on the test and Barium 😀 *badum tss*


The English exam was even more challenging. My brain went completely blank.


For one part of the test I had to write a paragraph to either argue for, or argue against an idea in this book that we were suppose to have read. But I hate arguing. Why can’t we all just get along? Plus, I didn’t read the book, which was a bit of an inconvenience since that was the main focus of the exam 😐 So for my answer I diplomatically wrote “Let’s all just agree to disagree.”

The math exam was the worst. I’m not very skilled at math to begin with. The equation 2n+2n is just 4n to me 😀 And most of the questions on the test weren’t even practical. I suppose decimals have a point. But how often is differential calculus used by average people in real life? Needless to say I only completed about half the questions 🙁


I thought I could ace my mid terms with minimal studying. I had never been so wrong in my life. When the marks came back it turned out I answered none of the questions right on the math test. But I did receive 2 marks for showing my work, which is nice 🙂 So overall I got 2 out of 80 possible marks on my math mid term, or 2.5%. I was a bit disappointed. But hey, things could have been worse 😉

I didn’t bother retrieving my other marked papers because I was too lazy to go to class to pick them up. But I had a feeling I didn’t do too well in my other subjects either. I can’t imagine what my professors must have thought when they marked my exams.


After the mid terms I continued to skip class, miss homework assignments, and just lollygag around the campus. I guess old habits die hard 😕 But near the end of the school year I received an unexpected call from the Office of the Dean. The Dean overseas the entire Faculty of Applied Science and he wants to personally meet with me 🙂 Wow. What an honor! Perhaps he has some good news for me 🙂 Opportunity of a lifetime maybe?

Well as it turned out, it wasn’t good news at all. To put it mildly he was “not impressed” with my academic performance. He told me I’m failing all my courses, and it’s literally impossible to pass the year now. Furthermore he didn’t want me to stay at the university anymore after the year ends. If I still wanted to graduate from UBC I had to first attend a community college for two years and then try to re-enter into the university.

The end of the school year had soon arrived, and I slept through all of my final exams. If there was no way for me to pass, I might as well catch up on my beauty sleep. Discouraged, broke, and mired in student loans, I was forced to drop out of UBC after my first year and find a different career path. I spent the next year, 2007, working at Safeway saving up some money. Then I went to a local college to study graphic design full time for one year to graduate with an art diploma. A few months later I landed my first real job 🙂 Over the next six years I bought a condo, got interested in personal finance, and invested in outperforming assets like Google stocks, foreign currencies, Saskatchewan land, and many others that I’ve blogged about in the past.

I think going to UBC, and then dropping out, has been a positive life changing experience for me, and totally worth the $7,000 in tuition cost. It made me realize that what makes me truly happy is having the freedom to do whatever I want with my time, which was how I spent most of my university year 🙂 I want to experience that stress free, liberating lifestyle again. So that’s why I’ve put in place a practical plan to reach financial independence by the time I turn 35 years old 😉

And that’s the story of how I went from being the worst student in university to managing over $800,000 of personal financial assets today, and on track to reach $1 million in net worth by my thirties. Just because I failed univercity, doesn’t mean I isn’t smart 😛 Here are some other drop outs you may know.


Based on the track records of these famous people I’d say I’m on the right track, haha 😉

So the moral of my story is if the faculty Dean wants to speak with you, it’s probably not a good sign. Also, be prepared in life. I thought I knew the materials on the exams, but I clearly didn’t. But most importantly studying at university, and I use that word “studying” very loosely, has taught me the important lesson that everyone learns differently. Life is short, so we just have to do our best and enjoy ourselves while we can. For me, that means being creative, thinking outside the box, making art, seizing opportunities, and growing my finances by investing in quality assets 🙂 Despite having a love for money, I’m glad I didn’t get into UBC’s Bachelor of Commerce program, because I think I would have failed miserably. Thinking outside the box can often be beneficial in the real world, but if you try to pull off anything clever in a classroom environment you will probably be met with a failing grade.


I currently work at a post secondary school, and I think colleges are great for any student who wants to expand his or her knowledge. But we can also supplement our education by other means. And just because you fail at school, doesn’t mean you will fail in life.  There are always multiple paths to success 😀

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Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way
07/17/2014 3:20 am

This is very funny, especially finding the X! 🙂 My hubs used to be an Engineering student, but only for 1 year, he decided that he wanted to take a computer course.

07/17/2014 5:50 am

Final question should say “Solve for x”… I too had a hard time with the engineering at first. I failed 4 courses of 6 in first term and needed to take 7 courses in second term just to get enough grade points to have a chance of staying in the program. At the end of 2nd term I had enough grade points accumulated, by 1, to stay in the program. I too had a similar meeting with the Dean of Engineering, where he questioned whether I belonged or not. So in the end it took me 6 years to get the B.Eng, and experienced a lot of challenges along the way. Funny but math isn’t… wasn’t my strong point. It took me 3 tries to pass first year Calc… As a matter of fact I managed to pass 2nd year calculus before having confirmed I had actually passed 1st year calc… How funny is that…. So from a start of 430 students enrolled the year I started, about 80 of us stayed until the end… Looking back on the experience, I might have done better going to College… but then again, I’m now retried, so it doesn’t really matter anymore.… Read more »

07/20/2014 8:44 pm

Or as I say, she lost a bet she has yet to tell me about… 😉 – Cheers.

08/05/2014 11:59 am
Reply to  Phil

Congrats on the retirement!!! What kind of engineering did you do?? You don’t seem that old to be retired so just wondering.

07/17/2014 5:54 am

I should add, on a 2nd year mid-term exam, I managed to pull-off a 9.5%… This was by far my worst mark. But to put it into context, 2 people who were repeating the course, were the only 2 that passed the exam, with marks greater than 50%. If I remember correctly the class average for this exam was 25%… Do you think the professor properly prepared us for the exam… NOT! Definitely a humbling experience. – Cheers.

08/05/2014 11:51 am
Reply to  Phil

I’ve been there and done that with a few 30% grades that amazingly were atleast at the mid point of the curve so I wasn’t the only one.

07/17/2014 8:24 am

Thanks for sharing your story Liquid. Takes a lot of guts to say it out loud. But I get where you’re coming from. I, too, procrastinated and didn’t study after getting into my program. I thought I could just breeze by like I always did. But I was 2 marks shy of 65 to moving onto the next term and it lead me into this circle for years. Doesn’t help when you’re not passionate about what you’re studying. Long story short, it shaped me into the person I am today. Good thing is I don’t carry a tremendous amount of student debt just to get that credential on paper.

Brian So
Brian So
07/17/2014 9:06 am

University is not the right path for everyone. Given my strong grades in high school, it was inevitable that I ended up going to university, but I soon realized that I had no interest in the majority of the curriculum. I still stuck with it and completed my Bachelor’s degree mainly because I did not know what the alternative would have been. I think it’s most important for high school graduates to have a plan about their career, instead of blindly following their friends and the rest of the crowd to university like I did.

My Road to Wealth and Freedom
07/17/2014 9:17 am

Great story, thanks for sharing it Liquid. I’ve always thought that to succeed at whatever it is that we’re doing we need to learn from our failures. Think about people like Donald Trump, Richard Branson etc they failed many times over before ultimately succeeding. Education can only get you so far. After all, there are many highly educated people that do really dumb things. In fact, I know of many highly paid “professionals” who cannot manage $10, let alone $800,000!

No More Waffles
No More Waffles
07/17/2014 11:24 am

Haha, excellent post! Really had a great laugh!

University were the six most beautiful years of my life. I’d go back in time to relive them again in a heartbeat. Occasionally doing an assignment, two exam periods and lots of fun and parties.

It’s not for everyone though, as your story shows. Luckily there are other ways to be successful in life! Especially when you learn from your mistakes, bounce back up and try again.

Thanks for sharing,

No More Waffles
No More Waffles
07/18/2014 11:44 pm

We have a lot less assignments throughout the year. Two six week exam periods are often the only opportunity to score a good grade, which is awesome because it means you have 40 weeks without any obligations.

Also, it’s dirt cheap, so going to uni here would be a wise choice financially! 🙂

Will Lipovsky
Will Lipovsky
07/17/2014 3:56 pm

Really awesome post, man! I lol’d so hard and related to you pretty closely. One thing I don’t like about school (though I did well at it) is they teach you never to fail. Yet, IRL, you must fail far more often than you succeed in order to make a name for yourself.

07/17/2014 4:22 pm

I am the opposite. I was recommended by the Dean of Business and Dean of Science and Technology to take Engineering over sciences or business.. The words of the Dean of Science at the time, “You’ll ace engineering !!!” … LOL. The first year of college was alot of what I learned in Grade 11 and 12 all in one year and doing some more work on top of it. Engineering is lots of math. In the second year you start to see some projects or labs related to engineering.. In the 3rd year, 4th year or 5yr is where it gets better and you take courses related to your specialty. The labs and projects in these courses are were most of the learning takes place. Work terms are even better… I completely understand when people say, when will I use this in real life.. If you do not do labs or projects then it is hard to see. This is a video of a third year course Electrical and Computer Engineering students at Dalhousie take. The prof says it best .. “a robot is an excellent vehicle for learning”.. This same guy taught me this course as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFrJvZCnSb8… Read more »

07/17/2014 8:24 pm

Dude university can be a bit overrated, and that’s coming from a guy who did his undergrad then a postgrad at a “prestigious” postgrad school. If I were to do it all again, it would be very, very different.

And one of the funniest stories I ever heard (related to that picture of find x) was about a friend of a friend who was in physics in undergrad, didn’t study, went into the final exam, came across a question about figuring out the velocity of a moving object and wrote “All I know is that it is moving really f*cking fast” and handed in the exam. Haha!

Agnieszka Obara
Agnieszka Obara
07/18/2014 3:44 am

This is a very entertaining piece full of lessons. Your attitude saved you from being a dropout with no future. You have this optimism and positivity that other dropouts don’t have. No wonder you are where you are at now.

07/18/2014 6:06 pm


Messy Money
Messy Money
08/05/2014 7:39 pm

Thanks for sharing. Great story and good reminder that there is more than one path. Never watched lost because I could not afford to be addicted to another program, but I have been lost.


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